Tag Archives: Classic Rock

Beyonce, Beelzebub and B.S.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

1 John 5:16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. (NIV)

I love this video.  Not for the content or the–in my humble opinion–highly suspect allegations. (The horned goat ring is a little disturbing, but the pentagram assertions are a hoot, as is the dress-straps on one of Beyonce’s dancers that for an unfortunate micro-second maybe just, might kinda, sort of form a pentagram—if she bends her arm just right and holds her neck just so . . .)

Nothing about the overt sexuality, the scantily clad women or erotic dance moves: No, no, those are fine.
But those subliminal pentagrams? THAT’S offensive!

No, I love it simply because it took me all the way back to my daze days in junior high and high school.  I was just developing my own interests and opinions of music and, of course, my music of choice was what those good ol’ hellfire and brimstone preachers would call, “that satanic rocky-rolly garbage!!”

Inevitably, soon after I formed an interest in a particular band, accusations would follow:

The Eagles and “Hotel California”: alleged to be about someone who falls into the occult or satanistic worship.  Not only that, but on the inside fold-out album cover, in the shadowy upper corner of the photo, there appears an evil looking figure with arms outstretched in an ominous welcome.  (Rumored to be satanic cult leader Anton Lavey. In actuality an actress hired specifically for the shoot).

Supertramp (??!!) and their astounding (and lifted with surgical precision) lyric in “Goodbye Stranger” of “The devil is my savior”.   Cue stunned *gasp*!!  Never mind the full lyric actually reads:

You can laugh at my behavior
That’ll never bother me
Say the devil is my savior
But I don’t pay no heed

And then, of course, the grandfathers of occult and mysticism, Led Zeppelin and the ominous backmasking of the lyric in Stairway To Heaven that, when played backwards, supposedly revealed, “”Oh here’s to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He’ll give you give you 666” and so on.

I appreciate Robert Plant, the lyricist in question, and his apt response in an interview with Musician magazine:

“‘Stairway To Heaven” was written with every best intention, and as far as reversing tapes and putting messages on the end, that’s not my idea of making music. It’s really sad . . . I couldn’t take people seriously who could come up with sketches like that. There are a lot of people who are making money there, and if that’s the way they need to do it, then do it without my lyrics. I cherish them far too much.”

And don’t think that Christian musicians are exempt from the pointy finger of poisoned persecution.  Type into any Google search musicians such as Michael W. Smith, Third Day or Toby Mac with the word “Satanic” and watch the fun unfurl!  Lyrics, symbolism, even the way they pose for photos falls under the vengeful eye and hyper-scrutiny of the religiosity.

1 John 519 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (NIV)

Could these rumors of Beyonce and Jay-Z be true?  Well, absolutely.  But more likely it’s simply two lost, desperately egotistical people craving fanatical attention. As an added bonus, they get to boost their CD sales by sending the easily gullible public—wide-eyed youth and wild-eyed conservatives—on a wild goose chase to hunt down all the hidden (most likely due to its non-existence) symbolism within their packaging.


It’s just too bad that vinyl, with its easy-to-play-backwards simplicity, still doesn’t hold the mass appeal it did in its heyday. Who knows what secret messaging would be revealed!

After all, nothing drives sales like a good controversy.   Still . . . .

1 John 518 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 123 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. (NLT)

It’s often a tough combination; that we get caught up in our zeal to espouse our beliefs, yet our message gets bogged down with the weight of judgmental critique: of “right” and “wrong”, of “good” and “evil”.

Instead of pointing out the faults and missteps in someone else’s story, what if we simply tell our story? or better yet, tell God’s story through our own lives?

Instead of pointing out all those things that offend you, why not point to the One who saved you?  Or, at least, why not point to yourself and espouse simply what Christ has done for you, instead of what all this B.S. (befuddled symbology) has done to you?

But . . .
It’s just a suggestion . . .
No need to get offended.

The Answer to Life? Just Be! . . . and Classic Rock

Did you draw the line
In the sand again?
Did you make a stand
Out on a limb?
Don’t be so hard on yourself
‘Cuz you can’t change the world
No, you can’t change the world alone
Just be . . .
(lyrics by Tommy Shaw/Styx)

First of all, thank you for making “Dear God, I’m Tired of Growing” my most popular post ever! Getting down in words the flood of emotions and thoughts I was having that morning seemed to have an almost cathartic effect on my psyche. Not only was it the biggest response ever, I had a great day.

Now, most of you will nod your heads with a shrewd little curl of the lip and say, “Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. That sounds about right.” I know. When I told a few people about the day I had, and that I had the most hits ever on my blog, that was the typical response.  And I found this interesting if not a little puzzling.

Why?  Not why did I find it puzzling, but why would so few people be surprised at the way things turned out . . . almost as if to say, “What did you expect?”

Is it just general knowledge that “God works in mysterious ways”? Is it a karma thing? Kismet? The balance of the universe? I was honestly intrigued by the unanimity of responses I got: Which begs another question . . .

Why did it take me so long to get to this point?

Or two questions . . .

Why isn’t everybody doing it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about giving up here. I haven’t given up.

I’ve given in.  There’s a difference.  It may be a subtle difference, but it’s there. And I’m not even sure what I’ve given in to.

Maybe it’s giving in to the pressures I’ve been putting myself under for these last . . . how many years? Not rolling under or being crushed by the stress or the day-to-day frustrations, but just letting them go. Or having them let go of me. Maybe it’s simply the realization that the stress I’ve been under has been of my own doing: with work; with home; with religion. I don’t know, and I may be completely wrong.

It just intrigues me that no one was surprised by the outcome, yet no one seems to be applying it within their own lives or situations. What gets in the way? What stops us from jumping off that cliff?

Is it the worry of what others will think? If it’s a crisis of faith, maybe you worry about what God will think, or what He will do. If it’s an issue at work, maybe you worry what your colleagues will think, or what your bosses will do. If it’s a family issue, maybe you worry about what your spouse will think, or how your kids will react; or your parents.

Those are some weighty issues and I’m sorry that I don’t have a lot of deep, pithy answers for you. I can only give you perspective from the stresses that I’ve heaped onto myself.

If you’ve asked God to lead in your life, you’ve got to trust that He is and that He’s a big enough God that he can handle your mistakes, your missteps, your anger and your questions.

If you feel overwhelmed at work, all you can do is your best, and give it 100%. It sounds cliche, I know.  Yet if you can’t get everything that’s being heaped onto you done, but you’ve done everything you can to the best of your ability, you’ve still done your job.

If it’s a family issue, it’s also a love issue. Everything said and everything done, as long as it’s done in love, is everything you can do.

But . . .

What if it’s not any of that? What if it’s the fact that we’ve been living life with this stress, or under this pressure, so long that we don’t even recognize the weight anymore? Or worse, that in a perverse way, it’s become a comfort to us; like an old worn jacket, or snug blanket. We wear it, defiantly almost, like it’s a badge of honor or achievement.

“My life is hell. I’ve earned this stress!”

This is the situation that I think may take the most time and patience; maybe the fine art of timing as well. I believe it’s going to take someone at the right time, under the right circumstances, to speak into your life something so profound; yet looking back on it, so simple and so obvious that you’ll wonder how you never saw the resolution on your own accord.

Life works like that.

Soon, you’ll begin to tell people about how you had to get yourself to point-X for someone to be able to tell you truth-Y and now everything is just hunky-Z. And the people you talk to will probably go, “Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. That sounds about right.”

And that’s okay. Don’t be surprised, after all, they’re not.  And so it goes.

Look, nothing’s changed in my life other than my reaction to it; and it’s not perfect. I still get frustrated and uptight. I still get annoyed. I’m still human after all . . . and I still work in retail. But I can start to see it for what it is, or what it just might be . . .

Just life.

How do I choose to react to life in this moment?

Listen to a little Styx perhaps and “Just be”.

Sunday Extra: Random Thoughts from a Middle Aged Music Buff

Okay, totally off topic today but I’ve been kicking around a music related random thought:

What if Jimi Hendrix was still alive and Eddie Van Halen had died after say, four albums? (Hendrix only officially released four albums in his career and Van Halen’s fourth was “Fair Warning”—which happens to be one of my favorites) Who’d be considered the bigger guitar god today?

What about other “icons”? Would Led Zeppelin still be making ground breaking music? Kurt Cobain? Axel Rose? (no, wait . . . )

Don’t get me wrong, Hendrix’ guitar playing was legendary, but he died right at the peak of both his talent and his impact. In other words, he died at the top of his game.

What if he hadn’t?

Compare that to the rise and fall of Eddie Van Halen. Eddie’s playing is also masterful, but he’s lost a step or two lately and he’s had his fair share of health scares, relational issues—both personal and professional (who’s the singer this week??) and over-the-top rock ‘n roll lifestyle excesses. All of which have taken their toll on his once ample talents. What if they hadn’t?

What if it was Van Halen that had died after his fiery introduction into rock shredderdom? What if it was Hendrix who’d lived into his, what 60’s now? with his own share of life’s trials and missteps.

Is it their talent that wanes over the years, drowning out the thunder of their early, revelatory, genre-changing styles? Or is it that, when “life” happens to those who turn out to be real people, the pedestal we’ve placed them on begins to shrink . . . and shrink . . . until they’re nothing more than . . . normal?

So, is Hendrix really that big of an icon? Or did he die before his living could humanize him? Is Van Halen a “has been”? Or has his living merely humanized the extraordinary talent he burst onto the rock scene with all those years ago?

So . . .

Take this in to work on Monday and see how big an argument you can get started. And kids, if you need to, you can ask your parent who Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen are . . . I won’t feel old. Honest I won’t.

Yeah, yeah I will.