Reconnect 15. Christian Freedom, Eucatastrophes, and Rock ‘N’ Roll

>>>Episode 15 – Click here to listen! Right click to download.<<<

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First Reconnect July Fourth Special!  Andy discusses the concept of “Christian Freedom” with Pastor Samwise Praetorius (Samuel Schuldheisz) by addressing the eucatastrophes of fairy stories and the Gospel connections that can be made with rock songs.  They both share their top three favorite rock songs to use for sharing the Gospel. If you don’t know how that’s possible, you need to give this episode a listen. 

Reconnect Episode 15Listen to Episode 15 Here.

Videos of Andy and Pastor Sam’s favorite Rock ‘N’ Roll Evangelism Songs:

Please listen to episode before watching these videos of our favorite rock songs to use when sharing the Gospel.  I’m keeping the song titles and bands a secret on this page to not spoil the fun when listening to the episode.  We’d love to hear your feedback on our approach and song selections.  If the linked videos are ever removed, please send me an email at andy@contradictmovement.org to notify me.

Andy’s third favorite rock song for evangelism
Andy’s second favorite rock song for evangelism (the studio version is better but here you can see the drummer in action)
Andy’s top favorite rock song for evangelism

Sam’s third favorite rock song for evangelism
Sam’s second favorite rock song for evangelism
Sam’s top favorite rock song for evangelism

Other Episode links:

Pastor Sam’s blog: E-nkings
Pastor Sam’s congregation’s website: Redeemer Lutheran
“Faith and Fairy Tales” by Pastor Sam
1517 The Legacy Project

Metallica – “ONE” (Not appropriate for Christians – WHAT?)

I’ve been taking a trip down memory  lane listening to music from that I listened to from the mid 90s to early 00s. Mostly the songs that were released during that time frame, from bands like Staind, Flaw, Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine, Stereomudd, Systematic, Saliva, Puddle of Mud, and Godsmack, of which most of these bands are no longer playing, or virtually irrelevant, just rehashing the same stuff without being as good as their first albums.  And these are far from my favorite bands, and I can’t praise all of their songs lyrically or musically.

Somehow, I landed on Metallica, listening to the some of the songs off Death Magnetic, and I thought, how does this new CD sound compared to their pre-Black album days.  It seems like they were trying go back to their pre-Black album days on a lot of the songs, so I listened to the song “One” to hear the differences.  And I seem to think the Death Magnetic album is as good or better for them playing that style of Metallica music, but man, “One” is one amazing song.  I’m not sure exactly why, but it was always my favorite Metallica song, I think because of its progression from starting with melodic picking of single notes with a long running lead solo over it all until finally exploding into a fierce rhythm of power chords that actually fit the story of the song!  And maybe that’s it, I like that the song has a story to it and it makes me think a little, or a lot depending on the mood I’m in at the time.

And thinking of this song now, for me, mostly it just brings me back to a high school Sunday school class.  Our church had a student intern who was with us for just one year as he was preparing to be a Director of Christian Education (essentially a youth pastor in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod).  One of his classes had us go through and write the lyrics to our favorite non-Christian song.  Not being one to usually sing to songs outside of church settings or memorize lyrics since I’m usually listening to the music and prefer it most when there is no singing but just axe-slaying being done, I could only come up with the lyrics to this one Metallica song, though it wasn’t my favorite song at the time.  So I wrote down, what I could remember of it:

Darkness
imprisoning me
All that I see
Absolute Horror
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body, my holding cell
Landmine has
Taken my sight
Taken my speech
Taken my hearing
Taken my arms
Taken my legs
Taken my soul
Leaving me with a life in hell!
Oh please God help me.
Help me.

This is the image of the "One" in the song,  from the official video for the song, the man who lost his arms, legs, sight, speech, and hearing from war.
This is the image of the “One” in the song, from the official video for the song, the man who lost his arms, legs, sight, speech, and hearing from war.

We then had to go around the room, taking turns reading our lyrics.  After everyone read their lyrics, the intern leader would ask why we listen to it and proceed to tell us all the reasons what we are listening to is not God pleasing and we shouldn’t listen to it.  He then told us of a bunch of Christian bands we should listen to instead and explained that after none of us could produce a “good” song to listen to that wasn’t Christian we should only listen to Christian songs.

For my song, he had no clue what the song was about in its full lyrical story.  He wanted to know why it would be at all God pleasing to hear a song about a guy who has lost everything and is living in hell.  I told him how it was a song that magnified the horrors of war and that it should make us think twice before rushing for bloodshed, and it should make us think of those who have suffered tragically in war.  I told him that it was a song about a guy who lost all his limbs, hearing, sight, and speech from a landmine explosion in war.  I explained that it made me think more about what it means to have life, and it makes me thankful for what I do have from God and that at any moment it could be taken from me if God wills it.  And I added, that the guy in the song recognizes that he needs help, and that the only person who can help him is God!  So what’s so wrong with that?  He didn’t like my explanation of why I would listen to the song… but I forget what he said in reply. I just remember that the song was still rejected as completely inappropriate for  a Christian to listen to.

What do you think?  Should Christians only listen to Christian music?  Is it evil to listen to the music that I have been listening to this week?

I think there are some guiding principles one should take when listening to music like this, and mostly, it’s read Romans 14.  If it’s unclean for you, don’t make it unclean for everyone else.  And it it’s clean for you, but not for another brother or sister in Christ, then don’t subject them to the music, don’t flaunt it in front of them.  Maybe some would argue that I’m doing that with this post – what do you think?

As for the song “One”, I think what I draw from the song is good.  It makes me think of others who are suffering, physically, emotionally, and through isolation, and I think of how Jesus is the only one who can help them, help them in the way that they need, just as he was able to help the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4.  And how does Jesus reach them today?  Through his church, through his Word and through the sacraments.  Not sure how a guy who can’t hear, see, talk, or move will get God’s grace through those means, but I trust that God is not bound by any means!

John Lennon’s “Imagine”

I found a bumper sticker for John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” Have you ever listened to the lyrics of Lennon’s popular song and considered the reality of his imaginary world? What would the consequences be if there was no God, no hell below, just sky above? How would morality and justice be affected? Is this a world that you really want to imagine? If so, then in the words of Aerosmith, “Dream On.”

Jesus Claimed to Be God

Muslims say that Jesus never claimed to be God.  Some religious pluralists might say this too.  Some humanists will likely say this also.  And many people will not care.

I believe that we can trust the Gospels to be Historically reliable.  With that being said, I believe Jesus actually claimed to be God and that he backed up such claims by living the perfect life that none of us can live, dying the death that none of us can die, and rising from the grave, something that we all will do, however, some to everlasting life, and others to everlasting condemnation (Daniel 12:1-3).

People struggle to admit that Jesus claimed to be God, because they really like his teachings of universal love and compassion towards others.  They like his don’t pay back evil with evil mentality, because although we all break his commands, we recognize that they are the highest road of morality, and the path that most be followed for world peace.

People who want to embrace the Jesus of pacifism, but reject the Jesus who is the Messiah, will sometimes say, “Well, he never said the exact words, ‘I am God,’ so what Christians interpret to be claims to be God, must somehow be misunderstood.”  So, I’ll change the lyrics of the Animals song slightly to fit this situation, “Oh Lord, please don’t let him be misunderstood.”  Make no mistake, Jesus claimed to be God.  Here is how he claimed to be God as recorded in his biographies, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John:

Divine Titles Proclaimed by or attributed to Jesus Christ:

God (John 1:1, John 20:28, Romans 9:5, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 1:1)
Lord (Mark 12:35-37, John 20:28, Romans 10:9-13, 1 Cor. 8:5-6, 12:3, Philippians 2:11)
Messiah (Matthew 16:16, Mark 14:61, John 20:31)
Son of God (Matt. 11:27, Mark 15:39, John 1:18, Romans 1:4, Galatians 4:4, Hebrews 1:2)
Son of Man (Matt. 16:28, Matt. 24:30, Mark 8:38, Mark 14:62-64, Acts 7:56, Dan. 7:13-14)

Divine Names, actions, or roles proclaimed by or attributed to Jesus Christ:

Creator (John 1:3, Col. 1:16, Hebrews 1:2,10-12)
Sustainer (1 Cor. 8:6, Col. 1:17, Hebrews 1:3)
Forgiver of sins (Mark 2:5-7, Luke 24:47, Acts 5:31, Col. 3:13)
Object of prayer (John 14:4, Acts 1:24, 1 Cor. 1:2)
Object of worship (Matt. 28:16-17, Phil. 2:10-11, Hebrews 1:6)
Object of saving faith (John 14:1, Acts 10:43, Romans 10:8-13)

Divine Attributes or Qualities proclaimed by or attributed to Jesus Christ

Eternal Existence (John 1:1, John 8:58, John 17:5, Hebrews 13:8)
Self-existence (John 1:3, John 5:26, Col. 1:16)
Omnipresence (Matthew 18:20, Ephesians 1:23, Ephesians 4:10, Col. 3:11)
Omniscience (Mark 2:8, Luke 9:47, John 2:25, John 4:18, Col. 2:3)
Omnipotence (John 2:19, Col. 1:16-17)

Jesus equated himself with the Father

To know Jesus is to know God – John 14:7
To see Jesus is to see God – John 14:9
To encounter Jesus is to encounter God – John 14:11
To welcome Jesus is to welcome God – John 5:23
To hate Jesus is to hate God – John 15:23
To obey Jesus is to obey God – John 14:23

Jesus made direct claims that many Jewish religious leaders considered to blasphemous – John 5:17-18, John 8:58-59, John 10:30-33, and Mark 14:61-64.

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So based on these claims…

Who do you say Jesus is?

Rainbow – Catch the Rainbow

I got a live Rainbow CD last year, and I was really impressed with the song, “Catch the Rainbow.” Nowadays with the rainbow being a symbol for homosexuality, some people might be embarrassed to say that they listen to a band named, Rainbow.  And it’s pretty incredible how much culture has changed over the past 3 decades. A rock band of heterosexuals would never call themselves Rainbow today.  It’s inconceivable.  But not in the 70s, especially since the early Rainbow catalog with Ronnie James Dio as the singer focused on fantasy lyrics and artwork with songs about castles, kings, wizards, and setting captives free.

As Christians, we shouldn’t be afraid to have rainbow decals on our cars.  We shouldn’t be afraid to have rainbow decals on T-shirts!  We shouldn’t be afraid of the colors of the rainbow!  The rainbow was a promise, a sign from God, to Noah, to us, that he would never again destroy the world through water.

GP Logo
Click the image to order a sticker and get the message of the rainbow.

Catch the Rainbow!  Chase after God and his promises.  That’s not what this song is about; I’m pretty sure, but that’s what I think about when I listen to the song, that and how amazing Ritchie Blackmore is on a guitar and why in the world is this band not as well known as Blackmore’s first band, Deep Purple.