Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

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“The Music” Vs. “The Message” (w/poll)

January 9, 2009

Sometimes, the inspiration for threads here in the Chamber come from rather odd places, and this is going to be one of those times.  You see, yesterday, I was hanging out on the showroom floor at the dealership, and I couldn’t help but notice that the background music playing over the speakers was what I used to call “Jesus music” (these days, usually referred to as “Contemporary Christian“).   It was playing all day.

At first, I couldn’t understand why in the heck someone would decide such a thing was appropriate for the environment (considering the fact that any Buddhist, Hindu, Hmong, Jew or Muslim could walk through the door and want to buy a car), but then another thought struck me.  First though, I should say that, during my time in this particular profession, I’ve come to realize that this genre is more popular than I would have expected, based on how many radios are tuned to KTIS when we hop into customer’s cars and run them through the wash.  But I didn’t really take the time to stop and ponder it all until yesterday.  christian-albums

In any case, the thoughts began with something like “What the heck is with this stuff, anyway?”.

I’ve got to wonder if anyone would be rocking out to “Awesome God” if you changed the lyrics to, say, something about beer.  Or women.  Or politics.   Also, is it just me, or do all the male vocalists sound the same?  I mean, I think I could tell that I was listening to CC before I heard the first “savior” or “redeemer” uttered in the song, just based on style.  I dunno, there’s just something about it that gives it away. 

Look, I enjoy all kinds of music.  My MP3 player often skips from reggae, to pop, to classical, to metal, to hip hop when I’m playing it.  I can understand why some people enjoy opera and country, even.  But the vast majority of what I was listening to yesterday was just plain bland and mediocre.

So, I guess I have to assume that our KTIS junkies out there listen to it for the message rather than the quality of the music.  I guess there is that choice.  But I can’t help but think that, at some point, one would have to deduce that what you’re listening to is simply the best material recorded by people who happen to sing about Jesus, and that you’re ignoring the huge selection of tunes out there that are really much better from the perspective of raw musical talent.   So why continue?  Perhaps it could be viewed as a sacrifice of sorts, like some kind of perpetual Lent?   

Anyway…

I had this discussion with my girlfriend, and I was surprised to find out that the lyrics themselves actually effects her taste in music as well.  Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be that shocked, ’cause once I thought about it for a second, I guess I could understand that there would be people out there who can’t get into anything instrumental, no matter what sub-genre.  A sort of a “can’t like it if I can’t sing it” mentality.  And if one is going to sing it, it’d be more entertaining if the subject was something meaningful to them on a personal level, I imagine.   That’s her, and maybe that explains the KTISers as well.

As for me?  I told her that I’m quite the opposite; the song could be about a dog taking a poop on a rug, and as long as it was catchy, I’d probably like it.   It’s definitely more about the rhythm and harmony in my world.  Give me some powerful chords, groovy beats, and impressive solos, and I’m usually diggin’ it.  

So, I have to ask, who’s more weird?

(I suppose there could be a third, less common category: principle.  By that I mean the selection was about the artist him/her/themselves, and not the lyrics or music per se.  For example, you choose to listen to U2 because of the work Bono does, or don’t, based on it.  What happened with the Dixie Chicks might be another example)

-Exit question:  Is there a name for the two schools?  Or should we coin them in this thread?

-Added miscellaneous factoid:  Did you know that they sang “Shout to the Lord” on American Idol last year?  I didn’t think I’d see that, but here it is:

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Open Letter To Barack Obama

March 16, 2008

(this is my first “open letter” here in the Chamber, so bear with me)

Don’t throw your pastor, Rev. Wright, under the bus.

Of course, it’s probably too late, as you’ve already repudiated his cherry-picked remarks, taken him off your campaign, and, apparently, erased his testimonial from your website, so I guess I’m writing this less in the vein of don’t and more in the vein of …why?

Doing all this reeks of political expedience, inherently calls into question your judgement (on why you chose to stick with the church for so many years), and overall, comes off as insincere.  No one is going to believe that you’ve suddenly discovered that Rev. Wright says controversial things now that ABC has broadcasted clips of his sermons for all the world to see, so why give anyone the incentive to scour through church records, interview parishioners and keep the issue in the spotlight while the drooling minions that are hell-bent to take your campaign down try to catch you in a GOTCHA! moment?

I watched as you went on 3 networks (FOX, CNN, and MSNBC) and clumsily attempted to distance yourself from the remarks that they kept playing in ad infinitum fashion.  You alluded to some of the good things the church has done for the community, but you had a hard time making the case for one important aspect: You.  The fact that you have had a successful life and are closer than anyone in history to being America’s first black president reflects favorably upon the church, doesn’t it?  I would think that a black church that can list among its long-term membership a state and U.S. Senator and the frontrunning candidate for the oval office would suggest that the church might have a positive influence on people, an influence that helped inspire you to answer the call to public service.    I understand that you can’t really come out and say all that, but to me, it appeared that you were more concerned with denouncing whatever rhetoric was deemed offensive instead of focusing on defending the church. 

The bottom line here is:  He’s your pastor.  You’ve made donations to the church.  There’s no escaping it, so why avoid it?  You shouldn’t have to cave and cast him aside simply because, suddenly, people are grilling you on the remarks that were made years ago.    

If one of the networks’ pundits asks you about his statement that America caused the AIDS virus or whatever say, “Fine, call up Rev. Wright and invite him to debate that position, I’m sure he’d be happy to.  Personally, I don’t subscribe to that view.  I’m sure many people out there don’t agree with absolutely everything that their minister or priest says, but I’m sure that most would say that they’ve had a positive influence on their lives.  It’s no different in my case”.  Or to address the accusation that Wright “hates America”, you could say, “I think Rev. Wright loves America like a parent loves their child, and sometimes he believes there’s reason to be angry”.   (After all, Wright is hardly alone when it comes to delivering negative rants on American culture from the pulpit.   Somebody is sinning, somewhere, after all.*) 

See, that sounds a lot more sincere than going so far as to whip out the knee-jerk CONDEMNED stamp.  That, and they can’t really go anywhere with it.  It’s like saying, “Yea, he’s my pastor, live with it.  Let’s move on.”  

In conclusion, I’m afraid that your reaction here has done more harm than good for your campaign.  You’ve put yourself in a hole on this that is going to be a distraction from the debate over the issues and why you’re the best man for the job.    For myself, I’ll continue to support you here in the Chamber, but I’ll say that I’ve been a little disappointed with how you and your campaign has handled these recent events. 

*In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t been to a church service in many years.   Watching what is said by the televangelists, I sometimes wonder why people still go, quite frankly.  So, in this regard, I am not going to consider myself an expert on the range and scope of unhinged sermons, but I think it’s safe to assume that there are some strange things that get said out there.  For myself, I left the church because one person “possessed by Satan” was enough for me.

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Is Obama A Radical Muslim Or A Radical Christian?

March 14, 2008

I had really hoped that the political discourse in America would actually focus on the issues of the day and be conducted in an intelligent and respectful manner.   Now, I’m not going to say that there haven’t been a few moments of this thus far, because clearly there have been, but lately it appears to have gone off the rails and taken a detour into the land of the bizarre.  The internet has been especially burgeoning with wild theories and attacks that have little to do with any of the candidates platforms (not that the net is known for reasonable voices, but still), and its beginning to get just plain ugly out there.  Accusations about (and implying) racism, sexism and bigotry are becoming more prevalent, along with trying to hold the candidates accountable for statements that someone else made, or who endorsed who (a sort of guilt by association/identity politics run amok).  

For just one example of how crazy this has become, let’s take this post from Gateway Pundit:  Obama’s Gave $22,500 to Racist Church in 2006

There are mosques that preach Radical Islam.
There are churches that preach Radical Christianity.
Unfortunately, the leading Democratic nominee for president attends such a church.
Unfortunately, its really not a surprise.

Not a surprise?  Well, just two weeks ago the same blog highlighted Obama’s supposed connection to Radical Islam: Obama’s Militant Muslim Brother Abongo Is Luo Activist

The “Obama is a closet Muslim” angle is a meme that trailblazing bloggers such as Atlas have been pushing for quite some time.  They’ve apparently had a hard time making it stick, since only 13% of Americans think that Obama is a Muslim (although that % has increased since December).   

The rightosphere really ought to make up its mind, ’cause it’s getting confusing and I’d like to get back to the issues.

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Why Obama, Part IV: Faith

February 1, 2008

For the fourth installment of the Chamber’s Why Obama series, I’ve picked the faith in politics issue.  The same format applies; this is right from the Obama website.  The selection of this topic was inspired by comments that arose in Part II, as well as posts I’ve stumbled upon elsewhere in the blogosphere.  For this thread, I will begin with a section from Obama’s “Call to Renewal” speech (6/28/06):

Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome – others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.obama08_thumblogo100.gif

In other words, if we don’t reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, then the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons and Alan Keyeses will continue to hold sway.

More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. Some of the problem here is rhetorical – if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice.

I know I don’t talk about religion a whole lot around the Chamber.  I run a pretty secular ship, probably because I don’t consider myself to be particularly religious.  That, and I don’t have anything against those who are (even though I have been told more than once that my soul awaits eternal damnation).   I’ve always considered myself to be open-minded and non-judgmental when it comes to other’s faiths.    Moreover, I’ve made an effort to reach across the blogosphere’s religious divides and communicate to my fellow netizens on a human level; an inclusion of those from different religious backgrounds (with the WPPBA).  I can’t help but think that Obama and I are on the same wavelength here.

I’d also like to use this thread to debate the relevancy of Obama’s personal religious background, whether it be accusations that he was indoctrinated in a madrassa, or his church affiliation.  Also, if anyone has a guess at how many times righty blogs have attempted to appeal to Islamophobes by selectively using Obama’s middle name (Hussein) when addressing him, post it here. 

Oh, and I almost forgot.  I might as well take the opportunity to send a pingback out to Chamber visitor and profiled flame warrior Liberal Ass Kicker , founder of the blog OsamaLovesObama.com

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Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2007

This is the Chamber’s first Christmas, so I thought I’d jazz up the blog a bit with some snow, a neat header, and some Jingle Bells

We had some carolers come to the door last night, and the family and I sang right along with them.  It was great. 

Thanks for stopping by!

-CZ

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“Merry Christmas” When It Ain’t Christmas

December 13, 2007

This post was inspired by something that happened at work today.  Specifically, I did a favor for a client, and instead of a “Thank you”, I got a “Merry Christmas”.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting it, and my reply was a timid “Same to you”.  Why I couldn’t say the words in response, I’m not exactly sure.  I don’t have a problem with Christmas.  The exchange sat in the back of my mind for the rest of the day:  What’s my problem?  Am I a Scrooge?  Or, could it be that Christmas is still…

11 Days
3 Hours
16 Minutes

..from now?

So, why do people say “Merry Christmas” when it isn’t Christmas, anyway?  “Happy Holidays”, or even “Seasons Greetings”, I can understand, as they reference a time of the year when there are a number of holidays in close proximity on the calendar.  But to me, saying “Merry Christmas” on any day besides Christmas Day (or, perhaps, Christmas Eve) seems a little illogical. 

There, I said it.  Now I’ll have the AFA on my ass for sure.  And Gibson/OReilly.  Oh, and these guys:

 defend-christmas.jpg

While I’m at it, I guess this thread becomes my official “War on Christmas” depot by default, where I track evidence that there is a organized movement to destroy Santa.

There.  Done.

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Somebody Grab A Mop

December 7, 2007

Well, today was the day for Mitt Romney’s much-anticipated (for those who care, anyway) “religion” speech (aka “The Speech”).  For the better part of a week, the media and the blogs were discussing this thing, referring to it as a make-or-break political maneuver for a Mormon desperately trying to hold his ground as we enter the home stretch of this race.  From the outset, I was thinking that Mr. Romney was banking more on the hype than the content of the speech itself, since this was, in fact, being hyped.  Tremendously.  I really couldn’t figure out why this was made out to be such a big deal.  I mean, what do presidential candidates do when they’re campaigning?  Why, they give speeches!   

 Needless to say, there was a lot of chatter about this today because The Speech finally happened and the various pundits out there had their liveblogging gear all ready to go for the big event.  It appeared that just about eveyone had an opinion on this, but the one that stood out above the rest in the category of “largest cyber wad blown” belongs to…Hugh Hewitt.

You see, Mr. Hewitt found it necessary to post not one but two gush sessions over this, the likes of which would make Peter North cower in the corner in intimidation:

Mitt Romney’s “Faith in America” speech was simply magnificent, and anyone who denies it is not to be trusted as an analyst.  On every level it was a masterpiece.  The staging and Romney’s delivery, the eclipse of all other candidates it caused, the domination of the news cycle just prior to the start of absentee voting in New Hampshire on Monday –for all these reasons and more it will be long discussed as a masterpiece of political maneuver.

I’d actually agree with some of that, albeit on a somewhat less enthusiastic level.  However the Romney camp did it; whatever calls had to be made, emails sent, or blog entries posted…it certainly did get hyped.  It was Mitt Romney day today.  Of course, whether that hype pays political dividends is something that remains to be seen. 

As for the content of the speech, I’ll say that it was well written but delivered in a manner that lacked passion.  It was a speech that, to your average conservative, probably looked good on paper, but watching it I couldn’t help but be reminded of that public speaking course I took in college.  You know, the one where half the class falls asleep while your fellow classmates regurgitate the performance they gave to the mirror the night before.  It can be summed up pretty quickly:  He’s a) a Mormon, b) hopes you’re OK with that, and c) wants you to trust him that he won’t be taking marching orders from some polygamists meeting in secret in barns on some compound somewhere.  The rest of it was material that could have been delivered by any of the candidates (including a few of the Dems).

Anyway, I thought I’d close this entry with another Hewitt howler (hey, maybe I could coin that?); after he gave examples of all the prominent conservative pundits that gave the thumbs up to the speech The Speech, he posted this:

Here are seven of the most influential conservative commentators in the U.S., and their opinions on the Romney success are all aligned with mine.  Thus, objectively, the speech cannot be judged as other than an extraordinary success for Romney.

I’m not exactly sure what brand of logic that is.  If Romney’s goal for the speech was simply to get glowing reviews from blowhard pundits, he probably could have opined about his love for Cap’n Crunch as long as he bought all seven of them a fully loaded Tahoe for Christmas.  Ultimately, positive reviews are never a bad thing, but people have to actually show up at the theater (so to speak) before phrases like “extraordinary success” get thrown around, right?  Objectively speaking, that is.

Update:  Even the folks at Hot Air are with me on this one, which is kinda rare, actually:

Exit question: Does Hugh need to “sit down”?

LOL.  It’s too bad that I can’t comment over there.  I was going to say “take a nap”.

Update:  Iowahawk parodies Hewitt;  definitely worth a link:   In My Objective Opinion.

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