Tuesday, April 21, 2009

3 random things (torture, Carnival and "Christian Rock")

I have come across 3 things to make you aware of:

1. rant warning- Did you see this? The New York Times reports that 2 of the terrorism suspects were waterboarded 266 times. One of them was waterboarded 83 times, while the other (a bad man I do admit- but punishment is for the courts to decide) was waterboarded an astounding 183 times. I have a hard time believing each of those times were to get info, and none were for other reasons. But, however we feel about these individuals, how can one not believe that waterboarding someone 183 constitutes anything but torture? Seriously, how blind to your own nationalism or belief system does one have to be to think this is acceptable behavior, especially if one believes in the concept of American Exceptionalism (if you believe in this, you must see that what makes American "great" is its "values"- and the values expressed by this, are not particularly exceptional). And if you are a Christian and feel this is justified, you need to reexamine your belief system, because something besides Jesus and Scripture are guiding you.


Rant over

2. Did you check out Bono's latest op-ed in the New York Times? While disjointed it is worth reading, covering Carnival, Christianity, lent and Easter for believers and non-believers. There are lots of great little quotes, including:
I come to lowly church halls and lofty cathedrals for what purpose? I search the Scriptures to what end? To check my head? My heart? No, my soul. For me these meditations are like a plumb line dropped by a master builder — to see if the walls are straight or crooked. I check my emotional life with music, my intellectual life with writing, but religion is where I soul-search.

So much of the discussion today is about value, not values. Aid well spent can be an example of both, values and value for money. Providing AIDS medication to just under four million people, putting in place modest measures to improve maternal health, eradicating killer pests like malaria and rotoviruses — all these provide a leg up on the climb to self-sufficiency, all these can help us make friends in a world quick to enmity. It’s not alms, it’s investment. It’s not charity, it’s justice.

3. Manchester Orchestra's second album dropped today. It is phenomenal, seriously. Wow. I was writing a review and then saw Paste's. It literally said everything I was going to say, only better. Imagine a bunch of young emo influenced Christians that showed serious potential their first time around, realizing they wanted to make a big rock-n-roll album while channeling everything good about Nirvana and not sounding derivative. This band could be a future Emergent Idol band if they continue on this trajectory. The lyrics are for anyone except those with sensitive Christian ears, easily offended by doubt. The opening line of this album is, “I am the only son of a pastor I know who does the things I do."

Anyway, here is the review by Paste. I really needed this album after so much navel gazing post-rock and folky stuff. I needed something smart and rowdy. It is the perfect combo of the holy grail- intelligence, melody and noise.

Mean Everything to Nothing is only $7.99 on Amazon (Cd or MP3) and iTunes.

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