Defining Easter

A Christian Worldview of Fiction

A few years ago, I watched an unpopular senator get re-elected, though many thought she’d finally met her match. However, she got ahead of her opponent by defining her for the public through a number of attack ads. By the time the challenger came out with her ads saying what she would do as a senator, few people were listening. They already had her labeled, courtesy of Ms. Unpopular Incumbent.

That political race told me a lot about how the public works in this day and age. We deplore attack ads, but we listen to them. We may not even realize we do, but it shows when people start saying what they believe about this or that candidate—they often parrot material straight from the playbook of one candidate or the other.

In the same way, Christians are allowing non-Christians to define us, to the point that we’re buying into their…

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Rewriting Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (Biblical version)

I have always really appreciated the song “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, ever since I first heard it played in the movie Shrek for that one part where Shrek and Fiona get all angsty towards the end. It has a nice, nostalgic melody in a minor key that isn’t too common, I think….plus the lyrics are poetic and well-crafted.

However, I was never too ecstatic about the somewhat erotic content that overlays the Biblical language being used, and I’ve always wanted to try reprising it so that it speaks more from a true, Biblical perspective. Plus, I saw this Youtube video and it inspired me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFb5DKod4KI

It’s beautiful, heartfelt, and passionate! Glory be to God! Sooooo I wanted to try writing my own version (but not singing it, nope). My version below doesn’t change the lyrics nearly as much as the guys from the video, though. I wished to adhere to the original content as much as possible while giving it a Biblical twist.

Here it is (chords included):

G                                 Em
I heard there was a secret chord
G                                 Em
That David played and it pleased the Lord
C                     D                     G         D
He sang and worshiped every midnight to Him
G                                 C                     D
Well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth,
Em                   C
The minor fall, the major lift
D                     B                     Em
The fallen king composing hallelujah
C                     Em       C         G         D         G
Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
she tied you to her kitchen chair
she broke your throne she cut your hair
but then you wept, and cried out hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

Maybe I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
I used to live without you in the darkness
But I see your flag on the marble arch
Love has made its victory march
A thousand tongues proclaiming hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

Well there was a time when I never knew
what’s really wrong, what’s really true
but now I’ve witnessed every secret of Him
Remember when He came to you
The Holy dove was moving too
He taught your soul to sing the hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

Well, now I know of God above
And all I’ll ever need is love
a love that found, before I ever knew you
There’s never a cry you hear at night
For now my eyes have seen the light
It’s a warm and it’s a glorious hallelujah

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah


All credits for the original song go to Leonard Cohen, Shrek, and whoever else out there who has dibs on this wonderful song’s copyrights.

All credits for this new version technically belong to me…I guess…but feel free to go out there and strum it on a guitar or something 🙂

12 Zodiac Signs Re-imagined as Terrifying Monsters

12 ZODIAC SIGNS REIMAGINED AS TERRIFYING MONSTERS AND THE RESULT IS AWE INSPIRING.

The above will link to GEEKNAMA’s blogsite, which is the original post.

This is a pretty collection of art. The 12 zodiac signs always make for interesting conversations. Very soft colors and brush strokes that give the paintings some depth. Shadows are nicely played, and I like how the zodiac signs have been re-imagined into these uncompromisingly grotesque forms; it’s a nice break from all those cute or cool fanarts out there.

For example, I am an Aquarius, so I inevitably get that picture with the girly mermaid holding the water jug:

aquarius

But in Damon Hellandbrand’s version, it’s an ugly octopus man who’d give Ursula a run for her money. Definitely interesting.

Just an FYI, but I don’t believe in the character trait fortune-telling stuff about all this.

But those pictures are definitely pretty awesome.

East from the West

“As far as the east is from the west
So far have You taken our sins from us
And as high as the heavens are over the earth
So great is Your steadfast love toward us”

– Chorus from Sovereign Grace Music “Psalm 103”

First, you must listen to this wonderful song at this site: click here.

Inspired by Psalm 103, this song caught my attention a few weeks ago, and has been officially stuck spinning around in my brain ever since…(help)

Singing this song always reminds me of a snippet of a sermon I heard a few years back. Though I sadly can’t remember who the preacher was, something he said really struck me (paraphrased):

“The Psalmist who wrote this song meant precisely what he said when he compared the distance between our forgiven selves and our past sins to that of the distance between “East” and “West.” Imagine for a moment if the Psalmist sang “As far as the North is from the South” instead. A look at the world globe reveals that the distance between North and South is finite – we can locate the exact positions of the North Pole and the South Pole, and measure that length. It would be something like half the diameter of the planet Earth: approximately 12,430 miles.

globe

However, things like the “East Pole” and the “West Pole” don’t really exist. You can continue traveling East, or West, and ever actually hit that point where you can say, “Hey, I’m at the East Pole now!” This is different from the North Pole, which was discovered, flagged, and drawn onto an Atlas hundreds of years ago.”

The distance between East and West is literally immeasurable.

And that’s how far our sins have been taken from us.

Pretty incredible. Especially since the Psalmist back in the Old Testament probably didn’t even know the geometric dimensions of the Earth, or even that a North Pole existed. Here’s proof that these Psalms are divinely inspired. Here’s proof that the Bible contains God-breathed Words, even down to the little metaphors and details.

Here’s proof that our Lord Jesus Christ paid the price for a result that remains infinitely immeasurable and unfathomable. How’s that for a reason to sing a praise song to our God?


Pic credits: http://www.geolounge.com/absolute-relative-location/

The Woman of Colour

“The Woman of Colour: A Tale”
Anonymous
edited by Lyndon J. Dominique

I encountered this book in one of my college English classes, just a few weeks after I watched the 2013 movie “Belle.” Coincidence? Maybe. Fate? Uh, no. But definitely some food for thought. I don’t believe the book and the movie are both about the same woman, but both seem to draw some connection with this painting from 1779 of a certain “Dido Elizabeth Belle” with her companion “Lady Elizabeth Murray”:

Dido-Elizabeth-Belle-Painting

I think a lot of people find a strange fascination in this public image of a mixed-race woman, painted during a time when slavery was still a thing. The movie “Belle” apparently drew inspiration from this portrait, and the story of Belle is a fictionalized, dramatized version of this real-life woman’s story.

Belle_poster
All rights to this movie poster for “Belle” (2013) belong to the movie makers and affiliated producers, designers, etc.

On the other hand, I think “The Woman of Colour” does not refer to Dido Belle at all; in fact, there’s hardly a connection, except that Lyndon J. Dominique’s recently published version of it has this painting on the cover.

woman of colour_cover

Oh, and Olivia Fairfield, the protagonist who is the “woman of color” in the story, has a Black handmaid named Dido. That’s probably the extent of the literal connections there.

But yeah, of course, they share that feature of being a colored, gendered literary work. That’s controversy times two.

Personally, I don’t think modern readers would think very highly of “The Woman of Colour” at first glance. This girl Olivia is not a die-hard feminist who fights for female and racial equality, and she’s not exactly in an epic battle against insurmountable societal prejudices. It’s not like she’s working hard to meet and conquer the man of her life, either. Not exactly a romance novel, or a novel of manners (aka Jane Austen), or even a cry for female autonomy, this book feels more quiet – just a woman who’s a little different from other people, trying to live the way she thinks is right.

Her values fall surprisingly close to those held by her white British counterparts: she displays a passive acceptance, even acknowledgement, of British devaluation of Blacks and slaves in a way that defies conventional abolitionist writing. Olivia Fairfield is British. She is coloured, she is female, but still British in her writing and in her thinking.

“‘Ah! my good sir,’ said I, ‘I know what is right, and I trust the Almighty will suport me in the due performance of it.'” – Olivia Fairfield

I think in such a diversely invested character, the strengths and flaws of each of these people groups comes into a more direct tension with each other, letting the reader watch these often contradictory values play out. See who wins. See who makes sense, or who doesn’t. See what Olivia decides to do in the end: marry a rich husband, get revenge, go back to Jamaica where she is from, or something else? This decision holds sway over how we can characterize the book: a satire? A novel of manners? Abolitionist? Feminist? Comedy? Tragedy? None of the above? All of the above?

“Friend. – You have not rewarded Olivia even with the usual meed of virtue – a husband!” – from DALOGUE BETWEEN THE EDITOR AND A FRIEND.

Comparing it to the movie “Belle,” there’s that definite similarity: Belle is also a British woman. Not born, but raised in England as a lady of ranking. Her manners reflect this, and we can see that the people around her (aka white people of high British society) are surprised at this. How is it that a Black woman can conform to the British social rules? This question they ask frames the discourse about slavery, racism, and gender roles throughout the movie, much like “The Woman of Colour”…..though in the end, the triumph of Belle is a bit more pronounced and obviously rewarded than that of Olivia.

We’ve come a long way since these times of slavery, but racism is still a hot issue that gets people thinking and gets others mad. It’s there, under the thin parchment of the Declaration of Independence, and it’s gotten a lot better at hiding itself, then exploding out with violent ferocity through cases like the Ferguson shooting. I think productions like these can, in the very least, remind people that this is still a problem today. In this reminder, there will be thoughts, conversations, debates, even arguments…and hopefully, all this will allow the anonymous writer of “The Woman of Colour” to eventually claim a public name for himself, without fear of retribution.

Source of quotes: Anonymous. The Woman of Colour. Ed. Lyndon J. Dominique. New York: Broadview Editions, 2008. Print.

“Something About Delirium”

My contribution to the timeless genre of late night poetry, in which sleep-deprived students dating as far back as ancient Greek and Roman times collectively lament their woeful circumstances.

“Something About Delirium: No Edits Required”

In the midnight hours
more lights blink on
then in daylight hours…
then they keep blinking
blinking
and I must think
and keep thinking
at something more
Reach for more
more
of something
of anything
and sing
scratchily along
to a Youtube song
then blink
and stare again
at the cursor as it
blinks blinks blinks
“You must be strong!”
There’s more
than that, there’s more
than this, I think,
I really think
the missing link
is not some baboon
but an ice cream spoon
You must be wrong
I think you’re wrong
since every blink
blinks and blinks
brings me careening
staggering
tottering
towards the dreaded witching hours
where sticky coffee
and donuts gone sour
taste like dreamy moments
when I blink,
come awake
and stare again,
until rosy dawn
yawns awake
unnoticed by the light that blinks
on my screen
in a light white sheen
of sleep.

Who cares about my opinion?

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”

Harlan Ellison

Copy-pasted directly from Goodreads.com, where books and quotes are gathered into one convenient website.

Wouldn’t you agree when I say, “Yes!!” to Ellison’s frankness? The truth of this statement seems obvious, but is certainly ignored. Whether we are talking about Obama’s health care programs, or about the Islamic terrorists, or about police brutalities against black residents in US communities, no one should have the right to say whatever they want, before they’ve taken to the time to really assess the facts.

What is the situation, really?

What is actually going on? Behind sensationalized media coverage and angry haters hating on one side or another, where is the truth?

I’ve sometimes wondered if I should try to be more vocal about some of the larger issues that dominate our culture today. I tend to be fairly passive about most of these things. In recent months, I’ve begun to realize that if I want to be a professing Christian, if I truly wish to be the light and salt of the world (Matt. 5:13-16), then hiding inside the carefully trimmed hedges of my church is not the way to go. I must be in the world, as much as I am apart from it; in order to share the gospel to people, I must seek them out and learn to converse with them without resorting to highfalutin religious lingo.

salt_and_light_card-p137441497217324577q0yk_400

God calls us to deny the ways of the world, but that does not mean we’re excused for being ignorant. Whether I am sharing the truth of Christ or expotulating on the greatness of God, in every way I should be fully aware of the context of the culture in which I am speaking.

Only then, I think, will my informed opinion become the truth for my listeners.

Email or E-mail?

A few days ago, I sat down and composed an email/e-mail.

email-logo

Pretty normal affair. However.

As I typed, I happened to type out the word “e-mail”….and immediately got called out by my friend who exclaimed: “Wha-t!? What is that dash? You’re supposed to spell it as just “email”! E-m-a-i-l. Nobody ever uses “e-mail” with a dash these days. You are so 90s!”

OK, it took me a few seconds to get over that shock.

90s? Nineties?? Electronic mails were not even a major form of communication until the 21st century (right?). I refuse to believe that this is a legitimate accusation.

And there we have it; another dilemma which nobody cares about. But that also means no one has the answer to it. What’s the politically correct term?

A Grammar Girl article stated that at the “American Copy Editors Society meeting the editors of the Associated Press stylebook created a stir by announcing a change in their recommended spelling: “e-mail” is now “email.” OK, but official announcements don’t do much for the population at large, especially for non-committal issues like this. So what do you think?

Email or E-mail?

Crazy Love – a slice of Francis Chan

Reading through Christian books always turns out as one of three experiences:

1. I am edified, encouraged, and enabled to go out and live out the Word of God in my life.

2. I objectively realize the truth of the contents, but I can’t get past the horrible writing style.

3. I feel queasy while reading, and after a few days of thinking about it I figure out that it’s heresy.

Non-fiction Christian books generally tend to fall into #1 or #3. Fiction books fall into #2 most of the time – especially recently published ones. (I feel a strong need to put a disclaimer here: the quality of Christian literature should not be determined based on the uselessly large amounts of Christian romance novels in print right now.)

Francis Chan’s Crazy Love is one of those #1-type non-fiction books. It’s about God’s love. His love that is so big that it’s crazy. But in an infinitely good way.

I haven’t finished reading it yet, so I’ll hold off on any definite comments, but so far I have had to rethink my life more than once…always a good sign. That one chapter called “You May Not Finish This Chapter” just says it all in that title. Hey, you may not finish reading this blogpost! Are you ready for the moment you die? It may be right now. It may be tomorrow. No, really. It could actually be right now.

That’s mind-blowing, eye-opening, and definitely makes you re-consider what you’ll do before going to bed tonight.