I’ve played this on piano (don’t ask me too right now, I can only play the first couple lines any more), but I think Bumblefoot owns this song.
As a musician I’m dismayed by the cookie cutter melodies, simplistic harmonies, poor production values, and overall less-than-the-world’s quality of Christian music, overall.
There are notable exceptions, and today I found another.
In a dark, forgotten corner of my music library I found DC Talk’s Red Letters.
Musically interesting, regardless of the words. And then add the words and you have a shining example of quality music played by skillful musicians with passion and conviction that only come from singing the truth and singing it for God.
Enjoy Red Letters by DC Talk, from their album Supernatural.
Yesterday I gave my thoughts on the death of Michael Jackson.
True to form, shortly after posting that article I thought of a simple argument that sums up what I spent paragraphs attempting to explain yesterday.
If a pedophile made music, we’d not consider him great for his music.
Music is amoral: it is not necessarily moral or immoral.
Pedophilia, however, is immoral. It is wrong in any and every situation to sexually abuse or misuse children.
If Charles Manson were a skilled artist, we would not celebrate his life and art when he died.
If the Una-bomber were an amazing trapeze artist, we’d not be celebrating his life and art when he died.
Just as we would not celebrate the life of a pedophile who wrote music, no matter how great his music, we ought not celebrate the life of a musician who was an unrepentant pedophile.
We ought to grieve that he failed to accept the redemptive work of Christ in his heart.
We ought to feel shame that we participated in the culture that deified him and protected him from the consequences of his actions in the illusory bubble of stardom.
But we cannot celebrate him.
To the extent we celebrate his life, we show our willingness to accept the unacceptable, and allow the unconscionable.
It’s been all over the place and most everybody has the same thoughts: the world has lost wonderful talent as it has lost Michael Jackson.
Conservatives, Liberals, Christians, Heathens alike are, for the most part, mourning the loss of this skilled musician.
Mike Gallagher was the first I heard to ask the question: Why are we remembering only the talent and the skillful music made by this man?
Let me get the boiler plate out of the way: The death of anybody is sad. If a Christian dies, there is the grief of loss here on earth, but the balancing joy knowing they are truly home at last and that our grief ought to be for ourselves still toiling here away from our true home. When an unrepentant sinner dies, the grief is much worse. There is no welcome for this person. There is simply the immediate inability to deny God any longer as the force of His self and all His holy attributes is no longer held off by the rationalizing mind and the containing body.
There is no reasonable evidence Michael Jackson accepted the saving Grace of Jesus Christ prior to his death.
There is always hope: he may have, on his deathbed, cried out to an ever-waiting and ever-listening andever-ready Jesus. If this is the case, we’ll know when we get to heaven.
But for now, it is reasonable, from human judgement, to assume Michael Jackson died with the full guilt of his own sins resting weightily upon his own, weak, shoulders.
Sin is sin, and there is no variance to it’s result. The Hitler’s of this world will suffer the same intermnible punishment meted out by the same just God for the same rejection of the same Holiness as the girl and boy blown up because they were too close to the exploding suicide bomber on their way to market in Fallujah.
But human’s judge variance in sin, because we must rationalize our own faults as not being “that bad.” And because we must restrain and punish those whose actions convey and cause inordinate danger to those around them.
Michael Jackson was a sinner.
There is little doubt he was a pedophile: His grown up sexual appetite coupled with his child-like and stunted emotional state and the stories of the several young boys with whom he slept and subsequently paid off leave little room for exhonoration.
As a society of justice we punish those who hurt and damage others by their actions. Those who prey sexually on the young damage those children’s ability to grow normally and lead productive lives, and so we punish them severely.
And when pedophiles die, we don’t celebrate them as an entire society.
I don’t advocate burning Michael Jackson’s music or videos. There is no purpose served by destroying it.
But his life isn’t worth celebrating. He made some ok music. He had some cool moves on the dance floor.
But he sexually assaulted young boys to satisfy himself as he was unable, in his stunted mind, to appreciate their future.
And so now, barring a hopeful miracle, he is facing God.
God isn’t playing reel-to-reel Thriller.
God is asking him for an account of his life.
It is with grief for the true loss of a life precious to the Lord God that I say, I fear it is going poorly for Michael Jackson.
I’m having a difficult time bringing myself into the discipline to write. So here’s something else I do.
I play piano. Have for 20 years. Thanks to my mom and various teachers, I enjoy it.
This is an original improvisation I developed while killing time in the early hours before a wedding in October.
I call it “Muse upon a wedding”