Tag Archives: music

Don’t Be This Guy

Look, I love music as much as the next person.  Music is wonderful and it is often very powerful (in fact, I have written on this before).  I’m very much in the pro-music camp.  However…

Music is not life.
Music is not religion.
Music is not God.

There is a fine line between letting the music you listen to elevate your soul to contemplation, and worshipping music in itself.  I’m thinking a good majority of people in my age bracket has crossed that line.

It’s a little bit like chasing a high.  Music can be cathartic, and that is a good and healthy thing.   But the funny thing about the word “catharsis” is that it actually means, “to purge”.   And if all you do is “purge”, then eventually there’s not going to be anything left.  Catharsis is supposed to have a purpose.  Music is supposed to have a purpose.  It can’t be everything you wake up for in the morning.  If it is, you’re going to find yourself unhappy pretty soon (but then again, musicians tend to thrive on that “tortured-artist” schtick).

It’s not that posting song-lyrics as your Facebook status every couple of hours is necessarily bad…it’s just that it makes us wonder if you actually have any original thoughts of your own.

And maybe the guy or girl you currently like enjoys having his or her Facebook wall spammed with YouTube music videos of all your favorite, obscure, bands, but I bet he or she would probably just rather have a real conversation with you.  Yes, there is something to be said for getting to know someone through learning about his or her taste in music.  But people can usually tell after a little while that your love for the Red Hot Chili Peppers does not necessarily mean that you are thoughtful or deep.

Bottom line: There’s a lot more to us than we often realize, and the God who created you knows you a lot better than a 4 1/2 minute song.  Maybe it’s time to turn the music down for a bit and listen to what He is saying instead.

Heart Like Mine

“I heard Jesus He drank wine
And I bet we’d get along just fine
He could calm the storm and heal the blind
And I bet he’d understand a heart like mine”

When a popular song mentions the name of Jesus, my ears tend to perk up a little.  There are so many misconceptions about who Jesus is and what Jesus is about, that I always fear the worst.  And while I am by no means anywhere close to the final authority on all things Jesus and all things Christian, when I heard Miranda Lambert’s Heart Like Mine a few months back, I still listened carefully.

[If you’re not a fan of a ‘twangy country music voice, you may not like the song.  So you can find the lyrics here 🙂 ]

What I love about this song is that she points out something Christians and non-Christians do often overlook. Jesus is not just some figure in the paintings on our walls or in our Churches.  He was (and is) a real person—a real human being.  This means that He laughed.  It also means He felt pain.  And since He happens to also be God, the Creator of everything including us, He knows us better than we know ourselves.  So He knows our pain, our joys, and our sufferings—deeper than we do.

Jesus loves us with a perfect and lasting love.  As my theology professor puts it, Jesus loves us just the way we are…but He loves us too much to let us stay that way.  And I think that this is where Heart Like Mine perhaps falls just a bit short on proclaiming the name of Jesus.

We’re never supposed to justify our less-than-awesome behavior by simply saying, “Jesus loves me no matter what I do.”  Of course He does, which is why He feels pain when we do things that cause us, or those around us, pain (and that’s all sin is).  He loves us so much that His desire is for us to be happy—only He doesn’t just mean, “feel good in the moment” happy.  No, we’re worth more than that to Him.  He won’t be satisfied until we are living a life that leads us to real, authentic, and lasting happiness.  And He knows that we can’t do that without obeying the Commandments, and living our lives like He lived His.

When I listen to this song, I hear a woman who has felt pain in her life, and I love that because I, like anyone, can relate to it.  And instead of pretending like everything is fine and dandy, she points to the one person she knows can understand her heart better than anyone else.  Despite my little quibbles with this song, above all, Jesus is represented as someone of hope, friendship, and even joy.  So, I guess I’m pretty okay with the use of His name in this song.  🙂

Don’t Wake Me, I Plan On Sleeping In

I don’t know how many times I will have to keep learning this lesson before it sticks, but I have a bit of a problem.  I can’t seem to go longer than a week without hitting the snooze button in the morning.

In case you did not know, this is an alarm clock. And this is a woman hitting the snooze button in the morning (FYI: my shade of lipstick at 6am is much prettier)

I realize it may sound silly.  There are much bigger problems I could be worrying about.  But for me, this seems to be where everything else starts.  When I start sleeping in, I start to get a little lazier, prayer life begins to slip, and a whole can of worms is opened.  All for a measly 5 (ok, 30) extra minutes of sleep and a less productive day.

Despite the vast amounts of writings that warn against the dangers that sleeping in can pose to the spiritual life (not to mention past experiences and well-meaning resolutions), I always manage to reason with myself saying that sleeping in will be okay just this one morning.  After all, I say to myself, I’ve had a busy week and accomplished a lot.  I deserve this. 

As if that weren’t enough, the proverbial sirens should start blaring when the above thoughts are inevitably followed by my ever so confident, “I got this”.

One morning usually turns into two, and then into a week or so, and then I’m left, days later, wondering where my productive drive has gone.

[Maybe you can relate.  It seems at least that Bruno Mars can.  Today (and yesterday, or any other day you choose to listen to “The Lazy Song”), he doesn’t feel like doing anything. And what’s the harm, really? (…I have said it before and I will keep saying it.  Music is powerful.  Be cautious of what you listen to!)]

When am I going to realize that Jesus meant business when He said, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)?  Being a Christian means obedience to Christ; and that has to start when the alarm clock goes off in the morning—not 15 (ok, 45) minutes later.

Change – How Long Can We Wait?

——Guest Post Written By Katie Mueller ———

 Me and all my friends
We’re all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There’s no way we ever could

Now we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change

It’s hard to beat the system
When we’re standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change

 

Waiting on the World to Change – although not the worst song I have ever heard, it might be one of the most misleading.  The song insists that we are victims, with no power to change or influence our world, and that our best option is to idly let the world change itself.  It’s much too hard to make a difference, so let’s not try at all?

Let’s face it, as young Catholics we have more than a few topics to choose from, but there is no point in beating around the bush.  I want to talk about abortion.   Anyone who has seen my facebook knows that I am pro-life, and also knows that I use my facebook as a tool to spread information about the reality of the abortion industry, the effects of abortion on mothers and families, and current events relating to the pro-life movement.  Do I do this because I enjoy debating my friends on ethical issues?  Well, yes 🙂  but also because I know so many people who are simply misinformed.  They believe the people who tell them that it’s not considered abortion if there hasn’t been implantation; they believe the people who tell them abortion is safe and is a fundamental right; they believe the people who tell them the baby isn’t alive until the heart beats; and they believe the people who tell them that it is okay to end a life if it isn’t convenient for the parents.  Why do they believe this?  Maybe it is because no one has told them otherwise.

Ignorance is one of the greatest disservices to our world, and to our Church, and to ourselves.  As Catholics, we are obligated to engage in a never-ending pursuit of truth and to share these truths with our fellows.  The fight for life is our duty— a mission entrusted to our generation.  If we are not educated ourselves, how can we defend our stance?  This is a plea to young Catholics to get involved first by understanding the battle, and second, by using your knowledge to educate others.  This will set the foundation for change.

Every day on our Facebook pages, we share with all of our “friends” how bored we are at work, what we made for breakfast, or a funny cat video we found on YouTube.  If this is worth our while, then surely protecting the dignity of every human life can also be a regular part of our lives.

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director (now pro-life advocate) said something to the following, “If you aren’t doing anything to stop it, you are supporting it.”  Our generation must take a stand; we must be active in our battle for a culture of life.  The first part of this is educating ourselves and our world.  I will not tolerate having people I care about be hurt by abortion because they didn’t understand the decision they were making.  I will not be comfortable in silence and let the pro-choice movement do all the talking and mislead my generation to hurt and regret.  We need to show the world that we do “stand for something” and we are willing to fight for it.

At the end of the song, good old John Mayer tells us, “One day our generation is gonna rule the population, so we keep on waiting, waiting on the world to change”.  Well guess what folks, NOW is the time for our generation to rule, and we can’t wait on “the world” to give us the go ahead.

Lord, please use me today as tool to spread your truths and to evangelize.  Your will be done.  Amen.

Need help getting started?  I’ve got you covered:

– Katie

Katie Mueller recently graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she earned her BA in Legal Studies.  {She’s also my cousin! :)}

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Last Friday Night

A few months back, I wrote a post about how the music we listen to—whether we want it to or not—has a real effect on the way we behave.

With that, I thought I’d write a bit of a reflection on what, unfortunately, seems to be turning into a sort of “anthem” for people (especially girls) around my age.  I’m talking about Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night”—currently the 3rd most downloaded song on iTunes:

“Last Friday night
Yeah we danced on tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

…This Friday night
Do it all again”

I could go on, but I assume most of you have heard it, or if not, you get the picture.

Katy Perry is known for her catchy, upbeat songs with lyrics meant to shock.  After all, she first topped the charts with her 2008 hit, “I kissed a girl (and I liked it)”.  The mentality of her music and those who listen to it is one of a certain type of mockery towards any sort of perceived moral authority.  It’s not that she intends disrespect, but the thought of her (and her listeners) goes something like the following:

Whether people like it or not, this is reality.  People our age do things like this.  Rather than condemn and judge, we should embrace different ways of living, and then maybe by doing so, we will eliminate the unnecessary guilt and shame attached to partying, sleeping around, etc.

(and you thought I was just some naïve Catholic with no understanding of the way “the real world” thinks 🙂 )

My main issue with songs like this is that they only last around 4 minutes.  In the real world, we don’t live within the parameters of any 4-minute, feel-good song.  And no matter how many times we try to play it on repeat, eventually it ends, or gets old, and our “nothing can take me down” mentality fades out with the final chorus.

Unfortunately for us, once that happens there is usually a new song to live our lives to for a short time, and then it takes us even longer to find what we are truly looking for.  Because when it comes down to it, what we are looking for to vindicate us of feelings of shame or regret cannot be found in a catchy melody or the lyrics of a song (as profound or “meaningful” as they may be).

If you get nothing else from this post, remember this:  We are already living in a world with pretty low standards when it comes to morality.  The fact that “Last Friday Night” is such a popular song speaks to this.  So if you are feeling shame or regret because of something you are doing, it is probably not due to other people “judging you”.

Just some food for thought.  I’d love to hear what you think.  Feel free to leave a comment!

Article first published as Last Friday Night on Technorati.