I Make Long Facebook Statuses

A long time ago in an internet far away, Facebook limited the number of characters you could use in your status. Seriously, if you exceeded the arbitrary and astonishingly short length the company thought was necessary to convey a complete thought, you’d receive a dialog box rather coldly stating that your status was too long.

This was much to my chagrin, but like the baby elephant tied to the stump I was trained to keep my Facebook statuses short and sweet long after they removed the restrictions and allowed posts long enough to overrun all known civilization.

Lately, however, I find the length of my posts to be creeping back up there into the stratosphere. Fifty words. A hundred. I believe I recently published my first 200 word post the other day. And, you know what? I’m perfectly okay with that!

Facebook had long been marred down by mindless link-sharing and endless advertisements, a necessary evil due to the fact that everyone’s on it and we’re all waking around with smartphones growing out of our left wrists. I am but one individual, but perhaps I can do my part in attempting to turn the tide. To make Facebook a place of contemplative philosophy, not trite expressions that do nothing for nobody. A place of individual art and photography, not another dreadful meme affixed to a cutting opinion.

We’re all sick with a virus that we keep on catching, unwilling to sanitize the problem for fear we might lose our high technology as a consequence. But our disease is making us bitter, and making us see the world, or rather a digital symbol of it, as an ugly place.

So I will make long Facebook statuses, even if they don’t get any “likes.” (Though strangely, they often do.) I’m done caring about little red numbers at the top of my screen. My hope is that you are at that point too, because if you are, you can be a part of making things better. Post a long Facebook status. Post something original. Post a video of you doing something cool. Whatever you want to do, just post something different that the link-bait fueled mess bludgeoning us with opinions that the lowest-tier social media has become. People are better than that.

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Christian Music Is Boring

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Last (proper) blog I promised to write an article about how Christian music is the most boring thing on the radio. While that is an opinion, this is a blog. Therefore, I’m allowed to express my opinion. Stay with me though, because I hope to make a compelling argument.

Go to a radio, even if it’s an imaginary one. Are you there? I have super-duper satellite radio, but if you don’t, I’ll give you corresponding radio stations for the Montgomery area. That is where most of my blog audience is, after all.

First turn it to pop radio [101.9 Y102]. Hear those catchy rhythms, simplistic lyrics, and similar song structure (usually consisting of V1-C-V2-C-C-B-C-C-C-C….DOES IT EVER END??)? This is assuming you don’t get a commercial, of course.

Now turn it to alternative radio [104.9 The Gump]. Hear those awesome guitars, gritty lyrics, and generally experimental style? You never really know what you’re going to get when listening to Alternative radio.

Now turn it over to Christian radio [107.9 K-LOVE]. Not very catchy is it? Lyrics you’ve probably heard before, right? The only real reason to listen to it is because it’s Christian and you feel like you have to, or perhaps it’s the only “clean” thing on the radio. If it’s the latter, that’s great. But perhaps we ought to don our protective suits and venture into the world of not-so-squeaky-clean music and determine why we can’t make encouraging music good.

The fundamental purpose of worship is growth.

I admit, being in a state of worship is a specific high only attainable by coming face to face with God. It is the culmination of joy and awe, and it is amazing. It’s the time when the lyrics and the music and your heart separate themselves as elements as you approach God. And no partying or meditation can match that eternally significant sensation. 

But as you grow as a Christian, that sensation wears off… or maybe just changes. A growth of knowledge and understanding of your relationship with God renders repetitive choruses ineffectual in achieving a state of actual worship. 

At some point a relationship with Christ turns from awesome to awe-inspiring to wondrous. It’s a relationship that’s increasingly complex, just like in real life. As the relationship becomes increasingly complex, so too does the worship required to fulfill that relationship. 

Theory: radio worship is meant for baby Christians.

All of this leads me to my first thesis of this blog. Radio worship has only one predominant audience: young Christians. 

Having a music genre devoted to beginning Christians is not a bad thing. After all, they can’t really speak the same language as more experienced Christians. Younger Christians have a more vacuous grasp on the idea of the faithful stability of God; the fact the God’s will isn’t something to be deciphered, but is instead a constant driving force in life. 

Again, it’s not a bad thing at all to have this type of music. But here’s the problem:

Radio worship is not approachable for any other group of people.

Non-Christians are not going to listen to it because it lacks any kind of appeal, be it musical or lyrical. The music is often created by people of less than stellar talent. The lyrical premise is often frankly shallow and doesn’t vary from time to time. No deep philosophy or theology here. 

Older Christians will likewise grow tired of this kind of music for one simple reason. It doesn’t provide the spiritual nourishment they need to grow. Hymns in the past often provided deep swaths of theological topics, but current worship seems more like modified pop music. Modern “pop-worship” utilizes repetitive, memorable choruses to convey short text messages about God as opposed to larger, theology-heavy concepts. 

In doing so, I feel you may take something away from the glorious nature of God. 

Christian music can change effectively in one of two ways.

The first way Christian music can change is probably the most obvious. Completely emulate your pop counterparts. Fill your music with infectious beats to accompany your repetitive choruses. Build a tabernacle of catchy sounds, begging non-Christians to come for the spectacle of the thing. 

With this method, you really wouldn’t have to change much in the form of lyrics. Just enhance the sound by getting experience from the latest and greatest producer and musicians. Collaborate with Daughtry or Taylor Swift, both of which claim to be Christians. 

For me, the second method is far more effective in the long run. Restore the reverence behind the music. Make Christian music a feast for theological minds. Fill it with complexities of the universe and big questions about God. Make Christian music the “thinking man’s music.” 

This would further the desires of non-Christians to seek the answers that only God can provide. Likewise it would restore the relevance for Christians who want more. It would also be there when young Christians take that next step in their relationship with Christ.

Either way, radio worship music needs to change. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t need to be the only easily accessible Christian music at our disposal. 

Life is all about taking steps to become a great, self-actualized representative of Jesus. Music plays no small part in that.

Everyone Just Needs to Relax

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There is a code that needs to be cracked.

Look around you. See anybody? If you’re on your smartphone, I’m almost positive you do. And I’ll bet you know what stresses them out. And I’ll bet you know what makes them grumpy.

I live a life where I try to detach myself from the things that affect me. Goodness knows I don’t always succeed, but I also don’t always fail. In my detachment, though, I’ve discovered some things. Mainly, I’ve discovered that everyone just needs to calm down. Life isn’t to be taken as seriously as it appears.

Stress exists. Schoolwork and job responsibilities are there whether you like it or not, so focusing on it every waking moment only makes you freak out. Debates will range, and encroach on your comfort zone. Don’t worry about it. Logic is just a system that, in fact, may not be all that logical in itself. And arguments do nothing but divide potential friends from ever connecting. Fashion is just a way to cover yourself with status and statements. And money is just everyone agreeing that pieces of paper are actually worth something. 

Your entire life is just a single page waiting to be flipped into eternity. People’s plots intertwining with another’s for a short time. And there’s nothing you can do about it, and there’s nothing you can ever do about it.

What does that leave me?

It leaves me turning the radio up and blasting electronic music out of the speakers; a thrill no coffee can accomplish. It leaves the rare smile on a person’s face when I tell them how good of a job they did on a project. It leaves taking in a beautiful day watching the clouds swirl above you. It leaves the people you love. It leaves you being awesome.

And most importantly, it leaves a spectrum of God’s love beaming through those that realize him. And you don’t have to look very hard before suddenly realize it’s blinding you. Despite the bad things that go on in the world, that love holds you strong. Suddenly you’ve got your head in the clouds and the perils of life becomes unimportant.

It leaves joy. It leaves so much incomprehensible joy. I don’t care what goes on in this life, I am undone by the glory of it all. 

I am loved. I am blessed. I rejoice.