Tag Archives: Video

Responding to Actors Speaking Politics

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This has nothing to do with Catholic anything.   I just thought this was not only hilarious, but pretty much says it all as far as my opinion on all those holier-than-thou entertainers who decide they need to help inform us unthinking underlings on politics.   Or, really, anything.

It’s worth the view, even if you’re not a Trump fan.   (Which, to be honest, I’m getting sick of people saying as an obligatory addendum to nearly everything.)

A Little Inspiration

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I have always found inspiration from this video.   We all need a little bit of what Matt does.   Many of you have probably seen it.   If not, I challenge you to watch it and not feel anything.

Moral Implications of Social Conformity

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The above video is fascinating.    It is also very revealing.

The experiment above is relatively benign.   But when i watched it, I couldn’t help but immediately tie the results into an answer to a question I have often asked myself:   “How could the acceptable standards of what is moral and what is not decline at the precipitous pace it has in the last few decades?”

We are all conditioned in many ways.   This doesn’t make us unthinking robots, but it is a natural part of our sense of community.    And I think God wired us that way so that we can condition ourselves rightly so that we can do good as a natural reaction without even thinking.   Of course, in a world where both good and evil resides, one can also be conditioned wrongly.

We need to take responsibility for our own conditioning, but it is without question that we are also greatly influenced by others, and we may not even realize it.    Parents try to form good habits in kids so that these kids just learn to do them.   Saying “please” and “thank you” is an act of conditioning.   I remember arguing with someone once about the value of doing simple things like opening the door for someone.   He argued that it wasn’t really “doing good” because it wasn’t so much an act of kindness or will as it was conditioning.   I argued that if someone cares enough to be conditioned or to have conditioned themselves to do a perpetually good thing that it doesn’t lose its value because you’ve made it a natural habit.  That’s ridiculous.

Unfortunately, as much as we’d all like to argue that TV, billboards, advertising, movies, music, etc. do not affect us, the reality is that it is probably nearly impossible to make that case.   Now, I will say that if you are morally grounded, confident in your faith, and resilient then it is entirely possible that you can consciously recognize when things are projecting their influence upon you, and it is more possible to ward off their impact.   But it would be silly to believe you cannot be influenced in the things you do, think, and believe by the culture and other influences around you.

And, truth be told, as God has been moved out of the public sphere and the minds of others, the moral code that people live by is a hodge-podge of ideas to start with.    So, now you start to introduce an acceptability to immodesty, different views on marriage, on sex, on violence, and so on can it really be as amazing as it seems to be that we’ve flipped our thinking upside-down on previously long-accepted ideas?

A perfect example of applying the concepts of the video above to the acceptance of cultural decay as something well and good is the typical University.   While there are some outstanding Catholic, Christian, and Conservative Universities we all know that these are exceptions.   It is a fact of the day that most Universities hold progressive views of what the rest of us see as cultural rot.   The administrations and faculty not only accept it themselves, but are open about it, promote it, and will in many cases shout down opposing opinions – ironically enough – in the name of tolerance.

If those who agree join in the vocalic of those positions while those who disagree stay silent, it will not take long for the pressure of conformity to kick in.   How many parents have lamented the fact that their “good kid” came back home after a year or two at school with all sorts of goofy ideas that go directly against the values they were raised with?    All those years, undone in nearly an instant.

As a parent, I watch this video, and I realize I need to share it with my kids and explain this very thing.    This happens not only with meaningless physical response, this is a very real and natural inclination.    Whenever your thinking and your beliefs are challenged and you seem to be standing alone, it still doesn’t mean that everyone else is right, or even makes any sense.   And they may not even know why they believe what they believe.

And on the flip side, this may be a good opportunity to evaluate whether or not any of us are accepting what we shouldn’t because it was just so easy to…

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.

Revisiting “Holy Water”

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As you’ve likely noticed, I’ve recently gotten “the bug” to work on music-related efforts. I am finally taking the time to get my previous CD works up on youtube and post them here, and I am beginning to get “rough drafts” of new songs recorded so I can start the process of listening and developing and so forth. It is a labor of love for me, but one that often doesn’t rise to the top of the priority list because of the rest of life’s obligations. But every now and again I force myself to make time to do it.

For those wondering when I will continue to post on my series of walking through the Catechism as it relates to prophecy, I will get to it, and I even have some stuff ready to go on it already. But I just go with the flow of the moment here, and right now I’ve got other things on the brain.

Now that I am working on getting more material in public view, I wanted to do more than just throw up the music/videos with no context to them. One nice thing about going to a concert is hearing the artist tell the story about how a song came to be. It helps add meaning to the song and the text.

Well, I kind of realized after the fact that I didn’t do any of that as I started introducing my music here. Oh, long ago I offered up a little bio and CD description, but that’s way in the archives. I’m going to correct this oversight here.

A couple years ago, I introduced the following song:
https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/holy-water-on-youtube/

I am going to post the lyrics here, and then I’m going to share with you how this song came to be and what the lyrics are intended to convey. Of course, like all art, the listener may take their own things from it, as well.

Holy Water
I used to think I knew what was good
I guess I thought it was all well understood
But now I know how wrong I had been
It’s good to think about life now and then

I took the water’s embrace
And I can feel the void in me it replaced
A new sense of purpose in my head
And so I stood right up and said

I love the Holy Water
I love to feel the splash upon my face
I love the Holy Water
Receiving His unending gift of grace
And I cannot recall ever feeling quite the way I felt
On that day
I love the Holy Water

Thought life couldn’t be too much more
But I didn’t know I’d shut the door
A lifetime of selfishness
Makes me proud of nothing that I did before

So I took a step back
And realized there was nothing else I could do
I had to have the water
Took the Christ plunge at the deep end of the pool

I love the Holy Water
I love to feel the splash upon my face
I love the Holy Water
Receiving His unending gift of grace
And I cannot recall ever feeling quite the way I felt
On that day
I love the Holy Water

(aaah, aaah)

I used to think I knew what was good
I guess I thought it was all well understood
But now I know how wrong I had been
It’s good to think about life now and then

I love the Holy Water (I love it)
I love the Holy Water
I love the Holy Water (I love it)
I love the Holy Water

OK, so first on the music: This is my most straight-ahead driving harder-rock song. I grew up loving rock music, and I am not of the mind that the style of music in intrinsically evil, despite many of the problematic uses of it. Christ touched the lepers and He healed them. To consider things or matter of any kind intrinsically evil is a Pharisitic quality. Now, I’m not suggesting it should be played at Mass, but neither do I apologize for pulling out an electric guitar for a Catholic or Christian song.

This song was born, quite honestly, when I first bought my recording equipment and just messed around to see how it worked. I just happened to stumble across a few chord progressions and the theme came to me and I went with it.

As I wrote the lyrics, I purposely kept it somewhat vague as to whether or not I was referencing actual holy water as blessed by a Priest, or whether or not I was using it to describe the waters of baptism, or whether or not it was emblematic of the Holy Spirit. It’s really a reference to all three.

We crazy Catholics believe in valid infant baptism, so most of us don’t actually feel (or at least remember) the emotion that comes with baptism. However, every year at Easter Vigil Masses all over the globe, plenty of adults are baptized into the faith. I try to imagine every year what they must feel at the moment that water is poured over them, and I vicariously feel a sense of awe. When I wrote this song and the theme of “Holy Water” emerged, this really was my primary focus. The lyrics were intended to not talk about me in that regard (I was baptized as an infant and praise God for that gift) but to sing from the perspective of someone who finally came to the realization that “goodness” is not something to be done on your own, but to be done with the help of the Holy Spirit, initially through the Sacrament of Baptism.

So, the baptismal allusion as an adult here is not in any way intended to convey the idea that baptism is something that should be done as an adult (or conversely NOT to be done as an infant). It is simply a story of conversion, acceptance, and regeneration.

However, the lyrics are written so as to not be limited to Baptism. We revisit our baptism every time we sign ourselves with Holy Water, or during a sprinkling rite during the Easter season. Holy Water is a powerful sacramental in the Catholic faith and we should embrace it and use it. We all know, of course, that it is still water, and that it is not magic. God is ultimately the source of all power of any sacramental. But we use physical things to constantly remind us of this, and God uses the matter He created to work with us in our spiritual journey, and through His divine power these elements become the conduit of grace. So, as simple as that all is, take a step back and how can one not “love the Holy Water!”

Of course, the Holy Spirit is behind all this. Water is often used as symbology of the Spirit, and the lyrics are intended to convey that as well. In particular, I can attest to the feeling of going to confession after a long and rocky absence. Besides the weight that was lifted, I could almost feel the infusion of grace and the Spirit that came with that experience. I LOVED that “Holy Water!”

The lyrics, of course, will not win a classic poetry contest. The style of writing is meant to work with the style of music. Yet, in all ways the intent is to be respectful to the topic.