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Category Archives: values

a bewildering, naked streak down a neon, public tunnel,
wearing only a flimsy wallet loaded with lies
and unfulfillable promises

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the pursuit of money is the quest for power… the unbridled quest for power is a primal drive to cover our own insecurity and weakness … truth, ethics, morality, sophistication… these are secondary trivialities in this desperate, universal equation

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“look at me!” they all cry…
but we can’t!
because we want you to look at us!
and you can’t because …

“Today you are You, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

― Dr. Seuss

… imagine if on birthdays we sung these lyrics over our loved ones as opposed to the regular “you look like a monkey, and you act like one too…”

… imagine if we spoke about this every day

… imagine if this was the unseen quest at every meal…

… imagine if we meant it

 

… maybe there would be no need for politics? …

nor even nations …

nor war …

nor religion …

nor capitalism or communism …

or any other “ism”

 

imagine

 

 

it is almost impossible to get a person to hate and murder another if that person has no experience of being hated nor any real understanding of or reason to hate and murder another…

the same can be said of love and life…

this was posted on Facebook  recently and it is indeed a sobering cluster of ideas

when I saw this for the first time it was posted by a person of “white” race in South Africa – a minority cultural group in the country who are now feeling the very real pressure of racist legislation and the resulting reality of legislated dis-empowerment and intimately perceived unfairness under the powerful hand of the present government which was democratically elected into power by the majority of South African citizens nearly 20 years ago

as a member of this same “white” cultural group I immediately resonate with the sentiments and ideals expressed in the posting

I also feel all manner of emotions bubbling up inside me as it is a very tangible reality we face every day

and yes, in the posting there a strong linear thread of ‘logic’ in these statements and the wisdom of what is stated is to my mind self evident

… however what is seemingly less evident is that without too much lateral thought and perspectival gymnastics the same set of principles can be seen at work in the present political legislation as those which entrenched and under girded the now disgraced and ousted Nationalist Party’s policy of Apartheid and “Separate Development” prior to the political shift in 1994

with these policies legislated during the days of Apartheid the White race in South Africa was entrenched as exclusively privileged recipients of preferential access to resources … material, economical, political, social, cultural and this spilled into all other sectors of society including job reservation, education, land ownership and many other arena’s …

what a man sows is what a man reaps… whether just or unjust

and yes, the circle will turn again, and again…

and it’s always amazing how the same thing can look so completely different seen from just another angle

… and perhaps now, with the shoe on the other foot so to speak, so many of us “whites” seem to all so easily think of many reasons and linear justifications not to share this sobering  aspect of the equation, publicly, privately, even within ourselves – in our own private thoughts

… don’t you think?

we all love to quote memes like, “the road less travelled” and “narrow is the road to life and few find it, but broad and popular is the road to destruction and many go that way”… etc.

yet we all strive to be ‘popular’?

… amazingly the contradiction seemingly escapes us

‎’popularity’ is measured by numerically significant mass appeal

however, the masses have never really appealed to me – tragically significant, yes – but appealing, – no

…if anything it all scares me

we live with the sad realities of superficially manipulative marketing and it works extremely well in the age of  the “mindless masses” …

the offspring of it all is ‘pop’ mass hysteria, the prevailing idea of a democratic majority, hero worship based on superficial externals rather than on integrity or true greatness, rational and moral decay and rampant materialism, etc.

sure, we complain about TV and other media from time to time but apparently we fail to see that they simply give us what we demand

now if one is popular and therefore successful within this massive populist chunk of society… what might it say about the personal integrity, character, ethics,  intelligence, even the basic wisdom of those deemed “popular”?

… does the ‘popular’ button override the integrity switch?

democracy is based on measured popularity

in our day and age democracy is heralded as the supreme system of social governance and those elected into leadership and power are considered wise, ethical, righteous, virtuous, and unquestionably worthy of honour and respect

social and political leaders are deemed successful and are empowered by virtue of  the mass appeal statistics they seem to generate

so yes, size does matter

bigger is definitively better

 

religious movements and religious leaders do exactly the same thing

it’s all the same really, only the façade differs

fractionally

 

one wonders who learned from who?

http://bcove.me/oc7vm0y4

In this short but thought provoking interview legendary “Smashing Pumpkins” guitarist Billy Corgan sits down with Brian Solis to discuss the state of the music industry and why he feels today’s musicians are treated like sex workers.

As powerful as the ideas expressed are, to my mind there is still a very dominant ‘marketing’ drive evident in this discourse.  Is this the only basis from which to evaluate the arts?
The present capitalist economic/advertising/self-promotion market system is the only context we have at present, but could it be seen as being similar to a picture of condemned prisoners on death row squabbling over who gets the best cell with regards to proximity to the exit door leading to the inevitable gallows?  Is there not another way?
Should artists be like common disposable commodity hawkers? … going around with cap in hand, desperately peddling their art as commercial wares almost exclusively to the demands of the mostly uneducated and consumer driven masses, usually at minimum rates just to fill our stomachs?

Another angle is whether musicians and artists are themselves not selling their own souls to the “pimps” who offer the promise of sustenance  or “fame?”  Many musicians perform under the false allure of “exposure”. .. not unlike the sex worker on street corners selling themselves in hope for a fee essentially determined by the buyer.  Are musicians and artists themselves not living lives just like sex workers when they participate in this type of seedy transaction?

Personally I am very concerned at the toll this is taking on the arts and culture on a deep level.  Perhaps the desperation for survival, scratching out an existence, is only adding to the degradation of society and humanity as we see it in our day?

For me this is no more glaring and disturbing as in the Christian music and specifically the so called “Worship” industry today.

Music and the arts in the spiritual realm of human consciousness is an expression of the ethereal in the most powerful way.  Through it we are able to explore new dimensions of meaning, new frontiers of communication and understanding.  The arts were there long before we ordered and symbolized our means of communication in symbols and cognitive speech and thought patterns.  The example a Christ reveals how he chose the metaphor in parables and the mysteries of “supernatural” demonstrations in word and deed to convey deep and challenging ideas to a culture essentially stuck and locked in to superficial memes and limited  two dimensional language.

To harness the creative arts and bring it under the power and control of popular culture and the  surface tension of linear thought and communication is to place a lid on spirituality.

In  the New Testament writings we are challenged not to conform to the patterns of the world but instead to be transformed by the renewing of our minds in order that we might test and approve the perfect will of God for our lives and for our times.  But at least to my mind it is blatantly clear that in churches world wide we seem mostly if not exclusively to follow trends and popularity stakes.  We follow ‘feel-good’ consumerist systems in our ‘worship.”  And the standards of this interaction are determined and set by the Christian worship industry and the “pop stars” who parade as its front, its representatives.  Our “worship leaders'” and Christian “Pop Stars” do not seem to operate from a platform of a biblically renewed minds but rather seem blatantly to conform to the patterns of popularity and the success it offers in the world today – looking, speaking and sounding exactly like the regular music industry celebrities.  Relevancy and spiritual accuracy and authority is measured by popularity and accessibility to the common ground of  consumer sentiment.

In our churches we seem only willing to play that which we are led to believe has been tried and tested by the Christian worship industry as if it has the divine anointing and authority with respect to the sounds of the Kingdom of God but which is instead almost exclusively run on aggressive capitalistic, strictly profit based, manipulative economic strategies, – methods copied verbatim from the successfully implemented patterns of a greedy and an undeniably profit motivated secular music industry.   After all, it’s pure business, right?

I have asked as many pastors of churches as I can if they would feel happy if instructed not to preach from their own individual heart  perspective but instead to copy a great audio or DVD teaching by one of the great present day popular Christian preachers as their regular congregational church sermon, … following each word exactly (or as best they can) , using the same analogies, the exact same visual prompts and effects.  The answer I received each time, even though the “popular Christian preacher” was deemed acceptable and even highly regarded and embraced as theologically sound and “anointed by God” was always, “no.”

Yet amazingly those same pastors instruct their worship leaders and musicians to copy verbatim (or as best as they possibly can) what is popular and selling in the Christian retail outlets worship CD and worship DVD racks.

If we believe that there is a “Holy Spirit” amongst us who dwells in each believer and leads each believer into all truth, taking what belongs to Jesus and making it know to each as the bible says, … why do we only permit the singing of songs by the industry backed and promoted superstars?

What is this repetitious sensual liturgy amongst us?

Where are the “new songs” expressed in and from the hearts of the local  redeemed of the Lord?

Sometimes it even feels like God lives exclusively in USA or Australia these days.

I also ask the question, “why are today’s Christian musicians and creative artists being treated like sex workers?”

And why are we letting it happen?

i can’t help but wonder just how much of Jesus is still left in the jesus culture we have created?

pop! goes the gospel!

 

for he’s a jolly good fellow!

 

… and so say all of us!

hip,

hip!

…hooray!

An attitude of entitlement transcends political theories or mindsets.  It also predates it.

 

An attitude of entitlement speaks of a state of heart, not mind … a spirituality, not a democratic choice.  It transcends cognitive self determination as it determines what we choose all day, every day.

 

There is this alarming article that opens up a discussion on the issue:

http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/South-Africa-0-Rest-of-Africa-10-20120117

 

Clearly colonial influence in Africa (and around the globe) is and has been nothing short of diabolical and systems like Apartheid in South Africa are inexcusable and indefensible.   The article has this to say of the South African way of thinking:

“We could not understand being the power house, one of the richest country on the continent, with every resource available; why has South Africa become so different from the rest of Africa.

Apartheid came to mind – but seeing what happened on the rest of the continent, Apartheid seemed to be a tea party in comparison to the brutality of other colonial powers.

Rwanda 1 Million dead within 100 days due to the colonial blunders. The Belgian colonial past and King Leopold’s ghost in Central and Central West Africa left 13 Million people dead. The Germans butchered their way around South West Africa and German East Africa. The Portuguese Colonial Wars left scores dead and resulted in two bloody civil wars in Mozambique and Angola, and the French also did not run their colonies as Health Spas with brutality and death of the local inhabitants. Britain in the 1950’s dunked their hands into blood with the Mau Mau Wars where castrations, death and brutality in Kenya were the daily order and the list goes on for every corner in Africa. With this history as whites we should be hated in every corner of the continent – but we are not. “

The Kingdom of Heaven comes from within and not from without.  This applies to the culture, theology and politics of the Afrikaaner and the birth and implementation of the Apartheid system as much as it speaks to the colonial influences present at the time.  It is not a skin colour issue nor a generational, cultural, economic or political one.

 

We must deal with our history (whoever we are) but infinitely more importantly we must deal with our present.  It is the only thing we have total control of each second.

 

What does this say about us?