Wednesday, 26 March 2008

"JESUS WEPT" (John 11:35)

My mate Richard had a go a 'devotioning' the shortest verse in the Bible; I'm going to give it a go myself, because.....

last night I went to see the film 10,000 BC with some friends and, all the countless other blockbuster references aside (watch it and you'll get my drift!), the one thing about the film that really took me aback was the take it had on when men fearlessly battled for what they believed. When men truly defended their loved ones. When men were men.

And that's what Jesus was - he fought for what he believed against those who didn't believe, albeit in an unphysical manner. He stood by, and continues to stick by, the ones he loves. And yet he remains arguably the finest example of masculinity.

What drives men, more than anything, is emotion (probably not as much as women!) and emotion is the glue that binds them together; the motor that keeps them running; the adrenaline pumping inside them. And sometimes, that emotion can turn into tears; into openly breaking down, weeping like a baby.

Whoever said that "real men don't cry"? After all, Jesus wept.

What is weeping/crying/bawling? Its a release, isn't it? It is the literal breakdown of a mountenous building block; the melting of a mask; the removal of a real guise (no irony intended). One of the most powerful tools that the church uses for stirring emotions is music, which comforts and sometimes confronts us in the form of Christ himself.

But isn't that ok? Yes gents, remaining masculine and strong keeps us being men - however, the same way "Jesus wept", so can we and that can be the missing link between man and Christ.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

This is music


Jerry Maguire - "Secret Garden" Bruce Springsteen
Highlander - "Who Wants To Live Forever" Queen
Romeo and Juliet - "You and Me Song" The Wannadies
Forrest Gump - "California Dreamin'" The Mamas and the Papas
A Lifeless Ordinary - "A Lifeless Ordinary" Ash
Rambo III - "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" The Hollies
Trainspotting - "Perfect Day" Lou Reed
Control - "Love Will Tear Us Apart" Joy Division
Yellow Submarine - "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" The Beatles
Billy Elliot - "Children of The Revolution" T.Rex
Shrek - "Hallelujah" John Cale
Stardust - "Rule The World" Take That
Clueless - "Change" The Lightning Seeds
The Commitments - "Dark End Of The Street" Percy Sledge
Shaun of The Dead - "Panic" The Smiths
This Is England - "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" - Clayhill

Most of you know two of my main interests are popular music and modern cinema, so its only natural for me to have a selection of tracks that have appeared in movies in my personal electronic track bank.

I didn't know until by just schimming through the songs here how many of them, through one version or another, have appeared on different film soundtracks. It must have come subconsciously to me.

To some people, music is just noise that comes from the radio, which people either sing along to in work or in the car; at times not knowing all the words of the songs, who sings them or even the title of the track to look up in a record store. To others, music is a way of life; picking up an instrument, relentlessly dedicating themselves to playing it, sometimes beyond the brink of obsession, and attempting to be a prodigy in their respective field.

What is music? Its an art. Its a gift. Its a backdrop. Its a collage. Its emotion. Its love. Its anger. Its fun. Its dressing up. Its dressing down. Its going out and staying in. Its dancing, running, lying down, sitting.
What is music to me? Its a soundtrack to life. If I'm not able to give some useless information about songs that I hear, chances are I could pin-point another time in my life when I've heard it before (provided I have!). A few months back on my Bebo I filled in the blanks for 'Soundtrack to your life' questionnaire, where I analysed my life as a film and took different tracks to be associated with specific moments or 'scenes'. The truth is I could probably fill a multi-volume CD box set with the soundtrack of my life so far, and thats only in the last 22 years!

I wonder if you've ever watched outtakes or deleted scenes of films or TV programmes where there is no music in the background, as funnily enough its all dubbed in the production stages for the final scenes. Really takes away from the flavour of it, doesn't it? Not as much life would be apparent; no comforting warmth or realistic familiarity to it.

Imagine if each day was just that: either an outtake or a deleted scene; in another words a big mistake. The script having countless re-writes and all the interesting bits ending up on the cutting room floor. In my experience, the director's extended cuts foten remind me why the classics of today became the trimmed down theatrical versions we're more familiar with; but they also raise eye-brows and a lot of what-if's. What if that character remained in the plot; what if more was done with that storyline; what if the key scene remained as initially sketched out in the rough draft.

Being a Christian, my belief is God had my life planned out from before I was even born (Psalm 139), and I reviewed this about three weeks ago while down south. Everything makes sense; every bit of the jigsaw puzzle fits into place. Every piece of music thats been important in my life has stayed with me down through the years and each track not only allows me to tell a story about them but also tells a story themselves to me.

Without being forceful or even persuasive, allow me to invite you to do this:

Think of the music that you've associated with important moments from years gone by. Revisit the soundtrack of your life. Press the pause button if need be; heck, hit the rewind control! But don't hit stop or mute. Let the music keep playing; let it speak to you; close your eyes while doing so. Turn it up loud; turn it down low.

Perhaps God is asking you to reflect and take time out....

dw :)

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

12/3/08 - Getting things going

Its been a while coming but I felt it was time to make a regular contribution to my blog, as in maybe once a week. Quite a lot is going on up here (in my head) that I feel the need to talk about, maybe this'll be a way of getting it off me chest!

Like anything you're going to remain constant with, a blog requires time to add something to it. Over the last wee while, I realised I didn't have the time to sit down and make something of it; I was bogged down with all the cack of the day. But really you have to often take all the junk that gets in the way, put it aside and MAKE TIME for the cause, especially if its worth something to you.

Why wouldn't you want to otherwise?

Hmmm. Want. Desire. Enthusiasm. Motivation. (I'm partially brainstorming, by the way!)

Anyone whose ever listened to my sermons/devotions or read any of my poems may often see the metaphor of a travelling vehicle, like a train for example. I spoke the other week in Parkhead about a rather interesting tale that happened to me en route to the Youth Rally a few weeks back, about how I got onto the wrong train. (Instead of being Perth-bound, I was heading to Edinburgh - as you do!)

Recently I've been assessing how relationships - of all sorts, not just the romantic type - can be a bit like trains. After slow and patience-testing starts, they gradually get going and going at full speed whilst people linked to the journey, or the passengers, get to sit back and relax, by rights. Sometimes there are a few stops on the way but things get going again after a while. Tunnels often pop up and the train is in the dark for a brief time but, after it comes out, its clear to see out the window again. Flip, even the ticket inspector snoops about, wondering if we've a right to be sitting there to begin with! And, more often than not, the train gradually starts to slow down, the journey coming to an end, the vehicle pulls into its final destination.

Having looked back over the last two years, in particular, I've been trying to get my head round that little uncertainty period, where the train slows down after a great trip, nothing to worry about regarding getting out or off. Where the passenger has got so comfortable and adapted to his/her surroundings that its a strain to get up and off, yet you know you have to.

Its so obvious that time has come to elight - yet nobody says anything, until you get to your destination. "The next stop is _______ where this train will terminate". Call me naive but I still don't get that bit; the quiet period. Almost as if secrets might not as well be secrets anymore.

How does the driver know when to stop and when to terminate the ride? He sees the signs ahead; he's got a great big window in front of him, sure. How long does he know to go on for?

These are just random thoughts, which I'll come back to someday.

Time to make dinner....... ;-)