Sunday, January 22, 2017

Some People Should Die

The death penalty is a touchy subject. It deals with DEATH, after all. There are some who believe it is right, that it is necessary, and some who believe the opposite, that it is not just and not the mark of a modern, civilized society. 'Eye for an eye is dead, we can rehabilitate. We don't have to kill the killer.'

But is it the government's job to rehabilitate? No. It's role is to protect it's citizens from threats both inside and out. It is the vehicle of God's justice. If people want to write laws that include rehabilitation of criminals, that's fine. But where is the justice in letting a murderer not pay with his life?

When Noah got off the ark, God told him that "if any man sheds another man's blood, so by man must his blood be shed." In another words, God instituted the death penalty. Before the Flood, violence was the prime characteristic of society. What they were known for. It was so out of control that God was sorry that He had even made Man, and destroyed the world. Once He started over with Noah's family, He had to put a check on the violence that was sure to start again, so He instituted capital punishment. Any newly-formed government had the responsibility to administer consequences to murderers. Their right to life was over because of their crime.

Their are a few arguments against the death penalty, one of which is: "Is it right to kill the killer?" No, it isn't right to seek revenge, but that's not what capital punishment is about! It's about the government administering justice, and if it's doing that, individuals won't have to seek revenge.

The death penalty has it's flaws, no doubt about that. It's been used to get rid of political opponents and other undesirables, and worst of all, been used to kill innocent men. Putting the wrong person to death is a tragedy. But with DNA testing it's much easier to prove a person's guilt or innocence. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

Remember that quote from Perry Farrell? "Some people should die, that's just unconscious knowledge..." That one has always stuck with me. There really are people who should die for their crimes. It's called 'execution', which is not the same as 'murder'. Execution is a judgment, murder is a crime. Don't confuse the two! Should a man like John Evander Cooey be allowed to live? If you think so, why? He kidnapped, raped, and murdered a little girl. Why shouldn't he be executed?
(By the way, he died of cancer in prison.)

Here is another argument: If you oppose abortion, you should be consistent and oppose the death penalty, too.
This is an asinine argument. Abortion is the murder of unborn children who committed no crimes, while the death penalty is the punishment for murder. In one group, innocents die. In the other, guilty die. Killing unborn babies is not justice, executing murders is.

Sometimes, I think people get so caught up in a 'feel-good' moment they can't tell their ass from their elbow.

What did Jesus say about the death penalty? Nothing. Did He overturn it in Israel? No. He didn't talk about it, much like He didn't talk about homosexuality. He didn't need to. He talked about self-righteousness, repenting from sin, and following Him. Remember, It was He who gave the government the sword back in Genesis chapter 9. It is allowed and expected to use it under the right conditions.

Personally, allowing a murderer to live off our taxes for decades because someone is too weak to execute them or because the prison system likes the money is stupid. There is no justice in that! Flip the switch! Sometimes that is what's needed. If lethal injection is inhumane, then go back to the firing squad. It's quicker and cheaper. Remember the victim! The murderer is human, too, but he lost his privilege to live when he planned and then killed someone.

Some people should die, that's just conscious knowledge.

A Nazi general


Sunday, July 17, 2016

90's Christian Rock!

Christian music today tends to be bland. It's all "worship" music, meaning it's meant for Sunday morning services. There's nothing wrong with that, but where is all the storytelling in music these days? Aside from Christian metal, there is a vacuum of Christian rock and alternative bands. The older bands have morphed into worship, such as Audio Adrenaline and the Newsboys. So I was happy when I dug out some old CDs that I forgot I had, CDs that fall into the category of :


Here are four bands that pretty much epitomize what I'm talkin' about.

1. The Waiting

There is a link above to their song 'Number 9'. It's a great track; go check it out.
These guys were popular twenty years ago, but have been on hiatus since 2003.They put out a few albums, all of them great. They are sort of like a Christian REM, but better in my opinion. I really dig this band, so much that I'm going to drop another link. This is for a song about Jesus (duh), called A Thousand Years is Not Enough. Enjoy it.
Anybody out there remember these guys? Speak, Hands in the Air, Never Dim, these were good songs...

2. DC Talk

I know you know this trio. The mighty DC Talk! They were on top in the 90s, going platinum twice  and double platinum once for 'Jesus Freak'. You know, Jesus Freak: What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus freak, what will people do when they find out it's true...
Anyway, from left to right: Kevin Max, Tobymac, Michael Tait. In 2001 they split up and went solo, which was a good thing. Kevin went on to make some awesome alternative music , then as singer for Audio Adrenaline for an album; Toby is mega popular in and out of Christian music, beginning as rap/hard rock and doing more pop-hip hop-island type music, and Michael Tait had his own band, Tait. They made two albums, and the Mike became the singer for the Newsboys.
Above is a link to a live version of 'Dive', off the last album "Supernatural". Who remembers Colored People, My Friend, The Hardway, Mind's Eye?

3. Audio Adrenaline

Ah, Audio A's big hit. Check out the link and listen to 'Never Gonna Be as Big as Jesus'. These guys had a sense of humor, and could rock, too. Listen to 'Secret' off of 'Bloom". Mark Stuart had that raspy, Rod Stewart-like voice. Sort of grungy. But he retired from AA because of vocal problems, which led to the band hiring Kevin Max as singer. He recorded one album and went on tour, and then went solo again. The band has  another new singer, and I don't think any of the original members are in the band anymore. Like Underoath or something...

4. Newsboys

The masterpiece of 90s Christian rock right here! If you click the link, you will be treated to 'Lights Out', a hard techno rocker. This album is fantastic, the whole way through. Christian or no, this will float your boat!
At this time, John James was singer. He sang on the next album, Take me To Your Leader, and then left due to 'pursuing ministry', aka drugs and women. You know, sin. A rocker's lifestyle.  He has since repented, and tours America talking about what God has done in his life. And throwing the Newsboys under the bus. But his time was the best time for the band. There was Not Ashamed , Going Public, and Take Me To Your Leader. All great albums. Peter Furler, the drummer, took over as singer and was there until 2009. They still make albums and tour, and might be bigger than they ever were, but in the 90s they were the best. Go listen. Strong Love, Elle G., Spirit Thing, Love Comes True; oh yeah! And listen to those bass lines!
Speaking of bass lines, I saw the Newsboys twice, but the first time I saw them blew me away. It was 1997 I think, right after Take Me To Your Leader came out. Maybe 1998. They were great, but around the sixth song Phil Joel's bass suddenly got louder and about knocked my pants off. No, seriously, my pants shook from the bass. It was awesome.

What these bands had that is lacking in today's Christian scene is talent. Or at least the desire to tell a story, to write a real rock song rather than an emotional tribute to one's self. They were clean, but they said it the way it was. They also had a sense of humor, such as in Newsboy's 'Breakfast', and The Waiting's 'Better off as Friends'. Gallows humor, but humor.

"When the toast has burned, and all the milk has churned
and Cap'n Crunch is waving farewell!
When the big one finds you, may this song remind you
that they don't serve breakfast in Hell!"


Sunday, January 10, 2016

SAVED! What does that mean?

Thank you to Russia!
Somebody over there has been looking at this blog quite a lot this past week. Here is a new one for you:

Christians use the word "saved" like everyone knows what it means. But what does it mean? Saved from what? And how?
'Salvation' is a magnificent word, especially in New Testament terminology. It means to be rescued from damnation. When Christians say "saved", they are talking about being saved from the eternal consequences of sin. 'Going to Hell', as it is said. Jesus Christ is the One who saves. The Rescuer. He is the shepherd who goes out and finds the lost sheep and brings them home.
They become His.

Now let me explain a few things. This isn't religion. Religion is man's way of reaching God. It doesn't work. He isn't listening. If man invents a way to please God, how does he know that it's really pleasing Him? But if God tells man how to please Him, there's no question that it works. That is a relationship established by God. Notice that when Jesus came here, He didn't come here as a rule-enforcer. He came as the Savior. He healed people, raised the dead, comforted the hurting. He brought people back to Yahweh. He was and is the bridge to Heaven.

When a person gets "saved", it isn't a religious experience, it is being "born again", or literally becoming a new creation. Your flesh doesn't change, but your spirit does. There is a 'quickening', a rejuvenation that happens as God's Holy Spirit actually comes to live in your body and bond with your spirit. You are no longer alone! There is now an awareness that was not there before. An intimate knowledge of God that was impossible before. This is not simply an emotional response to a good sermon, but a transformation that only God can do.

Yes, people can get emotional when they become a Christian. They should! You have just realized your need of a savior and received His pardon. You were guilty of offending a holy God, and yet He forgave you anyway based on the sacrifice of His Son. Of course you should cry, or shout for joy!
But make no mistake: Christians, real born-again believers in Jesus, have what others do not, which is a relationship with the Creator. They know this because they have faith in the message they heard. And because of that faith, Jesus sends His Spirit to live in them and seal them for future residence in Heaven. God has made them aware of Himself. It isn't a person's imagination or fantasy-prone flare-up, it's real.

This is not easy to explain, but I can tell you that God really does live in me. At one time, He did not. Then He did. And there was a difference between the two states. Sure, at first that outward behavior did not change. Inside, however, was a new awareness of right and wrong, a heightened sense of conscience. I knew God was there with me. It wasn't a feeling, but an supernatural knowledge that was beyond emotion. Eventually the outward behavior changed and I wanted to know God more, to love Him and listen to Him.

Christians do get mixed up and manipulated, and can appear to be flaky and strange. And...sometimes we are! But that does not change the message: Man sins, he is unholy and does not deserve a place in a perfect Heaven. God loves man anyway, and prepared a sacrifice to atone for man's rebellion. That sacrifice is Christ. Believing in Him, trusting Him for your eternal life will bring the Holy Spirit into you, who will then save you from eternal punishment and prepare you for eternal life with God.

It's simple, yet difficult. Difficult to follow this Jesus. But the rewards are immeasurable!