Sunday, October 30, 2011

Black and White

See opinions are easier to swallow than facts
the greys instead of the whites and the blacks
If you shoot it too straight they wont come back
We're selling the news

See money speaks volumes louder than words
Or virtues with wings maybe not quite at first
But salaries are paid by the ads not the birds
We're selling the news

Photo: Bronze sculpture
"The Encounter" in Toronto

"See opinions are easier to swallow than facts" begins Switchfoot's second verse, stating something that our newsstands prove.  One can't walk into a grocery store without seeing the latest gossip on Hollywood celebrities filling the racks near the cash registers.  People spend all their free time reading about the latest scandal and what Mr. so-and-so has to say about it; they're up to date on their soap opera drama, yet they don't know what is truly going on in the world.  The magazines people trust for information are lying to them as journalists fill their columns with their opinions on the news and market it as the truth.  The American people are becoming afraid of hearing how badly our country is doing, so the news reports don't tell them about how the country is basically at the mercy of China thanks to the humongous debt America owes them, no instead they tell them that China is the superman for America, and that they will save the world from economic collapse (check out this month's Time magazine).  They sell what the people want to hear, making sure they are so politically correct no truth could ever even creep in, because it might offend someone.  This is what the second line means.  The reporters sell the "greys" because they're safe.  It's not what the American people need to hear, but it will keep all sides happy.  Quick question, when Jesus came, did He water down the truth to make all sides happy?  I don't think so.  But the CEOs of The New York Times, CNN, and TIME Magazine don't care, because if "they shoot it too straight they won't come back," and lost subscriptions means less money, and that is something they cannot live without.

And so Switchfoot concludes that "our money speaks volumes louder than words," and oh how true this is.  One can pay anyone to do just about anything now, and the threat of inconvenience is now more powerful than the danger of a lost soul.  The people with the biggest share in the news station decide which stories get published and what lies must be mixed in with them before the anchors announce the headlines.  The channels claim to broadcast "fair and balanced" reports (Fox News slogan); their reporting is fair and balanced alright, fair for the Muslims and balanced so that no alarming stories will awaken people to the true state of the country.

Finally, virtues that should be spreading and growing are suppressed by the need to make a buck.  Companies supply abortion coverage to equal competitors without considering the evil behind it.  We need to wake up!  We need to start demanding, defending, and searcing for the truth!  We need to stop accepting and believing the "news" they're shoving down our throats and start investigating for ourselves!!! 

Stand up and fight for the truth that our Lord came and died defending.  For God is Truth, and if we continue to deny and hide from Him, He will have no reason to give our country the blessings it needs.

Part 2 of the series "We're Selling the News"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"We're Selling the News"

 Welcome to the holy city of silver screen
built with a lens and a low self esteem
 a teenager's plea for meaning and means
 we're selling the news 

Photo: Taxis in New York City
National Geographic-New York

This is the opening verse of the song "Selling the News" on Switchfoot's new album Vice Verses.  It's a fast song with a timely message about pop culture and the misplaced trust we place in the media.  Each line of this song has a meaning behind it that I believe we all need to hear NOW!

The first line of the song sets the scene, taking the listeners to a bustling city with shining buildings and chaotic streets (I always picture NYC).  Described as the "holy city," the world of business, money, and underhanded tricks has become our god.  Power is more important than virtue, and men step on each other's heads on their way up the ladder of success.  This whole song describes the sad state our country is in, and this first line defines why humanity has fallen so far into decay: we've replaced God with money.

"A lens and a low self esteem," are the building blocks of this society.  Our movies depict gorgeous women in tight clothes dominating handsome, idiotic men while racing through city streets in sleek cars or while sleeping in the same bed, succumbing to lust and upholding rebellion.  The actors are perfect, the scenarios dramatic, the morals non-existent, and the plot lines predictable.  The films are marketed to the people as a standard they should follow; each picture redefining love and life in a seemingly flawless way.  Yet, more and more of our citizens are on antidepressants, seeing mental therapists, committing suicide, and losing hope.  We all dream we're in the movies, trying to live our lives on the edge, yet inside we're all scared to death that the person sitting next to us on the subway might not like our outfits or ideas.  America has developed a huge ego, yet we've become a nation full of "sheeple" (hat's off to Michael Savage for that perfect word) too afraid to turn against the crowd.

The proof of this analyzation can be seen in America's teenagers.  The girls walk around without enough clothes and more than enough make-up, frowns on their faces and phones in hand while their boyfriends trot behind in baggy pants and hats turned backwards, apathetic looks on their faces.  All they want to find is happiness, that charge to make them feel alive.  This search for "meaning and means" takes them to the nearest theater, yet the medicine the movies prescribes only leaves them hung-over, pregnant, and even more alone and empty than they had been.  The culture is setting a bad example, and the teens are following it blindly.

Despite this corruption, the news carries on, reporting about the latest sexual scandal within the Church and defending murderers in other countries because they have lovely faces.  The all-powerful news that we trust is telling us the truth is delivered to us every day from the mouths of beautiful reporters with big smiles and crossed fingers.  The lady anchor won't tell us about the girl who died from a botched abortion yesterday, or about the Muslims taking over Europe, neither will she warn us about Hospice murdering its patients or doctors taking beating hearts out of accident victims because they agreed to be "organ donors."

This may all seem very depressing.  You may be reading this in disgust, thinking that things aren't really that bad and that this is all an exaggeration.  But this is only the beginning of the song; Switchfoot's hasn't finished uncovering the truth the media has been trying to hide.  And no matter how hard it is to hear, this is a message every American must listen to if we ever want to see our society improved.

Pray for America, that we will turn from our sinful ways and once again receive God's blessing.

(This is this first part of a nine-part series.  I'm going to analyze the rest of the song's verses, then in the last part discuss why, despite this darkness, we can still place our hope in the light.  Though there may be different posts interspersed amongst this series, I'm going to be focusing on this for the next two weeks.  I hope you will follow the posts, look up the song, and really think about the important message Switchfoot is trying to convey.  And may God bless you!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Pledge Allegiance...

Hello Everyone!

I promise I will post here soon!  Until then, I've posted a new article on St. Austin Review's Ink Desk:

I Pledge Allegiance...

I made an embarrassing mistake and attributed the quote "I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country" to Patrick Henry instead of Nathan Hale, but the mistake has been corrected (that's what happens when I write in a hurry).

Have a wonderful day, and God bless you for your patience with me!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Disposition of a Saint

"It is not fitting, when one is in God's service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look."

-St. Francis of Assisi

Today is the feast day of one of the most famous saints in the modern world, St. Francis of Assisi.  Now, of course, St. Francis is best known for his time spent preaching to the birds, who would listen to him, and for his prayer "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace..."  But, sometimes it's nice to look into the lesser known facts and sayings of the Saints, especially the ones that have not become so common-place.  While browsing the St. Francis quotes on, I found this one and immediately felt God trying to tell me something. 
Think about it for a second, "when one is in God's service" we are supposed to be cheerful, so as to "preach the Gospel at all times" (another famous quote of his) through our conduct.  And, if we are openly Christian, yet live with a frown on our faces, glaring at everyone who tries to talk to us, what kind of impression are we making?  As my mom always likes to remind me, "You attract more flies with honey." 
In this quote, Saint Francis said we must keep up a positive demeanor "when we are in God's service."  But, I have a question to ask you.  When are we not in God's service?  If we are truly striving to do God's will, then we are always trying to do His work, and we are ALWAYS in His service!  That makes this quote even more challenging, doesn't it?  It certainly does for me; my siblings can testify to that!
For those of you who, like me, are not very good at keeping a smile when unhappy or inconvenienced, pray to St. Francis today for help.  Take this quote, write it in pretty calligraphy or type it neatly and post it somewhere you will see it often.  It's short, so you could even memorize it.  Then, when you feel a scowl creeping over your face, or a sharp glance preparing to pierce someone across the room, hopefully this quote will come to mind and help you to reign in that difficult temptation.
Overall, do not forget the simplicity of St. Francis.  For, though he had literally nothing, he was one of the most joyful men ever to live upon this Earth.  May his example inspire us to a greater love for sacrifice, poverty, and the embodiment of Christ's happiness!

And may the God of Brother Sun and Sister Moon bless all of you tonight!