Friday, August 29, 2008

Violence in the Media: What Should Our Response Be?







Hey friends,
I just realized, it's been quite a while since my last post. Summer sure left in a hurry! Over the last month or so I've had the privilege of going on a surf trip with some friends, attending the Clash with Mikey, and starting a new life as a community college student. At times it's been hectic and busy. But seeing as I have the whole Labor Day weekend ahead of me I thought I'd sit down and write a post about something that's been on my heart for quite a while: the issue of violence in the American media.
God first brought the issue to my thoughts through a series of talks I had with my father about movies. My views on acceptable and unacceptable entertainment differ with his in some areas, and violence is one of them. I'm perfectly alright with watching a movie that contains graphic violence...if it has a worthwhile message. The violence in movies like "Saving Private Ryan" and "We Were Soldiers" doesn't bother me if I consider the lessons that can be learned from viewing these types of films. My dad pointed out that the Lord hates the one who loves violence....and the fact that it's simulated bloodshed makes no difference to him. He cited Psalm 11:5: "The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence."
At the time I didn't really heed his words, but while at the Clash, the Lord brought the issue to my attention yet again....this time in a rather unexpected way. I was listening to my friend's iPod, and he recommended trying the song "Vicarious" by the prog-metal band Tool. He told me it was a convicting and rather frightening song. I gave it a try. I'll reprint the lyrics for you here. Read carefully, as the words are written in a kind of odd style.

VICARIOUS

Eye on the TV
Cause tragedy thrills me
Whatever flavor
It happens to be

Like:
"Killed by the husband"
"Drowned by the ocean"
"Shot by his own son"
"She used a poison in his tea
and kissed him goodbye"
That's my kind of story.
It's no fun 'til someone dies

Don't look at me like
I am a monster
Frown out your one face
But with the other
Stare like a junkie
Into the TV
Stare like a zombie
While the mother holds her child,
Watches him die

Pleas to the sky crying,
"Why, oh why?!"

Cause I need to watch things die
From a distance
Vicariously, I
Live while the whole world dies
You all need it too - don't lie.

Why can't we just admit it?
Why can't we just admit,
We won't give pause until the blood is flowin'
Neither the brave nor bold
Will write us a story. So,
We won't give pause until the blood is flowin'

I need to watch things die
From a good safe distance
Vicariously, I
Live while the whole world dies
You all feel the same so
Why can't we

Just admit it

Blood like rain, come down
Drum on grave and ground

Part vampire
Part warrior
Carnivore and voyeur
Still have the transmittal
Synch to the death rattle...

La, la, la, la, la, la,la-lie (x4)

Credulous at best your desire to believe in
Angels in the hearts of men
Pull your head on out
You Hippies and give a listen
Shouldn't have to say it all again

The universe is hostile
So impersonal
Devour to survive
So it is, so it's always been ...

We all feed on tragedy
It's like blood to a vampire

Vicariously, I
Live while the whole world dies
Much better you than I.

It's convicting, isn't it? Viciously sarcastic, the song showed me some of my true fascination with violence. And I felt compelled to rethink some of my presuppositions on the issue.
I'm still undecided, and I thought I'd ask your input. What place does violence hold in our media? Is it an effective deterrent to real-life bloodshed, or does it glamorize it? Does graphic violence in entertainment desensitize us to the sufferings of our fellow man? Does a so-called "anti-violence" message justify the use of violence to pound the message through (as exemplified in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers)? More importantly, does simulated bloodshed actually cause violence? Is the day coming when real, visceral bloodshed will take the place of reality TV, sending us back to the days of the gladiators in Rome? And is it hypocritical to take an anti-violence stance in the world today but enjoy movies that contain depictions of it? Please let me know your thoughts!

God Bless,
Aaron

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Clash video

We had way too much time on our hands when we were in the van:
video

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yes, I'm finally posting The Clash!

WHOOYOO! aaron and I had a blast at The Clash. It was amazing. We had expected a lot before we went, but it exceeded our 'wildest dreams'.
We drove up Saturday afternoon with Andrew and Tyler. it was a good time on the way up, listening to a lot of Radiohead, (since both aaron and tyler are like their biggest fans; and Andrew and I didnt really care), and eating my moms cookies (all 25 of them). We were supposed to be heading for my aunts house in Annandale, Va, (which is most definitely south of Washington, D.C.) so when we drove past the Pentagon and the Washington Monument... we knew we had missed an exit.


it took us a while but finally we ended up at the right house. which was good because my aunt and uncle had prepared a large number of filet mignon and other delicious food for our dinner. (it definitely beat Mickey D's by a long shot) After dinner, we played some GTA III (Grand Theft Auto 3) before turning on the X games. after watching Sean White demolish the other guys, we watched Rambo: First Blood. (all this on their 65+ incher tube!) we got to bed 12:30 ish.

Breakfast was amazing, too. it definitely reinvigarated us for the rest of the day.

so we very unwillingly left to go to church.




Covenant Life was pretty awesome. While we were there we were involved in probably the biggest cluster of Sovereign Grace-ers that has ever infiltrated the ranks of CLC. We met the whole Hunt family, all the cool singles who were up for the Worship God conference (and we got to meet Drew there, too!) and some people who were going to the Coldplay concert in D.C. that night.


After playing some frisbee on the back lawn of the church, we went with one of Andrew's friends, from i forget where, to Quiznos for lunch. It wasn't that bad.

After a nice quiet 2-hr ride to Messiah College, we settled into our rooms.








aaron and I had a room in the basement level while tyler and andrew roomed with two different guys upstairs.


Later, me and Aaron met up with his friends from sunny San Diego, Jonathon Farrington and Andrew Scalin, and I quickly became fast buds w/ them.

We spent a lot of time in the lectures. A lot of time. Like, figure, 35 hrs-ish of lecture time in 168 hrs total. (which is, like i said, a lot)
We had four main speakers: Jeff Purswell, Nathan Sasser, Iain Duguid, and D.A. Carson. All of them were amazing, Dr. Duguid did a great job explaining science and e-volution, D.A. Carson was incredible as he explained the character of a Christian apolegetor from Nehemiah, Nathan Sasser explained in "simple terms" (like, blow-a-normal-persons-mind-to-Mars terms, cuz he's a genius who makes Einstein sound like a retard) the philosophical side of a Christian worldview. But Jeff Purswell, man, he was unbelievable. I dont know if anyone else was like this, but, I was blown away by the revelations that came to me every time he spoke. He was so clear, caring, passionate in his lectures. I cud have listened to him for the rest of the month and thoroughly enjoy it. I cant wait to hear him again. D.A. Carson was pretty hilarious though, he would tell the funniest storys and then just give you a really funny look right after the punch line. He also had these comical little quotes that were totally Canadian (thats where he's from):
"Does that stratch where you itch?"
"...looked at us in the same flipping way!"
"...had singers guarding the flaming gates!"
"...respect for the wrath (pronounced: roth) of God."
Anyway, they kept us on our toes to understand what he meant by each one.

the lunch room: was an awesome place for fellowship, fun, and for ridiculing some of the food that was offered so kindly to us. I stuck mainly to the edible stuff, but other people weren't so conservative.







At the end of each day, round 10:30 to midnight, the Messiah College Gym was open for volleyball, bball, and, because we forced the issue, indoor soccer. It was a really big gym, so we cud all play those sports at the same time.
We were assigned at the beginning of the week to a 'discussion group', a group that would talk about the days lectures at two appointed times every day. Everyone got to know the people who were in their discussion groups, which was good, cuz we played sports together, ate meals together occasionally, and sometimes hanging out.













I had a great time meeting and getting to know everyone.














ya, we had a lot of good times. out of our 168 hrs at the Clash, aaron and I spent less than 20 hrs of our time asleep. so sometimes we had to take five to remember where we were.


One night while aaron was still in disscusion group, Jonathon Farrington and I thought we would have a little fun. Aaron's group was on an open, second-story room and we were on the floor below them. after preparing our attack weapons (a.k.a. paper airplanes), I showered their group with them and me and jonathon took off.
















After running from the yells and cries of terror, we came back later to remove the crime weapons.















The last nite, we had a worship session. It started at like 12:15 and it was pretty awesome.
The worship was really amazing. Aaron left early to pray by himself in his room, but me, Jonathon Farrington, and Andrew Scalin stayed. after a couple songs, and a word or two from our make-shift prophecy-mic, we broke into groups to pray for one another, each for their confessed sin and needs. after twice of that, we continued worshipping until...well...it was amazing/awesome. there was a obvious point when the Holy Spirit fell on everyone there. It was almost as if I cud see the Spirit pouring out from heaven. a prayer group on one side broke into crying and speaking in tongues while another girl on the other side, who was being prayed for, was stricken (i'm not sure how else to describe it). people began breaking into groups of three or four to pray for one another and for God's kingdom. while the worship leader-guys continued singing and praising the Lord, Andrew went to pray with the first group (where everyone was speaking in tongues), and Jonathon and I began praying for each other. This lasted for another three hours before we finally stopped and went to bed around 5 in the morning. It was truly awesome. All good things must come to an end. less than two hrs after we went to bed, we realized that we were already late to putting our sheets and things outside the door and to returning our keys. After aaron and I finished packing, we said goodbye to everyone we had met.

For the trip home, we had one of Andrew's VT friends join us, David Uliani. He was a cool dude and slept most of the way home.


and someone was getting a little bored, and having a little too much fun with the camera. :-)