God, Church and Christians: Misconceptions and Bad Conceptions

“Christians are very judgmental.”
“Organized religion is a cult.”
“Only church people make it to heaven.”
“Christianity requires you to ‘give up’ fun things, or restrict yourself.”
“You can’t dress or act like that in here.”
“Something must be wrong with you…that’s why God let this happen.”
“Once I was able to reason, I learned I was a sinner and God was upset. I [also] discovered non-Christians are also nice people. So whom do you believe?”

I have been raised Christian my entire life. I have never been the guy to hang out on the streets and try to hand you a Bible, or the guy to protest others for their “ugly sins.” My expression avenues have always been through music and trying to manage my own life the best I can. In 2015, there are so many varying views, opinions, lifestyles and experiences as people try to live their very best across the world. But what’s interesting is that God seems to be the entity receiving the largest amount of mixed conceptions. Some thank God when good things happen, some blame him when the bad takes place (or both). Some may choose another route completely, finding something else to put their trust in. Why is that?

Here’s my theory: any time we don’t like something, that means we had a previous influence steer us away from it. It could be our own perception, another person’s opinion, or even a bad experience. My brother doesn’t like peanut butter because he didn’t like the taste of it – but he has to taste it first to arrive at that conclusion. Some may have negative conceptions of God because of a former experience (or experiences) that they had, which may often have been with other people. Even people who are church-goers and/or Christians have confused and discouraged each other with their words, sometimes right in the church! Next thing you know, you have people in the church leaving, and people outside the church wanting nothing to do with “that religion stuff” or “the crazies” or “the high-and-mighties.” All of this and MUCH more, as I’m finding, is a leading cause is misrepresenting what God is actually about, and misleading people away from Him.

Today, I don’t want to try to force you to think you need to drop what you’re doing and run to the altar with your hands up. I don’t want to tell you how wrong you are, or how right you are. That’s not my place, and I am not an expert myself – just a young, 20something black male. I want to, instead, address the things that are untrue about God, church and faith that are false stereotypes; but also the bad things that are being done, which NEED to stop.

Misconceptions:

  1. “You’re not good enough” or “God doesn’t love you”: Some church folks have shown this with the hesitant way they act towards newcomers. Some just up and say it to your face. Some who may not be church-goers say it to keep you away from trying church. LOOK: Anyone, no matter who you are, should never tell this to any human being no matter what the context. I’ve written plenty of blog posts and research papers, and although I’m far from being published, no one can tell me I’m not good enough at it to try. I’d just work harder at it and seek outside assistance when proofreading! So don’t tell anyone they aren’t good enough for God. He loves everyone the same no matter what, and saying otherwise will only discourage them, tick them off, and misrepresent what God’s about. It DOES show, however, excellence in ignorance.
  2. “Church makes you christian”: Here’s the thing: sitting in a Starbucks doesn’t make you a frappuccino. As great as church has been for me personally, no church is perfect. And the good ones are aware – that’s why they exist, to foster people needing God to help them! Being Christian means you accept Jesus and you have (or are developing) a relationship with Him. Going to church surrounds you with his messages to give you a weekly spiritual boost, and it surrounds you with others trying to keep themselves on his straight-and-narrow as well. Otherwise, it’s like marathon training by yourself: not like you can’t do it, but when you go through the rough stages or want to quit, you need someone there to help push you along and tell you not to give up!
  3. “Christians are perfect” – I’m not perfect because of Jesus. I’m not perfect, so I need Jesus! If people were perfect, there would be no reason to do or be anything, because we’d all be robots. Don’t let anyone fool you – everyone has their shortcomings.
  4. “You have to act a certain way”: The only thing you HAVE to do as a Christian is believe in Jesus and try to live your life as a good example through Him. But listen: believing in God doesn’t always mean you were the worst human being on earth before, and some Christians write others off when they make it sound like this. God takes you as you are, and makes you better. Plain and simple!! So if you go to church for the first time looking for answers in a very difficult time, don’t let Sister Patty LaWeave and her attitude tell you “sorry but we don’t let hoochies in here” or “you might want to change your clothes before you come to God” or even “God wouldn’t have made you that way if he loved you.” You just stay in there and get whatever it is that you needed that day. At the end of the day, you’re still his son or daughter, and he just wants the chance to be there for you. Sister Patty LaWeave has nothing to do with that, because she can’t help you.

Bad Conceptions:

  1. JUDGEMENTAL CHRISTIANS: The #1 complaint of Christians from day one. I can’t call this a misconception because it is true of many – not all by any means, but it definitely exists. The Bible tells God’s followers not to do this unless they want to be judged too. But this is a problem far spanning religion. Christians are judged for being Bible-toting do-gooders who stay in their little judgmental box. Minorities are judged based on the color of their skin. Women are judged by men who don’t want to be surpassed. The LBGT community is judged by those who ask why they “choose being this way”. I could go on, but look: WE ARE ALL PEOPLE. PERIOD! If you don’t accept me or respect me, my default will be to want nothing you stand for. But if you, the imperfect person, show me, another imperfect person, respect and kindness, I may be more open to you and what you stand for.
  2. Christians saying negative things to each other: Some of the things that are said are misconceptions. The fact that negative things are being said is not a misconception. I’ve touched on some of these examples already, as well as the fact that we need to treat each other with respect. Yes? Yes. This is at its’ worse here because the church is a place where people should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. The rest of the world has enough negativity and esteem-knocking as it is! The worst example I heard recently was a Christian telling a woman with a miscarriage that God took their child because “something must have been wrong with it, but better that He took it instead of letting it be born with something wrong.” Are you kidding me?!? The fact that this statement alone didn’t completely steer this person away from God in such a vulnerable time is a miracle of God in itself.
  3. Churches are close-minded/won’t adapt: This is another thing that many are guilty of, but it’s also associated with the Christian stereotype. It also boils down to: some people like things a certain way and in strict order, while others are cooler about going with the flow. I’m no expert in how churches operate, but when my church had to move to new buildings twice within two years and across town, being closed-minded was not an option. We had to adapt to some logistical change nearly every week, and without people willing to adapt, there would be no church right now. If a marketing consultant never adapts with social media sites, he or she is chopping out a huge part of potential outlets and the company doesn’t grow as well. I could go on with more examples, but you get the point. When things change, good or bad, we have to go with it if we want to grow. Otherwise, we’d all be perfect, right?

Now, I don’t want the things I’ve just mentioned to scare people away from God. But these are very real things that anyone may have experienced when it comes to him, church and other Christians. It is true that some Christians don’t always use the best approach. It’s also true that some Christians really do their best to represent God to anyone they encounter. I’m not always the best example, but I try to remain open-minded, I love all sorts of people, and I tend to get along with most people I meet. My personal experience is that God has gotten me where I am today, and I just don’t want to see more people write the guy off because of Christians saying or doing blatantly negative things. You hear about Westboro Baptist Church type of situations, and well, of course people are going to feel some kind of way!

To reiterate my bottom line: WE ARE ALL PEOPLE. NO ONE IS BETTER THAN THE OTHER. Me talking to Jesus does not, in any way, make me a better human being that you. We all have eyes, ears, hands and toes. We all like to eat, look forward to payday, and enjoy the electric slide a wedding once in a while. Not only are we all human: none of us are perfect. In fact, I am quite aware of how flawed I am. I’ll probably make a good few mistakes tomorrow! Now, my comfort in making my mistakes is that, no matter what, God will forgive me and let me pick up & learn from it (sometimes, after checking me). This doesn’t give me a license to be a screw-up; it just insures me that no matter what, He will still love me. Maybe not all my actions, but me. He has this thing called unconditional love – and nothing we do is ever bad enough for it to run out. No living thing on earth is capable of this. I can say with certainty that when I found myself as low as I could possibly be, God’s unconditional love was the only thing to let me know it’d be all right, and to pick things back up. (It wasn’t stories I’d heard, not other people so much, not any of my stuff – it’s something no one else can provide quite as well).

Depending on the eyes reading those last few statements, the word “preachy” may come to mind. That is far from my goal, or my calling in life. But I want to close with these two things that I hope we can all at least try to agree on:

  1. Love each other. Everyone on this earth deserves that, no matter what. When I see people, I don’t immediately think of them as gay, white, Japanese, Jewish, fat, sick, mentally challenged or whatever. I say “hey Sam, how’s it going?” Even if some people make me hope I never see them again for some reason, I still do my best to treat them right. Not only do I want that back from them, but it’s how we were made. Everybody doesn’t stick to that all the time, but I can only work on me.
  1. Meet people where they’re at. We are all very different from each other! I can’t necessarily talk to a young person about faith the same way I would to an old person (for example). Christians, every approach can’t be the same for everybody – once we’ve acknowledged that we weren’t sprung from the ground perfect, we need to respect and love people before trying to approach them about God. And if you’re someone being approached about God, I’d say at least be open to listening. Hopefully it’s done in a way that peaks an interest in the very least. I promise you, it was His sheer grace alone that got me where I am today and kept my family alive countless times. True story.

We all have free will to chose whatever we wish to believe. Just remember: a student has to be willing to be taught, but it won’t work if the teacher only says “nope, wrong answer, it was 6.” But if the teacher says “here’s how I got there; now you try for yourself. If you want it, you can totally do it”, the results might just be a little different.

-BB2

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Music Monday: Sinema (Swoope)

Hello all, and welcome to this week’s segment of #MusicMonday! In this segment, we take a look at music past, present and future to celebrate the artistry, and its’ effect on us as a people.

Today’s #MusicMonday doubles as a promo for a new album release of an artist I’ve known for some years now! It just hit iTunes last week and I haven’t been able to put it down yet!

Allen Swoope released his newest hip-hop/rap album last week, Sinema, which uses many of the same styles of hip-hop beats & music creatively, while the focus is on the message he is telling through story and God’s Word. His other projects over the past few years typically do something similar, but this one uses all 12 tracks in a row to tell one straight story – one of lust, addiction, fantasy, and sin. It opens up with an exchange of phone calls between Swoope & a woman named Mya Desiree. (Get it?) They’re into each other, but she spend the album leaving messages trying to get in touch with him while he continues to avoid her. They hooked up recently, and he wants her, but was it really worth it? Is there more to their story? How long can he keep her in the wings, and why won’t she let up? Was it love or lust?

Musically, this thing sounds fresh as a mug. Swoope himself came up as a highly gifted church musician, and created nothing but the best & dopest of sounds in the studio. To add to it, he brought in other talented singers and rappers (J.R., Tragic Hero, Natalie Lauren, Tedashii, etc.) to add to the effect. I could go on about the sound of this album, but really, that’s not where the focus is, and you can get a good sense of that yourself by listening to it. The focus is on the message! I won’t ruin the story for you if you haven’t heard the album, but seriously, check this thing out. Swoope is a master at using God’s words and messages for us and finding ways to put it in music that will captivate the listener. The hook is a dope sound with a beat – but the truthful messages to teach and minister to others is what really sticks. Music is such a powerful medium that can promote any message about whatever’s out there in the world today that might not be the best for us to digest. Any rapper out today can do that – but Swoope specifically focuses on utilizing the words straight from the Kingdom of God. And done so genuine! It’s not just “we made a beat and threw ‘Jesus’ in it” – it truly is from someone who’s heart is after God and making the lives of someone who will learn from this better.

So that’s today’s #MusicMonday! Go on iTunes and check out Swoope’s work and let me know what you think! Let’s promote hip-hop that isn’t only good, but promotes something great.

Have a great week, and sing on, my brethren!
-BB2

What I’m Living For

Image

To close off the month of May, I’d like to share a very important Scripture that I read this morning. It was perfect with things that have been on my mind lately. The gist: our worldly troubles & anxieties < God’s glory when this life is over. There’s one good way to get a piece of that peace while we’re still on earth waiting for the day.

Thank you, Lord.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”
-Romans 8:18-30

BB2

Judas is Scary Yet!

In lieu of having just celebrated Holy Week, this past weekend my siblings & I watched some Easter movie specials, and explored the age-old question:

Judas, what the heck?

If you get familiar enough with the story of the crucifixion of Jesus, you learn that Judas was fulfilling a prophesy by turning Jesus in to the Romans/Pharisees. But there’s a few parts of the story which you have to wonder what in the doggone world was going on in this man’s head. So let’s take a ride through yet another sketch comedy to adventure into the (slightly exaggerated) possibilities!

Judas Is Scary Yet

[…get it? Judas Iscariot? Haha. Okay, moving on.]

(Scene: The Last Supper. Jesus and the 12 disciples are seated around the table, eating and chatting, jovial.)

PETER: And then I was like, “No no, we’ll come to YOUR church this time, it’s a brief walk!” and she was all (high falseto) “but Simon Peter, what about the sea between between our two cities?” (regular) And I said “Water? HAH! Water?! Do you know who my Master is?! I’ll just walk on over there! We do it all the time!” Haha, she was quite speechless, my brethren.

ANDREW: And you mean to tell me that she believed you would walk on the water to her?

PETER: ‘Believed’? If the Master had me do it once, surely I can attempt it again! Why, I’ll surely skip right over those fish this time!

THOMAS: Yeah…I doubt that’ll work, but you know. Do you.

PETER: Oh, shush Thomas! Judas Iscariot, pass the bread please! (no response) …Judas?

JUDAS: (sudden panic) WHAT ABOUT THE SILVER PIECES?!?!?!?!

[All stare]

JUDAS: Oh, sorry. Here you go, Peter. (Passes a pitcher of water across the table)

PETER: Thank you, but this isn’t bread; it’s water.

JUDAS: Well you don’t have to ‘wine’ about. Ha. Get it? Wine, whine. (nervous “please accept me”-induced laughter; snorts; quickly turns into awkward silence)

JESUS: …Now is a good time for me to speak to you all about this. Each of you, take a piece of this bread. (Passes bread around the table; all disciples take a piece) Take, eat. This is my very self – my body – broken for you.

JUDAS: Pretty crummy body, if you ask me. Do you even lift, Master? (nervous laughter again; all stare in disbelief)

ANDREW: Judas, please. (JUDAS makes a squints his face at ANDREW, mockingly)

JESUS: Take and drink. (passes wine around; all take a sip) This is my blood. I will soon die.

JUDAS: Well obviously, if we’re all drinking your blood, you’ll die. OOOH, does this mean I can turn into a Messiah too if I drink your blood? I’ll call myself “Jesus Iscariot” or “Iscariot the Chariot” or “Earth, Wind and JUDAS!”

PETER: JUDAS! Cease this madness! The Master is having a serious moment!

JESUS: On the night I am taken, one of you in this very room will betray me and hand me over to the enemy. (All Disciples except JUDAS react in concerned disbelief and fear)

PETER: We would never betray you, Master! It…surely it isn’t…it can’t be me, is it? Master, is it I?

ANDREW: Master, is it I?

JAMES: Master, is it I?

(Each disciple asks JESUS this one-by-one while JUDAS looks around nervously, looking for an escape. He thinks:)

JUDAS: (thinking) Hoooo boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I wonder if he knows. He probably knows. I’ll never live this down. What have I done? I always said I’d NEVER betray a man with hair longer than mine. But I needed that money…how else am I supposed to support my figs-eating habit? I haven’t been this nervous since I arm-wrestled that kid on the mount for the last few pieces of bread and fish. Darn Jesus, making us share that with everyone. Oh shoot, they’re almost done…don’t make eye contact..don’t make eye contact…

THOMAS: Master, is it I? I mean, I doubt it, but…

JOHN: Oh my gosh, really?

JESUS: He who betrays me knows it. He is here. (looks at Judas, with minimal expression, but still conveying “I understand, but I’m still disappointed.)

JUDAS: (Looks around, like “What? Me? Oh nah?”) …Uh…uh…uh…oh right. *ahem* Master is it I?

JAMES: Kind of late on your line there, buddy.

JESUS: You have said it.

JUDAS: Um…yeah… (looks up suddenly) Oh, what’s that, Lazarus? You need help getting out of the tomb? (stands quickly) Well I guess if I’m the only guy who can help bring you back from the dead again — (starts to run off)

MATTHEW: What?! The Master brought him back ages ago! What are you talking about?

JOHN: Where are you going at a time like this??

JUDAS: Oh you know…I just need to go…do the…Judas-y things I do…

JESUS: Do what you must. (They meet eyes. JUDAS freezes for a moment.)

JUDAS: Well you know what they say…if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the tomb!

BARTHOLEMEW: You only tell that joke when you’re about to betray people.

JUDAS: You only look that stupid when you’re about to…. I GOTTA GO!!! (runs out)

PETER: (after silence) …Is Lazarus really dead again? I just went to Mount Fitness with him last week—

JESUS: Peter. No. Come on.

**********

(Scene: Garden of Gethsemene. JUDAS is leading the ROMANS to capture JESUS, who is just returning from prayer to awake the disciples, who are sleeping on the grass)

JESUS: Awake, all of you! How can you sleep at a time like this! I asked you to stay awake and keep watch! Wake up!

PETER: (jumps up) Aaaaaaaand then I said “Mom, if I wanna walk on water, it’s my life, okay??? —oh, hey Master. I was just telling the guys–

JESUS: You were sleeping.

ANDREW: We were sleeping on the cold hard ground!…and yeah we fell asleep.

JESUS: You had one job! Get up quickly, for he who betrays me is near!

[JUDAS & the ROMANS stop about 30 ft. away from JESUS]

JUDAS: (to the ROMANS) The man I kiss is the one you want.

CAPTAIN: …A kiss, are you sure? You could simply begin talking to him or shake his hand, that’ll give us the–

JUDAS: No no no. I’ve already planned this out. A kiss. It must be a kiss.

CAPTAIN: Really, you could even point to him, or yell “JESUS THE CHRIST, HERE YOU ARE OUT IN THE OPEN–”

JUDAS: LOOK. Clearly you don’t know anything about betraying people. You kiss them. That’s how you do it! All right!?

CAPTAIN: If you say so… (JUDAS walks towards JESUS) … what a strange man…

JUDAS: (to himself) All right. Showtime. (to JESUS, jovial) Master! Hey, sorry I fell behind. Peter forgot to give me the address! It’s so good to see you, come here big guy —

[JUDAS awkwardly and slowly starts to kiss JESUS, and first grabs His shoulders/holds Him]

JESUS: Judas, you don’t necessarily have to—

JUDAS: No no, I got this buddy, it’s all good, just showing you how much I love you–

[JUDAS continues to try kissing JESUS on the cheek, misses, and gets his shoulder]

JUDAS: Sorry, I’m sorry, I’m gonna get this right–

JESUS: Judas, you really don’t–

JUDAS: Don’t say anything, I can do this!

CAPTAIN: Judas, I think we know who he is now, you can stop–

JUDAS: NO! This is my one job, man! I can do this! (tries again; misses the cheek again and gets his forehead)

PETER: That’s maaaaaaaajor bro code right there. He’s getting kicked out of the Disciples for this.

ANDREW: …But not for betraying the Master?

PETER: Is that what this is? Wow, all this time I thought it’d be Matthew the tax collector.

THOMAS: I doubt that ever happening.

PETER: DUDE.

JUDAS: Okay, okay, everyone just calm down and let me handle this! (finally kisses his cheek)

JESUS: (staring blankly at JUDAS) Judas…you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?

JUDAS: Yeah, maybe I should have shaken your hand like they said.

JESUS: Hmmm.

CAPTAIN: All right fellas, there he is! Forward! (ROMANS grab JESUS)

THADDEUS: (points & yells) Those men are gonna hurt Jesus!

PETER: Come on, Disciples! We can’t let them take the Master!

DISCIPLES: (action hero-fighting poses) FOR THE MASTERRRRRRR!!! (they charge forward and try to fight; the CAPTAIN pulls a sword and the DISCIPLES run away)

THOMAS: (running) I IMMEDIATELY DOUBT THIS DECISION!!!!!!!!

PETER: YOU COWARDS! I got this Master!!! (grabs a sword and accidentally cuts a ROMAN’s ear off) Take this, Roman scum — uh-oh.

JESUS: PETER, NO!!! We will not shed blood for more blood! I did not teach you that way! (Holds the ROMAN’s ear on his head; it heals and is back in place)

ROMAN: I…wow…thank you, sir.

JUDAS: Hey, you never did that with me! Come on, man, I gave you my best Judas Iscari-kiss!

CAPTAIN: Let’s move him out! (ROMANS take JESUS away)

PETER: Noooo! What have I done? We have shamed the Master… (cries)

JUDAS: Hey, it’s all right, buddy… (fake-consoles PETER, patting him on the back without really caring about him) It’ll be okay…we’ll find another Jewish master to follow around. You…you want a ride my special Judas Iscariot chariot? I’ll let you do that, Peter. Just you.

PETER: You MONSTER!!! I could kill you, you double-crossing, backstabbing, sneaky, two-faced, money-grubbing, skinny piece of trash!

JUDAS: HEY! I’m not that skinny!

PETER: AAAAAAH!!!! (attacks him; JUDAS stops him)

JUDAS: Hey man, come on, violence won’t fix this. You just cut a guy’s ear off, for Iscariot’s sake! You’re just angry right now. Come on, let’s hug this out. (tries to awkwardly hug/kiss him)

PETER: (breaks away) Yeeeeah, I’m not doing this. (walks away) I shall go find the Master, and defend Him to the death!

THOMAS: (from a distance, offstageI doubt you’ll actually do that!

JUDAS: DUDE, SERIOUSLY!

-FIN.-

judas

*Please know that this, once again, is just a comedic look at things. I am a Christian and greatly believe in the events of the Bible, and am not trying to be blasphemous. Just funny. Hope you enjoyed it!

-BB2

Music Monday: Kirk Franklin

Hi all, and welcome this week’s segment of Music Monday! In this segment, I’ll post a song I enjoy and ask you some of your favorites.

For this installment of Music Monday, here is a song I grew up with and have been into for many years now. Let me start by saying, the title of the song is not what the gutters in your mind think it might be at first.

Let Me Touch You (from Whatcha Lookin’ 4)

In the early 90s, Kirk Franklin released his second gospel album, Whatcha Lookin’ 4, featuring himself leading his choir ‘The Family’. Throughout the 90s, they all became well versed into the gospel scene, as we loved his extremely upbeat personality through the music, the infectious enthusiasm of himself and the choir onstage (you just knew they were having a good time in every song), and most importantly, the praise/worship of God really shone through in such creative & meaningful ways that the audience could adapt to. If you weren’t a listener who believed in Jesus & his healing power, listening to Kirk share the greatness of Him (even sometimes including essence of personal turnaround experiences) just might be powerful enough to make you think really hard about it. This entire album = wonderful.

Let Me Touch You was during a set in the middle of the concert in which Kirk sat at the piano for some slightly more somber/melodic songs. My personal favorite is this one. The soloist is Dalon Collins, and in the song he asks Jesus: “Let me touch you and see if you are real, even though I know your heart my hands can heal; but sometimes I get discouraged and I need your strength and shield. Jesus, let me touch you and see if you are real.” I mean, man. Those lyrics are just the beginning of the song! It goes on to become so reflective of that longing that so many people have for Jesus in many situations (or in general), and wanting/needing His love more and more. The melody/music is so simple compared to some of the other songs in the album, but after the music starts to build towards the key change, the intensity created doesn’t go over the top – it simply captures the need for having Jesus near for comfort. Collins was a fantastic, passionate soloist in The Family back in the day (who still performs solo as far as I can find) and everything he pours into the song just makes this perfectly meaningful, musical, and magnificent. It truly feels like the tone this song captures is reminiscent of the love and reaching one really has for Jesus. I’ll probably love this song forever, and I hope it continues to live on.

So there’s this week’s MUSIC MONDAY! I hope you enjoy Let Me Touch You – now give me a song you enjoy! Who knows, perhaps we’ll inspire each other musically towards something new.

Have a great week, and sing on my brethren!

-BB2

Music Monday: Handel’s Messiah

Hi all, and welcome to my 4th segment of Music Monday! In this segment, I’ll post a song I enjoy and ask you some of your favorites. For this installment of Music Monday, here’s some music I was inspired by this weekend.

I LOVE…LOOOOOVE Handel’s Messiah. This is my favorite choral/orchestral work, favorite Baroque era composition, favorite thing to sing, favorite…everything. King George had Handel compose this oratorio under pressure in 1741 as a part of his job. This work is 53 movements, 2.5 hours long, spreads so much scripture about God & Jesus around the choral & solo/duet movements…and he wrote it in just 24 days. That’s INSANE for how much work went into this thing. The scriptural text is so inspiring on its’ own, and Handel used so many musical stylings & compositional techniques for the singers and orchestra famous during the Baroque era, that the music just makes the words come alive. The two work together so well in such an unbelievable way that everyone has come to know and love. Everyone knows the famous Hallelujah Chorus, of course. This, like many other movements, are the pinnacle of one’s celebration of the Lord’s presence.
I could have posted ANY movement above from this work, but I chose For Unto Us A Child Is Born because of the ensemble performing and the celebration of Jesus’ birth in this movement. It’s right in the middle of the story being told through the scripture & the music. But honestly, there’s something wonderful in every single movement of Messiah, and it’s crafted in such a thoughtful, genius way.
Messiah has provided me with so many inspiring performances in the past. I first performed it in college when we did most of the work with full combined choruses & orchestra. Many of my music major friends & I did the solos, and it not only transformed my growth as a singer/musician, but the text just came alive to me and help to reaffirm my faith in such a meaningful way that helped me connect with it. Most recently, my church choir combined with another church across town to perform a few special services of 5 choral movements from it and a few solos, all accompanied by organ. This may have been one of the best group to perform this with. While everyone wasn’t of the same kind of musicianship level, and it was a work in progress for many of them technically, their attitudes & motivation towards performing this to minister the music to the congregation stuck out more than anything. This has made it one of the most inspiring things to me any time I’ve sung it. My dream is to one day conduct the entire work (or at least most of it) in front of a collegiate and/or professional chorus & orchestra. I love everything about this work, and it’ll remain in a special place in my heart for years & years to come, as is does with so many others. This is proof that over 270 years later, grand music with meaning can be timeless and meaningful.

So what are some of your favorite songs/artist right now? Feel free to share! Music has too much of an impact on us for us to keep it to ourselves; hence why I started Music Monday. So jump in, friends! 🙂

Have a great week, and sing on my brethren!

-BB2