Friday, November 17, 2006

why do i love her so damn much? well, ill tell ya. i was at work today. i am a plumber (shitty), but im a student worker, so i don't make plumber, in a nutshell, i do an equally shitty job for even shittier pay. sound shitty? well, it is.
anyway, we are heating some sidewalks for some big stupid flower bed they are putting in the middle of campus, and come to find out, what used to take us an hour, now is going to take us all day because our dipshit boss decided he wants it done in the most complicated way possible. (i wont go into the details, because you probably dont care)
so, there we were, laying pipe and tying it to the rebar...and all i could think about was this rut my life seems to be stuck in right now...i have one year till i graduate, and i work a shitty ass job...and i'm still broke all the time.
then my phone rings.
i answer, and the voice that i have been longing to hear all morning says "hey"
all of a sudden, my sucky job doesnt suck so bad, and my wind-chapped lips start to crack a smile, and my bloodshot, sandfilled eyes start to brighten, and i dont care that im broke. ive got something that means more to me than all the money in the world. it amazes me how much a simple "hey" from her can turn my whole day around. i have never felt this way about a girl before, and something about her makes me the happiest i have ever been. but back to the story.
we talked for, i would say, maybe a minute, then she had to get off the phone, because she, too, was at work. but that one minute turned my whole morning around. she is so rad :) then when my lunch break began, i was listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the song "here comes my girl" was on...and wow...totally describes how i feel and why i love her so much. so here are the lyrics.

You know , sometimes, I dont know why,
But this old town just seems so hopeless
I aint really sure, but it seems I remember the good times
Were just a little bit more in focus
But when she puts her arms around me,
I can, somehow, rise above it
Yeah man, when I got that little girl standing right by my side,
You know, I can tell the whole wide world, shove it,

Hey, here comes my girl, here comes my girl,
Yeah, she looks so right, shes all I need tonight

Every now and then, I get down to the end of a day,
Ill have to stop, ask myself, whatve I done?
It just seems so useless to have to work so hard,
And nothin ever really seem to come from it
And then she looks me in the eye, says, we gonna last forever,
And man, you know I cant begin to doubt it
No, because this feels so good and so free and so right,
I know we aint never goin change our minds about it

Hey, here comes my girl, here comes my girl,
Yeah, she looks so right, shes all I need tonight

Yeah, every time it seems like there aint nothin left no more,
I find myself havin to reach out and grab hold of somethin
Yeah, I just catch myself wonderin, waitin, worryin
About some silly little things that dont add up to nothin.
And then she looks me in the eye, says, we gonna last forever,
And man, you know I cant begin to doubt it
No, because this feels so good and so free and so right,
I know we aint never goin change our minds about it.

Hey, here comes my girl, here comes my girl,
Yeah, she looks so right, shes all I need tonight

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I didn't write this, but I think its worth a post.

DISCLAIMER: Hey folks. If you are at all sensitive to cynicism toward our beloved church, please do not read the following post. I admit I have been dealing with a lot of different emotions when it comes to the Body of Christ, and I needed to get this out. But it does not affect my deep love for those of us who believe. I simply believe we have been drastically led off course over the years. So in some ways, you can call this my "95 Theses" (if you can stretch your imaginations that far). I am merely expressing some major disappointment coupled with a heavy burden for a dearly loved group of people who Christ called his Bride (of whom I am included). We are an adulterous mate to be sure. Enjoy with caution. Be challenged...

When you build up a structure and slap the word church on a sign out front, it becomes very easy for people to forget that church is not a place to go once a week, but rather something that we are. Uh oh, here I go...
Forgive me, but I don't need a weekly program of rehearsed hooky tunes followed by a barrage of announcements and a puffy theological dissertation. I don't need cell groups, home groups, singles groups, young married groups or mens groups. Frankly, I'm pretty grouped out. What I need is fellowship. Not "Fellowship Bible" or "Fellowship Community" or "Fellowship Covenant" or "Fellowship Baptist." I need community. Not "Christ Community" or "Faith Community" or "Real Life Community." And don't get me started on grace. God knows we need that, but not in the form of another catchy church name. I don't need to read another trite quip on a marquis telling me that a church is "prayer conditioned" or that "regular bible check ups prevent truth decay." And I don't need to be professionally greeted at the door of the sanctuary. I need to be known, not counted and alphabetized. After all, Mr. Greeter, is it really nice to see me, or are you just happy to see another seat filled? No, I don't want a bulletin. Associate Pastor Whats-His-Name is going to read it all to me during the prayer-slash-announcement time anyway. Besides, it's a good way for him to squeeze in some face time between "worship" and the offering. Oh excuse me, I mean "tithe" (the word church leadership uses to ensure Gods promises will be fulfilled to His people). The "freedom isn't free" sales pitch: Freedom comes at a cost! And that cost is 10 percent of everything you have. But if you're a guest, please don't feel obligated to give (only members should feel obligated). Am I saying we shouldn't give? By no means! The apostle Paul has plenty to say about that. He said that we should excel in the grace of giving just as we excel in the other good gifts. I didn't want to get started on tithe. This is not merely a piece on tithing. Rather, it is a satirical challenge issued to the prodigal church of America.
You see, we don't need churches with schedules to keep, fundraisers to promote, and people to reintroduce to life under the law. No thanks. I'm over that. What I need is a safe place for people who know each other intimately and, at a moments notice, can lay hands on one other and exercise their gifts with confidence and without fear. Gifts like prophecy and healing. It isn't wrong for me to desire a place where I can come to be prayed over without the formality of a scheduled altar call at the end of a service. Besides, what kind of service is it to erect a building and obligate everyone to come and help pay the utility bills, outrageous mortgages, expansion funds, and salaries (for a staff who claims to equip, but mostly enables laziness amongst the members by doing all the work for them) when there are congregants who can't find healing from a common cold, let alone afford to pay their own rent? And when we do attempt to reach out to those people, we stamp our church brand all over the project and piously advertise our "mission."
Is that authenticity? Yes, it is very authentic. But I can take you out in my back yard and show you something very authentic that my dog left behind - and no amount of clever marketing will make it stink any less. We don't need authenticity. We need truth. And truth is not a marketing strategy. It is not programmed. Truth is only a formula when it is math. The gospel is not math. It is not an equation. It is mystery - mystery revealed in the person of Christ our Deliverer, who never prepared a four point sermon, rented out a billboard, or handed out a tract. He taught, he corrected, he rebuked, he interacted, he had compassion, he healed, he prayed, he studied, he believed in others, he cared for the poor, he had close friends who knew him well, and he looked people in the eyes simply because he took the time to. But most of all, he loved. And that's the truth.

-Scott Phillips
Records that changed my life...

These albums were the soundtrack of my life during some pretty big changes I went through, and I'm pretty sure they're the only things that kept me sane. So, if you see any of these in a record store, buy them. IMMEDIATELY. If you don't have money, put it in your pocket and run like hell. :)

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OFFICER NEGATIVE - Dead to the World
-A Christian punk rock band that is probably better than most secular bands out there. This album was almost solely responsible for introducing me to punk rock, and showed me that you don't have to be a suit-wearing, $75-bible-toting, conservative to be a Christian. Christianity, contrary to popular belief, isn't about being the first one to church and the last to leave. It's not about a preacher that makes a four-figure income, while there are people two blocks away with barely enough to afford to eat. It's about love. It's about compassion for those who are troubled. I grew up in an environment where I was taught homeless people would kill you, then use your money to buy booze and drugs. I grew up thinking that if I listened to anything but Christian music, I would spend eternity in the depths of hell. But, thanks to this CD, as well as the ability to think for myself, I came to realize that being a Christian means to be Christ-like. Jesus was a friend to hookers, tax collectors, and all the other people that were shunned by society. He cared for them, and gave them something to live for. He didnt just donate a few bucks at Christmas, or Thanksgiving. He was a FRIEND to them, not just someone who pitied them.

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ANTI-FLAG - Die for the Government
-This album opened my eyes to the wonderful world of lying, greedy, blood thirsty politics. Growing up in a republican household, naturally, I began to mold my morals and way of thinking to emulate my parents. When I started to realize that war is absolutely horrible, and corporations were running damn near everything we know and love, I began to question my political belifs. The lyrics on this album are well-thought, and the music is balls-to-the-walls in-yo-mutha-fuckin-face punk rock. This is definitely (in my opinion), one of the greatest albums of all time.

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DEAD KENNEDYS - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
-The music on this album isn't the mundane 3 chord punk rock that we all know and love, and the socially aware/activist lyrics are amazing. When I got this CD, it was my first semester of college, and I was really worried about being accepted. Jello's lyrics made me realize that popularity is bullshit, and thinking for yourself and being your own person is the only way to truly be happy. Thanks, Jello ;)

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DESCENDENTS - Two Things at Once
-I bought this CD when i was working at kidspace AKA hell (children's furniture and accessories). The lyrics are simple, yet relative. No matter if you are in love, heart-broken, mad at your parents, or just in the mood for some badass punk rock, you are bound to find a song or two to relate to. Oh, and the "love" songs aren't your typical sappy, cheesy cliche love songs. They have a real down-to-earth, to-the-point quality about them that won't make you feel like a pussy for listening to it.

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NOFX - Punk in Drublic
-I bought this CD in high school. One of my first punk rock albums. My friends and I would drive around town jammin this while we messed with people that were cruising the drag, and did a lot of things that could have gotten us in a LOT of trouble. I guess it's just sentimental. Nonetheless, its a badass album.

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RANCID - And Out Come the Wolves
-This CD is one I bought on a church trip (the youth pastor said if we had any secular cds when we got on the van, he would throw them out, so i bought it during the trip, and I'm glad I did). When i first listened to it, I was blown away at the combination of punk rock and reggae. The bass solo on Maxwell Murder will make you piss your pants.

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HANK WILLIAMS III - Straight to Hell
-I bought this CD this summer, and was amazed at how he stayed true to the old-school country music roots, while keeping the outlaw foundation on which country was built. This sure as hell ain't your grandparent's country music. With lyrics like "i've been awake for eight days straight, it must have been them pills i took, i've lied and i've stolen, i ain't fuckin jokin, it must have been them pills i took" and "well, some say I'm not country, and that's just fine with me, cuz I don't wanna be country with some faggot lookin over at me. They say that I'm ill-mannered, that I'm gonna self destruct...but if you know what I'm thinkin, you'll know that pop country really sucks!"

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THE QUEERS - Love Songs for the Retarded
-This CD is a very good thing to have around when dealing with girls. Whether your love life is good or bad, The Queers have a song that can relate. Simple, 3 chord songs, and the snotty vocals make for a great punk rock cd. I love this kind of surfer/beachboys punk rock. It's so simple, but so badass.

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THE UNSEEN - The Anger and the Truth
-This album is the first hardcore/street punk record I bought, and I was floored. Very good to listen to when you are generally displeased with the state of things, just pissed of for no reason, or if you want to scare the shit out of your parents. The lyrics aren't bad either.

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THE SPECIALS - Self Titled
-This CD was recorded in 1979, and is, in my opinion, one of the greatest albums of all time. Very different and new, even for today. This cd puts a smile on my face every time I hear it.

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SUBLIME - Self Titled
-This album is what really got me into reggae. I know it's technically not "traditional" reggae, but it still rocks ass. The occasional punk rock references, and few punk rock songs on the cd are, I guess, what appealed to the punk rock side of me. The bass lines can make even the whitest person in the world cut a fuggin rug. The drummer is one of my biggest influences musically. This whole album is absolutely amazing.

i know, im not old enough to remember the days of the germs, black flag, and dead kennedys, but i do remember when punk rock stood for something. punk rock gave the kids who thought outside the box, and saw through the bullshit something to fight for. somewhere to belong. so, i must ask...when did bands like hawthorn heights and thrice decide that they were punk? or who decided they were? anyone can write a damn song about a girl. anyone can write a song about a broken heart. i remember the first time i heard punk rock. i remember how it made me feel like there was someone out there who felt like i did. all that aggression that i had from being picked on in high school by the rednecks and football players...i finally had a place to vent it. punk rock helped me hold my head high, even though i wore hand-me-downs. it made me realize that there is more to life than money, nice clothes, fast food, big trucks, superficial women, and posessions. you dont have to have money to be happy. you dont have to be cool to be happy. being true to yourself is the only way to be truly happy. sadly, it took me a long time to learn this.

but anyway, back to punk rock. what happened to the rebellion? what happened to music that made people uncomfortable? what happened to the kids who didnt fit in at school being able to fit in with the other people who were as pissed and tired of it as they were? i find it rather unsettling that a 40-something year old mom at my university said she listens to punk bands like taking back sunday. if thats punk rock, then fuck punk rock.

what people know "punk rock" as now is a joke. a watered down, whiney, fashionable joke. punk rock used to be abrasive, crude, and pissed off. back when it was "sittin here like a loaded gun, im waitin to go off. i've got nothin to do but, shoot my mouth off" and "rip them down, hold them up, tell them that im your gun, pull the trigger im bigger than" and "i'd rather stay a child, and keep my self respect, if being an adult means being like you" and "you see me and you laugh out loud, taunt me from safe inside your crowd, my looks they must threaten you, to make you act the way you do".

punk rock isnt a black t-shirt. punk rock isnt baggy-ass pants that look like a dress with straps and chains. punk rock isnt a hair style. punk rock isnt a whiney, sappy love song set to power chords and palm mutes. punk rock isnt hating preps [or whatever you kids call them these days]. punk rock is a middle finger and a FUCK YOU right in the face people who try to tell you who to be and what to think.

that being said, i leave you with this song. seperation of church and skate by NOFX:

Lost in a sea of combat boots,
flush the bouncers with wasted youth
When did punk rock become so safe?
When did the scene become a joke?
The kids who used to live for beer and speed
now want their fries and coke
Cursing and flipping birds are not allowed,
in fact let's keep noise levels down

Why don't we put pads on the kids?
Helmets, head gear and mouth pieces!
Then we could pad the floor and walls,
put cameras inside bathroom stalls
We make sure only nice bands play,
make every show a matinee
Teach kids to be all they can be,
and we could sing my country tis of thee
sweet land of liberty

When did punk rock become so safe?
I know it wasn't Duane or Fletcher,
Who put up the barricades
Like a stake in the heart,
Somehow we got driven apart

I want conflict! I want dissent!
I want the scene to represent...
Our hatred of authority,
our fight against complacency
stop singing songs about girls and love!
You killed the owl! You freed the dove!
confrontation and politics...
Replaced with harmonies and shticks
When did punk rock become so tame?
These fucking bands all sound the same
We want our fights we want our thugs!
We want our burns we want our drugs!
where is the violent apathy?!
These fucking records are rated G!