Tag Archives: Music

Keep Your Gender Neutrality out of my Hymnals

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As many hymnals in Catholic Churches throughout the land moved to gender-neutral references to God and man, often in ridiculous machinations, I always sort of thought that this was simply a feminist-driven scourge.   And it probably was, for the most part.  From the first moment I saw lyrical rewrites that created clumsy text for no reason other than gender-neutrality my reaction was one of disgust.

Some of the worst offenses result in ridiculously clumsy sentences, referencing God.    Instead of “Bless the Lord, His mercy extends forever…”   (or something like that, I made that up) we now have to deal with “Bless the Lord, God’s mercy extends forever…”    Which may not seem horrible, but now add line after line with masculine pronouns getting substituted with “God” and anyone who argues that this is easier to sing, and more linguistically correct, is an idiot.   It’s not.

As I was thinking about this blog and fumbling around the internet, I actually found this ridiculous “how-to” site on how to be as inclusive as possible:    https://eireinei.com/2013/08/28/5-tips-and-tricks-for-being-gender-inclusive-in-worship/.    What a bunch of progressive poppycock.

I occasionally sing and play piano at Church.    I am NOT a person who demands nothing but old hymns and pipe organ, with Gregorian Chant and Latin leading the way.   I appreciate all that, but unlike folks of a more Traditionalist bent, I am perfectly fine with contemporary hymns and instruments.   In my opinion, the key questions are (1) is it done well, (2) does it detract in any way from Mass, or draw attention away from the true point of the Mass, and (3) are you “performing” for your own sake or are you assisting at Mass for the purpose of praising God?    These are fair questions to ask, and I think people have a flawed idea that if you play certain instruments or certain songs, it is impossible to answer some or all of the above in the right way.    I dismiss that as nonsense, but I can at least see the concern.

But just because I may be more flexible in this area than some of my devout friends, it doesn’t mean I’m a liberal progressivist with respect to Mass.    Music style certainly does have the question of sacredness around it, but ultimately it is still about preference.    Gender neutrality has an agenda behind it.

As I mentioned, I used to attribute the agenda to an overinflated reaction by feminists who aren’t smart enough to realize that God is, in fact, a Spirit and not a man or a woman.   But we follow the lead of Jesus by using the masculine pronoun.    I’m unaware of anyone on earth who knows God the Father (gasp!   Another masculine term!) than Jesus the Son.    If feminists want to get all worked up and be overly sensitive to how Jesus references God then goody for them, but leave that out of my Church.   Outside of references to God are masculine references to humankind (mankind, man, men, brothers, etc.).    Anyone with a brain should understand that general references in the masculine are, in fact, intended to be gender neutral and encompass all women as well.   In fact, I refuse to believe the majority of people “offended” by this non-inclusiveness don’t actually know that.   Which means that you’re either stupid or you are purposely finding offense where none intended for reasons of politics or some other agenda.   And that has no place in worship.

More diabolical is now the realization that it goes beyond a purely feminist response, and actually goes further to the idea that there should be no such thing as gender, period.   For any of us.   That it’s all a mindset and transcends our physical nature.   This is purely an abandonment of the goodness and purpose of creation itself.  This goes beyond mere politics, offense, and some agenda of a misplaced sense of what male/female equality means.   It is a direct challenge to God’s entire purpose in the creation of man ç (inclusive).    If for no other reason than to ensure that our church is in no way a part of this movement of evil, it is time to abandon gender-neutral hymnals and get back to the original lyrics.

Note:   I have no issue with writing well-phrased music lyrics that include feminine references where appropriate (e.g. brothers and sisters).   It’s not problematic when it flows well with the music and is natural.    My concern and issue is when we are doing this out of some overzealous and incorrect attitude of what it means to be inclusive, especially when it erodes the quality of the song.

And yes, I find the change from “let me walk with my brother” to “let us walk with each other” to be the epitome of stupidity.    Had it been written that way to begin with, no issue.   But to feel we needed to change it so nobody feels left out is moronic.

A World Undone

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I’ve been quiet lately for a few reasons, but in large part because I decided to spend whatever free time I had working on a Pro-Life song that I’ve been developing for quite some time.    I finally just set aside other things and recorded it.

The song is called “A World Undone.”    The purpose of it is to convey a Pro-Life message, but not to lay blame at others.   We are in this world together and we all feel the effects of abortion.   Most of us have fallen short on doing everything we can do to stop the atrocity of abortion.

The song is a prayer, a reflection, and a call for forgiveness – for all of us.   It is a cry for mercy on us, and for a conversion of hearts.

I hope you enjoy it.    Please feel free to share it with others.

Vacation!

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I know, I know…    I don’t run a blog the way I’m supposed to.    Well, if I made any money off the gig I’d be more inclined to follow the rules.   But I don’t – it’s a hobby.

So, where have I been?   Well, first off, I took a much needed vacation and completely unplugged from work as well as the internet in general.    Second, I then needed to catch up at my real job where I crunch numbers for a living and spend way too much time in meetings talking about the future numbers I need to crunch.

Then, I had to travel to NY for work, and quite honestly I’m not built for travel.   I am not energized by it, so even though I probably could use my time more wisely catching up on stuff in the hotel in my off time, I’m much more inclined to end up in a zombie-like state watching the news on the bed until I fall asleep.

That doesn’t mean the world around me has stopped, nor does it mean my opinions have dissipated.   So, here’s a random list of things I have been thinking about.   Some of these are blog-worthy and some are not.

  1. I still have no idea why someone chooses to ever life and work in New York City.   Sipping a beer by the campfire at home last evening at my rural home, surrounded by flowers, trees, and green grass and a couple friends is like a small piece of heaven to me.    To each their own, but I’m just not wired that way.
  2. Observing the thousands and thousands of people walking around Manhattan, whenever I take a moment to think about people in general I have a feeling of amazement.   Every single person is seeing the world through their own unique eyes.   They are all living a life unique and distinct from the rest of us.    Just seeing people walk around is a wonderment to me.    I don’t know what they are thinking and they don’t know what I’m thinking.   Their experiences are not my own.  And yet, God knows us all intimately.   It’s somewhat overwhelming to think about.
  3. There is a big blow-up rat that sticks out of the trunk of a car that can be found around NYC.   That’s my sight-seeing update.
  4. I love my kids – all nine of them.   But what a blessing that my wife and I were able to get away for three days and stay at our camper in Northern Wisconsin.    Rest, hiking, swimming, kayaking, and fishing – with a little bit of shopping and an anniversary dinner out.   What a relaxing time!
  5. Why does Def Leppard refuse to get on Spotify?    It’s annoying.
  6. I’ve been doing some reading, and I need to boost my Metabolism so I can be healthier.
  7. My wife and I have both set up accounts through a company called Karatbars so we can more readily buy gold in smaller increments.   My wife has decided to buy into the business package to help other people set up accounts to do the same.   I didn’t do that, because I have enough to do.  I just want the gold, but I do feel strongly that this is an important asset for everyone to try obtain, so I’ll help her out as I can.    So if anyone is curious about it at all just e-mail me.
  8. Moses is in our garden.
  9. There is always a lot to blog about:
    1. how I perceive the struggle in Catholicism balancing the tendencies of “liberals” and “conservatives” to try and actually attain the faith we are supposed to have
    2. My interest in a few specific prophecies:   Sister Lucia and how marriage is one of the final struggles against Satan; a guy named Charlie Johnston who has some interesting things to say, but requires a lot of discernment; this whole idea of the Shemitah (Jonathan Cahn) and the interesting observations and timing of that whole thing.
    3. Prayer strategy
    4. The Hitler rule in internet argument – pros and cons
    5. The 3% fallacy
  10. I really need to get more of my music up on Youtube and find time to record all the stuff in my head.

I hope you have all been well over the last couple weeks.    I’ll try to coordinate my thoughts and throw some stuff out here.

When I feel like it.

Be Still and Know

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This is song is really in demo form, and is not on my CD, but I thought I’d share it anyway.  Nowadays my recording time is pretty minimal, so who knows when I’ll get to some more serious recording time.  Lots of ideas are in my head, though, so I’m hoping I can find the time.

Enjoy

A Metal Confession

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I’m a devout Catholic who is listening right now to “Ride the Lightning” by Metallica.   I doubt this CD is real popular among most of my friends.

I can accept any opinions that I should stop and embrace chant or something with more beautiful expression.

But what can I say?   I like it, it keeps me awake, and I think I work faster.   Maybe not smarter, but faster!

Heaven Has A Broken Heart – now on youtube

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Here is a video of the 5th cut from my CD “Avant-God.” The song is “Heaven Has a Broken Heart” and is embedded here. For videos of the first four CD tracks, check out previous posts.

Since one reason why it has taken me so long to get the videos up is that I never quite have the time to put a nice video presentation together with pics or video, I have decided it would be nice to just get the music out there anyway. So, the video here is just the lyrics, as was “The Game.” Sorry it isn’t fancier, but hopefully you enjoy it anyway. This is my plan for the rest of the songs on the CD, so I should get them up a bit more expediently.

As always, opinions are welcome, and if you really like the music, a brother could always use a few CD purchases from CD Baby (or a direct e-mail)!

Enjoy! I have printed the lyrics below the video and have added a few thoughts as well.

Heaven Has a Broken Heart
From the ancient tributes
To the modern rites of praise
We’ve known a higher Power
Since the beginning of our days

Over time it seems that everyone
Wants to go a different way
We change the rules as we go on
No matter what His Law says
We change His words to fit the part
Now, Heaven has a broken heart
Heaven has a broken heart

It doesn’t take much time
To observe the miracles we know
We see the mystic hand
Amidst the highest heavens’ glow

All He wants is to be known
That’s why He sent His gifts
All He wants is faith within
So we know His spirit lives
It’s so easy to forget
That’s why He’s so quick to forgive
But we haven’t done our part
Now Heaven has a broken Heart
Heaven has a broken Heart
Heaven has a broken Heart
Has a broken Heart

And we won’t stop
Until the Light has reached everybody’s hearts
And we won’t stop
’til everyone in this world makes a brand new start

We won’t stop
’til the Light has reached everybody’s hearts
And we won’t stop
’til everyone in this world makes a brand new start

And we won’t stop (we will not stop)
Until the Light has reached everybody’s hearts
And we won’t stop (we will not stop)
’til everyone in this world makes a brand new start

We won’t stop (we will not stop)
Until the Light has reached everybody’s hearts
And we won’t stop (we will not stop)
’til everyone in this world makes a brand new start

I wrote this song years and years ago, and it was basically a lament. I am saddened by relativism. People kinda sorta believe in God, but don’t want to live as if there is a God that demands anything of us, or expects us to live in a certain way. More and more people define morality as to conveniently fit into however it is that they wish to live their lives. It must be nice believing that there is a God Who will see us into heaven and at the same time let us define what it is He wants out of us. But what is sad about it is the fact that this isn’t truth. And our world is worse for it.

That same lament not only stays with me today, but has become exponentially more prominent. This is exactly how “good” gets defined as evil and “evil” gets defined as good. We are great at wordsmithing the issues of the day. We are great at finding in our sympathy and empathy and compassion for people who need to hear a difficult message a way out of the difficult message. We don’t want to offend anyone who is doing wrong, even if the message that needs to conveyed is necessary for that person’s salvation. We convince ourselves that what others do doesn’t really matter, and in fact, why would God really expect any more of them?

I wrote the lyrics of this song to recognize that we all carry a knowledge of God in our hearts and that this inherent knowledge is there for a reason. It is not to make stuff up about him or to conveniently paint Him as we’d like to paint Him. It’s not to twist the words of His Law or ignore it altogether to create our own world of morality. It is to know Him, seek Him, and to love Him. And that means expending ourselves in the process, and it means accepting that we may have issues we will struggle with, but we are called to that struggle.

THe end of the song is a call to arms of all those willing to take it on. Don’t stop. Don’t be shouted down by the voices of moral relativism who tell us that the moral societal issues are steeped in intolerance and bigotry. That the Truth doesn’t matter. Don’t stop.

We may never see that day where the entire world is converted, but we can still make that our personal goal. Of course, it is the Holy Spirit that drives that, but we can be instruments of it. Don’t stop until the Light has reached everybody’s hearts.

A Reprise Post of “The Game”

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A few posts ago, I presented “The Game” on youtube. I’m revisiting it with this post to provide the lyrics and some commentary on the song.

https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/the-game-now-on-youtube/

This will be the last post revisiting music. From now on, any future music posts will include the lyrics and commentary along with the youtube video.

I hope you guys don’t mind me taking some time away from other issues to revisit the music. It’s part of my identity, including my Catholic identity. I will certainly get back to other topics as well, but wanted to take some time here to give the music a favorable hearing.

Lyrics here:
The Game
Don’t know what the game is
But everybody seems to want to play
And everybody wants to win
Don’t think I’m a-gonna get in

Seems so intriguing
Look at all the smiles on their faces
And hear the laughter in the air
Why don’t I wanna go there?
Seems harmless to people everywhere

Take a step back and look a little closer
To those in the game who play it to the end
They all seem so alone
With a heart that’s made of stone

Seems to me it’s a fun game right at the start
‘Til it takes your heart
And you’ve forgotten all the rules
That’s why it’s a game for fools
There’s no chance to win – you only lose

It’s such a simple game to play, that’s what I’ve found
And I’ve had my share of ups and I’ve had my share of downs
But Jesus He just picked me up from off the ground
Now that I’m on my feet I kind of plan to stick around
Plan to stick around
Quit the game cold turkey an’ I’m back on my feet an’ I plan to stick around

It’s hard to tell those playing
That everything isn’t really what it seems
Because everything is so good now
And the journey’s really got them “wowed!”

But the only real game to play
Is the one that makes the journey rough from time to time
But the end of the game is so divine

Sometimes the players make you feel like you don’t belong
And I’ve had my share of rights and I’ve had my share of wrongs
But Jesus shook me up when I was weak and made me strong
Now that I’ve come this far I kinda plan to stick around
Plan to stick around

So go ahead and roll the dice and draw your cards and take your chance
But you won’t win anything
Not a lousy little thing

But the game I play isn’t really a game
‘Cause you don’t really play
You just kind of act it out
Once you know what it’s all about

Sometimes the players make you feel like you don’t belong
And I’ve had my share of rights and I’ve had my share of wrongs
But Jesus shook me up when I was weak and made me strong
Now that I’ve come this far I kinda plan to stick around

This song was admittedly written as a “music first” composition. But as the lyrics evolved, the music did not lend itself to what I would call “serious, poetic lyrical content.” However, at the heart of the subject matter is a tone of seriousness. “The Game” is a general allusion to a life of sin, or a, life without God. “Freed” from the restrictions that come with a belief in God, an anything goes mentality can seem appealing for a while. For some, it may even be a life-long series of actions, seemingly without consequences. As Christians, we all know that we are tempted to sin. Depending on each of our weaknesses, it is not easy for us. We also know, however, that the claims of freedom and liberation that comes with tossing off the “yoke of God” is an illusion. A life in sin is actually a life in slavery to sin. And most people will suffer consequences of this within their lifetimes. Others, absent repentance, will suffer the consequences after their physical life on earth.

Those of us playing the “real game” – which isn’t a game at all, but a lifelong journey – know that it isn’t all fun and games, but at a much deeper level it is rewarding, joyful, and infinitely more meaningful.

Jesus picks us all up from time to time. Every time we go to confession, we admit that we have fallen, and it is Jesus’ forgiveness that gets us back on our feet and strenghtens us. We resolve to stay out of the game and “stick around” in the journey. Most of us will fall more times than we should. The journey’s rough, but the end of that journey is divine if we do manage to stick around.

Revisiting “Quiet Time”

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Oh, the joy of vacation!    I have been off enjoying the weather lately.   It was a somewhat spur-of-the-moment vacation that became feasible when a couple of projects at work all came together and nothing new of immediate urgency reared its ugly head.   I am just now getting back into the swing of things here, and so I offer the following post with all humility.  And a tan…

 

Continuing to revisit songs I posted quite some time ago so that I can provide more falvor and background, I re-present the song “Quiet Time.”   Link here:

https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/quiet-time/

Lyrics here:
Quiet Time
It’s been a long hard day at work
The kids are tired and the house is still a mess
Have some bills piled up
And a stack of papers that I still haven’t read
I seem so far behind

Need to take both cars in for an oil change
And I’m almost out of gas
Got a list of things to do that’s three pages long
And it keeps on growing at a rate that’s much too fast
Tryin’ not to lose my mind

And all I want
Is a little quiet time with You
So I can clear my head
All I need
Is a little quiet time with You
So I can draw upon Your strength
And I can make it through the day

The best time spent is time with You
So You can me work things through
And I can cope with all that life’s about

Just a little while
And I begin to smile
I know You feel my trials
And remove my doubts

So I get back to my life
And I understand that circumstances
Haven’t changed
But a burden’s been removed
And I’ve given it to You
And the feeling’s not the same
I feel like I’m renewed – again

And all I did
Was have some quiet time with You
So could clear my head
All I needed was some quiet time with You
So I could draw upon Your strength
And I could make it through the day

This is probably the mellowest and most contemplative song on the CD. As you read the lyrics, you will notice that the issues of angst are not large things. Need gas… need to catch up on reading… house is a mess… These are the things in our daily lives that tend to pile up. Not one of them is an insurmountable task, but when you start to realize the totality of what needs to be done, you can get overwhelmed if you let it. All these things can squeeze out of your life other things. Good things. Necessary things. First and foremost, they can squeeze out prayere if you let them.

We all need to “recharge our batteries.” But how do we do that? Do we turn to God for recharging, or do we turn somewhere else? We cannot separate the physical from the spiritual. We are beings of both realms. Add into that our emotional needs and we are complex creatures. But we are ultimately meant for God.

Quiet Time was written to serve as a reminder to myself (and hopefully others) that when we are stressed out about things, the exact response we need is not to push God aside, but to take some time to give Him our burdens – even the small, daily ones – and allow Him to provide for us the energy to move forward. We will not only forge our relationship with God in doing so, but will in the end be more productive.

As the song says, all those things still remain after we’ve spent time with God. But it is important to “reset” and get our heads and hearts right.

I hope you take a few minutes to click on the link, listen to the song, and enjoy.

Hope you all had a blessed Independence Day (at least those in the U.S.)!

Revisiting “I Dream of Heaven”

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As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m revisiting a song I posted quite some time ago so that I can provide a bit more flavor to it. I will continue to do this, and also get additional songs up to finally complete this little project. Link here:

https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/i-dream-of-heaven/

Lyrics here:
When I Dream of Heaven
When I dream of Heaven
I dream about peace and tranquility
The way that we wish our lives could be

When I dream of Heaven
I dream about life everlasting
Livin’ in Your proximity

Don’t dream of my house or my stereo
Don’t dream of the years that passed me by
Don’t dream about Tvs or PCs or diamonds or rubies or pearls
Or anything else that money can buy

‘Cause when I dream of Heaven
I dream about all that You promised
Yeah, that would be in store for me

When I dream of Heaven
I dream about praising my Savior
What a glorious sight to see!

Don’t dream about cars or my bank account
Don’t dream about pain, or reasons to cry
Don’t dream of my job or my boat or my watch or my lawn or vacation
Or anything else that I worry about in this life

Well I don’t know if angels have wings
I don’t know if they hang in the clouds
And I don’t know if harps are the thing
But I know that I wanna find out

When I dream of Heaven (repeat to end)

The way I write most of my songs is “music first.” If I come up with something I like musically, then I will listen to it over and over to develop a melody, and at some point a general theme emerges. At that point, then, lyrics get written around the theme.

In this case, “I Dream of Heaven” just kept jumping out at me as the opening line, and so I went with it. As I wrote the lyrics, I basically meant to convey the fact that all the things in this life that we attach ourselves to as a kind of pseudo-heavenly thing is not at all what I look forward to when I think of heaven. Love watching TV? Yeah, I do like it. But I couldn’t imagine heaven [i]with[/i] a TV. I can’t imagine concerns about money in heaven. Or jewels. Or just about anything that we attach ourselves to here.

So, basically that’s the theme, and I hope I pulled it off in a somewhat fun and listenable way.