Thursday, January 19, 2012

Exploring Music

I have about 250 albums in my music collection. When I open iTunes I realize how much I have. I can't decide what to listen to half the time. I got some genre playlists I put on shuffle. Sometimes something comes up and I decide to play the whole album. Sometimes I get in the mood for one artist and play everything I got. Sometimes I play the same album every 2-3 days for a month. I shuffle my music collection enough that I rarely go more than a few months without hearing an artist.

There's a wide world of music out there to explore. I got music I want to buy. There's a lot of stuff I want to explore someday. But I won't have the time to listen to it all. I got a lot of time to listen to music now. It won't be like this all my life.

On the other hand I don't want to go too fast and burn myself out. Usually it depends on money and free time. If I have a lot of both, I buy lots of music. I usually have one or the other.

There's a lot of artists I listened to when I got their music but I rarely listen to them now. Sometimes I get back into them for a while and sometimes I don't. It depends on my mood. I don't buy music I know I won't play much. However, I always listen to my favorite artists. I'm sure I've played some songs over 300 times in my life. If a song's good enough I never get sick of it.

The problem: How much more should I explore? I got a lot of music I want to get, but how much will I listen to it a year after I get it? I only play a handful of artists on a regular basis. Only a few in each genre. I like a lot of others but I don't play them as much.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christianity Is a Religion and Jesus Is a Religious Figure

I'm sick of Christians saying Christianity's not a religion. Only Protestant Christians do this. Catholics and Orthodox don't. Here's why Protestants say it:

1. They want to distance themselves from formal liturgical churches. I like formal liturgical churches so this doesn't hold water with me.
2. They want to agree with people who bash religion. I don't know any anti-religious people who joined Christianity because it's "not a religion". Most secular people get pissed off when Christians say Christianity is not a religion.
3. They want to set themselves apart from the bad things done in the name of religion. In reality they sound like they're shrugging off any blame for the sins of the past. Like it or not, some Christians did evil things.
4. They want to be "cool" and "edgy" and "shocking". They fail. Saying Christianity is a religion is way more shocking than saying it's not.
5. They want to emphasize that it's about a relationship with Jesus. Which it is. I don't see how this conflicts with Christianity being a religion. It makes Christianity a distinctive religion but it doesn't make it any less of a religion.

The web site has two interesting things on this here and here. The first link says other religions do this. I can believe this. A lot of Buddhists claim they're a philosophy, not a religion. But every Muslim I've met uses the word religion. The second link quotes James 1:27: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (ESV) This is from the Bible. It doesn't say "relationship", it says "religion".

While everyone else boasts they're not part of a religion, I claim it with pride. It's honest. I don't claim everything done in the name of religion is good. Members of my religion did horrible things thinking it pleased God. But members of my religion also did great things thinking it pleased God. I believe organized religion has brought more good into the world than evil. I only wish I was a better follower of Jesus. If you read my blog you know I'm not.

P. S. Most secular people bash "organized religion" instead of any specific one. They always mean the group they grew up in.