April 28, 2008

Respect My Authoritaaaah.

I read last night in a letter from Paul to the Corinthians concerning what I have commonly misconceived as a call to orderly and biblically correct worship. In 1 Corinthians 11:3-16, Paul writes about the importance of the appearance of man and woman while praying and prophesying in the presence of God. He connects the relationship between man, woman and Christ by identifying the "head" of each: Christ is the head of man, man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ. You can think of it as one being over the other. The authority of one over another is meant to be a blessing from God that allows each an opportunity to willingly submit to that which they are accountable to, and therefore serve God; Biblical authority is nearly completely free of the power struggle we commonly associate with it, in a general sense. So, this little passage of scripture commonly mistaken as a set of chauvinistic rules regarding public worship is actually about the inherent authority in the Church, and, more deeply, our relationship with one another and with God. The "head" Paul speaks about is, by my understanding, literal and metaphorical; literally, he is saying to the Corinthian women of the time, who had begun dressing themselves after the women of the Roman upper class of the first century, to return to a traditional Jewish dress in the presence of God. Women covered their heads in early Christian tradition, and kept their hair long, which served as a natural head covering. Paul is always referencing the bigger picture: 

"But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven." 1 Cor. 11:5

Back then, if you were shaven, you were pretty much a prostitute; however, Paul is not speaking about head dresses and punishment. If you read it a little more carefully, the scripture is specific in addressing that this statement applies directly to the action of praying and prophesying, and that under those specific circumstances, this principle of Biblical authority should be adhered to vehemently. In the same regard, men did not cover their heads while praying and prophesying, because it was considered disgraceful, and also because, as I said earlier, the head of man is Christ, and Christ is the glory of God. This is also one reason why long hair was considered disgraceful on a man (because it is a natural head covering, like the woman's long hair). I know...Jesus had long hair. I'll give you my theory on this later.

I love how Paul brings this all back around by making the distinction that man is never independent of woman, nor woman of man. Though it is true that woman came from man in the beginning, and was created for man, it is also true that man comes through the woman. The man is born from the woman, and is raised and nurtured and loved by women, and it's amazing when you think about it that way, because you can really see the interdependance and the importance of both men and women. One does not rule tyrannically over the other, specifically for this natural principle of interdependence on one another, man to woman.

Now, my thoughts on Jesus' long hair; I may be wrong, but I think it is very highly likely that time has perpetuated a common misconception of Jesus' appearance into a nearly indisputable fact. The only thing wrong with this is the relative and unimportant nature of the topic itself. Can you tell me what long hair is? What is your frame of reference, what is your cultural background? Long hair is an unmeasurable, and therefore relative, term. I may say that long hair on a man is past his shoulders, and you may say that my hair, which spills over my ears, is long (and you would be my Grandfather, who still thinks the only acceptable haircut is the military crew cut). Whose opinion is right? Obviously no one's - there's a culture clash there. The only real evidence of any sort of "Biblically correct hairstyle" is right here in Paul's letter to the Corinthians, when he says, 

"Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" 1 Cor. 11:14

Long hair meant longer than a woman's. End of story. I am sure that different sects and churches adhered to different understandings of the exact specifications of the scriptures according to what was culturally acceptable at the time, just as we do today. Many things about our religion has changed, and change is only natural. Paul has given the task of judging these matters to each individual church (1 Cor. 11:13), and he is aware that cultural ideals will inevitably enter into that judgment. So to wrap it up, Jesus may or may not have had long hair, according to His tradition, but it is more likely that he had shorter hair. Honestly, even if he did have long feminine hair and a beard, is Jesus accountable to Paul? Is Jesus any less Jesus because of his physical appearance? What if his long hair was a statement against religious regulations, since all who come to Him are not bound by religious law, because He has become the law? Wasn't Jesus already quite an enemy of the Jewish leaders of the time for rebelling blatantly against their doctrine? 

I'll stop here. I think you all get the point I am trying to make, and I could be wrong, but that's just my conclusion.

April 21, 2008

Imageshack SUCKS.

Imageshack seems to be experiencing technical difficulties, which explains the big gaping hole at the top center of the blog where my header usually resides...my contact buttons are all f'ed too. I'm hoping it all gets resolved very soon...otherwise, hello "peoplelinkstaffing.com/pictures".

April 18, 2008

Avant-Rock Will Effectively Quash The Travesty That Is Modern Rock.

A new day, a new playlist. Ready for a little avant-rock? It's been a while for me since I visited the earthy, krauty grooves of Can, so I give to myself and to you Can's "Spoon", a revered track off of the highly seminal album Ege Bamyasi. As any avant-rock fan should expect of a good avant-garde mix, Captain Beefheart appears with his Magic Band, and the track "Ella Guru", from probably the most heatedly controversial album in rock history, Trout Mask Replica. First off, however, we visit the underground avant-garde masters that are Sun City Girls. The selected track, "Journey To The Center Of The Mind" from Volume 7 of the wonderfully wacky Carnival Folklore Resurrection, a collection of nearly every style of music imaginable, and a few they seemed to fuse out of the pits of their own collective creativity. Deerhunter's "Heatherwood" from the critically-acclaimed album Cryptograms, is next in line and really showcases the band's ambient-punk sound (I highly recommend Cryptograms and it's traveling companion, Fluorescent Grey). From Deerhunter to Deerhoof, we get off on an altogether different "hoof" with "The Galaxist", track 4 off of one of 2007's best indie avant-rock records, Friend Opportunity. Do Make Say Think brings us their slowly-building ambient post-folk offering, "A Tender History In Rust", from their newest release You, You're A History In Rust. Shalabi Effect's "Pai Nai", from the album Unfortunately, fuses middle-eastern, homophonic texture with lo-fi recording technique and punk rock, a slight step out of line for Shalabi Effect's usually consistent usage of the Oud and the Arabic scale. Oneida brings us back to our rock roots with "Lavender", off of 2005's The Wedding, and Lambchop wraps it up with their easy-listening sensibility in "Up With People", from the album Nixon. I love the gospel choir towards the end.

I was originally planning on including Magma's "Ima Suri Dondai", but it seemed slightly out of place. Have no fear; it will appear in another playlist, undoubtedly. I may showcase the French Zeuhl masters with an honorary "best of" playlist someday.

Well, that's about it, I guess. Life has been good lately, although I have had some fairly distressing moments of heart-stabbing nostalgia as of late. It's nothing I can't handle...it just seems to get out of hand every so often. Self-control is the bull, and I am the...rodeo clown.

April 16, 2008

My New Year's Resolution Is To Not Have One.

I don't understand the concept of "resolutions". Really, a resolution is nothing more than a few gathered words, brought together to emphasize one's determination to overcome the deliberation of an action towards a "better" position in one's personal life...but words fall flat 99.9% of the time. Why talk about all the things that you should just do? Action requires no prerequisite of thought or explanation...it demands no elaborate plan, and it does not adhere to any set schemata (other than those set in place by the individual). Personally, I feel the tendency towards resolutions personifies this society we live in; it is simply true that most people never get past the planning stage of goal-setting. I think a lot of people use goals and ambitions as mere surface-level talking points - you know, when you're out to lunch with a friend you haven't seen in a while, or in the beginning stages of a relationship. Those big goals you have set for your future just sound so pretty, but be honest with yourself - do you actually see yourself following through? There are two problems here:

1. You are setting unachievable goals.
2. You are superficial and lazy.

First off, 1. You are setting unachievable goals: Are your sights too high? I don't personally believe that horse manure about "if you can dream it you can do it", and "shoot for the stars"; those are pretty words (to most) that hang in your mind like party streamers. Tear them down, the party is over. Look, I can and did dream about becoming a famous musician in a band, and I spent years working towards that goal - it wasn't even a surface-level desire in my situation, I went all the way with it. I played to audiences of tens of thousands of people, and wrote and released albums of music, and I look back and realize I still came about as close to achieving my goal of inflated impossibility as an infant comes to reciting the "Declaration of Independence". I'm not saying that the experience I had was worthless...on the contrary, the goal I set was worthless and unachievable by my efforts from the start. It's a near act of God to become a famous musician by your own steam; I was unaware at that time that most famous "musicians" and "artists" are nothing more than a pretty face, a stage name, and a skilled producer. I was making music in the hopes of becoming a well-known artist when I should have just been flat-ironing my hair and polishing my octave chords. I have since re-set my goal to a more attainable level: to always be involved in songwriting and instrumentation. I am happier now, because I know that I am reaching my goal, and that I am setting realistic and productive goals. 2. You are superficial and lazy (a victim of modern society): Ok, you know what I mean here. I know too many people who enjoy talking about all the things that they aren't, and somehow that leads them to the realization that they need a complete makeover of personality and character, on a spiritual and emotional level...I say, good luck Gandhi. I think they figure if they say it enough, it will eventually somehow manifest itself over their lives, and they will awaken transformed and forever changed. I ask, who do you know whom this has ever happened to? Do you think that if you ask God enough, He will sorta just "zap" you into the new you that you've been envisioning? Since when has action become so obsolete? I think with the onset of the digital age, people are beginning to realize that they don't have to necessarily "do" anything to get what they want. If you want music, you don't go to the store anymore - you just go to iTunes, and there it is, $9.99 per album, $.99 per song; if you want a relationship, well, Myspace is free, and Match.com should do the trick. Here's a question: do you claim to know something because you know how to use Google? Well...why should goal setting and character-building be any different? It won't be long before someone somewhere claims to have the answer for all those who feel the need to change themselves overnight, and I can guarantee whoever that is will be retiring early, because who wouldn't pay someone else to do all their work for them? Maybe once humans are equipped with CPUs, we can begin writing scripts that will upgrade and/or create the desired firmware for the individual (don't laugh...soon, this may not sound so funny).

I may not have enjoyed everything I have been through, and I have made many mistakes and seen many hard times, but there is nothing replacing the concrete knowledge, the wisdom I have obtained through knowing and choosing to work towards what is undeniably right in this life, no matter how much work is involved in that. Work will never cease in life, no matter how much we all might want it to; action will always be necessary on our part. A clear vision is an indispensible ally. You don't have to pay for the good things in your life, and you sure as hell should not be sitting around waiting for them to ascend over you. Set your goals small and achievable, and up the ante each time you see one to completion. This creates a snowball-effect of goal setting and completing, and will at the same time drill into your head the proof of the joy and reward of action.

April 14, 2008

The New Face Of...

I'm back, and I've re-vamped the site for summer. I hope to be much more regular in my updating habits, but life is an overbearing boss sometimes - I've had my work cut out for me, what with getting the house ready to sell, studying for certs, work, family, and the new album soon-to-be-released. We've abandoned the Side A/Side B EP album ideas, and what you now have is a full-length, 8 track album due for mastering this friday. It's a nice little mixture of light, more dark, electronic samples, found sounds, minimalist guitars and keyboard and piano melodies. I believe only three contain vocals. Look for it on iTunes soon, as there will most definitely be a very limited number of hard copies released on CD, and more than definitely they will be sold only at shows. Probably.

In other news, I've reinstated the flash player, and I've started hosting my own audio files on the company server (shh), so I plan on rotating the playlist weekly, at least, and maybe even putting up the occasional rare track or deleted single, or whatnot. This week, I've started with a blend of compilation tracks, one rarity, and some nostalgic tunes I usually try to avoid. Here's a run-down:

1. Stereolab's "Lo Boob Oscillator" - Track two off of Refried Ectoplasm (Switched On Volume 2), an early Stereolab compilation of unreleased material, I believe released in '95. The vinyl sounds as good as it looks (Although I don't own a copy of the amber-colored first pressing).
2. Jim O'Rourke's "Get a Room" - This song is wonderful because it moves me to some emotion comprised of equal parts "near-tears" melancholy and "smile in the dark" pensiveness. The idea behind the song is what moves me nearly to tears, yet the overall air of the music, the carefree and playful overtones, carries me up to cloud nine and back, in a fairly nonchalant manner. You might understand if you take a listen in the car on a drive around 9:30 one evening.
3. The Sea and Cake's "The Fontana" - Bonus track eleven off of the Japanese import of my favorite album of all time, The Biz. One groovy tune, full of lovely marimba and jazz-drugged guitarage.
4. Grizzly Bear's "Merge" - Great song off a surprisingly unpretentious indie folk release from a few youngsters from "Motherless" Brooklyn.
5. Mice Parade's "Into the Freedom World (Part 1)" - Listen to Mokoondi. It's imperative that you do.
6. Helios' "Paper Tiger" - Off of Eingya. There has got to be someone out there who shares an emotional attachment to this song...sometimes sadness and longing does not make sense. I cherish the gift and the curse of memory. If fate steps in for a crossing of existence, this song may make sense again. Until then, it's shrouded in layer upon layer of obscurity through the interwoven needlework of the human psyche (and its mechanism against painful and otherwise undiscovered memory).
7. Sufjan Stevens' "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisides Is Out to Get Us!" - One more for the path not taken; it is forever immortalized in my mind through this song.
8. Talk Talk's "New Grass" - What more can be said about such a legendary group? Hats off. Immediately acquire Laughing Stock and Spirit of Eden. Don't tell anyone you didn't have them.

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