It’s easy to get lost in this world even while pursuing a clear objective. Running into so many trees you lose perspective regarding the forest as a whole; unwillingly embodying the old joke about how when you’re up to your neck in alligators difficulty ensues remembering the original objective was draining the swamp. It happens.

At such times it helps referring not to what you should be doing, but why you should be doing it. Clarity comes from purpose; purpose is rooted in core beliefs. With this in mind, time to look at the oft neglected cornerstone that should be at the heart of what we do in this odd little realm of blogs and social media.

Some years ago, back when I harbored hallucinations of joining cyberspace’s high rollers, I came up with what I called the four tenets of the blogging evangel. They were:

  1. The ability to broadcast an opinion neither elevates nor validates said opinion.
  2. Blog from and for the heart, not the wallet.
  3. Answer your email every time all the time.
  4. Never become what you profess to oppose. Never.

These are quite self-explanatory, methinks. Especially in noting how following them permanently relegated me to the blogosphere’s, and social media’s, far sidelines. But I digress. To brusquely summarize, the eighty-fifth post/status update/tweet today yelling about how Obama is a poooyhead and/or Trump is a meanypants, all while offering rip and read analysis from the same ripped and read mainstream news story everyone else has ripped and read, doesn’t add anything to the public discourse. Neither did the other eighty-four. Try finding something worth your, and the reader’s, time. Something that matters. Something that gives something more than bait with which to lure sycophants into boosting your visibility within the echo chamber. Have a reason worth considering.

Here’s mine.

I’ve been a Christian since 1975, and a passionate fan/supporter of Jesus Music/contemporary Christian music/whatever you want to call it since then. I spent several years from the late 1980s through the mid 1990s as a journalist covering the music scene, this time period including numerous interviews with, and feature stories written about, many of the genre’s top artists, all published in the era’s leading magazines.

I drifted away from the scene in the mid 1990s, disillusioned by several people involved in it at different levels and also extremely unhappy with myself and how I had occasionally acted. I came back to the music, and into a walk with Christ that was something more than lip service, in 2005 at a concert featuring several of the ’80s-’90s bands I had loved back in the day. I later interviewed many of the artists from that era and published my work in book form; info at http://godsnotdeadbook.com I also have an online radio show, with info for same at http://cephashour.com

The bands and artists I loved – Larry Norman, Undercover, The 77s, Daniel Amos, The Choir, and dozens more – were bold both musically and lyrically. They addressed subjects like failed relationships, death, suicide, racism, sexual perversion, and other topics usually considered too hot for discussion within Christian circles. They did so understanding and accepting it would permanently put them on the outer fringe of Christian music; minimal airplay, far fewer concert opportunities, a lot fewer Christian bookstores carrying their records. But they did it anyway, because it was their calling.

I don’t listen to much current music of any genre; don’t have as much patience or time as once was the case to seek out the latest and greatest. I’m sure there’s some terrific new Christian rock and pop out there. But I will always hold on to my beloved classic Christian rock. It truly is the soundtrack of my life, and it has been a faithful companion in my walk with Christ. It remains vital and fresh. It can, and does, still bless people. Promoting it, getting and keeping it out there, is my purpose in the online world. It is my fundamental.

What’s yours?

A few days ago, I ran across this story involving a recent speech by conservative radio host and author Hugh Hewitt:

ORLANDO, Fla. (NRB) –  Christian radio show hosts have an obligation not only “to deliver great news talk” but to make certain the “fragrance of the Gospel is there,” Hugh Hewitt said Tuesday evening (Feb. 28) at Proclaim 17, the National Religious Broadcasters’ International Christian Media Convention.

Speaking at NRB’s Media Leadership Dinner, Hewitt told the audience of other talk show hosts and broadcasters that he has hosted his many guests during 17 years with Salem Media Group “with one purpose in mind – to smuggle in the Christian Gospel into a secular setting.”

 

Really.

Really?

Indulge me while I address Hugh Hewitt directly.

I prayerfully urge you, Hugh.

Listen to yourself.

Put your words into practice.

You did not do so in my case.

See, a few years back when I wrote my book about the forgotten and neglected pioneers of Christian modern rock, I had the crazy notion you’d be interested. After all, you’ve written a parcel of books for Christian publishers. You’ve long talked about the need to impact the culture. Well, here were people who took that notion to heart and actually did so. Seemed to me like it’d be a natural for your show. Just a few minutes; enough to get the word out. No big.

I was wrong.

Even after I sent you a copy of the book through your personal assistant, not a word. Now before you or anyone else (more on said else anyones later) reply with I’m/he’s busy and can’t possibly get back to everyone who contacts me/him, a brief reminder. We’re all busy. All of our time is valuable. By my reckoning, the single mom trying to juggle child rearing, working more often than not one job, and everything else life has thrown her way is far busier than both of us combined. So no, no whining about being busy is admissible.

Oh, but I did hear back from your radio show’s producer Duane Patterson. Boy, did I hear back. According to him, no interest whatsoever. The show is politics from start to finish. No time for anything else. When pressed, he responded time and again with heaps of insults and name calling. Rather disrespectful, don’t you think Hugh?

As noted, there was your loyal core of fanbois and gurrls who were aware of my efforts. They followed both your lead in ignoring me and Mr. Patterson’s lead in belittling me. How DARE I speak less than glowingly of the great and good Hugh Hewitt! How DARE I waste a nanosecond of his time, or that of anyone connected with him! Infidel! Unclean! RINO!!! Which leads to the musing about how in a conservative media world, both old and new, where endless self-promotion is not only mandatory but routinely lauded and reciprocated, I was burned at the stake for attempting … self-promotion.

So, Hugh, you can imagine my reaction to your comments at the NRB convention. My personal, direct experience with you, your employees, and your fans stands in direct contradiction to your words. There are several expressions concerning, and descriptive adjectives for, those who say something yet do the exact opposite. No need to list them here; we all know them very, very well.

Instead, let’s try this again.

No, I’m not asking to appear on your show, although I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to spread the word about my podcast playing the music by the artists I wrote about in the book. Instead, I bring to your attention two of these artists with new projects currently going on. Daniel Amos (which is a band led by one Terry Scott Taylor) is prepping a deluxe rerelease of its Horrendous Disc album, one of the true watershed moments in Christian rock. Have Terry on your show. He’s wise and witty. It will be a treat for you and your audience.

Veteran Christian alternative rockers The Choir are currently running a campaign to fund both rereleasing its 1989 Wide Eyed Wonder album and record a new album. They’re also going on tour in a few days. Have the band’s drummer and lyricist Steve Hindalong on your show. He’s wise. Ask him about the band, and about how he cowrote “God of Wonders” which doubtless you’ve sung during Sunday worship. Like Terry Scott Taylor, it will be a treat for you and your audience. And there are many, many more artists who would be positive additions to your show.

Now before you say that’s too much gospel, Hugh, I remind you that Dana Loesch had Christian rapper Lecrae on her show. Is not her show 99.44% politics? Yet she is unafraid to have bold Christians on her show, and equally unafraid to proclaim her own beliefs. Last time I checked, it hadn’t cratered her career. I remember turning on Fox and Friends one morning not too long ago and there was Casting Crowns. Seen FOX News’ ratings lately?

I have no doubt you’ll ignore this, Hugh, just as I have no doubt your sycophant fans will rant and rail against me for once again besmirching your hallowed name. I’ve quite given up caring about such things. It is of primary, if not sole, importance to promote the artists devoting, far more often than not at tremendous personal cost, themselves to serving Christ through music. The world has enough political talk, Hugh. The world has very few political talkers willing to openly embrace and promote the God so many of them say they serve by openly embracing and promoting Christian rockers new and veteran. You have the opportunity. Take hold of it.

Dismiss me as you will. Dismiss God’s servants at your own peril.

I’m hopeless
Hopeless and tired
Will you give me the sign I’m looking for?
I am mired with the earnest and sight-inspired
Hopeless

Kickstarter campaign is currently underway;  successfully reaching its initial goal in a few days. Objective? Remaster, and for the first time release on vinyl as well as a remastered CD, the 1992 album Dig by Christian alternative rock band Adam Again.

Adam Again was Gene Andrusco’s brainchild. In the days of his youth, Andrusco was an actor, playing Darrin Stephens on Bewitched among other roles. As an adult, Andrusco chose to go by the name Gene Eugene and focused his artistic side on music, be it as an artist (in addition to Adam Again he was also a founding member of The Lost Dogs), producer, or for a time record label owner. He died in 2000 at age 38 from a brain aneurysm.

One of Andrusco’s brothers in musical arms described him as a genius artist and amateur human being. Take from that what you will. Despite his stubborn addiction to being the aforementioned human, Andrusco was universally loved by those he worked alongside no matter how exasperating he could be, which from all reports was substantial. He was far more adept at musical and lyrical expression than personal, hardly a unique trait among artists throughout the centuries.

I’m helpless
Helpless and silent
Can you return my voice?
You left me mute and defiant
But I can’t get my hands untied
I’m helpless

It is well worth noting how uncomfortably parallel the world in which Dig was released, namely the contemporary Christian music world of the early 1990s, and today’s conservative new media world align. At the time Dig first saw the light of day, contemporary Christian music (CCM for short) was populated by a few heavy hitter record labels and artist managers who dictated which artists and musical genres would receive the lion’s share of promotion, with all others left to fend for themselves via word of mouth among a handful of rabid enthusiasts. This is why at a time when alternative rock and grunge ruled the mainstream music world both in attention drawn and records/concert tickets sold, the handful of Christian artists working in this field were privately praised but publicly ignored by CCM’s business side in favor of übersoft praise schmaltz or syrupy Top 40 pseudo dance pop. Adam Again, along with other bands and artists – Daniel Amos, The Choir, 77s, Undercover, Altar Boys, Steve Taylor, Veil of Ashes – who should have been heralded were instead literally and figuratively shoved to the back of the bus, left to fend for themselves. Substitute Salem Media and National Review for record labels and artist managers, and Trump Derangement Syndrome for the music promoted during that time … you get the picture.

I’m useless
Useless without you
It’s my fault
I am withered, I am weak
And about to find out why I’m so into
Being useless

Gene Eugene was a spiritual descendent of Solomon who wearily described all as vanity; of the Psalmists who cried out:

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

His was a faith and life of reality, one in which you reached out to people where they were, not where you demanded they be. It is a lesson sadly lost on all fronts in today’s world, especially the one founded on citizen journalism but now choked with the very elitism it once set out to destroy.

youtube http://youtube.com/watch?v=P5V8AWUyApU?rel=0&w=450&h=253

Well hello there, DaTechGuy devotees! I’m Jerry Wilson, sporadic blogger at Goldfish and Clowns, far more frequent host of Cephas Hour on BlackLight Radio, author of God’s Not Dead (And Neither Are We), and all-around nice guy. Or something like that.

First, my thanks to Peter for allowing me to start posting here on occasion. I promise I’ll pay for all legal fees incurred stemming from any of my assorted scribbles in case I stray into the realm of, oh, naming names and the like.

Second, what I’ll be writing about: sometimes politics, sometimes culture, sometimes faith based on my slightly oddball perspective of being a traditional Catholic/Jesus People-era evangelical hybrid, and sometimes Christian rock’n’roll (or rock’n’roll period, at least that portion now labeled classic rock) which is my bailiwick. Or all four at once. But enough preamble; on to the topic at hand.

In my introduction I neglected mentioning that with the exception of a brief stint in Indiana I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area all my life. To be a conservative out here is a challenge, given how one faces a daily onslaught of propaganda masquerading as local news that would make MSNBC cry liberal bias. Nevertheless I persevere, fellowshipping with my fellow conservatives who are not unlike the seven thousand God revealed to Elijah He had reserved for Himself who had not bowed the knee to Baal. In a similar manner, at the present time out here there is a remnant chosen by grace that has a clue about how things actually operate, this as opposed to how they are evangelized by the worshipers of self and/or social engineers holding local political office, elected to same or no.

Given this perspective, and given how I’ve made more than a few laps around the sun aboard this dusty orb, I find the current Trump phenomenon far more amusing than alarming. I’m not referring to Trump himself; he is exactly what and who he is. Therefore, consider him as you will. Rather, it is the depth of Trump Derangement Syndrome permeating the conservative side of social media that has me chuckling, albeit with increasing grimness as the attacks on him and any who support him grown more personal and vicious with each passing day, if not hour.

According to the more vocal of his detractors, Trump is a charlatan; a political shape-shifter transforming himself with the changing winds. His followers are mindless simpleton drones, closet if not full-blown racists immediately assaulting any who raise the least question about him with aisles of vile bile. To be fair, there are more than a few Trump aficionados viewing anyone who so much as breathes a word not in his highest praise as a charging RINO masquerading as a lion, to whom they feel compelled to respond in the manner of a Minnesota dentist.

This level of hysteria when we are months away from the Iowa caucus does not bode well for the coming election. As we saw in 2008 and 2012, neither the “nominate a true conservative or I’m staying home until you do” or “go to the middle; it’s the only way to win” mindset wins elections. Neither does having a fine fabulous furry freakout this far out. Or at all.

We do not have to settle this right now. Times change; unforeseen events happen, people rise and fall. All remains as it always was: in God’s hands. This does not absolve us of working toward positive change and/or rebuking evil, but it does give cause to slow down and take the long view, rejecting the tyranny of the urgent and understanding we do indeed now see through a glass darkly. I have some hardcore progressive friends who in the early 2000s were convinced, absolutely convinced, that at any moment John Ashcroft would personally round them all up and march them to an interment camp under the guise of safeguarding America. I have some solid conservative friends who were convinced, absolutely convinced, that Obama would cancel the 2012 election via martial law brought on by the antics of Occupy Wall Street anarchists working on his behalf. As you doubtless noticed, neither of these events transpired.

Certainly these are troubled times: a miserable economy with the media daily lying through its teeth about same, unspeakable horrors being carried out by ISIS to which the present administration responds with a mixture of silence and victim-blaming, Iran going nuclear, Russia unfettered and effectively unopposed, China flexing its military muscle even as its economy stumbles toward a collapse that will bring down much of if not all of the world’s with it, massive corruption and lawlessness throughout all branches of the federal government. However, God remains in control. Therefore, be at peace.

In this world we will have troubles. As the poet says:

There’s not a holy man who doesn’t know grief well
Or thinks the road to heaven doesn’t pass through hell
They’ve cried “Let me out”
They’ve heard “No, not yet”
They know before He danced Jesus wept

Stay calm. Abandon the venom. What will happen will happen, and your eighty-fifth foaming at the mouth yea or nay Trump tweet of the day will not change this. Treat each other as you yourself with to be treated. Be the better. Always, be the better.

youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1wWoO_tV4A?rel=0&w=450&h=253