Friday, April 29, 2016

Let Go The Chips On Your Shoulder

 This is a video produced by the pastor of the church where I attend.  I helped a teeny bit with consultation regarding the music clips utilized.  LDS leaders have long maintained, and proudly, that Mormon doctrine and theology differ markedly from traditional Biblical Christianity.  From the Book Of Mormon itself we read that many "plain and precious truths" were lost since Jesus appeared and taught and only thanks to Joseph Smith has the Gospel been "restored".  (see 1 Nephi 13:26)

. . . and note this statement from the "latter day" "prophet": “The fact is, that by the power of God I translated the Book of Mormon from hieroglyphics, the knowledge of which was lost to the world, in which wonderful event I stood alone, an unlearned youth, to combat the worldly wisdom and multiplied ignorance of eighteen centuries, with a new revelation, which (if they would receive the everlasting Gospel,) would open the eyes of [the world], and make ‘plain the old paths,’ wherein if a man walk in all the ordinances of God blameless, he shall inherit eternal life.”  (History Of The Church, 6:24)

Times change though, and so does the "restored" "truth" of LDS Church proclamation.  Nowadays "the Church" wants to be seen as a classical Christian sect, NOT so different from "traditional" Christianity.  Whereas, in the past, the "prophets" and "apostles" of the LDS Church wanted there to be a clear and stark difference between "Mormonism" and "Biblical Christianity" . . . today they want to be considered as a compatible member of the larger fold.

But at the core, basic LDS doctrine, which is still held and not been renounced, has more in common with Islam or New Age than it does Biblical Christianity.

Pastor Jason Wallace has compiled an impressive body here in this video of quotes and video clips of LDS "officials" which have heretofore been mostly swept under the rug, hidden or suppressed which clearly show that Mormonism is quite different from, and often directly in opposition to, what was taught by Jesus, and the real historic Prophets and Apostles.

The title is "An Earnest Plea To Latter-day Saints" . . . and I know Jason IS sincerely earnest in his desire to reach LDS members . . . to show them how what they believe is fundamentally at odds with what is revealed and taught from The Bible.  No "plain and precious truths" have been lost.  God has preserved His Word as He said He would.

This is not an effort to "bash" or attack Mormons, while it is a defense of Christian faith and an exposing of spiritually dangerous deception and falsehoods.   It is proper love that suffers abuse and hardship to rescue the lost or defiant.

"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?"  (Gal. 4:16)  Hopefully not!

  Pride is the great enemy to Truth seeking.  Anyone who sincerely seeks The Truth above all else (which is, by definition seeking God Himself) will be humbled along the way, having to let loose comfortable prior beliefs and certain psychological/emotional attachments which have been harbored.  We must go to The Truth empty handed, willing and ready to receive it as it is.  Or, rather, receive HIM as He Is!  Let the chips fall as they may--especially the ones on your shoulder.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

All Things New Again

It is always encouraging to see or hear about God "moving" in a situation or life.  We need more of this kind of news and less of how the devil is moving in the world. . . .

I have held off doing anything too ambitious musically for years, waiting until I knew God was "all in"--or, rather . . . until I was "all in" with God. . . .

And He is all over, in, under, above, through . . . this new venture of mine, I dare say.  Praise God!  It is so easy to feel inspired and start a project, IMAGINING that it is a Godly thing . . . when it is just the same old, old self, self-seeking/self-lifting . . . cloaked in a Godly facade.  Having been fooled in that process many times before, I have been very wary for a while of repeating that same misfire.  Then again, BC (before Christ) I never really had a chance . . . but now, well, it's a different story.  Discernment and an eagle eye are still critical, but now the Eye of the Spirit is here to shine the proper Light on things.

As I've mentioned before, this project has a positive energy and focus which is proving delightfully infectious.  So far, everyone--well nearly everyone (family and friends AND even new acquaintances) have found themselves recharged, reignited, re-enthused when approached and getting involved with contributing to this.  I've seen how most people are in a general kind of malaise and plodding depression, likely because of all the chaos and ominous developments going on in our society and world at large.  Times are tight.  Every day is a struggle and every one seems on the verge of falling apart or losing it temperamentally at the slightest complication.  Not much to look forward to but a big, ugly mess . . . is what it's looking like on the temporal scene.  But this is creating a different track, despite all that, which has its own rules and encouragements. . . .

For the most part, I am enlisting folks of more advanced age--creative people who had kind of lost their passion and joy in creating because the day-to-day stresses and relentless burdens have finally tallied up to bog them down.  But this project seems to reawaken their enthusiasm and hope and bring new, uplifting energy that has got them suddenly excited and hopeful again.

THAT ALONE is a blessing that is being spread, so far as it goes.  And there are two examples specifically I wanted to mention, where it looks like God is blessing those involved.

One is particularly (pleasantly) shocking related to our deaf son Skylar.  He has always, for the most part hated music and not understood why people love it so much. Obviously, because he is deaf, this is understandable.  He CAN "hear" with his cochlear implant, but the sound is all translated into digital signals, so that what he "hears" as music . . . mostly sounds like loud, jangly, obnoxious noise.

Being such a musical family otherwise, this has been a melancholy thing (for us--not him so much as he doesn't know or care what he is missing). 

The thing is, Sky, we have long recognized, has musical ability.  Oddly, he can dance and has a great sense of rhythm.  But the subtleties of melody, tone, lyrics have been utterly lost on him.

BUT . . . just the other day, he was "prompted" to try a different setting on his cochlear and he put on headphones and started listening to symphonic music while he played his latest favorite online computer game ("Black Desert" I think it is).  Suddenly, he could "hear" the music in a new way.  And he was hooked!  He finally started hearing it in a way that the emotion and mood of the music could affect him.  He was so excited telling me about this and I promptly gave him a list of artists that I thought he could get into besides the classical and techno music he likes.  Brian Eno's ambient "discreet" music . . . Philip Glass . . . Vangelis . . . Moebius. . . . And he loves it!

Now, as this all consuming musical venture I am trying to launch gets going and is so fun and exciting, Sky need not be left out of the experience!  I KNOW God is in this!  What a surprising, out-of-the-blue blessing!  He is even saying he thinks he can MAKE music.  We have little doubt that, using a click track in his headpiece . . . he could someday be a real, good drummer!

The other example is my old music friend Gene Eskelson.  I've written of him before--a wizardly-looking older friend who I played in a band with (The Planets) way back in the 80s and a couple of times since.  Gene is an eccentric, highly creative, gifted fellow, but has never really gotten a break in life.  I'd lost touch with him the past couple of years and just now found out that he ended up virtually homeless, his menagerie of collectible art pieces and music equipment in storage along with his beloved cat boarded somewhere.  He says he barely made it.  He's got diabetes, is going blind and now losing his teeth!  But I just again found his phone number and called him and found he has since at least found a little place to live in and got his cat back, plus most of his guitars and amps. 

Besides being a talented guitarist along the lines of a Jimmy Page . . . he is an excellent graphic designer.  So I am enlisting him to work on some logo ideas and plan to use him for making cool posters and t-shirt designs for the band.  Everything is shoe-string budget, of course, but even what little I can give him in compensation will go a long way in his meager situation . . . and he was so, so excited when I talked to him about this venture--something new, something creative and full of energy to be involved with, even at this age and stage of life!  I was afraid he was going to have a heart attack, so thrilled was he, when we finally chatted last night!

I have always gone for the underdog.  In grade school, when we use to pick teams for basketball or football--I was kinda a leader type, from a well-to-do family, popular, athletic, and so was usually a "captain" . . . and would deliberately choose the unpopular, oft-teased, usually poorest kids to be on my team; getting a thrill out of surprising them and loving the challenge of proving that they/we could beat the popular, mean, snobby kids.  Even if we didn't win (though we often did, as my picks would play their hearts out!) it was altogether way more fun and fulfilling to do it that way.

I kind of have that same sense now.  All of us guys in the band are "past our prime" . . . have had the big dreams which never panned out . . . yet are still kicking.  And I am loving giving us all a chance to scoff at cruel "time" and be newly energized to create and do something new, fresh and creatively challenging . . . all over again, when we just as easily could have accepted that those kind of days and experiences were long gone!

Above all--and, to be sensitive to the situations I am not going to go yet into any hard details--I am seeing several prime candidates for the sharing of the Gospel.  I will say that Gene--who I have influenced before spiritually in a big way (sadly the wrong way)--is I believe finally ready to hear, probably for the first time, the simple, profound truth of the Gospel and the unmatched teachings from the very Word of God.  There are others in the band as well I can see as potential harvest material!  God willing. . . .

Superficial, worldly eyes may look at this thing and see something else--but the Spiritual potential, in discreet, subtle AND not so subtle ways, I can already see . . . can be powerful and profound; God willing again, of course.

I am totally prepared that the world may be in such a mess that the whole music/band part of it may not get a chance to go too far.  But the personal results, which are most important anyhow, are already taking place and, I hope and trust and pray, will carry on far beyond regardless.

Thank you again those of you who helped me in this initial phase of starting to get it all together. I pray the energy and blessings that are happening happen there as well!  There is a ton yet to do, but I am trusting God all the way and am confident that this unmistakable energy and urgency is here for good, blessed purpose!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Change The Mind (and thus, the heart)

As you think in your heart . . . this is what you are.  Where your treasure is, there will be your heart.  "A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. . . ."

Take your thoughts captive; do not let them be inserted by the din of the world where others' agendas and passions replace your own (which ought be of God), so that without realizing it you are being led day-to-day by alien interests driving your mind . . . and thus your heart.  So much unease, stress, angst, fretting that we may think, and thus feel, is unnecessary.  Because this mass communication world is a new thing for us now living it is easy to imbibe it constantly, for it is constantly there and many have not learned how to manage the intake.  Minute by minute, day by day, week after week it washes over us, through us and makes our inner life one of the world.  Many have become casually addicted to pouring over all of the tragedies and horrors reported throughout the world, as if they were immediately their business, and by studying them they imagine that they are involved with their rectification. 

But it is in our personal, up close and tactile daily relationships where we have the most effect.  One of the all too common examples of this malfeasance of personal thought versus action is that of the great crusader/"do-gooder" who fancies their self "spiritual" and obsessed with "making the world a better place" . . . where they are apparently engaged in all kinds of "big causes" like "saving the planet" or mandating "social justice" . . . yet are usually a personal wreck.  They speak and demand "peace" and chastise others (in the abstract) for being "materialistic" and self-centered . . . while they  exhibit shocking flashes of anger, jealousy, competitiveness, lust and disguised self-aggrandizement in their daily personal lives.  They champion the "human rights" of refugees or some other perceived "minority" but then treat their friends, mates and family like dirt. . . .

Take the log out of your own eye before working on the sliver in your brother's eye.  Many who rush out to "save/change the world" have first neglected the closest and most immediately important problems to be solved.  This often comes from having a mind that is filled with distant distractions and theoretical goals--all of worldly purpose and import--which displace what ought to be goals and purposes centered on God and one's living relationship with God.  "Religious" or "spiritual" ideas are the most insidious of diverting thoughts and agendas; for then you think you are being about God's business, when, in fact, you are still just being worldly minded in the guise of piety.

Whole lives are filled with nothing but the business of the world and the attempted advancing or forestalling of others' worldly agendas.  Dust to dust, vanity . . . all of it.  When we are purposefully in the Lord's will, He may or may not inject us into seemingly worldly battles.  But whatever happens, it flows secondarily.  First, you are submitted to and trying your best to serve and prioritize Him and His Gospel-spreading work.  Rather than having your mind (and thus your heart) brimming with worldly, carnal, materialistic agitations, you deliberately focus on Godly things and let the rest be added, as He wills.  Then, you can be IN the world, but not OF it.  You are IN Him first.  You are OF Him first.  Everything else, including your interpersonal relationships, duties, passions, goals, etc. follows . . . and is blessed!

As professed disciples of The Master, we are obligated to guard our minds (and thus our hearts), taking captive our thinking . . . to put it firstly in the service and focus of God and Godly things.  The Enemy would have you always leading with your heart, which then dictates what fills up your head.  The heart is deceitful and wicked and always prone to selfish, carnal, pleasure and ego-centered passions and purposes.  By following these, the mind then brims with the same and the whole inner life becomes a confusing, swirling cesspool of doomed, pointless to'ing and fro'ing, accomplishing little, if anything, of lasting substance.  Dust to dust it goes, the smoky passings of temporal ephemerality, here and gone, of little to no REAL help and encouragement. . . .

Once submitted to the Lord, our minds (and thus our hearts) ought be submitted to ourselves as well.  You cannot serve two masters.  Many try, imagining it is possible, but only end up serving the wayward and deceived heart as master.

Repentance is a changing of the MIND--of focus.  The heart follows.  (Of course, this can only happen when God Himself replaces the "heart of stone" with a living "heart of flesh"--but that's a whole other topic and not the focus here).

God blesses and sustains you always, Amen!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Political Sidebar. . . .

Yeah, my trepidation re Trump is only being confirmed as I watch him move into his next manipulation phase--going to the left.  He's got no core principles and this is a problem for me.  He has said whatever he thought would get him the nomination in the GOP.  And, personally, I don't want a "wall".  We don't need a wall . . . that can and will likely just be used to keep us in and do nothing to keep others out.  What we need is to simply enforce the laws we already have and cut off all the social welfare enticements.  Thankfully, regardless, I'm glad to have not been caught up in what I consider mostly theater, whip-sawed by the daily state-run media agenda to divide, confuse, cause rancor etc. 

I also like to keep remembering that God has got it all.  Nothing is happening outside His will.  I take great comfort from so-called "reformed theology" . . . which, to me, is nothing other than what the Bible teaches.  God is sovereign over everything and everyone.  He is perfectly working out all things for the good, especially for those who love and serve Him.  Nothing is going wrong.  Nothing is a surprise.  Nothing is out of control.  From our limited view, it sure looks like it's a giant train wreck, but I have utter faith that He is in control and has perfect, good, loving, creative, majestic and personal purposes for all that is transpiring. . . .

Praise God!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Clump-o-dex Relay

 You know . . . sometimes I go through my "clump-o-dex" wad of notes and scraps from my pockets and lunch bag--things I have thought of and quickly jotted down while working. . . . And every so often I just put them up here.  I want to believe that the spontaneous timing of throwing these up sometimes happen to trigger or answer or cause thought in someone just at the right time they might need it or are pondering something. . . . These are unedited and may not be even what I necessarily believe.  Often I am just working out ideas, pondering something myself and making a note to check up on it later.  Or I get a flash of insight (or so I think:) into some issue or question.

Anyhow, I don't know if there are interesting or not or helpful, but here it goes nonetheless, fwiw, the latest clumpodex entry--.
God bless...
--Ie., re if God STARTED OVER creation post fall vs. RESTORING . . . imagine an artist on stage making something beautiful after it got trashed by things on stage--how the audience would applaud!  If he made something better after the corruption of 1st effort.  What show the "glory" of the artist/Creator more?  Starting over or repairing (restoring/reforming)?
--When praying for something . . . that unease (you may be feeling) is not cause you're doubtful God's not going to give u what u want.  It's cuz you are bucking His will--like eve.
--re gov. mass surveillance:  live blameless -- use for good.  Do you fear God or government more?
--fools find no pleasure in the truth; only delighting in airing their own opinions . . . prov: 18:2
--John 3:3-5 Lord does it....
--I would do it if God decreed I would. (re Q "if God told you to do something abhorrent to your natural mind, would you?")(Re Q-- I think it's a good question because it puts a number of seemingly conflicting principles/teachings at odds.)(re Q-- I already don't do what God tells me to do ie., 1st commandment which is most important things of all.  And IT is abhorrent to my natural mind.  And to say God wouldn't ask anything "unBiblical" misses that He asked Israel to slaughter every man, woman, child of Amorites (?). . .  so I think it's a cop out to ignore this.
--Why a devil?  So we have focus of God's wrath other than people.  For we are designed--meant to love one another.
--Thief on cross did not need experience or theology.  What did he love?  He recognzied and submitted to the Lord.  But for our benefit, as a gift, He gave us the Bible doctrines--showing His character to enjoy and deepen in knowledge of. . . .
--Dying to self fully is required.  Give up.
--We can go off the rails wanting experience AND ie., full doctrinal understanding and even have those but yet not be submitted!  Above all He wants us step by step in His will.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reformed and Rock'n (bootleg edition)

Here's some official bootleg clips from the other night. . . . I will have better sound and video quality for these on the new channel plus the behind the scenes stuff I promised, but for now just wanted to share these initial "roughs" with all ya'll. . . .

And here's me playing some guitar.......

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Landing Soon. . . .

"Major Tom and the Moonboys" . . . landing soon. . . . 

[This is a pic my wife took just before our studio rehearsal/photo/video shoot, which she put on her new Instagram dealy.  Lindsaylumu . . . ("lumu" is what we text each other when I'm at work or away.  It's shorthand for "love u miss u":) I think is her handle.  I'm still trying to learn all this stuff.   She's learning how to use her phone to take photos for social media purposes related to the band.  Wednesday was a success btw--thank you! those who helped me pull it off. . . . I will put up soon some sneak preview stuff as I'm too excited to wait until I get the website going.  Oy, time--it all takes so much time to try and get things right.  God bless, guide and protect you each one!]

Friday, April 15, 2016

Holy Spirit Teaching

My son Sky, who is deaf is such an interesting case to witness regarding the Holy Spirit's operations.  Because he is deaf he lacks a fair amount of language, and misses out on a lot of basic life learning that hearing people take for granted; all the day-to-day conversations that go on between people, family etc., discussing experiences.  We, as a family, talk a lot about God, about Jesus and Biblical teachings--new things that we have observed or learned or experienced. . . . And we do make a point to share these with Sky--especially my wife who is here at home more often with Sky while I am at work.  Sky works, but only part time, so he is home a lot.

We have a really good idea what his knowledge base is--what things he knows about, words and concepts he knows or doesn't know and it is always a wonderful, faith encouraging experience when he himself brings something up that came to his mind or heart, which we know he couldn't have gotten anywhere else, except direct from the Holy Spirit teaching him inwardly.

My wife does have powerful prayers and I know she prays for all the time--among other things--that the Holy Spirit will teach Sky Biblical truth as he does not like to read and can't really watch and listen to spiritual programs ie., on Youtube. . . . (The closed caption program in Youtube is awful).

She just related an example of this that he recently told her about. . . .

He said he was driving home, thinking about God, about Jesus . . . and his mind was led to seriously ponder the suffering that Christ went through on our behalf, on his behalf.  He really "got it", he says, and ended up weeping even, as he drove home, so deeply touched and affected by the realization.  AND, he says he was overwhelmed with a powerful sense of gratitude that Jesus loves him and died for him . . . as well as realizing, as he also related, "Jesus is my only hope!"  Oftentimes, when describing a spiritual experience or thought process, he uses language that either comes straight out of the Bible or is common among parlance among believers.  And these are descriptions and verbiage that we know he has not learned or seen before.  It comes straight from the Holy Spirit, no doubt about it.

It makes it so obvious . . . that God is real, Jesus is real and indeed THE ONLY HOPE . . . and the Holy Spirit truly does teach us truth and guide us along our spiritual walk. . . .

It is such a wondrous, astounding, shocking, thrilling, humbling, personal yet majestic thing--this relationship we can have . . . with the very Creator of ALL that is, was and will be. . . !

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bongos & Harmonicas?

Well, tomorrow night is the first big milestone with my band.  There were four of you (trusty ol' stalwarts all!) who helped me just get over the line to being able to pull it off--thank you sooo much!  After I get some video and photographic footage and am able to set up the website, I will then be able to set aside a special "backstage" zone for you.  This is a hard, nip-and-tuck effort, trying to juggle family and day-to-day responsibilities, being older, starting from scratch, shoe-string capabilities.... 

Yet, this is an exciting time musically overall for us . . . all of a sudden . . .  as Jackson's band is doing very well with their new cd release.  Several of their songs are on big playlists on Spotify . . . the music download/listening site.  Jack told me last month they had around 105,000 listens and already have 60 thousand so far this month.  I really do think they will get signed and go "bigtime".  Thankfully, we have had many talks about the music business, all the pitfalls and dangers to avoid and so far he has.  These days it is much different in the way that, as an artist, you can avoid instant and outright slavery to the record label as the internet and social media and Itunes and Spotify etc., allow the musician to control a lot more of their situation without having to rely on one big parent company.  I trust God in all things however it goes. . . .

They recently played "Logan City Limits" up north in the state and had a wild, adoring throng of fans demanding encores.  Here's a pic of them with the banner I painted for them behind on stage. . . .

An idea I got, which I think could possibly turn into a cool, annual event . . . is to rent out a local outdoor amphitheater and have a family based summer concert.  My cousin Corrine has a band also doing well called The Souvenirs . . . and they could play, and my band play and Jackson's band--a 3 band billing . . . and have my other semi-famous cousin Chet Cannon "MC" the event. . . . What a blast that would be!

But then, the way the politicians and all the knucklehead violent radicals are messing things up--we may be playing our bongos and harmonicas in the bunker for a while, lol. . . .

Take care, God bless. . . . .

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Actually, In Reality. . . .

"Millennials" . . . are really something.  Frustrating and nearly impossible to pin down.  I'm seeing traits in nearly all of them that are universal.  Okay, yes I must generalize a bit of course, as there are almost always exceptions . . . but overall I am finding them ("Millennials") alarming.  I don't know how the world is going to operate when they are thoroughly at the helm of things.  Smart phones and social media seem to be at the core of what develops them, not real, on the ground experience.

For instance . . . one of their more infuriating traits . . . is that they apparently believe that if they just put up a facade of how things are . . . it's just as good as if they really were that way.  It is like they are living a virtual reality all the time and so long as whatever they are nominally engaged in is able to be "photographed" and "posted" on Facebook or Instagram, the work is done.  You don't really need to know how to play an instrument . . . you don't really need to know how to cook a gourmet meal . . . you don't really have to be a world traveler, or an actual expert in this or that craft or discipline.  All you have to do is capture a moment, which is staged, to make it LOOK like you are skilled or proficient in the thing . . . and that's all that matters.  But when any real work or ongoing discipline is required--well, no way.  That part isn't going to happen.  Rolling your sleeves up and ACTUALLY, IN REALITY perfecting or mastering a task or event . . . is not required.  Just make a big pronouncement and show of something that LOOKS like mastery . . . and you're good to go.  Especially with a cute, pithy hashtag or narrative.

I also find that they will promise the moon--they will announce, "Oh yes, I can do that.  I will do it perfectly, trust me."   And they are so convincing, that up front, you think, "cool, this is great; I can rely on you" . . . and then the time comes to show the results and you find it's all been a charade, a "Potemkin village".   They will fake their way through it and be shocked and often outraged that you dare question the usually pathetic results.

Furthermore, and even more frustrating, is that they seem to really have no idea that they aren't ACTUALLY, IN REALITY pulling off the task or objective.  It's as if they don't have ANY experience with ACTUALLY, IN REALITY finishing something to commendable completion.  They want to be able to just fake it, get all kinds of attention and accolades . . . and call it good.

The scary part, to me, is that I'm not sure that they are even CAPABLE or ABLE to take direction and achieve a specific, measurable goal.  They will try, imagine themselves to be expert, proudly hold up their finished work (which is usually half-a**ed and only approximately close), take a selfie and glowingly march on to the next fantasy project, as self-imagined, feted conquerers.

It is like there is no capacity for serious discernment/judgment as to whether something is ACTUALLY, IN REALITY, objectively correct . . . compared to a failed version of the same.  "Close but no cigar" is just fine with them.  In fact, it's as good as it gets and you're lucky to get that much!

I suspect all the subjective, relativistic cultural philosophy which is now de rigueur--as taught in school curriculum, pop psychology, pop culture and most religious regimes--combined with instant gratification emotional highs via social media, combined with what now seems the ubiquitous obsession to be quickly famous and lauded . . . is what's at the root of this "Millennial" syndrome. . . 

Also, they are raised and taught things like "everybody's a winner" (no trophies) . . . and that subjective feelings are the life guide (versus ie., principle or objective morality/truth) . . . and a lot of them have been emotionally abandoned by working moms and absent fathers, raised by day-care strangers, so that they are constantly starved for and seeking attention, finding all their self worth in, ie., how many "followers", "friends", "likes" and "shares" they can track through their Potemkin media profile.

On the other hand (which to me only makes it more vexing) is that a good portion of them are quite gifted--prodigies of sorts, able to pick up or mimic various talents and abilities which, in the past did require simply a lot of hard, persistent work.  So much comes so easily to them that they never get to ACTUALLY, IN REALITY the experience of working, struggling, failing, achieving etc., progressive, ongoing stages of mastery.  They are able to fairly well mimic or learn some basics of a thing fast . . . and then rush to capture a moment of it for global publishing . . . but, with the attention span of a mosquito, never stick to that thing long enough to objectively flesh it out.  

For instance, they might watch a Youtube of some guy playing the guitar part for "Stairway To Heaven", reproduce it effectively, considering themselves now an artist of the highest order, yet, if you stuck them in a room of REAL musicians, they wouldn't have the slightest clue how to simply jam the blues.  Or, they might learn how to make a certain gourmet entree . . . mimicking the cook on the screen . . . then considering themselves to now be a master chef-- but be utterly lost if told to make a basic eggs, bacon, toast and hash-browns breakfast for, say a group of 6. . . .

My wife's observation on them is that they are "unteachable."  They are "experts" at any and everything and don't have the care, time or patience, or especially HUMILITY . . . to ACTUALLY, IN REALITY listen, take direction, remember and apply instructions or some teaching or accept advice given from years of ACTUAL, IN REALITY life experience.  No, THEY are already the experts.  They will show YOU how great they are by themselves--how "amazing" and "awesome" they are "naturally". . . . Lol.

Yes, of course there are exceptions (heh, I'm waiting to see one!.....just kidding... . . . . eh, sorta....).

And I know that some of this behavior described is typical of age.  You do get older, wiser and (hopefully) more humble and contrite about how much you really don't know or do that well. . . .

I know that almost everyone alive thought that they were the smartest person in the world during their teens and twenties.  But what I am not seeing with this current crop, is the ability to move on from that.  Even in their 30s they are still seeming to be obsessed with quick, cheap notoriety, and it doesn't matter if it's gained through facade and fantasy.  They are only becoming even bigger and more pompous "experts" and "know-it-alls" as the self delusion continues unabated. . . .

Heh, just thought I'd get that off my chest:)....


Friday, April 8, 2016

On Art, Creativity. . . .

"The arts, cultural endeavors, enjoyment of the beauty of both God’s creation and of man’s creativity — these creative gifts have in our day been relegated to the bottom drawer of Christian consciousness, despised outright as unspiritual or unchristian. This deficiency has been the cause of many unnecessary guilt feelings and much bitter fruit, taking us out of touch with the world God has made, with the culture in which we live, and making us ineffectual in that culture."

"Christian art is by no means always religious art, that is, art which deals with religious themes. Consider God the Creator. Is God’s creation totally involved with religious subjects? What about the universe? the birds? the trees? What about the bird’s song? and the sound of the wind in the trees?"

 “Christian art is the expression of the whole life of the whole person as a Christian. What a Christian portrays in his art is the totality of life. Art is not to be solely a vehicle for some sort of self-conscious evangelism."

 “Christians . . . ought not to be threatened by fantasy and imagination. Great painting is not "photographic": think of the Old Testament art commanded by God. There were blue pomegranates on the robes of the priest who went into the Holy of Holies. In nature there are no blue pomegranates. Christian artists do not need to be threatened by fantasy and imagination, for they have a basis for knowing the difference between them and the real world "out there." The Christian is the really free person--he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”

 “I am afraid that as evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.”

 “What is the place of art in the Christian life? Is art- especially the fine arts- simply a way to bring worldliness in through the back door? What about sculpture or drama, music or painting? Do these have any place in the Christian life? Shouldn't a Christian focus his gaze steadily on "religious things" alone and forget about art and culture?

"As evangelical Christians, we have tended to relegate art to the very fringe of life. The rest of human life we feel is more important.

Despite our constant talk about the lordship of Christ, we have narrowed its scope to a very small area of reality. We have misunderstood the concept of the lordship of Christ over the whole man and the whole of the universe and have not taken to us the riches that the Bible gives us for ourselves, for our lives, and for our culture.

The lordship of Christ over the whole of life means that there are no platonic areas in Christianity, no dichotomy or hierarchy between the body and the soul. God made the body as well as the soul, and redemption is for the whole man.”

quotes from Francis Schaeffer
Today the separation of church and state is America is used to silence the church... The way the concept is used today is totally reversed from the original intent... It is used today as a false political dictum in order to restrict the influence of Christian ideas... To have suggested the state separated from religion and religious influence would have amazed the Founding Fathers.
Read more at:
Today the separation of church and state is America is used to silence the church... The way the concept is used today is totally reversed from the original intent... It is used today as a false political dictum in order to restrict the influence of Christian ideas... To have suggested the state separated from religion and religious influence would have amazed the Founding Fathers.
Read more at:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

No More "Crossroads"

Thanks to the three of you who responded--it has put me on the road to being able to pull this off--a ways to go yet, but so appreciative!  I notice it happens to be "radiothon" season where the local community radio station does their annual spring pleas for funding. . . . It's kind of a funny thing to my son Alexander and I that we discovered a couple years ago that we both have an odd fancy for "radiothon" time.  As in, we both like to especially listen to that station when they are doing their fundraisers.  We don't know why.  The banter . . . it means spring is here . . . there is a hectic energy . . . they tell stories, goofy jokes . . . and usually play extra good music--I dunno . . . it's a funny (to us) odd guilty pleasure, heh. . . .

As far as the music venture--I wish I could adequately describe what it's like being regenerate compared to when I wasn't and pursuing it in the past.  I am having one of the more profound spiritual experiences going through this now which is clarifying, encouraging, faith-promoting, and gestating a sense of gratefulness like never before.  Also, the goodness of God, His very personal love and attention to the individual (in this case me) is so incredible.  I know whatever He does, it will always be for the best and "work to the good".

Much of what I am Seeing, experiencing, feeling, knowing . . . is beyond words to describe at this point . . . but in basic form I could say this much.  Back in the day, before I was born again and saw and knew the Truth . . . whenever I would venture into the creative and business side of "the music biz" . . . there was an obvious "helper" waiting there, prompting, tempting me to allow him to take control and guide the course of the efforts.  I was always struggling against this, yet would indeed allow it/him to "inspire" and draw me along at times.  I recognized the supernatural elements to it; he/they/it would give a heads-up on things, set up "serendipitous" meetings and contacts.  I could see that if I were to fully accede and "go with it" it could and would "take me places."  There is indeed a sort of "crossroads" where the tempter is waiting . . . and should you allow yourself to be seduced by the promises and visions . . . he did have ways to help you "make it."  [I would also like to note that this "crossroads" scenario is not limited to the "music biz".  It's everywhere . . . and I am chagrined to a degree when certain types of people, in other professions, including religious ones, sanctimoniously condemn rock'n'rollers for being in the devil's business . . . when it's clear to me that the devil is in ALL kinds of business, and that there is the "crossroad" temptation in any line of profession, where one is confronted with the choice to "sell out" to "get ahead".  No doubt, many CEO's, businessmen, "pastors" even . . . have crossed that line to get where they wanted--not just the odd rock'n'roller.]

But I always pulled back and would never dive in fully to his agenda.  I could see the fame and fortune lying there in wait to be had, but I had decided from an early age I wasn't going to "lose my soul to gain the world".

So, I was battered there . . . standing at the crossroads, dipping my toe in but always backing off, committed neither way.  A lot of artisitic, angst-ridden, deep, almost journalistic creative material (songs, lyrics, poetry, painting etc.) derives from this place . . . but if you stay there too long, the forces are so strong that you will be crushed and tossed aside.  Beaten and limping, I always returned back to seeking God, thanks to God, and He finally, in His due course, rescued me.

This time, however, is totally different.  There is, yes, also a momentum, a sense of the "wind at your back", and also perfectly timed fortuitous meetings, contacts . . . but it's plainly no longer coming from the dark side.  God is in it.  The temptations are gone, or so weak as to be negligible; light surrounds instead of increasing murky gravitating darkness. . . . A fine, healthy detatchedness is there instead of that compelling desperateness (to "make it"). . . so that, while I would be normally disappointed if it falls apart or simply doesn't go anywhere . . . I won't miss a beat spiritually, emotionally, mentally.  Chaotic, destructive events in the world, in our country etc., could make this effort moot. . . . But I am no longer personally, egotistically invested in it to any degree that would make it matter much if doesn't work out.   It feels and looks like it is just happening, but in a positive, Godly way, instead of the dark kind of "just happening" that use to occur and try to pull me in, in the past. . . .

Just thought I'd mention all this as I find it (pleasantly) surprising and fascinating . . . the difference between doing something creative and ambitious like this as a born again, Bible believing follower of Jesus . . . versus as a lost, prodigal follower of self and darkness. . . .

[For any who might not know the general mythology of "the crossroads", especially as thought of in the music business, here is a snippet from wikipedia:  
"In Western folk mythology, a crossroads can be used to summon a demon in order to broker a supernatural deal. This legend can be seen in many stories. For example, in 1926's Faust, the title character summons the demon Mephistopheles at a crossroads. In the U.S. television show Supernatural, crossroads demons are a recurring plot device.
Some 20th-century blues songs, such as Sold It to the Devil by Black Spider Dumpling (John D. Twitty), may be about making a deal with the devil at the crossroads. Many modern listeners believe that the premier song about soul-selling at a crossroads is "Cross Road Blues" by Robert Johnson. However, the song's lyrics merely describe a man trying to hitchhike; the sense of foreboding has been interpreted as the singer's apprehension of finding himself, a young black man in the 1920s deep south, alone after dark and at the mercy of passing motorists.[2] The idea of selling one's soul for instrumental skills predates the American South as several virtuoso classical musicians such as Paganini[citation needed] had stories told about selling their soul for music prowess (and that story may reference back to medieval troubadour doing something similar). The motif of selling one's soul for guitar power has become a staple of both rock and metal guitarists.[3]"

Monday, April 4, 2016

p.s. re last post

p.s. if you are so lead, band help can just be done through the paypal here on the sidebar--.....ahhh. I'm so excited!  Fireballs, please hold off for a little while yet, lol....:)

Major Tom Has Landed....

[For fear that some might not want to slog through backstory below here is the punchline snippet:
"I don't know how I am going to pull it off, but I need to get some basic promotional and press material together so that I can start booking gigs.  Summer is the big season for the type of show I have in mind.  I have scheduled time at a local facility where we can do something like a dress rehearsal of the songs we have worked out so far.  For an extremely reasonable price they provide a big room, stage, lighting and sound system with an engineer so you can run through your material as if it were a live set.  I am also bringing a professional photographer to that session and plan to shoot some video of the performance so as to be able to pull out some video clips for a brief promo video, along with band photographs--with all of this producing some basic, initial publicity content so I can put a website together for the band (using the resultant video and photos, assuming they come out well enough to utilize.)

With the general "Kickstarter" motif in mind, where contributors get special perks/access etc., I need to pull together about $500 dollars above what I've cobbled up so far to make this important night happen.  
Any "pre-fans" out there? lol..... For anyone who would be so generous as to help out toward this goal, I will provide access to some of the behind the scenes footage I've already recorded (ie., a startling blues jam that we spontaneously got into one practice night which shows off these musician's skills) . . . plus some unpublished video excerpts from the live, upcoming "dress rehearsal" session I've set for April 13th.  I will also keep any benefactors in mind for special future access and band "swag" to follow like t-shirts, recordings, limited edition posters/fliers etc.

Until I get a dedicated music site(s) and social media up and rolling, this is my only place for now to talk about this and look for any support."]

So to the issue at hand. . . . I've been housepainting for around 30 years.  Lots of toxic exposure over that time, which could be the major factor in my now chronic migraines.  It would be wonderful if I could move out of that occupation and get back to where my talents and interests lie if possible, God willing.

I hardly dare to hope--as I've met with so many road-blocks in the past, including self-imposed detours--that this budding music project may be the avenue out.  But I must say, and everyone involved recognizes the same thing, that this thing has an urgent momentum and has fallen into place far beyond initial expectations.

It started last summer when my cousin Brady (a great guy and a great bass player) and I talked at a family reunion about getting a band together after the new year (of 2016).  Fast forward to when my son Jackson called me up the morning after Bowie died to ask if I'd sing and play (guitar) with him at a show that night,doing the Bowie song "Heroes" . . . at the music showcase club Velour in Provo, UT.  Which, although being quite rusty both vocally and guitar-wise, I did and turned out to be a surprisingly popular and well received performance.

Pretty much immediately I set about trying to find musicians (along with Brady) to put the band together revolving around a basic creative vision I had for the project.  Not having been on the local music "scene" for a long time, it was starting from scratch.  Brady was the only person I had.

Well, incredibly (I say "incredibly" because I've put bands and recording projects together quite a few times before and know how tedious and difficult it is to find the right people, with the right personalities who are also able to play at a high standard) . . . by March 16th, approximately 2 months after beginning my search . . . I had 6 guys (including myself) ready to meet for the first time and try our hand at the songs.
It's been only 3 weeks since then and we have roughly 12 songs (difficult songs with lots of detailed chord progressions, breaks and dynamics) down well enough that we already could, if we wanted, be able to perform them live and pull off a decent show.  My goal is to have a specific list of 25 songs, plus a pre-recorded soundscape-intro . . . which will provide a 2 and a half hour show.

I've read/heard many accounts of renowned groups talk about how when they first got together they knew they had something special immediately.  Everything clicks and there is already a sense of inevitability and momentum that takes hold at once. . . .

Again, I barely dare say it (and I'm trusting God regardless of which way it goes) but that elusive quality of being a part of something special . . . really seems to be around this endeavor.  The players I have assembled are all mature, level-headed, responsible musicians and are no doubt the most talented bunch I've ever had together at one time.  Even they are remarking how quickly and proficiently this thing is coming together.  A few were somewhat skeptical at first and were only committed to "give it a try"  to see if it was going to be worth signing onto . . . but now (God willing) they all seem to be getting excited and are equally pleasantly surprised how well we all work together and especially how fast the progress is going.

Myself, I am finding within an unusual and sudden sense of urgency to make this project work and get on its feet fast.  I imagine this urgency could come from various unseen contingencies in the offing--ie., the state of the world, our country . . . and/or personal and familial (health?) issues that could be looming where it makes this effort critical for its need to succeed and sooner rather than later. . . . Plus, I surely ain't gettin' any younger. Something is there, I know, and I find I am being propelled, fired up with a powerful, new, positive energy and focus . . . unlike anything really I've had before . . . to see this operation materialize and pronto. . . .

I also have no doubt that God is in this.  I am staying close to Him throughout and He has shown me how this could be a great "instrument" overall for Gospel ministry and influence, though it may not appear so obvious on the surface as such.  "In the world but not of it", reaching those who need it most and who otherwise might not have come into contact with it (the Gospel).

At some point, I may need to do some type of "crowd-funding" "kickstart" campaign to take it to the next levels but for now I am on the ground floor and only able to work with very little.  Very shoe-string.  Most my own equipment is old, half broken and fairly cheap stuff to being with.  Hopefully, upgrades will happen as it move along.

I don't know how I am going to pull it off, but I need to get some basic promotional and press material together so that I can start booking gigs.  Summer is the big season for the type of show I have in mind.  I have scheduled time at a local facility where we can do something like a dress rehearsal of the songs we have worked out so far.  For an extremely reasonable price they provide a big room, stage, lighting and sound system with an engineer so you can run through your material as if it were a live set.  I am also bringing a professional photographer to that session and plan to shoot some video of the performance so as to be able to pull out some video clips for a brief promo video, along with band photographs--with all of this producing some basic, initial publicity content so I can put a website together for the band (using the resultant video and photos, assuming they come out well enough to utilize.)

With the general "Kickstarter" motif in mind, where contributors get special perks/access etc., I need to pull together about $500 dollars above what I've cobbled up so far to make this important night happen. 
Any "pre-fans" out there? lol..... For anyone who would be so generous as to help out toward this goal, I will provide access to some of the behind the scenes footage I've already recorded (ie., a startling blues jam that we spontaneously got into one practice night which shows off these musician's skills) . . . plus some unpublished video excerpts from the live, upcoming "dress rehearsal" session I've set for April 13th.  I will also keep any benefactors in mind for special future access and band "swag" to follow like t-shirts, recordings, limited edition posters/fliers etc.

Until I get a dedicated music site(s) and social media up and rolling, this is my only place for now to talk about this and look for any support.

Regardless, of course, God bless and protect and guide you always, I am always praying; take care.
Bro T/"Major Tom";)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Nostalgia Act

Until I have my music blog up and running, this spot will have to do.  I love music--writing and performing it, recording . . . and listening to it and all the history of it, the musicians and bands, their stories, recording techniques etc.  I've been into from the earliest age; I remember when I lived with my newly single working mother, alone . . . in a little apartment house on "D" street on the "avenues" near downtown Salt Lake and just a couple blocks from I was born and my mother worked.  I was in nursery school and then kindergarten and then they wanted to skip me 2 grades up, but we thought that was too much, so I skipped to 1st grade. . . . I remember riding on the school bus and one of the older kids pulled out his trumpet and started playing "Hey Jude" by the Beatles, which everyone started singing.  I remember loving some of the music my mom played on the stereo(she is a great singer who could herself had had a real career in music--was asked to tour as a singer with Bette Midler).  I would put on my Hai Karate cologne, turtle-neck and pretend I was James Bond or James Coburn (my earliest favorite celebrity) as "Flint" . . . listening to the Carpenters and especially I loved all the Burt Bacharach music sung by Dionne Warwick . . . and the band "Brazil 66".  this was all around the time 1967-68). . . .
I remember one time being invited into the somewhat scary neighbor's home (they had kind of wild looking kids with long hair and hippie posters and black lights in their room) . . . and listening to "Inna Godda Davida" and then "Black Magic Woman" by Santana.  I remember thinking that music seemed dark and dangerous and I really didn't want to pursue it further.

I recall waiting for and loving the melodic melancholy sound of "Eleanor Rigby" on my grandmother's stereo console.  Also "Yellow Submarine" and "Good Day Sunshine". . . . Probably the most thrilling thing at the movies I recall very early on, which captured my imagination was seeing "Bye Bye Birdie" with my aunt Launie.

Tom Jones became probably my next favorite celebrity.  In third grade, on Halloween, as I loved animals and especially was fascinated by monkeys, chimps, "Lancelot Link" and Bigfoot, my mom made me a gorilla costume to wear . . . but it was so hot and I go so dehydrated, lol, that I was too sick to go trick or treating but instead stayed home and excited to watch a Tom Jones television show/performance that happened to be on. . . . From that early age, I wanted to be a singer and play music on stage. . . .

In 4th grade I latched on to "Three Dog Night" and they become my most favorite of all bands and I use to fantasize and actually organize my first band, imagining which of my classmates at my school could play the role of Cory, Chuck (I wanted to be Danny Hutton who sang "Liar" and "Black & White" around that time.)  "Hold Your Head Up" and "Brandy" were also big favorites of mine at that time.  I use to study the backs of the albums and liner notes to figure out who played what instruments, who sang lead and back-up . . . and even who produced the records. . . .

My first attempts at writing and recording my own songs came around 5th-6th grade.  I had a little organ which I played in my room and use to set up two cassette recording decks to make a kind of "multi-track" recording situation. . . . I would find the Muzak channel, which played only instrumental stuff and I would have my friend and I singing over it with lyrics I had written. 

About that time, my step father Gordon, let me have his old reel-to-reel tape machine and I quickly figured out how to do a kind of multitracking with it, recording something on the left channel and then on the right, then bouncing that to the cassette recorder while adding another live track . . . then doing that all again, putting it back on the reel-to-reel deck.  I could get up to about 6 tracks of voices/instruments until the quality got just to terrible from all the "pinging" and "bouncing" degradation that tended to accrue. . . .

Oh dear, I could go on and on . . . and probably will on my music blog, which will be dedicated solely to this kind of stuff.  I know it's not everybody's bag, but I do know that there are others also who love to talk about music, listening to it, the various histories of music types and scenes, and even recording processes/techniques.  I know that often when Zeph and I have a conversation it usually ends up in a discussion of music and different new music ideas and recording techniques and equipment, lol. . . .

But now I've got to dash off to church, which is quite a commute away.... But actually have somewhere I'm going with this reminiscing ramble. . .

God Bless you... and YOU . . . and you and you and you!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Synpathy For Moloch

I believe, at least for a Bible believing Christian, the abortion issue is pretty straight forward.  There is not a lot a bobbing and weaving that needs to be had.  It's murder.  It's murder of an innocent human--a baby, the most vulnerable and needing of protection . . . and it's often murder for convenience and/or for profit.  There is not much difference between the pagans who use to throw their live babies into the fires of Moloch in order to get, ie., a better harvest, better luck, prosperity . . . and one who hires a professional baby murderer to slice and dice, crush, burn, poison a tiny baby, because it's going to be too expensive and burdensome (it will affect prosperity) to keep it alive and around. . . .

When is it okay to murder an inconvenient person?  Because of rape?  No.  The resultant child is still innocent and a "wonderfully and fearfully" made unique creation of God.

Should a mother be punished for murdering her baby?  Certainly the "doctor" should be.  And we do punish a mother who murders her baby once it is born. . . . And it is not any less human or any less alive when it is in the womb, so, yes, to be consistent, it seems not such a far out notion to punish  all involved with the murder of an innocent baby human being. . . .

Those who couch their "pro-life" stance with various "exceptions" (except, I would say where the mother's life truly is in danger, which is quite rare) . . . are basically saying, "yeah, well . . . sometimes it's okay to murder."  Murder is the unlawful, premeditated killing of another human being.  It is unlawful in God's eyes whether the degraded state recognizes it or not.

Planned Parenthood is founded by the racist, hateful, murderous bigot, fascistic Margaret Sanger.  It is a front for eugenics and always has been.  Anyone who supports it's heinous designs and calls themselves a Christian . . . is either a liar (by calling themselves a Christian). . . or an exceptionally uneducated fool on the subject, plain and simple.  And any Christian worth his salt is going to have had already researched such an important issue long ago in their walk (in my opinion, anyway). . . .

Is there a commandment not to be poor?  Not to make "bad deals"?  Do economic issues out-trump those of life, murder, genocide?

There IS a commandment "Do Not Murder."

We would not support Auschwitz because, besides gassing/murdering/torturing "undesirables" they also produced some nice lampshades and developed interesting scientific experiments.  Nor should anyone (calling themselves a Christian) support PP because it does a few "good things" for women.

"We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities.  The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."  --Margaret Sanger, Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.

 Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, and no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit…
Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.  --Sanger, “America Needs a Code for Babies,” 27 Mar 1934

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