Thursday, July 19, 2007

President Exec. Order Supersedes the 5th Amendment

Let's recap what the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Two days ago the President, George W. Bush, gave this executive order rescinded the 5th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America by ordering that a person in the United States can be deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process of law, by order of the Dept. of the Treasury, in cooperation of the Dept. of Defense, against those they believe pose a threat to the reconstruction of Iraq.

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq

(Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, July 17, 2007)

Where is it we live?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ecumenism and the Pope's Recent Comments

Recently Pope Benedict made a few comments concerning the protestant church, mainly that they are not 'real' churches, because they do not buy that Peter was the first 'Pope' (though Peter himself denied that he was to be followed in the Bible, and pointed people to Christ, and Peter is never mentioned in any early Christian Church writing as having any such position in Rome) or that Peter is the foundation of the Christian Church (as Christ is mentioned as the only foundation of the church...the Peter himself).

This brings up an interesting question concerning ecumenical movements that are prominent in the emergent and 'emerging' churches. Essentially the Catholic Church has denounced the validity of anything that is not Catholic, and those who follow those non-Catholic churches. In my opinion it should have been the other way around a long time ago...the Christian Church should have ousted the it is time to recognize that the Catholic Church is not Christian, regardless of their using Christ's name.

If they were Christian, then they wouldn't pray through a dead woman as the liaison to God (Mary as the Mediatrix). Or pray to or through other dead persons, like the Saints. They wouldn't resort to rituals to earn their hope of salvation through the organization of the Catholic Church, which holds people's salvation over them like a carrot that they actually hold. There are a thousand other doctrines they hold that could be spoken of here that have nothing to do with the Christian Scriptures, but all to do with traditions they have made up through the years.

So, not to merely pick on the organization of the Catholic Church, but there are hundreds of other 'protestant' churches that make up their own rules and beliefs outside of the Christian Scriptures as well, or who believe in a Jesus of their own design.

In the midst of all this, in the midst of not even being able to agree about the identity of God...why a push for unity among people in the church? What is the basis for that unity? If it isn't Christ, as described to us in the basis for Christian practice...which is the Christian Scriptures (the Bible)...then it would seem that they are just pushing for unity for the sake of the cheap unity that disagreement about Christ himself gives. And what is the point of that?

My take is the take that the apostles had. You can't make up your own version of Christ and be a Christian. There is no unity in Christ outside Him being God and the only foundation of the Christian Church.

Quick note about Buffalo, NY

On Thursday I flew to Buffalo, NY for work. Got to Buffalo in the evening.

Rental car was a new Ford Mustang, which has more blind-spots than a cardboard box, practically. The inside of the car looked like the inside of those toy truck you let your toddlers noodle around the driveway in. The windows roll down just slightly when you open the doors, and back up when you close the doors. That has to be an icy/winter-weather nightmare. Powerful gas-sucker built like Fisher-Price put it together.

I didn't really do anything outside of work other than hang out in the pool at the hotel a little bit. But I didn't really have much time outside of work. The weather there was pretty cool overall.

It was nice to get back to Springfield though. My friend Josh picked me up and drove me home as well. The heat and humidity was actually a welcome thing. It was great to see my girls too.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Does the music matter?

This weekend has been a bit frustrating for me as a musician. I'm supposed to be playing on the worship team for church, but I wasn't able to make the practice this week because of a conflict with work, and church didn't opt to shift the practice from the time they chose. The issue isn't that though...instead it is that I'm so appalled by the chosen tunes being done poorly that honestly...I'm embarrassed to play the songs as they are from the recording of the practice. Sound vain?

Is it more humble to play poorly executed music if you knew that people would cringe if you did that to non-church cover-tunes in a coffee shop or concert? Or songs that are in the wrong time or playing the wrong chords? Some people would argue that this is 'worship' and therefore as long as the people are 'able' to worship that the fact that the chords are all wrong shouldn't matter. Well question is return is: then why are we playing music? Can't we 'worship' just fine without music? Or without these specific tunes?

I think that we choose the songs that we do specifically because we believe the choices DO matter. And since I think that it is reasonable to give my best musicianship that I'm able (not that I'm really all that good in the first place) in serving people with music (to bring people into a place where they can comfortably connect to praising God in song), I therefore think that the music we have chosen should be played well. We have a number of really accomplished and good musicians in the I see no reason to simplify arrangements, dumb down the arrangements, or simply get the arrangement wrong. Doing so isn't 'creative license'. It is just bad music.