Archive for December, 2007

Christmas, Christianity and Culture – My question

Now that Christmas is over and countless number so of Christians, agnostics and atheists alike are racking up the 19-22% interest on their credit cards for things that will be broken or on the shelf with in the next 6 months (will you REALLY play Guitar Hero 2 after Guitar Hero 3 comes out in the spring or summer?), I have a question that has been bugging me the last few days.

Now, let me say this, I love being with my family this time of year. Especially this year since we were afforded the opportunity to appreciate each other more this year rather than focus on material gifts. That’s why I did the 12 Days of Christmas posts. I’m not one of these anti-Christmas people (I think that would make me a Jehovah’s Witness, right?) But allow me to ask a question: What holiday did Christians INVENT?

Most of the more important Christian holidays were not created Christian. Allow me to explain:
Easter – pagan celebration of fertility (hence the eggs and rabbits)

Christmas – pagan celebration of Saturnalia and Juvenalia. Didn’t become a recognized Christian holiday until 400 AD when the church wanted to convert the pagans. It hijacked their celebration and tried to make it about God. Because the traditions of the pagan celebration continued into Christmas celebrations – drunkeness, reverlry, fights, sexuality (missletoe wasn’t originally for kisses!) and other wild things – Christmas was originally banned in America. In fact, the 1st December 25th in America was just a regular day.

Now I know that Easter is SUPPOSED to be about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ – but its not how we celebrate it. We celebrate it with a rabbit that lays colorful eggs, which are pagan symbols of the goddess of fertility.

So we tried to reach the pagans by hijacking their holidays and changing their meanings – BUT WHAT DID WE INVENT? Is the climax of Christianity’s impact on culture simply limited to the theft of pagan culture and rituals?

Christ did an amazing thing at Calvary. Did we lose our own sense of how we should honor him? Did we have to resort to seeing the way others honor their gods to get an idea of how we should honor the Everlasting Father who calls us His own?

What do you think?

Concluding my 12 Days of Christmas

Okay, let’s conclude the series.
On the 11th Day of Christmas the gift given to me – My grandparents
There’s something about being raised by your grandparents that gives you an interesting view of life. Love and parenting from people with experience allows to you get away with a little less (they’ve seen it all before) but it also gives you the benefit of learning from people who have the advantage of 20/20 vision. They’ve seen it, so they know where to point you. My upbringing was FAR from perfect, but my the people of my upbringing are gifts to me. I love you both, can’t wait to see you again. I hope that my 27 years of life have made you proud (so far). My gifts, my grandparents.

Let’s all sing along now: On the 12th day of Christmas the gift given to me – My wife
I can honestly say I married my best friend. She is the best thing to ever happen to me outside of birth and salvation. She’s beautiful, witty, encouraging, sincere and full of love, wisdom, patience and kindness. I was made the luckiest man in the world when we met on November 4th, 2000 and the happiest man on Earth when we married November 27th, 2004. I love my wife more than any other human being, and the look in her eyes tells me that she loves me too. The words of her mouth say it, but the eyes say what the mouth can not. She’s lovely. She’s wonderful. She’s perfect (for me). She’s my gift. My most precious gift. She’s my wife. I love you Nichole.

There you have it, the 12 days of Christmas. With that said – happy Boxing Day to all of my European/Canadian readers.

The New York Yankroids?

WHOA!!!! I have a few Yankee fan friends and I know a few others that read this blog are also Yankee fans. So allow me to point out some of the things that startle me about the Mitchell Report.

22 current and former Yankees on the list – more than any other team! Some of the usage took place during the “historic” title run of 1998-2000!
Let’s see the title winners on steroids during the title run:
-Denny Neagle
-Roger Clemens
-Chuck Knoblauch
-Jason Grimsley
-Glenallen Hill
-David Justice

These guys were on the juice during the championship years! So how does that sit with you regarding your “Got Titles” talk now? Where’s their asteric? The conversations amongst Red Sox and Yankee fans just got REALLY interesting! So can we even COUNT those titles from 1998-2000? Those were juiced up records and a juiced up title.

Can’t wait for the first Yankee/Sox match up in Fenway next year! And you think Barry Bonds got it bad? WHOA!

*Apparently Andy Pettitte got on it during 2002 to help heal an injury. That’s not all that uncommon so he gets a slight pass from me on that one.

Christmas Catch-Up

Sooooo, lets play catch up on the 12 days of Christmas.

On the 3rd day of Christmas, the gift given to me – My In-laws Steve and Mary Robinson.

Now, I know in many cases its odd to speak highly of your in laws but not for me. I genuinely love my in-laws. They are wonderful people, great parents and fantastic pastors. They don’t treat me like a son-in-law, they treat me like a son. Before my move to RI, I got laid off from my job and didn’t have the ability to save for my move. Well, they thought it would be a great move to allow me to live with them when I move here until I got on my feet. WHOA! I was dating their daughter and they let me move in! Sound crazy? Sure. But I guess real love will make you do crazy things, and these people walk in real love. PLUS, knowing these wonderful people has allowed me to learn a very valuable lesson (well, lots of valuable lessons, but this on in particular) – get to know your girlfriend/wife’s mother, it will teach you alot about your wife.

On the 4th day of Christmas the gift given to me – my friend Randy Ealy

I always say that I’ve known Randy for 13 or years, we’ve been friends for 10. Randy and I were roommates in Tulsa and that’s where our friendship REALLY took off. Most people’s relationships fizzle when they move in together but ours got stronger. He also helped to move our music forward while we were in Tulsa. Quietly, he helped to move the “Christian” hip-hop scene forward out there. We’ve been able to say in touch and it was a real treat having him out here to visit a few weeks back. Good times. Now, we just have to get him to step his Spades game up! (Inside joke, sorry)
From quasi-enemies (9-11th grades were BRUTAL! Cordial, but not very friendly with each other) to incredibly close friends. I was proud to have him in my wedding and glad he is my friend.

On the 5th day of Christmas the gift given to me – James “Cash Hollistah” Curtis

Cash and I met in a wierd way – on an online rap battle board. Here’s the idea in a nutshell – emcees go on the message and battle each other with rhymes. Its like battling (for those not in the know – think the final scenes of “8 Mile”) except its not verbal, its all typed. Kinda lame and kinda fun all at the same time. Well, I thought Cash was the best guy on the boards, but he let this subpar emcee beat him. I voiced my opinion, and he vehemently disagreed. ESPECIALLY after I mangled the same guy in my own battle. Well, when we finally met face to face at an event me and my partners threw, he was a little bitter about my assesment of the battle. But eventually we got cool with each other. I saw the guy as being super creative but the crew he was with at the time didn’t really allow for his ideas to grow – so we took him in over at Sungate. Plus he was having a not so great living situation, so Randy and I (see the above post) took him in at our place. Since then, Cash and I have been good friends and he motivates me (even though he doesn’t know it) to step my emcee skills up. The guy is crazy creative. He and I are working together on a few songs for my album. Those songs are going to be SPECTACULAR! Just wait and see.
Creative. Friend. My gift.

Now, I’m all caught up. See you tomorrow. For the next day of Christmas! Great gifts, great people!

On the 2nd day of Christmas…

Continuing on my list of people given as gifts to me. On the 2nd day of Christmas the person given to me:

Gideon (Jean Alexandre) from Antioch Alumni

Gideon is a really down to Earth guy with a passion for hip-hop and ministry. I originally me Gideon at this guy Lamar Callahan’s release party. I had the chance to meet and share the stage with Bobby Bishop, Antioch Alumni, Sev Static as well as a few others. Gideon was the only other person on the spot that lived in Rhode Island. So we exchanged info and went our way. Then, about 9 months later I found his contact info. I decided to give a call and then we just started kicking it from there.

He shared his heart of how he really saw what he does in music as a ministry and wanted to be a help to anyone who needed it in music. So out of his own pocket he bought the equipment necessary to run a decent recording studio out of his home and wanted to allow artists to record for free.

So, Gideon allows me (when our schedules don’t conflict) to record my music for free and he is a blessing to record with. Though we have some varying tastes in music, we work well together and he doesn’t let me record anything lazy. He even corrects me and helps me get the sound right. We’ve got some great stuff recorded together so far and I’m hoping for a lot more.

So my second day of Christmas gift is Gideon. God bless you. You are a real gift to me.

See you Monday for the 3rd day of Christmas – you never know, you might find yourself on here.

Feliz Navidad

My 12 days of Christmas

Well, its the Consumer-mas…I mean Christmas season. I can see it now, Christmas actualy gets corporate sponsors. Imagine the commercials “Christmas 2009. Brought to you by Walmart – Microsoft – Macy’s – Apple – and the number 5.” Sounds far fetched but really, how far away are we from that?

Anyway, since I’ve never been one to get caught up in the holiday buying hype (and throw in the fact that this year I am flat broke :0( ) I thought that I would do my own 12 days of Christmas.

My 12 days of Christmas (the 12 weekdays left until 12/24) aren’t going to talk about the physical gifts I’ve received like the song says. Instead I’m going to talk about the 12 people who have been gifts to me over the last few years.

These are in no particular order of importance.

On the 1st day of Christmas the person given to me:
Sabrina from Rhema and Brooke Ross

I can comfortably say I would not be where I am right now if it wasn’t for her. Picture if you will: Tulsa, OK 2001. Because my roommate at the time decided he was ready to live on his own I had to buy a car, get car insurance and get an apartment a month before my money for registration was due for school. So the last day of registration came around and I wasn’t there. Sabrina, who also worked at the ssame place I did, asked my how come I wasn’t at registration. I told her because I didn’t have the money. She then said “what if you got it?” I said because of my expenses I couldn’t afford to make the monthly payments for school not to mention I wouldn’t be able to pay it back. Then she said “What if you didn’t have to pay it back” and Brooke chimed in and said “and what if I paid for half of your monthly tuition payments?” I said I’d praise God and be at registration tomorrow! She gave me the money the next day and Brooke paid for half of my tuition payments while he was still employed.

I wasn’t able to keep in touch with Sabrina, but because she was given as gift to me I was able to finish my final year at Rhema Bible Training Center one time, which allowed me to move to Rhode Island in 2002 immediately following my gradutation. So if you’re out there Sabrina aka Bree, I never forgot. Thank you and thank God for you. You’re truly a gift.

See you tomorrow for the 2nd day of Christmas. You never know, you might find your name on here. If not, you should also ask yourself “who are my gifts?”

Feliz navidad