Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Challenge: Month 2

On April 5th, I completed my second month of no dating. Ten more months to go! This month was actually pretty staggering. God had a lot to teach me, and boy did the message sink in hard. It was a very intense month for personal growth. It's even more intense to think I have ten more months of these kind of lessons. Hoo boy! Anyway, I learned two main points. I learned about the nature of desire, especially a particular desire that's been plaguing me all year, and I learned a little about fairy tale love.

Lately, I've been reading a lot of John Eldredge's works. God speaks to me pretty clearly through his ministry, whether it be a section of his book, "Walking with God" or one of the Ransomed Heart podcasts. About two weeks ago, I had an odd urge, as I was getting ready for bed, to read the next section.

Bear in mind, this is not part of my routine. I've gotten into the habit of starting my day with coffee and a devotion, just so I can live out my day with His words on my mind. But for some reason, I had the distinct feeling to read the next section of "Walking with God" that night. So I did. And good gracious, it had a lot to say to me.

The section was called, 'Unmet Longings'. That should've been my first tip off. Eldredge wrote about desires of the heart, talking about what to do when the same longing crops up over and over again. He said that a common practice is to bury this desire. Eldredge stresses the danger of burying longings, writing that it is a slow form of starvation for the heart. God awakens these desires for a reason.

This hits waaay too close to home. I wrote before about how there has been a certain longing that's constantly been at my heart and no matter how much I pray for relief, it keeps happening. I'd started to shut it down, to close off myself from it. I quickly learned that this wasn't a good idea, but what was denied to me was the answer--what to do with this unmet longing.

Here, God pointed me to the answer. He forced me to examine this desire carefully and critically--something I most certainly did not want to do. But it woke me up, and I realized, that at the heart of this desire was a want for God. A desperate want to have God at the center of my life, my family, and all the things I love, both now and in the future. This seems like a simple revelation, but for me it was groundbreaking. My desire was an indirect desire for God. What a relief this was! Because God wanted me too, and He was using this desire to awaken my soul and answer my heart's longing.

The second thing I learned this month has to do with fairy tales. Bear with me. If you've been around me at all, you'll know that I'm currently obsessed with the show, "Once Upon A Time". People have been telling me to watch it FOREVER but I very foolishly ignored them up until last weekend. Now, it's by far my favorite show. It has everything I love--fairy tales, multi-dimensional characters, tributes to Disney movies, an engaging plot, heart-wrenching romance...sigh. But it does not escape me that there are several allegories that can be made from this show.

For instance: The plot revolves around an evil queen transporting all the fairy tale characters to a town called Storybrooke and ruining their happy endings. These characters don't remember who they are or who they're meant to be.

Sound familiar? Satan holds this world in captivity, convincing the majority that all we are is ordinary, piddly little humans with no expectation for greatness.

But the character Emma Swan, arrives on the scene, and immediately begins to change the town. Slowly but surely, the characters begin to remember their past lives and start fighting the evil queen to win back their happy endings.

Christ came down to our fallen earth and reawakened us. Through His majesty, we can fight sin and fight the Prince of Lies who tell us that we are not enough.

And that's just a glossing over the plot. There is sooo much more to this show. My next blog post will detail the episode "Skin Deep" and the allegories therein. See you then--and next month, May 5th, for the month 3 recap!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In Which I Get Angry

We interrupt this series of thoughtful, spiritual blog posts with an angry rant. Apologies in advance.

I may have mentioned this in a previous blog post. Three years ago, my dear friend Avlbane started a literature/creative writing group with me. We called it the Inklings--basing it upon the same group C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were a part of in Oxford.

Inklings started out as just the two of us meeting at a coffeehouse talking about our respective stories. It grew. Oh, how it grew. It is now a formalized club on campus. We have blossoming new writers every semester. It is an incredible experience.

Inklings is Avlbane's and my baby. We have a great deal of love and affection for this club and all who are a part of it and all who've helped publicize and really make it into something.

So when some condescending smart-ass professor insults both the club AND us AND one of our good friends, we get irritated.

Let me back up. One of our friends asked to do a really awesome project on Inklings. She interviewed us, recorded one of the meetings, took tons of pictures, and even did a bunch of professional shots of Avlbane and me. And let me tell you--they were good. They were REALLY good. I had a lot of people ask me why I'd gotten professional pictures taken--they were blown away when I told them a student took them. She worked really hard on this project.

She recently had a conference with this jackass who basically told her that her project was not very good (which in fact IT WAS.) and proceeded to tell her that Avlbane and I were silly, immature, full of ourselves, and thought we were equal to Tolkien and Lewis.

Let's clear up some things right now.

First off: The silly remark. Yes. Avlbane and I are silly. We like to laugh, we like to make jokes--most normal people do. I'm not sure how this is an insult. Is this somehow insinuating Tolkien and Lewis weren't silly? Let me tell you something. Here's what the original Oxford Inklings would do every Tuesday. They would go down to a pub, read from some of their stories, have literary arguments, and get drunk. I mean totally drunk. They would drink and drink and get louder and louder until they were all bellowing with laughter. Imagine a bunch of old, drunk, medievalist Oxford professors slurring their words and arguing about subtext in Beowulf in the original Icelandic. I'm not kidding. This is the EPITOME of silliness. Lewis devotes an entire section in "The Four Loves" to how laughter is a huge component in love.

And seriously. Lewis invented marshwiggles and Tolkien invented hobbits. The argument is now invalid.

Are we full of ourselves? There is a difference between being full of yourself and being proud of something you accomplished. Alex and I literally started this group with two people--just her and me. Around eight to fifteen people show up at every meeting nowadays. Are we proud of this? Yes. Does this mean we're arrogant and think we're better than everybody else? No. People start clubs at my college every day and I'm sure many of these clubs will go on to be way more successful than the Inklings will ever be. But you know what? Inklings is our baby and we're proud of it. Deal with it.

Do we think we're as great as Lewis and Tolkien?

Let's recap. C.S. Lewis is and was a renowned theologian. He's been dead since 1963 and people are STILL using his works to back up their research in apologetics. Nearly every recent publication dealing with modern Christianity cites Lewis at some point. Not only that, he held a chair of poetry at Cambridge and worked at Oxford for nearly thirty years. He published over fifty books--at the least--nearly all of which were raging successes. His lectures were among the most popular at Oxford. Not only was he an incredibly intelligent man, he was an incredibly kind man as well, helping fund over thirty students' educations, giving a significant portion of his earnings to charities, and overall being the kindest, humblest guy you could know. Tolkien was pretty much the most talented philologist you will ever meet, not only helping doing the research for the Oxford English Dictionary (no lie) as well as translating Gawain and the Green Knight and several other Middle English works. He studied Icelandic poetry. IN ICELANDIC. The very first recorded Inklings meetings focused mainly on this subject and yes, the meetings were in Icelandic. (Lewis came to one and didn't return till they started speaking English.) He earned a professorship at Oxford over Anglo-Saxon, with a fellowship in 1925. And you know what this mofo did for fun? He wrote the Lord of the Rings in his spare time. IN HIS SPARE TIME. Have you seen those books?! Not only that, being a badass philologist, he created the languages WITHIN Lord of the Rings.

No. Avlbane and I do not think we are anywhere NEAR these guys' level of greatness. Nor do we claim to be. All we can say is that C.S. Lewis is my favorite writer and J.R.R. Tolkien is Avlbane's. In no way do we ever claim to BE them. When I say, "Avlbane is the Tolkien to my Lewis," I am saying that my friendship with her is reminiscent of theirs. REMINISCENT. I am saying that Avlbane and my early arguments about Christianity vs. Atheism had a very similar ring to Lewis' and Tolkien's arguments about the same thing.

But I could ignore all of this. Writers have thick skins. But what really irritates me the most, is that my friend, who worked SO hard on this project, had to sit there and listen to this jackass professor talk down to her work and insult her friends. THAT is the final sting that makes me want to find this professor and verbally flay him.

Here's the summation of Inklings. Avlbane and I created it for ourselves and others who get the same enjoyment out or writing and reading as we do. We created it because we like to laugh, we like to learn, we like to share our stories and hear others'.

It was my understanding that's why Lewis and Tolkien were Inklings.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Princes and Prizes

I was thinking today about romance and the desire for romance. What a mess the world is in today. I've mentioned before how I think that society views love in a totally warped way. This isn't to undermine romance--I am, at heart, a romantic, but as any of my friends can tell you, this has been buried. It took me a long time to acknowledge my longing for love and romance.

The desire for romance has a strangely double-sided view by the world. On the one hand, there's the 'all you need is love' philosophy, the belief that finding that one true soulmate is the one thing you need to complete you. It's an easy trap to fall into.

On the other hand, it's mocked, especially when this desire is seen in women. Women who wish for a Prince Charming are seen at the best of times as idealists. At the worst of times, they're viewed as hopelessly naive. We are told to settle. Settle for the nice guy who does not inspire adventure within our hearts. Settle for the bad boy who is exciting but beats us--emotionally or physically. Settle for whatever comes along, hush up your desires, carry on with your life. But when we long for the idea of a prince--someone immeasurably kind, who understands us but who has the strength to fight for us and slay our dragons--we're immediately scorned.

Not to say that we can't fight our own dragons. Women are powerful creatures. We were made that way. Sure, we were made as the manifestations of God's beauty--created in His own image, you know--but there is a ferocity in women. You don't want to mess with us. We are tigresses in our battles. Think of the movie Mean Girls--women fight in ugly, terribly powerful ways. If you don't believe me, go to a woman you know and insult her best friends or her children.

But I think there's a desire in every woman that someone might want to fight for us. That someone might want to take the burden of fighting alone from us. Someone who will be our comrade on the battlefield and when the world gets to be too much, someone who take up arms and slay the dragon that feasts on our insecurities.

What the world tells men is no better. There is an underlying message of settling told to them as well, but worse still there is this--treat your women as prizes. Collect, capture, lure, entrap women and after all of your effort, be done with it. You're a free agent after all. You can't be tied down, you're a real man. Going through an avalanche of women, no strings attached, is an easy way to get through life. A string of broken hearts behind you? Good for you. Pat yourself on the back. Get yourself a beer. The world will celebrate your success at being an asshole.

If this kind of thing sounds familiar, it's probably because a lot of these thoughts come from John and Stasi Eldredge's books. They wrote the books "Captivating", "Wild at Heart", "Love and War", etc. Books that celebrate femininity and masculinity to their fullest extent, as seen through the eyes of Christ. I recommend them to anyone.

Basically what I'm getting at is to fight the lie that romance is weakness. To tell my fellow sisters that it's okay to want a prince. It's okay to long for love and hope to be romanced. To my brothers, I want to tell them that emotion does not make them weak and that each and every one of them has the strength to fight for the ones they love. Christ fought for us. Christ wept for us. He is the most perfect example of love--and possibly the only true example of love--that we will ever have. Let's learn to follow in that.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why, God?

Today I asked God why.

For the past few weeks, God has been gently telling me to do something. Something I didn't particularly want to do. Something that would cause me continual pain--but something that I knew would be ultimately to His glory. Something that would probably break my heart into a thousand pieces.

Understandably, I didn't want to. I didn't want to suffer pain for the sake of someone else, someone I didn't particularly like. This issue has been causing me pain for a while now. It's been sort of a continual misery to me and I have hated being helpless about it.

Over spring break, after a moment of closure with one of my closest friends, I decided to guard my heart against it. I imagined my heart, I imagined all of the pain, and I visualized locking it away. Kate Voegele has a song called "We the Dreamers" and one of the lines is, "So I'll buy myself a cheap apartment and I'll buy my heart a secret compartment." That's what I was going to do. Every time the issue made my heart hurt, I imagined myself walling up my heart again. Bricks, barbed wire, cement blocks, just locking it away so the pain couldn't get to it. I even attributed the idea to God and thanked Him for it. Eventually, I got to a point where even when the issue was at its strongest, I was emotionally numb to it. I'd stopped caring.

It was such a release not to have this pain pierce my heart. But it was a false release. I learned that tonight.

Basically, at house church, in no uncertain terms God told me to knock it off. He told me that He still wanted me to do the thing that I did not want to do. He wanted me to make an effort at it. He wanted me to put my whole heart into it, not lock it away.

This upset me. I resigned myself to it, but that didn't stop me from being upset with God. I railed at Him on the ride home. Why? Why do you want ME to do this? Why can't someone else? Why can't someone else, who won't be hurt, who won't be pained do this instead of me? Why do you INSIST on me feeling this pain?!

I even added in a very nasty voice, "And all I get as an answer is silence. As usual."

I stomped into my house, slumped into a chair, and popped open my computer. Scrolling down the facebook page, I noticed someone from my old church had posted a Skit Guys video. I don't know why I clicked it. But I did.

I wasn't even paying full attention to it. But right at a very timely moment--I heard the bit talking about where Jesus knelt before his disciples and washed their feet.

And then I burst into tears.

Because I got my answer.

Christ was a servant to us. His life was a life of pain. When he washed his disciples' feet, he wasn't just washing their feet, he was washing my feet. He was washing Pilate's feet. He was washing the man who hammered nails into his palms' feet. Christ's life was all about servanthood. And now, God wants to teach me to be a servant.

This isn't an easy task. It certainly wasn't for our Lord. And I don't exactly know what will come of it. But I know, right now, here in this place in my life, God wants me to learn how to be a servant to others. To humble myself and wash others' feet--even people I don't like, even people who inadvertently hurt me. All I can do, is pray for His strength and that Christ may create in me a servant's heart.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Challenge: Month 1 Recap

So, it has been exactly one month since I made the decision to devote a year between me and God, and abstain from dating.

One month down, eleven more to go.

How's it gone so far?

Pretty easily, actually. This shouldn't really come as a surprise. I'm kind of a homebody, I don't get out much. My idea of a wild Friday night is chilling with Avlbane at her apartment or my house watching movies or Doctor Who or Sherlock. I mean, occasionally after Inklings we'll stop at Cleo's or Scotty's for a beer. But that's about it.

I don't like partying. When I am forced to go to a party (usually because a friend drags me) I end up in the corner, nursing my drink, and reading a book. I am the epitome of lame.

So it's not really like there's been a line of boys behind me, begging to ask me out. Which is just dandy for me!

I think what's become most noticeable is the lack of possibility. I may be the only one who does this, but sometimes, I'll see a cute guy in one of my classes, or talk to one in line for a coffee or something, and there will be a little bit of chemistry between us. Naturally, because I enjoy overanalyzing an event to death, I'll imagine the first date, what it'd be like to be this person's girlfriend, yadda yadda yadda.

But this month, my imagination usually gets cut short with a quick, "He's cute, but I'm not dating for a year." Sometimes it's disheartening. Generally it's a good way to stave off my overactive imagination.

My friends have been very supportive which I greatly appreciate. My house church has also provided me a lot of fellowship with this endeavor, occasionally asking me how it's going, if I need prayer or anything. It's nice to know I have this kind of support when things get difficult.

Because I know. Things will get difficult. They always do.

But for now, I'm enjoying the time with God and me and I like to think He is too.

One month down, eleven more to go.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Guys, I really need your help. I'm trying to win a Kate Voegele cover contest. The most 'likes' on youtube wins. I am perilously close to winning this week--it's between me and another girl, literally neck and neck. If you guys could help a girl out and 'like' this video on youtube, I'd be eternally grateful.

If you have already 'liked' it--do you have any other gmail or youtube accounts? :D

If you have already 'liked' it with all of your accounts--could you get your friends to 'like' it too? Then tell me you did so, so I can thank you properly in my next blog.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Job and God's Gambling Problem

Warning: Christian thoughts ahead!

A while back, I read somewhere--not sure where--about how God is the ultimate gambler. Not just the ultimate gambler, the ultimate BAD gambler. He bets on us when, chances and history tells Him, we're more likely to lose.

There's Biblical evidence for this. Consider Job 1&2. I'll let you read it for yourself, but here's the summation. God and Satan have a bet that if Satan curses Job and makes his life miserable, that Job will turn away from God. God readily agrees to this. The rest of Job is Job, in his suffering, calling out to God asking him why he was doing this and God responding.

I'll be honest. I've never really liked Job. It was my least favorite book of the Bible. It seemed to show a very callous side of God. It put to mind a puppeteer or a chess-master, moving and manipulating His pawns about the board. The idea of God wagering on us, especially against the vindictiveness of Satan, seemed horrible to me.

But lately, I think I'm beginning to understand Job a little more. God doesn't just bet on Job, He bets on all of us. Against all odds, our crazy in love God continually insists on believing in us and loving us. It makes absolutely no logical sense. How many times has God said to us, 'I'm counting on you,' and we've let Him down? How many times has God pulled through for us compared to when we have pulled through for him?

But I suppose God loads the odds for as Scripture says, 'If He is with us, who can stand against us?' If we call on God as our protector, as our Savior, there is no losing.

It's funny how often we forget that.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Challenge

This past Sunday, I have decided to embark on a rather staggering commitment. I have chosen to abstain from dating--for a year.

That's right. No dating. No dating for you, missy. My deadline is my mother's 54th birthday, February 5th, 2013.

This decision was not made lightly. I got the idea from a friend of mine, who runs the house church I attend on Thursday nights. We had a conversation months ago, about how when she came back to Christianity she decided to commit a year to God and simply--not date for that year. I remember being rather impressed at this sacrifice, as the thought, 'I could never do that' flickered through my head. However, the idea remained in my head, marinating.

Until last Sunday, when it came to fruition. In case you're curious, here are my main reasons for doing this.

1. My desire for a relationship is becoming an idol and a distraction.

The irony of this does not escape me--actually, for the past three or four years, the idea of being in a monogamous relationship was not on my agenda. I was very into the whole, 'I don't like to label things' and 'I just don't want to be tied down' sort of thinking. Until this past summer, that is. I am now in a state of desiring and wishing for a relationship. This is not inherently a bad thing--I think most people have experienced a longing to be in love. But I think my want for one has eclipsed my want for a better relationship with God. Therein lies the danger. Nothing should take God's place in life.

God created so many things, so many things that when put to His glory, are incredibly beautiful and moving. But they are very easy to make idols of--patriotism, friendship, and most especially--romantic love.

Our society has not been especially helpful with this. So many love songs, so many romance novels, and most especially--romantic films. I'm not a hypocrite--I love rom coms. In fact, my Valentine's Day post will be a list of my top ten favorites. However, I'm not blind to the dangers of them.

Your basic rom com's premise are two people who incomplete. Something is missing in their lives. They meet the other, they may dislike the other, they may fall in love at first sight--but once they're together, all is right in their lives. This is a very dangerous and tempting trap, to believe that someone else can complete you, that all you need is someone to love and to love you back. Unfortunately, life's a little more complicated than that.

There is only one who can fit that place in our lives. There is only one that can complete us. There is only one who can make our lives right. And that's God. Not to say God is against romance--He isn't. Good gracious, He created it, didn't He? Marriage was the first sacrament that God created. But like anything else--sex, family, patriotism, two people in love--you take God away from the equation, it becomes an idol. It takes the place of God. C.S. Lewis goes on about this a little more eloquently, in his fantastic book, "The Four Loves".

2. I do not have the time or emotional capabilities to negotiate a relationship right now.

This sounds like the oldest cliche in the book. It also sounds like an excuse. It is neither. Despite my wish for love, a relationship, getting one right now would be extremely difficult to manage. I will be graduating this summer. I am determined to get a good GPA this semester. I am applying to grad schools. Most importantly, I am strengthening my connection to God. I am entirely exhausted most of the week. Weekends are spent resting and reviving my body and mind. I am literally stretched to my limit. Not to mention, I don't plan on being in this town long-term. By this time next year, I hope to be in England. It's unfair to expect myself to juggle another person in my life, and it's unfair to them as well.

3. When I am able to make a commitment to someone--I want to do it with my whole heart and in a godly way.

I feel, that making this commitment to God and myself, that it will better prepare me for the man is God planning for me. I hope--by that time--to truly know what it means to have God at the center of my life and all of my relationships. By loving God better, I will love others by default.

So, that's what's on tap for my life. I know this year isn't going to be easy, but I know in the end, it will be worth it. I'll see you March 5th, 2012, to tell you how my first month went.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Top 5 Favorite Bands and/or Musicians

I have a solid hour before class and rather than doing something productive with my time (perish the thought) I decided to make a list of my favorite musicians. Bear in mind, I like a LOT of music. This barely scratches the surface. These are just my tippy top favorites in no particular order.

1. Kate Voegele

If you're a friend, you probably know of her because I yammer on about her constantly and pretty much exclusively play Kate Voegele songs on guitar.

Anyway--yes, she does star on One Tree Hill, but I liked her BEFORE that. Ahem. I discovered her on iTunes when one of her songs was featured as a free download. That song was "Only Fooling Myself", which is still my favorite song by her, although I love every single one. I got to see her in concert with my darling Fox and she was incredible. She hugged me. She also is teeny, like a foot shorter than me and half my size. I love her because whatever she's going through, she puts into her writing, and when I listen to it, it inevitably will be something I'm going through too. Or--something I will go through. Case in point--when I first heard "Hundred Million Dollar Soul" I thought it was okay, but not her best. Then a few months later I met someone who reminded me of the song--now it's probably my favorite song off her latest album. Her songs have helped me get through my dark days--"Sweet Silver Lining", "High Road", and "Gravity Happens". Her romantic entanglements have been similar to mine--"Only Fooling Myself", "Unfair", "Impatient Girl", and "Say Anything". She also has my coloring and we both love Gibson guitars. See why I love her so much?

2. David Bowie
You had to see this one coming.

For the full details on the progression of my love for David Bowie, click here. What do I love about this musician? I love that he just doesn't give a flying flip. I love that his lyrics range from deep and insightful, to goofy, to romantic, to deep fried crack on toast. I love that he went through various musical phases and transitions and each of them had something fresh to say. I love how none of his music sounds the same--you get hard rock numbers like "I'm Afraid of Americans" or acoustic indie "Seven" or what-the-hell-is-this "We Are Hungry Men". He is an enigma and I love it.

3. Scouting for Girls

These guys make me go weak in the knees.

I really really REALLY wanted to see them while I was in England over the summer, but unfortunately they never played in a city that was accessible to me. Drove me nuts. Anyway, they are a British Indie-Pop band and they are wonderful. I discovered them on a youtube fan video someone had made about the SyFy miniseries Alice. It all spilled over from there. I love these guys. Every romantic song they croon--"Heartbeat", "Love How It Hurts", "This Ain't A Love Song", "Take a Chance On Us" makes me want to marry each one of them simultaneously.
They are so darling. My one gripe with them is they haven't toured in America or released their deluxe edition of their album to the US.

4. Hayley Westenra

Ah, Hayley Westenra. I've had her music for a while now, but it's been just recently that I've come to appreciate how beautiful it is. "What You Never Know Won't Hurt You" brings me to tears, "Dark Waltz" is so haunting, and her cover of "Both Sides Now" is breath taking. She has a gorgeous soprano voice and is the singer whose voice is closest to mine. (As much as I love Kate Voegele, she is an alto and I always have sing her songs in a different key.) Hayley Westenra is calming. Listening to her is akin to sitting by a lake or walking alone in a forest. She is incredible--if I ever make it musically, I would beg her to do a duet with me.

5. Saving Jane
Can I just say, that when these guys broke up, a little part of me died? I know, I know, they formed a new band, Union Rose, and so far they sound pretty solid. But it still breaks my heart. If you've heard of them, you probably know them for their one-hit wonder, "Girl Next Door". Don't be deceived. This band has some incredible songs and I will never understand why they didn't catch on. "What I Didn't Say" is fantastic, as is "Nicotine", "One Girl Revolution", and "Imperfection". My favorite--"Love Can't Save Us Now"--is one they never released--they just posted the demo on their myspace.

Two years ago, the lead singer also wrote two songs during the Twilight madness. They were about vampires--"I'm in Love with a Vampire", which was clearly modeled off of Twilight and "Immortal" which could probably apply to any vampire series. Still, Saving Jane was known for their badass female empowerment songs--the lead singer has written several SCREW YOU MUSIC BUSINESS songs--so, I was horribly disappointed with her writing a song about Twilight. So I messaged her on Myspace. This is what I wrote:

Dear Marti,
First of all, I want you to know how much of a huge fan I am of your band. You're going to Indiana in December and me and my compadres will totally be there. :D And let me also say that your new song "I'm in Love with a Vampire" is damned catchy and is some pretty great tuneage.

Here comes the but.

But I'm a little disappointed and hurt. You've been writing these AMAZING songs about female empowerment and girl power for years--songs that have been my anthem as I take on male-dominated world. And now you write this song, while it's very good, that is clearly inspired from the Twilight series which is the exact opposite of female empowerment. I know you're a fan and I respect that, but surely you can see all the anti-female themes within the books? When does Bella ever save herself rather than have Edward (or Jacob) save her? How is it healthy for adolescents to read about a girl who jumps off a cliff when her boyfriend abandons her? What about all the times Edward orders Bella around and takes control of her life? He watches her sleep for goodness' sake (which your song even mentions). That's not love, that's obsession. And it just hurts that after all the ways your songs have helped me I get a new song about how cool dominating-females-is-cool-cuz-I'm-a-vampire song.

Please don't get the wrong idea, I'm not trying to slam you, I will ALWAYS be your biggest fan. I just wanted you to know how I felt.

Much love,

So I wrote that, and you want to know what happened? SHE ACTUALLY WROTE ME BACK. This was her response:

Hi there Phoenix,
Thanks for sharing you opinion! :-) I can see your point, though I'm not sure I necessarily agree that the books are degrading to women. I think there are some good points as well, like the characters of Rosalie and Alice, who are pretty tough, and I also like that the character of Bella is vulnerable, yet still independent (she leaves her mom and moves to Washington by herself, which is not something I would have been bold enough to do at 17) and is a bit of a loner at school, but doesn't seem desperate to fit in like so many young girls do. And while 'vampire' is definitely Twilight inspired, 'immortal' draws more from vampires in the Sookie Stackhouse stories, and she is definitely an empowered female character.

All that said, this was just something fun for me to work on. At the time, I wasn't attempting to write for Saving Jane, it just turned out that the label liked the songs and wanted to release them, and thought SJ would be a good venue for that. I write all the time, songs about all kinds of topics, some of them are empowered, some are sad, some are silly...I do it for myself because it's something I love, and I am fortunate enough that I do what I love for a career, but I don't always have control over which songs get a release. I'd love to do another full length album, but at the moment, our record label is only interested in releasing singles because that's what's more economical for them. So in the meantime, I write and write and wait to see what happens! :-)
See you in December,

HULH. It's nice to know when I've piqued. It's also nice to know that one of my favorite bands wasn't offended by my critique and actually took the time to address some of my issues. Rock on, Saving Jane. Rock on.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Let My People Go

WARNING: Blatant Christian themes and thoughts and meditations, up ahead!

My friends Regan, Avlbane, and I have a habit of occasionally being badasses. By this, I mean we will sit in one of our cars, belting out Disney (or Dreamworks, as the case may be) songs at the top of our lungs and then proceeding to analyze them far beyond what the creators of such songs intended. It's what we do.

As we're doing so, I noticed something truly epic about this particular song. Have a listen.

If you don't hear the inherent the awesomeness of this song, get off this blog.

But as we're singing this at the top of our lungs, I noticed something incredibly chilling and epic about the lyrics. The lyrics of this song can parallel not only Moses and Ramses, but God and Lucifer. I think of it as a conversation between God, Michael the Archangel, and Lucifer. Let's have a look-see.

Thus saith the Lord, Since you refuse to free my people, All through the land of Egypt, I send the pestilence and plague into your house, into your bed, into your streams, into your streets, Into your drink, into your bread, upon your cattle, on your sheep, upon your oxen in your field, Into your dreams, into your sleep, Until you break, until you yield, I send the swarm, I send the horde, THUS SAITH THE LORD.

I'll let the awesomeness sink in. These plagues make me think of the upcoming battle between God and Satan--God using all the horrors and powers of earth He's created to destroy Satan's armies. Think of the full might of God. Tornadoes, volcanoes, locusts, blizzards, hurricanes, lightning storms, thunder storms, wildfires, lions, tigers, wolves, oceans, mountains, and deserts. All of these in tandem, determined to destroy the enemy.

Next lines!

Moses: Once I called you brother, once I thought the chance to make you laugh, was all I ever wanted.

God: I send the thunder from the sky I send the fire raining down!

Moses: And even now, I wish that God had chose another, serving as your foe on his behalf, was the last thing that I wanted.

Lucifer wasn't always Satan. He wasn't always the devil. Once upon a time, he was one of God's most glorious angels, the morning star. How hard it must've been for God to see his beloved turn from him and actively seek to destroy His creations. How sad Michael, the Archangel, must've been to fight against his brother.

God: I send a hail of burning ice on every field on every town.

Moses: This was my home, all this pain and devastation, how it tortures me inside. All the innocent who suffer, from your stubbornness and pride!

I don't think God necessarily likes sending His full wrath upon Satan. After all, Lucifer was beloved once too. But God isn't going to let this fallen, prideful, angel hurt His children.

God: I send the locusts on a wind such as the world has never seen, on every leaf on every stalk, until there's nothing left of green. I send my scourge, I send my sword, thus saith the Lord.

Moses: You who I called brother, why must you call down another blow? Let my people go!

God: I send my scourge, I send my sword!

Thus saith the Lord!

This is a battle that's been going on for millennia, in a place where there is no time. When the Prince of Lies took over our earth, God snarled. "Let my people go!" Or He will storm your camp, Satan. He will raid and take back all the prisoners of this war.

Now let's look at Satan's point of view.

Rameses: You who I called brother, how could you have come to hate me so? Is this what you wanted? Then let my heart be hardened! And never mind how high the cost may go! This will still be so! I will never let your people go!

Lucifer isn't some villain dancing on a table squealing, "I'm evil! I'm evil!" He legitimately thinks he's right. He doesn't understand why God is fighting him so hard. How could you have come to hate me so? Lucifer has always saw himself as better than humans, higher above them. Which causes his pride to become more intense and his stubbornness to be even harder. He doesn't care about the cost anymore. He is never going to release this world.

Lucky for us, God is never going to stop fighting for us either. Even better, He's already won. He won the day a carpenter's son was born in a stable. Because there is nothing, nothing, God wouldn't do to get us back. His love is that intense.

Phoenix out!