often i’ll write about my relationship with God in a way that might be uncomfortable for some. notably, all of my writing about God is in the form of a conversation. i think God values absolute honesty in communication, even if it is at times heretical. i feel when i am able to speak with God like this i am able to strengthen my relationship with him in a way that is honoring to Him. because i do love Him.
this is written as a set of four mirroring a backwards walk through the stages of grief. traditionally there are five stages to grief, the last stage being acceptance. this poem omits acceptance as i feel acceptance is unwritable. acceptance, to me, is a continuous process and since it involves so much change and continuous contemplation, the feeling itself can’t be isolated into a poem.
i wrote beginning with the last stages of grief so as to show the exchange of losing confidence in myself and losing my confidence in God. so here are the four poems and an extrapolation of my times wrestling with grief.
For Kanye West, the album Jesus is King is a 4. For Christians, this album is a 10 and a much needed reflection.
Christians are throwing down their best zingers on Facebook threads for this album and it’s causing a bit of division. And that’s good. If i don’t say anything else that hasn’t already been said about the album i’ll say this: the division that this album brought on is good.
Average church-going Christians tend to struggle with change. I mean, that’s not really fair to say because people in general struggle with change. But you would think that as Christians, who praise the controversial nature of Christ, would be sort of okay with changing our thinking. The average sermon has the backbone message of “Christ didn’t come to serve you but to change you” and, yeah, that applies to everything still.
So let’s get into to the sources of division. Kanye West was known for being kind of terrible (i said ‘was’ and you should hang onto that as you read on). Not only was he an icon for self-indulgence and pride but he has a pretty well-documented history of diving into controversial things. So you may say the album follows a trend of benefiting from controversy once again. And here’s the thing; if this is your position, you might be right. but what if you’re wrong? Discernment is a valuable quality to the church and a gift from God but don’t confuse God’s discernment with cynicism. God doesn’t ‘call’ you to speculate the validity of someone’s confession. God gave Christians the church, a place for accountability and discernment to go hand in hand. When the church operates as intended there’s no need for that kind of cynicism.
Here’s another point of speculation i’ve seen recently: while the albums themes are spiritual it lacks the authenticity that would be called ‘faith’. And let me tell you that is the stupidest thing i’ve ever heard. How many Christian movies need to be made before the Christian community can accept we’re putting ourselves into a bubble. I’m including myself here. There’s a bit of fear inherent that comes with being a Christian. It’s common for Christians to feel like not only do you need the answers but you need to sound confident in them. Faith is not blind and that’s a common pulpit phrase but who gets to define faith besides Christ? Faith is a process of growth as well as belief amongst failures and thorough conviction, not to an ideal, but to an ideology.
Also, some people have condemned the album because it’s blasphemous at times. I can’t really argue that as comparing your ‘hard times’ to Christ’s death on a cross isn’t a great message. At the same time plenty of Christian artists do the same so let’s be consistent in who we rebuke.
I don’t know what else i have to say. I think what i hope to say is, Christians, don’t be afraid in your own faith. Discern with discernment and be slow to condemn. Understand music preferences have nothing to do with the truth of the gospel. Christ’s message is stronger than that.
Pieter Bruegel is to painting what Massimo Vitali is to photography. Through his photographs Massimo presents a harmony between humans and whatever environment they inhabit. And like Bruegel, the moments Massimo captures invite the audience to speculate the relationship between humans and environment. Massimo does this by utilizing traditional geographical landscape photos and adding to it flocks of people. While prominent features like beachside cliffs and lavish landscapes dominate each photo, it is the spattering of people who provide the contrast and commentary. People, who fill the negative space, provide each photo with a visual metaphor and encourage the audience to muse as to why these two subjects seem to cooperate so cohesively.
Angel is a dark subversive piece that has its roots in Jamaican soul, ambient trip hop, and something else that could only be described as Massive Attackesque. the song provides an atmosphere that is complex but easily recognizable. from start to finish this song is a bank robbery, or a heist gone right, or a silent stalking through dark alleys. it builds on itself with tight and stressed snares and a boding bass line that dominates every corner. it’s ambient but choppy leaving behind a sense of safety amongst chaos. this is what music should do. music, no matter what the mood or the presence of the song is, needs to say something. it needs to be something definable and if not definable it should leave you wondering why it was captivating. Angel, as an opener for the album Mezzanine, sets the tone of the whole album. to me, Angel is the best example of an opener setting the appropriate tone of any album i’ve come across.
true, unsaid little virtues what common things i’ve yet to grasp mysteries, survive me what lies below a lake do you gasp from fathom of discovery while lungs fill with water, best do my breathing where the air is decidedly yours