Friday, May 28, 2004

Rock On

My friends and I have been having an ongoing discussion about Rock Music. Scott, Nick and I talk a lot about music when we are together, usually testing each other's knowledge about obscure Rock facts from the 70's and 80's (90's if I'm there - remember what I said about my son keeping me current?). It's all in good fun and we all look forward to stumping each other.

One day while we were going through our normal routine I asked this simple question. " What artists that have emerged in the last...say 5-7years...will we (or anyone) be talking about and still listening to in 10 years (or 20)?" In other words, "what new groups are carrying the "torch" for Rock music?"

The question seems simple enough, certainly there should be someone doing that...shouldn't there? We started thinking. The artists that we would consider would be those that have proven that they can carry a following of people and deliver true Rock music (even if it is influenced by current trends). My friends came up blank.

Over the next few days my son and I came up with ONE group that we think embodies good, musical Rock, with punch and staying power. Foo Fighters. One hit wonders rule the land in these days. Rock has become so watered down that it includes way too much. New sounds come and go and the artists go with them, their names are forgotten the moment the next new sound hits the air waves.

I wouldn't consider Foo Fighters as my most favorite group (but they are certainly in my top 10), but they do continue to pump out hit after hit and good "album" after another. They are musicians and great song writers, but still give the edginess of today's music. On a side note, as talented as Dave Grohl is, I wonder how he could stand just being a drummer in Nirvana? I think they will be more successful (over the long haul) than Nirvana.

Other possibilities (groups that have great musical Rock, but haven't been around long enough yet). Hoobastank, Evanescence, Linkin Park (they are marginal - they do too much rap, but are capable of musical Rock), Nickleback, Limp Bizkit (great job on MI2 soundtrack!), Audioslave (Soundgarden II - which makes them a strong possibility for the short list), P.O.D (big MAYBE).

In my category of more recent groups that were on the right track and then faded (most of these go back more than 7 years, but are from at least the 90's)... Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hootie and the Blowfish.

An asterisk in all of this is Stone Temple Pilots. They seem to keep breathing, but just barely. They have made some great music, but they need to get their act back together. I can't put them as dead just yet...

That explains why it's getting harder and harder to find good, new Rock music to listen to!

My son's influence

I have two boys that I'm sure I will talk a lot about. My oldest is 15 and a raging teenager, but an exceptional one. He is very well grounded in his Christianity for someone of his age and very much more at ease with who he is (well adjusted) than I was at his age.

One of the many cool things about him is that we share a lot of music. He listens to a lot of the same music I do (he likes Rush, Van Halen, Yes...) and I have picked up a lot of my listening style (of late) from him. He has introduced me to Trance music (whhich I can't hardly get enough of) and he has kept me much more current than many of my peers in music listening.

A few weeks ago, I took a day (I listen to music at work while I am programming) and listened to Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory (not for the first time) seriously to see what I thought of them. Typically, I buy CDs off of eBay and then copy them to my laptop so I don't have to carry them around to listen to them (quite an expensive iPod!). I didn't copy this one to my hard drive.

I can sum up what I think of them very quickly. First of all I don't like rap, at least what rap has become since the Sugar Hill Gang made it popular. I don't mind a bit of it sprinkled when it adds value. Second, there's just way too much angst in their music for me. But here is the kicker. Why should I listen to them when there is a group that has taken the best parts of their sound, added some better talent and made much better music...Hoobastank. If you don't believe me, just listen to both albums back-to-back and tell me I'm wrong.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

"Technology Deacon"

I've wanted to be a Church leader for as long as I can remember. Someday I want to be an Elder. When I became a deacon (which is really just a nice term for "worker"), I was immediately dubbed "Technology Deacon". Actually, I was the deacon in charge of communication, a new ministry for our congregation at that time. Over the course of the next few years I became busier and busier in the "Work of the Church". I was as happy as a clam.

As the weeks grew into months and then years, I started to grow weary. Not of the work, but of other things. The constant struggle to get the elders to understand our potential and use it. Taking the "next step" was like asking them to cut off their arms. We were (I was) "playing Church", we "gauged" each other by how busy we were.

Meanwhile, I was decaying from the inside. My personal relationship with my Lord was going in the wrong direction. Because of my "work", I went about 3 years without attending a Bible class. I was dying from the inside out. Something had to give...

Four - Oh

This year I turned 40. 20 years ago I thought that 40 was ancient, but now I think differently. I can honestly say that this has been the most challenging year of my life. It has nothing to do with my age, but everything to do with life.

I won't get into all of the things that made this last 12 months suck, because some of it is just too personal. However, much of what I'll talk about for atleast a time is what I have learned from this last year, what I might do differently going forward and how my life has changed.

Let's get started.

I have been a Christian for about 30 years. That means that I have grown up going to Church and believing a certain set of truths about life, death and my Lord. Just to get the mystery behind us, I have always attended a Church of Christ. I can't remember NOT going to a Church of Christ. I went to Church of Christ-based college and met my wife there. My grandparents were Christians and attended the Church of Christ, my mom does, my in-laws you get the picture?

Up until about 3 months ago, I was a deacon at a Church of Christ that I have been attending for about 12 years. The reasons for which will become terribly apparent as this blog unfolds. Over the past few months, I have found myself "reviewing" (or maybe "inventorying") the things that I believe in and why. These are things that most "conventional" Church of Christ goers do not do very often (if at all). I want to write down much of what has been bouncing around my skull. It might get ugly, messy or...enlightening, who knows?

Stay tuned...

My First Post

I've wanted to do this for a while, but couldn't decide where I wanted to do it. This will be good for now. I guess I'm just looking for a creative outlet...

We'll see how it goes.
"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18