Metallica – “Broken, beat, and scarred. We die hard.”

“Broken, beat, and scarred.  We die hard.  What doesn’t kill us, makes us more strong.  We rise, we fall, we get up again.  What doesn’t kill us makes us more strong.  Broken, beat, and scarred.  We die hard!!!”

Some pretty intense lyrics if we think about them.  They come from the Metallica song, “Broken, beat, and scarred.”

metallica

When I read the writings of the apostle Paul and hear about his flogging, stonings, and imprisonments, I think that I surely haven’t suffered much for my Christian faith.  Despite all of Paul’s persecutions he kept rising up again.  Forget John McClane – The Apostle Paul knew what it meant to “Die Hard.”  I have not yet shed blood for my faith in Jesus in Christ.  I might never do so, but the words of Paul still ring true for me and all of us when he says that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.  And hope doesn’t disappoint us.

Yet, I know I complain a lot about my present sufferings.  I think most of us do.  But here, coming from Metallica, I am reminded that what doesn’t kill us makes us more strong.  I think of Paul when he said, “When I am weak, I am strong.”  When he’s weak, he has no choice but to cling to God!  When he is holding on to God, then he is strong.

One complaint against Christianity is the problem of evil and suffering in the world.  It’s easy to say “what doesn’t kill us makes us more strong” when it’s simple sufferings, broken arm a bad breakup, but what about genocide, rape, a four-year old with cancer.  We tend to want to wave our fist at God!  What’s your problem???  Why didn’t you stop this.  We can’t see the good that can come from it.  What loving Father would allow such a thing to his children – stronger – yea right!

The answer lies in Jesus.  Being God, perfect and sinless, he still suffered.  He suffered on our behalf, because of our shortcomings.  It lies in God’s patience with us!  Does he want pain and suffering for us – no!  But he allows it.  If he were to intervene now, what would that mean for everyone who doesn’t know him.  He is patient in his return, waiting for more people to come to repentance?  It’s his will that no man should eternally perish – sadly, we are set to face a physical death as our exodus from this life.  The answer won’t satisfy everybody and I hope and pray that I stand firm in the faith and trust God’s plan of redemption when the worst of the worst hits my life.  In the end, at Christ’s return, those of us who died in Christ will be raised to new life with bodies that will never be broken, beat, or scarred.

100. Songs of Protest and Apocalypse


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Black Sabbath Lyrics Vol. 2 2

For episode 100 of Reconnect, Andy interviews Joe Bongiorno, about his illustrated rock lyric book, Black Sabbath The Illustrated Lyrics, Vo1. 2: Songs of Protest and Apocalypse.  Bongiorno’s book explains the lyrics of Black Sabbaths’ 2nd album, Paranoid.  Some listeners might be shocked to hear about a Black Sabbath themed episode of a podcast dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, and if that is the case, please go back to episode 68 where Andy interviewed Joe about Volume 1.

Bongiorno explains how Paranoid is a collection of songs that are “ultimately polemics infused in the discourse of apocalyptic literature (with implications both ancient and modern), there is the every-present reminder that there is hope and a greater purpose at work.”

In their album Paranoid, Black Sabbath challenges us to consider the nature of war, evil, depression, addiction, and the failures of transhumanism.  They warns us against aligning ourselves with Satan, and instead point us to hope in the supernatural king that will take earth under his wings.  As Bongiorno demonstrates that the imagery of Geezer Butler’s lyrics is knowingly derived from the Bible, it becomes clear that Black Sabbath’s album Paranoid is calling us to repentance, a turning from a sin and a turning to God and the salvation that he alone can bring.

Show Links:

Joyous Wolf

The Royal Publisher of Oz

Black Sabbath The Illustrated Lyrics

Geezer says his lyrics come from the Bible!

Episode 68 – Andy’s first interview with Joe

68. Supernatural Horror in Music

>> Listen to the Episode Here! <<
(Right click and “save as” to download the mp3 file)

Or listen in iTunes.

sabbath-lyrics

Joe Bongiorno is the owner and operator of The Royal Publisher of Oz.  He serves as the guest for the 2016 Reconnect Halloween Special to discuss Supernatural Horror in Music, the subtitle for his book, Black Sabbath The Illustrated Lyrics Volume 1.

For many Reconnect listeners, it might come as a shock that a podcast dedicated to sharing and defending the Good News of Jesus Christ has an entire episode devoted to the lyrics of Black Sabbath, much less a Halloween special episode, however, Bongiorno took a surprising approach on how to start his eight volume anthology.  Even before the inside title page, publisher information, copyright listings, ISBN numbers, and table of contents, the first words are from the Bible.  Bongiorno chose to start Black Sabbath The Illustrated Lyrics by quoting, Acts 26:17-18: “I am sending you to them to open their eyes so that they may turn away from darkness to the light, away from the power of Satan and to God.”  This is not what most people would think about to describe a rock n roll band, and certainly not what they would first think of for Black Sabbath.

Bongiorno shares the distinctions between supernatural horror and natural horror and explains examples of supernatural horror within Black Sabbath’s first album.  The horrors and consequences of the occult are revealed, a Christ-like figure emerges as a wizard that demons fear, the devil woos a woman he loves (or is it all deception?), while the wicked world spins on a man receive omens in the sky that he ignores to his and our peril, while all along at the center of the album, the “wall of sleep is lying broken” as the “sun shines in, you have awoken.” There is hope.  There is light.

The centerpiece message of “Behind the Wall of Sleep” contains what Bongiorno thinks is the underlying philosophy of Black Sabbath’s full body of work: “Now from darkness, there springs light.”  Over, and over, and over again, light triumphs over darkness in the metanarative of Black Sabbath’s lyrics.  Paul echoes this sentiment pointing us back to creation and the renewal of man that comes through Jesus Christ: “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Show Links:

Black Sabbath The Illustrated Lyrics

The Royal Publisher of Oz

The Star Wars Expanded Universe Timeline

Black Sabbath Live in Paris 1970 (Full Show)

The Highway to Hell and the The Stairway to Heaven

I saw an image on a friend’s Facebook wall.  It was shared from a radio station’s page, presumably a rock station with the references to AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”.

highway vs. stairwayI decided to share it to my Contradict – They Can’t All Be True Facebook page.  To stick to the basic theme of the page, I typically share posts that demonstrate some sort of exclusive statement or contradiction or inconsistency within religious teachings, worldview thinking, or moral codes.  I thought that the image of a highway versus a stairway are very contrasting by nature.  One is typically flat, wide, and fast, whereas the other is typically narrow, ascending, and not fast-going.  Their destinations were also very different.  The fast tract leads to hell.  The steps lead to heaven.

Bionically speaking these places are exact opposites.  Their natures, though both eternal, are contradictory.  Hell is a place of unrest.  It’s a place of fire that cannot be quenched, yet it’s also a place of total darkness.  Agony and misery belong for eternity for those in hell, and there is no hope… just despair.  (Matthew 25:41, Matthew 8:12, Revelation 14:11, Luke 16:24, and 2 Thessalonians 1:9 to list a few verses)  Heaven is a place of eternal rest.  It’s a place of peace.  A place where we will see the Lord face to face.  There will be no hardships, no suffering, no evil, no death.  The glory of the Lord shall light heaven forever.  (Revelation 22:4, Revelation 7:16-17, and Revelation 21:23-25)

From what we know in Scripture, the only way to heaven is through faith in Jesus Christ.  (John 14:6) Those who believe shall have eternal life and those who do not shall be eternally condemned.  (John 3:36).  There is no other name than Jesus’ by which we can be saved. (Acts 4:12)  With this in mind, all roads besides the path that Christ provides must lead to hell, that is if the Words of the Bible are true, which I most certainly do believe to be the case.

Jesus spoke of a broad road that leads to destruction. He says that many enter through it.  (Matthew 7:13)  I think the many religions of this fallen and depraved world make up the lanes of this massive highway to hell.  Jesus also spoke of a narrow road that leads to heaven. He said few find it.  (Matthew 7:14)  Elsewhere Jesus speaks of a great wedding banquet to which many are called but few are chosen.  (Matthew 22)  From Jesus’ words we can see that it does appear that many more will be in hell than those in heaven.  Simply looking at the number of Christians in the world compared to the number of non-Christians, this certainly appears to be the situation.

To further support the Biblical nature of this radio station’s image, Scripture does speak of a “Stairway to Heaven”.  It’s found in a dream that Jacob had at Bethel.  (Genesis 28:12)  Jesus later references this dream and places himself into the dream as the “Stairway to Heaven.” (John 1:51)  In other words, Jesus is the “Stairway to Heaven”.

Based on the Word of God, I take the stance that it is a fact that there’s a “Highway to Hell” and a “Stairway to Heaven” and as their descriptions imply, many more will take the highway.  Though these are song lyrics, it doesn’t mean they don’t echo the truth of Scripture in some ways.  I shared this image on Facebook and then wrote this blog post to encourage us to consider the road we are on and to note that there is still time to change the one you’re on if it’s the highway.  And if you are on the stairway, it’s time to start inviting more people to Jesus.


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“You will die!” – One approach to Christian Apologetics

Dear readers, whoever you are.

This isn’t exactly what one usually would consider when they think of defending the Christian faith; the statement, “You will die.”  It’s not pretty.  It’s not nice.  We try not to think about it.  We try to push death out of our minds.  That’s why they call them casualties and not deaths!  That’s why they call them viruses, or the bird flu, or the swine flu, and not plagues! (Paraphrasing Henry Rollins) We don’t want to think about death!

To quote the Black Sabbath song, “After Forever,” “When you think about death do you keep your cool?”

Well to quote the song more, “I’ll be prepared when you’re lonely and scared at the end of our days.”  The answer in that song by Black Sabbath of course is “Jesus Christ is the only way to love.”

I know a pastor who sets up shop at university campuses.  He shares the good news of salvation with people.  However, if a person rejects the news.  If they are complacent, if they are ambivalent, he challenges them to consider the alternatives… what if there is no God, then you die and you are in the ground.  What if there is a God?  And you have rejected him? What if that God is Jesus?  What then?  Are you so sure… do you keep your cool when you think about death?

He told one student, “Well, just remember you are going to die.”  And the student left the conversation at that, but came back to him a month later and said, “Do you remember the last thing you said to me?”  The pastor did not.  The student said it had troubled him ever sense talking to him.  He finally came face to face with his own personal death, and was he so sure… was he so certain that he would be reincarnated as his faith taught.  The pastor shared, “Jesus will save you from that death. He paid for all of your sins.”

Part of apologetics is just properly explaining the Christian faith, and God’s Word can be divided into two camps, Law, and Gospel.  God’s Law shows us that we are sinners, that God’s wrath is upon us and that we justly deserve his eternal punishment.  God’s Gospel shows us our savior.  To learn more about Law and Gospel, click here.

So, you will die.  Worried?  Well, maybe you shouldn’t be complacent?  Don’t put off considering what lies beyond this life.  To be fair, I’ll say look to all religions, but I’d recommend looking to Christianity first, and I say this because it is objective, read 1 Corinthians 15 to know what I mean. That passage will show you the center of the Christian faith.  It will tell you where the Christian faith stands or falls.  It will show you that you are a sinner and that you will die for those sins, yet it also will show you the good news that Jesus died for sins, was buried, and on the third day rose from the grave as according to the Scriptures.

For more on sharing the Gospel on a college campus using a table-top evangelism style approach, listen to Reconnect Episode 6: Contradict – Campus Evangelism.

>>>Order Andy Wrasman’s book, Contradict- They Can’t All Be True.<<<