Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! / Shameless Commercial Time


Yes, this is a day late- I was writing it on Thanksgiving Day and then I stopped to go be with the family. :-D

We have much to be thankful for, do we not? What are some of the things that you are thankful for? I'm thankful for... hmm...

(not necessarily in order)
  1. Godly parents
  2. The Word of God
  3. The Election of God
  4. The Love and Grace of God
  5. The Sovereignty of God
  6. Great siblings
  7. A Thanksgiving Day feast
  8. My grandparents
  9. An excellent computer with professional software
  10. Music
  11. God's provision
  12. Our next house (we're planning on moving at the beginning of next year)
  13. The Law and Justice of God
  14. The people that support my entrepreneurial endeavors

...and many more things.

But as a gift of appreciation to those in category 14, if you are a Facebook user you can get a free mp3 of my music.

If you aren't a Facebook user... well, you follow my blog, so I might just send you one anyway.

;-)

Just comment below with the title of the piece you'd like and then send me an e-mail at gabriel@resoundingmusic.com.

To all of my readers, if The LORD leads you to pass on my music, I would greatly appreciate it. Whether you share my blog, tweet a link to my website, embed a video from my YouTube channel in a blog post, "like" my Facebook page (as linked above), or follow my Twitter account, this young entrepreneur will be very grateful.

Back to my Thanksgiving gift to y'all, here are the pieces to choose from:

Resounding Music - Gabriel Hudelson by gabrielhudelson

Monday, November 21, 2011

On Slipp'ry Terms


"Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions." - G.K. Chesterton

Discrimination. Tolerance. Diversity. One's bad and two are good, right?

Absolutely! Sort of. Maybe, because it kinda depends. And stuff.

You know?

I recently read on the Christian Science Monitor (not a site I frequent often) about how "[c]enturies of British royal discrimination came to an end... after Commonwealth leaders agreed to drop rules that give sons precedence as heir to the throne and bar anyone in line for the crown from marrying a Roman Catholic."

That word, that d-word, "discrimination", is so powerfully loaded in today's culture. Any time discrimination is ended, we should be glad.

Right?

Wrong.

In other news, I was reading through "Teaching Tolerance" magazine a few weeks ago. What a read! Every once and a while I even found things that I agreed with!

But what is the Christian perspective on "tolerance" and "diversity"? Jesus said "love your enemies." God has chosen and redeemed sinners from all walks of life and all depths of sin. So we should just accept everyone as they are.

Right?

Wrong.

And here's where it gets tricky, and the deceitful and un-taken-captive thoughts of this world will pull the wool over our eyes, if we aren't careful.

What's wrong with this sentence?

"We're working towards a world that is full of peace and tolerance for people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and religions."

How about this one?

"We are proud to announce that the discriminatory policies of the military against blacks and women have been repealed, and that now both African-Americans and the daughters of our country are free to join our nation's armed forces."

I'll give you a sec to take those sentences captive before I point out what one of my big problems with them is.



"He who defines the terms, wins."

Tolerance, diversity, and discrimination can all be good things OR bad things depending on how they are defined.

But it gets even more tricky when the definitions given mix apples and oranges.

Race, Religion, Gender, Sexual Orientation. These four so often are said in the same breath.

But they are totally different.

Race: A matter of birth.
  1. Something you have no say in.
  2. Something you are born into.
  3. Something that does not change your status towards God in that you are still made in His Image (though there will be plenty of spiritual inheritance from your forefathers which will either help or hinder your growth in The Grace and Knowledge of God).
  4. Something that gives no Biblical justification for discrimination (that is, discrimination against a certain race as being inherently less valuable. This kind of discrimination is not Biblically acceptable. Gen. 1+2)
Religion: A matter of Truth.
  1. Something that you must choose.
  2. Something that, while you might be "born into" or "raised into" it, is not an unchangeable part of you.
  3. Something that very much changes your status towards God in that you are either believing His Truth or believing a lie and walking in rebellion to Him.
  4. Something that does give Biblical justification for discrimination- in fact, Scripture commands us to discriminate against false teaching, to preach The Gospel, to proclaim that God is the only God and Christ is The Only Way and Truth and Life. (Jn. 14:6)
Gender: A matter of birth.
  1. Again, something you have no choice in.
  2. You cannot change it (well, technically you can- kind of- today, but you shouldn't change it, at any rate.)
  3. This also does not change your status toward God. He created male and female in His Glorious Image.
  4. But this category is different from race in that there is Biblical justification for good discrimination. What does this look like? It looks like difference in roles- not difference in value. The husband lays down his life for his wife- the wife lays down her will for her husband. The men fight. The women keep the home. The man is the head of the home, the wife is his helper. So on. (Gen. 3)
Sexual orientation: A matter of Truth
  1. Something you have a choice in. And if you're going to argue that you were born a homosexual, I must reply that God does not make provisions for that in His Word.
  2. You can change your "sexual orientation"- for better or for worse, it is a choice you make.
  3. This does change your status toward God in that it is an area of obedience (just like any other area of moral decision that He has addressed in His Law).
  4. This is an area which is Biblically discriminated against in that homosexuality is Biblically condemned. It's a crime on the level of murder or adultery. So sexual orientation isn't just a choice like red socks or blue socks- it's a choice like whether or not to murder someone. That's how Scripture presents it. (Lev. 18:22)
Interestingly enough, it seems that very few take issue with discriminating against murderers.


So to go back to the sentences above:

"We're working towards a world that is full of peace and tolerance for people of all races (non-moral issue- we should be tolerant of other races), genders (non-moral issue- we should be tolerant of the opposite sex), sexual orientations (moral issue- you will either obey God or you will rebel against Him), and religions (moral issue- you will either obey God or you will rebel against Him)."

"We are proud to announce that the discriminatory policies of the military against blacks (no Biblical difference of role between black man and white man) and women (plenty of Biblical difference between the roles of women and men) have been repealed, and that now both African-Americans and the daughters of our country are free to join our nation's armed forces."

See how this mixes categories? See how it compares apples to oranges? Hopefully this will better arm you to take those thoughts captive as you read the next liberal tolerance magazine promoting such hoggidy-washidy.

What about racial profiling?

Well, there's a difference between saying "You're black therefore you are inherently less valuable than me" and "You're black, we're inner-city and I've seen a lot of inner-city crime being committed by black people so I'm going to be careful until I get to know you."

There's a difference between "All Arabians are bad" and "Most terrorists are Muslims, most Muslims are from the middle-east, so if I see a guy with a turban and big black beard boarding my plane I might switch flights."

There's a difference between "Mexicans are unworthy to come to America" and "Most Mexican drug cartel members are... um... Mexican."

Duh.

The first example in each case is a wrong thought process. Someone's race doesn't change their inherent value before God, so it shouldn't change their inherent value before us.

But in the second case it is simply a examination of the "fruits" of a certain race- watching the patterns and simply being wise and using common sense. If I'm looking for good Mexican food odds are I'll look for a Mexican chef. If I'm looking for illegal immigrants from Mexico- odds are I'll be looking for Mexican people! (Which isn't to say that I agree with our current immigration policies- far from it!- but another topic for another time.)

Martin Luther King Jr. gave his dream speech, hoping for the day when his kids would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

I still don't think that dream has been realized. What a group of people does will be used- should be used!- to evaluate individual members. Maybe the individual is better or worse than the reputation of those with whom he lives, in which case he can prove himself and be respected- or despised- for it.

But, today, when we do judge people (or a people group) by the content of their character we are criticized for being discriminatory.

Examples:

Homeschoolers: Smart and respectful but dress funny
Tea Partiers: American flags and small government
Dogs: Slobbery
Tennesseans: Confederate flags and banjos
Texans: Sweet tea. Like, really sweet tea.
New Yorkers: Wild accent
Blacks: Very athletic; also prone to crime
Whites: Can't dance or jump
Mexicans: Probably illegal
So on.

(Side note: Isn't it interesting that I can insult whites all I want and it never feels weird, but the moment that I say that blacks as a class are prone to crime I feel like an edgy hater?)

Are there legal Mexicans? Absolutely. Are there athletic whites? Sure. Smart, upstanding blacks? Most definitely. My "economics professor" is one of them.

But the stereotypes are there for a reason. Instead of bemoaning the stereotypes and trying to duct tape every mouth that might speak according to those societal prejudices, perhaps we should focus on fixing the root issues that led to the stereotypes. Things like insanely high fatherlessness in black communities. You take the fathers away from white families and watch the crime skyrocket. These things have causes. But instead of trying to stop everyone from noticing the fruit, someone ought to fix the tree.

Back to the initial concept of slippery terms. I have one for y'all to try.

I'll leave you with this gem- you can tear this one apart yourself, and let me know how the thought-capturing goes in the comments:

"They should also know how symbols like swastikas, nooses and Confederate battle flags can offend and anger other students." - Teaching Tolerance article

(Oh, by the way, I feel very discriminated against by the Teaching Tolerance magazine. The amount of white males shown in the pictures in the magazine is nowhere near proportionate to the actual percentage of the population which we make up. It's almost like they're judging us or something.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Music: The Other Side of Midnight


Psychological thriller with a touch of action. Let me know what y'all think! I have a story for this piece- what's yours?

I'm imagining someone fleeing. Her name isn't Alice, and she's certainly not in Wonderland, but there is a sense of the fantastical in her quest. The landscape is foreign and barren and cold. It's dark and she's lost- but not lost in the sense of making a wrong turn- lost in the sense of being alone in the world, or even being thrust into a world that is not your own.

Why do they want to capture her? Maybe because she found something she wasn't supposed to. Maybe because she wasn't supposed to be here.

At any rate, she finds a house. Like a dream- maybe it is a dream- the gate opens for her. The door opens, too, and she steps inside quickly, gasping for breath. Maybe- maybe somehow this house holds the key to her return home. She keeps onward- down halls and up stairs. And then something catches her eye- it's a door. In this cold and dark house such a bright and clean door seems out of place. There's a clock atop the door, and it says 11:59.

Suddenly, with a great crash, the door downstairs crumbles into the house. Shouts and footsteps. Down the halls, up the stairs. She steps nearer to the door. The clock turns. The door clicks and begins to slide open. Just as her pursuers step into the hallway behind her, she runs, through the door, to the other side of midnight.

The Other Side of Midnight by gabrielhudelson

Oh, and which image do you like better? I went with the white one.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Music: Shadows in the Fog


This piece was actually begun as underscore for Ponder Pictures' "Brothers II" (working title), but we didn't keep it and so I took it and turned it into a stand-alone piece.

The story in my head:

Prologue- defeat and death, a wasted battleground covered in the slain.

Now, a small, battered group of men trudges through the forest- constant fighting, cold, misty weather, incessant marching- they are worn out. But still they march on. Soon enough, they begin hearing things- seeing shadows in the fog. Their leader stops them and looks around. The enemy closes in and we realize how close to defeat they really are. The leader, in the midst of the struggle, has his own reverie- remembering something, I don't know what, but something important. Maybe you can tell me what it was. At any rate, it invigorates him, and he encourages his men to stand fast for just a little longer. The battle presses in around them, and everything appears to be nearing an end.

Yet it's not over, for now we see someone else. He's running, looks like for help. Or is it to rescue? Ah, a few others are behind, rushing forward. One by one, they burst through the fog onto the battlefield, without hesitation, without regret, without even a moment's thought, one by one shouting a battle cry and throwing themselves into the fray. This gives a much-needed surge of strength to the drowning remnant. The battle's final end is now just as clear in view as before, but clearly different, and with but a few moments' struggle the battle is ended- the enemy scatters- and our men are left to count their dead and to prepare themselves to fight another day.

What do you think? What's your story?

Shadows in the Fog by gabrielhudelson