Music Monday: Coheed’s Eraser

For those of sensitive ear, this song does have a bit of language.

My least favorite Coheed album is, by far, their newest. But this particular song is quite good.

The lyrics below are particularly awesome:

Turn the clocks back to the way things were
I never wanted to be this me
Erase, eraser
Show me back then the kid before the man
I don’t think this me is who I am

Now, I like who I am and the person I’ve become and am becoming. But it’s easy to see for almost everybody who is honest with themselves that they’re incomplete as they stand and that if they could, they would have done things differently.

In relationship to being a Christian, I think it’s true to say that everybody has two ideal selves: what we want to be and what God wants us to be. To find the intellectual solid ground where these no longer contradict one another is crucial for spiritual growth. But it is just as important to take the steps to get to our understanding of our ideal self that we currently have. And like I said, most of us can find places wherein we’ve actively opposed God’s will and also our own deepest desires to find our ideal self with the choices we’ve made.

This particular song, though mostly about artistic growth I think, brought these things to mind.

Music Monday: Tear in My Heart

This is a pretty great song.

It’s essentially about how the lead singer found wholeness with his wife. She’s the “tear in my heart” sounds bad, but what he means is “my heart is my armor, she’s the tear in my heart, she’s a carver, she’s a butcher with a smile.” I think he means this in sense that whatever reservations he has about personal growth or the kind of vulnerability it takes to do courageous things are are aspects of his life that his wife helped him find. Good marriages are like this. You have a helper.

Michael Calfan: Resurrection

One of my students told me that this song would be sure to get me pumped up for morning visits to the gym.

Results may vary, but I listened to it when I dead lifted 325 Friday. But I often turn my music off for heavy lifts to make sure my focus is on form.

Also, here’s a version for nerds who like cartoons with a lot of yelling:

Will our technology kill us? or Music Monday: Go Robot

The recent Chili Peppers album is very very good. This song is one of many catchy experiments.

But this line caused me to reflect on other issues:

“I want to thank you and spank you on your silver skin, robots don’t care where I’ve been.”

Now, when Anthony Kiedis writes lyrics, it’s nearly impossible to pin down an objective meaning. But the connotation is sexual.

And lately two trends have been coming together that don’t bode well for the world:

  1. People staying out of the gene pool (or marriage/long term relationships all together). A good book on this trend and some of its cultural and even legal antecedents is Helen Smith’s Men on Strike. Over all, the risk/reward calculation for most men appears to make relationships unappealing in comparison to videogames, money, or one night stands.
  2. The invention of virtual reality porn/sex robots. The technology media will have an article about lifelike sex robots, boyfriend/girlfriend emulator programs, and sex-VR about once a month now.

A pastor once said to a group of young college guys, “sure, you can have lots of sex, but there’s always a woman attached.” The point was to use disarming language to remind people that sex involves a person. The invention of internet porn made that only true for the actors. Now, it seems, that it won’t require anybody but programmers and designers. This is a plus for people who want the pleasures of sex, but no responsibilities. The problem is that the pleasures of sex are pretty clearly meant to make us turn a blind eye to the risks and responsibilities. It appears that our technology may be about run way ahead of our biology.

So, enjoy the song, it’s pretty awesome. But stay away from romance robots. Honestly, they’re probably skynet.


Music Monday: Dark Necessities

The new RCHP song came out. Few bands who started in 1983 are as good as they had become in the early 90s (freaking Metallica). The Chili Peppers are even better. My guess is that they could have 3-5 good albums left in them.

The lyrics seem to be about the Zodiac killer, but I can’t tell. Enjoy.

Music Monday: Anarchy Road

One of my favorite things is 80s style synth pop. About a year or so ago I discovered Carpenter Brut. I really like their music. One of their recent songs, Anarchy Road, is about an awful post-prosperity future for western civilization. The music video below is just clips from the recent Judge Dredd film, but they fit the song perfectly because of the bleak circumstances, violent battles, and exaggerated color palate. There is a significant amount of gore, so if that bothers you don’t watch the video.

Lyrics below:



[Verse 1]
Skyless kingdom of faceless apes
Sunless city and spineless shades

In twenty-seventy or so
Tenements on fire
Blazing through endless nights

[Verse 2]
Heavy downpours of charcoal rain
Spewing sewers and belching drains

In twenty-seventy or so
Tenements on fire
Blazing through endless nights

And behind every spy hole
Car wrecks and barbwire
Dirty streets and knife fights

[Verse 3]
Ruins and leavers everywhere
Fear of a pagan world
Behind the flames and the prayers
Soulless creatures burn

In twenty-seventy or so
Tenements on fire (In the naval of God)
Blazing through endless nights

And behind every spy hole
Car wrecks and barbwire (In the naval of God)
Dirty streets and knife fights

Twenty-One Pilots and Your Soul

Being a millennial can be rough.

I don’t typically care about labels, as I find them restrictive, but categories of things clearly matter and being a millennial does predict certain traits.

It’s a generation of people whose jobs have been gutted by stupid trade deals.1

Most of them were raised with self-esteem centered parenting styles that can leave somebody crippled by even slight criticism.2

The majority of them were raised during the time when the public school system was facing it’s most colossal crises of content, teaching style, classroom sizes, and stupid advice to graduates.

The baby boomer generation has a tendency to make fun of millennial types for still living with mom and dad, but if the only jobs in an area are in the service industry or if those jobs are entry level internships with little to no pay, somebody can’t just move away and take them.

On the other hand, millennials can demonstrate above average narcissism and anxiety (one must ask though, do they simply have more outlets available for the normal human desire for honor and appreciation?).
Millennials also have, it seems, made some of the stupidest decisions regarding student loan debt of any generation. But, they go to college as kids after having been told that: any degree is better than no degree and that student loan debt is “good debt.” While the racket is obvious to adults, millennials hear these stupid messages in in high school.
Spiritually, millennials have grown up in the generation of parental outsourcing. Over the years working with college and high school students I’ve surveyed hundreds of millennials. Very few of them who identify as Christians read the Bible, prayed, or discussed discipleship to Christ with their parents.

Now, why do I care about all of this?

It’s actually just a clever segue for introducing you to a song:

In the song, the main character has had his car radio stolen and he’s forced to sit in silence:

I ponder of something terrifying
Cause this time there’s no sound to hide behind

I find over the course of our human existence
One thing consists of consistence
And it’s that we’re all battling fear

Oh dear, I don’t know if we know why we’re here
Oh my,
 too deep – please stop thinking
I liked it better when my car had sound

There are things we can do
But from the things that work there are only two
And from the two that we choose to do
Peace will win
And fear will lose

There’s faith and there’s sleep
We need to pick one please because
Faith is to be awake
And to be awake is for us to think
And for us to think is to be alive

And I will try with every rhyme
To come across like I am dying
To let you know you need to try to think

In ancient times, some Christians found the need to simply sit in silence in order to overcome the temptations of being within a society dominated by evil ideas, destructive images, and worst of all their own words leading people into evil. Henri Nouwen wrote very eloquently of modern man’s experience of silence and 21 Pilots’ song reminded me of this paragraph:

“In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding: no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me-naked vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken-nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in my wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. But that is not all. As soon as I decide to stay in my solitude, confusing ideas, disturbing images, wild fantasies, and weird associations jump about in my mind like monkeys in a banana tree. Anger and greed begin to show their ugly faces. I give long hostile speeches to my enemies and dream lustful dreams in which I am wealthy, influential, and very attractive- or poor, ugly, and in need of immediate consolation. Thus I try again to run from the dark abyss of my nothingness and restore my false self in all its vainglory.”3

Now, the horrors described by Nouwen are the inheritance of all the sons of Adam who, like their father, have chosen to go astray from God. And most of us love the darkness of being distracted because our deeds are evil and exposed by the light, whether or God or simply of a silent moment wherein our consciousness can absorb the quieted cries of our hoarse and weakened consciences.

If I were to give a challenge to millennials, I would tell them to spend more time in silence and solitude. Many don’t know themselves or even know that they have a soul. We cannot repent if we do not know what’s wrong with us. And we cannot, in my mind, love our enemies if we do not know how thoroughly we’ve been the enemy of our own happiness.


If millennials would spend some time in silence, perhaps they would know that one’s response to circumstances does not have to be a spirit of defeat. And indeed, for Christians there is a Spirit of love, power, and self-control. But one has to see the wreckage of their own soul in order to submit to it’s reformation.

There is a distinctly Christian response to living with an existential dread that your deeds don’t matter and that the wrungness in your soul is unique to yourself. It’s to get to know this person that you’ve become and to recognize that the God before whom every quark and quasar is displayed knows you even better and still loves you. Even further, it’s to think about genuine solutions to the problems you face. The purposes in our hearts are deep. Nevertheless the wise man, and I would add, the wisdom of solitude can help us draw them out. Once you know your habits of thought and feeling when undistracted, it’s a lot easier to change them.


1This book made me rethink almost everything I think about trade. I highly recommend it:
Ian Fletcher, Edward Luttwak, and United States Business and Industrial Council, Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace It and Why (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Business and Industry Council, 2010).

2Carol S Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (New York: Random House, 2006).

3Henri J. M Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry, 1981, 17-18