Saturday, January 31, 2009
Rarely, that is, until my friend "Hadassah" and I were perusing the children's section of my workplace and made a happy discovery. The Berenstain bears had experienced a renaissance, both spiritually and physically. After a decades-long dry spell, new Berenstain Bears books are being written, this time by Mike Berenstain, the son of original writers Stan and Jan Berenstain. And this time, they're not just learning how to mind their manners, they're learning how to do so with the help of Sweet Baby Jesus. Titles in the new series so far include "The Berenstain Bears Go To Sunday School," "The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers," "The Berenstain Bears: God Loves You," and "The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule." And even though it's amusing to see the characters I'd seen throughout my childhood talking about God all the time, and I still don't know why they inserted a new baby bear named Honey Bear, I'm pretty happy to see the return of the Bears. The original books were pretty great for teachign moral lessons, and spiritual lessons are a good bonus. If I had kids, I'd probably buy the books for them. Heck, I bought one of them anyway and passed it on to my little brother. Anyone else remember the Berenstain Bears? And what other children's entertainment phenomena should be next in line to be Christianized?
Monday, January 26, 2009
1. "Hit me with the juice/Much obliged got the head of a moose/So mount me on the walls of your living room." TobyMac, Ill-M-I
I love TobyMac. I think his songs are catchy, and most of the time I think I get what he's saying with the lyrics, but this one makes absolutely no sense to me. Is there some deep, metaphorical hidden meaning that I'm missing here?
2. "All you could hear/Was ka-chunk ka-chunk ka-chunk/All you could hear/Was the doctor putting staples in his punk...He could have died that day/Which means that he would not be here." Relient k, Staples
If you contrast Relient k's earlier CD with just about any of their later ones, you see just how much their work has improved. And Staples is easily the weakest track on a weak album. The story? The song is about a guy who crashed his car and had to get staples in his head. The conclusion? He could have died that day, which means that he would not be here (no, really?) but the good would be knowing he's in heaven. Not technically false, I suppose, but really awkward. Every once in awhile I like to listen to it to remind myself of how far Relient k has come since then.
3. “It’s the return of the Boneybone patnas trippin’/Cuz I’m dippin’ in my Lincoln, plus I’m pimpin’, still sittin’ on chrome/Bringin’ you that gospel sound that make you wanna boogie woogie...Gospelalphamegafunkyboogiediscomusic/Awaa nuttin’ but the ghost in me/Supergroovalistic hits ya see” – T Bone, Gospelalphamegafunkyboogiediscomusic
Really, I could have used just about any T-Bone lyric in this compilation. T-Bone amuses me. Make Carman a rapper, and give him a gun and shiny car so he can drive around his 'hood poppin' demons, and you got T-Bone. Someday I will have to devote an entire blog post to him. But I chose this particular lyric because I find it really awkward to use the use the word pimpin' when talking about singing gospel music. Maybe it's just me. Also, the title is pretty ridiculously long.
4. “This is fo’ tha playa playa make you holla holla/Tha kid wit no morals sell his mama fo a dolla” – Grits (They All Fall Down)
Once I was listening to this song and my mom walked in right at this part and was slightly startled. That's when I realized just how awkward it was. That being said, I like Grits. They be like ooh ahh.
5. “Carry me/I’m just a dead man/Lying on the carpet/Can’t find a heartbeat” – Jars of Clay, Dead Man (Carry Me)
6. “Well the moral of the story/It goes a little something like this/If you got a mullet/Well it’s a haircut, not a fish” – KJ52, The Mullet Song
This one feels like he was really grasping at straws to rhyme, which was probably the case. The funny thing is, it's not even a perfect rhyme. He could have used a word like, say, kiss, which would have made as much sense (or rather lacked as much sense) and it would have at least rhymed better.
7. “Satan is an evil charmer/He’s hungry for a soul to hurt/And without your holy armor/He will eat you for dessert” – Randy Stonehill, Shut De Do
This is the kind of song that gives church kids under the age of ten nightmares. Also I love that throughout the song he talks about "De debil." Way to make him sound terrifying one minute and nonthreatening and almost cuddly the next.
8. “The other night I met a girl/And she looked to be so nice/I asked her for the digits/And she didn't think twice/A couple of days later called her up and asked her out/She said,'with you?' I said, 'with me,'/And then she said, 'without a doubt'/I took her to the Garden where/I guess they grow the Olives/She wore a tighter skirt/Than any I had seen in college/She said, "I love to smoke and drink/While cursing like a sailor"/I asked her where she got her mouth/And if she had a tailor/Finally I walked her to the door to say goodnight/She said, ‘I am an apple,/Would you care to take a bite?’” – dc Talk, That Kinda Girl
As much as I appreciate the premise of this song (which is about how they're holding out for godly women), I find this first verse amusingly awkward. I especially love the lines they attribute to the "bad girl." "I love to smoke and drink while cursing like a sailor" "I am an apple, would you care to take a bite?" And to hear Toby rap those lines just completes it. Check out this tribute video.
9. “Cause I represent a whole new breed of Christian today/I’m authorized and deputized to blow you clean away/I’ve got with me two bullets that overcome all sin and crud/One bullet is called the word of my testimony/And the other one’s called the blood.” – Carman, Satan Bite the Dust
Again, this whole song is just awkward. I fully believe in spiritual warfare, but writing songs about being a deputy in the Wild Wild West (Jesus is the sheriff, of course) and crashing saloon parties to bust Satan and his demons is just, well, odd. And kinda trivializes spiritual warfare and turns it into a joke, on some level. If you've seen the music video you know what I mean.
10. “Someday we’ll drink to this and say/Remember when we died? We went out in flames....I’ll take my heart back/And set the people free/I’ll leave the dead to die/There will be blood on the streets.” – The Classic Crime, The Fight
This is part of an emerging genre my sister and I like to call chremo (or christian emo). My friend "Becca" assures me this song is a spiritual metaphor of some kind, but I haven't figured it out yet. In the meantime I find it almost creepy, especially the line about blood on the streets.
11. “When the toast is burned/And all the milk has turned/And Captain Crunch is waving farewell/When the big one finds you/May this song remind you/That they don’t serve breakfast in hell.” – Newsboys, Breakfast
Strictly speaking, I'm pretty sure this is absolutely true. I've not been to hell myself, but I doubt they serve breakfast there. But I remember hearing this song for the first time when I was 7 and being so fascinated by the unconventional reference to hell that I made my friend Isaac put it on repeat.
12. “Where I and I is free/Jah set my mind at ease/Will I stay cool in the shade even at 96 degrees?” - P.O.D., Set Your Eyes to Zion
It's the word jah that most amuses me in this lyric. They use it throughout the song in the strangest places, and I have no idea what they're trying to say. I think maybe they're trying to use the German word for yes, but if that's the case they've totally butchered the pronunciation. I'm also having trouble discerning exactly what they meant by "where I and I is free." It's like I can almost get it, but not quite.
13. “You need that boy/Like a bowling ball/Dropped on your head/Which means not at all.” – Superchic[k], Bowling Ball
Again, this is one I really don't need to write much about. It speaks for itself. Someday I will use that line on a friend whose boyfriend I don't like.
14. "Professional." - Switchfoot, Amateur Lovers
Okay, so this one doesn't look awkward in print, but it definitely sounds awkward. P-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-professional. It's like they're hissing and stuttering at the same time. Really, it's kinda creepy.
So, have I missed anything? What other strange and awkward CCM lyrics could be added to my list?
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Then last week a local youth leader was in looking for Bibles for some of his youth, and this was one of the ones he chose. He commented on it when he came to the counter, and I pretty much agreed with what he said. Personally, I'm not terribly interested in reading about the adventures of Manga Jesus and his Manga Disciples. I'm afraid I'd burst into hysterical laughter every time I opened my Bible, which might interfere with serious study. It's kind of like The Word on the Street (affectionately known as the Gangsta Bible), I bought that one entirely for my own personal amusement. But the thing is, this does have the potential to get some people reading the Bible, which is cool. And it has the full text of the NLT, which is my personal favourite translation, because it strikes a nice balance between conveying the exact wording and the thoughts of the original scriptures. So if reading about the adventures of Manga Jesus brings them closer to God and teaches them about His word, good for them. Personally, though, I'll stick to my Life Application Study Bible.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
So when my sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I decided I wanted Phil Vischer's autobiography (complete with a lovely Larryboy bookmark). I figured it'd be a great way to learn some little known facts about my favorite episodes, not to mention figure out what exactly had happened to Veggietales with the whole bankruptcy thing. I figured it'd be interesting and funny- after all, it was written by the writer of Lyle the Kindly Viking. It was, indeed all of those things. Did you know that the Hairbrush Song was originally the Razor Song? Mike Nawrocki had no children at the time and thus had no problem with that, but Phil and his wife Lisa (better known as the voice of Junior Asparagus) suggested the change to a more innocuous object. Perhaps my favorite piece of information was that it was college kids working in Christian bookstores who were largely responsible for Veggietales' mainstream success (we are a great bunch, aren't we?). It was enjoyable, even if some of the descriptions of the computer programming involved went a little over my head. The first 19 chapters were pretty much exactly what I expected.
Then the last 2 chapters hit me like a bit of a spiritual sucker punch. I wasn't expecting to learn much from a book called "Me, Myself, and Bob," except maybe that God made me special and loves me very much. But then he started talking about wrestling with God as he watched his dream of impacting the world for God through children's ministry- be the Christian Disney, if you will- die. QWERTY or no QWERTY, when he talked about what he'd learned today, I saw how much I had to learn too. I could ramble for pages about the things God taught me through this book, the dreams I put back into His hands yet again, but it wouldn't do it justice. I guess I'm a much for effective communicator when it comes to lampooning things, which in a way is kind of sad. Suffice it to say that I highly recommend this book, and thanks to Phil Vischer's story of talking vegetables I now have a better understanding of what it means to be right in the centre of God's will. Because if God truly did make me special, and He does love me very much, then there is no better place I could be.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Mountain Gospel, I can tell them the pros and cons of each.