After weeks of scouting, my 18 year old sister found a great deal on her first car. Great mileage. Clean inside and out. And she had the money for it … money that she’s earned while working a job all throughout her honors filled high school career (yes, I’m a proud brother).
Being that it was my weekend off from the funeral homes, I was my sister’s designated chauffeur to the car dealer.
The only problem: the car was three hours north of us. In Pennsylvania, pretty much anything north of where we live is hickville. It’s so much hickville that the only available radio stations are either country or bluegrass.
Three hours of cutting through central Pennsylvania listening to country and bluegrass isn’t that bad … for like the first hour when all the songs are new. By the second hour it feels like they’ve played all their “hit” songs five times over … and then the trip becomes very long.
There was one random song about a funeral. It made me think, “How many death related songs are out there?”
Being that I’m really not a music buff at all, I’m turning to you guys to help me answer my question!!!
There’s obvious songs, like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and “I Can Only Imagine”, but there’s probably hundreds of songs from genres like rap, country, gospel, classic rock, etc. that I’ve never heard of. There’s got to be dozens of songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s that have to do with death and have never found themselves tickling my ears.
So I’m banking on you to educate me!!! Help this funeral director fill up his iPod with songs about death : )
And if you’re like me and don’t consider yourself a music guy or gal, pass this post along to friends or family who ARE music people so that they can give me the resources from their bank of musical awesomeness.
When you set up a twitter account, you’re supposed to give a brief description of yourself that’s viewable for the public eye. My description states, “I blog about my journey as a missional funeral director. I’m the last person to let you down in Parkesburg, PA.”
Lady Gaga’s states, “Mother Monster.”
Queer theorist Michael Warner writes,
“Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence. ‘Queer’ then, demarcates not a positivity but a positionality vis-à-vis the normative.”
Lady Gaga is the embodiment of Queer Theory, not necessarily in her sexuality, but by her identification and normalization of “whatever is at odds with the normal.“
A quick scroll through her nearly 14 million twitter followers shows that most of them are “weird”, they are “the rejected” and the “monsters.” The kind of people that would walk through the doors of a church and be sneered at by the onlookers.
Granted, some of her followers flock to her because of her (ambiguous) sexuality. But many flock to her as their “mother monster” … because she accepts, even normalizes the weirdness … the queerness… she embraces those who feel that they’re not apart of the “normal” … that are broken … not whole … not legitimate … that are, in some ways, monsters.
Most churches would hate her. Most churches would hate her followers. They either couldn’t see past the lifestyle, couldn’t see past the way they dress or couldn’t see past the philosophy.
But not Jesus. In fact, a quick look at Jesus’ tribe and we soon realize that he too was the “Mother Monster” … the One who made a mosaic out of broken pieces.
Mary Magdalene the Harlot.
John the Baptist.
Matthew the Tax Collector.
Peter the Zealot.
Philip the Doubter.
Paul the Persecutor
Monsters. Rejected. All.
Lady Gaga’s tribe is strong. They’re strong because they’re united by their brokenness … by their “queerness.”
Like Jesus, Gaga has found one of the strongest bonds for community: not primarily sin, but rejection.
The difference between Gaga and Jesus? She lives off her tribe. Jesus inaugurated his through death.
But, if Jesus was walking in America today, and if He was afforded the opportunity, I’d love to see his conversation with the “Mother Monster.”
And I hope – just maybe – one of Jesus’ people can share of His rejection, of how He was despised, how nobody looked at Him, a man that had nowhere to lay His head … and maybe, if she’d join His tribe, she’d finally find her home.
But, I wonder if Jesus’ people have become too normal to embrace the rejects of the world? If we see Lady Gaga and her followers as the ones Jesus WOULDN’T want, maybe we’ve lost touch with the real Jesus and become too comfortable with a Jesus that doesn’t exist.
Josh Hamilton, outfielder for the Texas Rangers, has a great redemption story. A number one draft pick in Major League Baseball’s 1999 draft, Hamilton was projected to be great. And he was heading toward greatness until drug and alcohol addiction earned him a couple suspensions in baseball and eventually put him out of the game from 2004 to 2006.
Somewhere in that time he met Jesus in a real way, surrounded himself with community and both his life and career were reborn, eventually resulting in the 2010 MVP award as he carried his team all the way to the World Series. Even his teammates respected him when they forewent the post-game AL Championship celebration champagne and substituted ginger ale in it’s place so Josh could join in on the jubilation.
All this … the MVP, the World Series, the love of his teammates, even his book deal are a testimony to God’s goodness … right?
2011 has been an entirely different year for Hamilton. On April 12, he was on third base when the coach inadvisably sent him home despite the nearly impossibility of Hamilton scoring. Josh collided with the catcher, fractured his right humerous and went on the Disabled List for nearly a month and a half.
Then, on July 7, Hamilton and his Rangers were playing at their home field. In the sixth inning, a foul ball was hit Josh’s direction and unlike most outfielders who toss the ball into the stands for an adoring fan, Hamilton tossed it to the ball girl. When he did so, he heard a shout from the stands, “Hey, Hamilton, how bout the next one.” He looked up, saw the man that the shout came from, with the man’s Hamilton jersey clad son beside him and acknowledged them both. A couple pitches later, another foul ball came Hamilton’s way and this time, he tossed it short to the man, who reached for it, fell over a railing, landed on his head and died eight hours later.
Hamilton said the sound of young Conor Jackson screaming as he watched his dad, firefighter, Shannon Stone falling still echoes in his mind. Apparently Shannon was still conscious when paramedics arrived. And the first thing Shannon told them was that his son, Conor, was “up there by himself”; a statement that unfortunately had a double meaning as today his son is fatherless.
So, what? Is Hamilton now cursed by Satan?
Another baseball player suggests a third option: maybe God is using bad for good purposes. The New York Met’s outfielder Angel Pagan (who has possibly one of most Lutheran names possible) stated,
“Only God knows why that happened and the purpose of it.”
It seems Pagan is suggesting God’s somehow behind the “accident”. Even Hamilton himself stated:
“I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now. … All I can think about is praying for them and knowing that God has a plan. You don’t always know what that plan is when those things happen, but you will.”
Inexplicable rises and falls are often accredited to higher powers. Inexplicable riches and fame. Inexplicable accidents. Inexplicable deaths. The God of the gaps idea extends beyond mysteries of the mind. In science, when we can’t explain something we simply place God in the gap. When something is beyond our comprehension, we answer it with “God”.
And is it any different with life’s mysteries? When something inexplicably good happens to us … who do we credit? And to whom do we credit the bad? But, is it really God? Is it really Satan? Or is it really just an accident?
I love Josh Hamilton. I love his story and the power it has for others who struggle with drug addiction. I too hope that God has a plan for the family that lost their father … a plan for redemption. Unlike the implication in Hamilton and Pagan’s quotes, I just don’t think God ever intended it to happen.
Got this in the mail a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t sure why I received it, so I called Buckingham Palace and asked. Apparently, they think I’m the direct descendant of Oscar Wilde. I told them I wasn’t and they said I could come anyways and be the Priest’s alter boy for the ceremony. I declined.
Being that I couldn’t get off work, and didn’t want to be the priest’s “yes” boy, here were some of my ideas about what I could do with it:
1. My first, pragmatic thought was to use it as a bookmark.
2. Sell it on Ebay.
3. Write a blog about it, gloating about how cool I am, and how dumb everybody else is.
4. Have it framed and put it above my desk, along with my framed golden ticket to heaven that I received from Jesus when I accepted Him into my heart as a four year old.
5. Give it to someone else who really wanted to go, like Keith Winder.
That’s all I got.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE WITH THE TICKET?
Would you have gone to the wedding if you could have?
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest, what was your interest in the wedding?
I know you. Yeah, you guys who will look at the different “verses” below and say, “that’s not fair … it can be both Bieber and Taylor because they’re in different genres.” Sorry, Bubba (or Bertha) this quiz is too dumb for you. You’re the guy who doesn’t pull the trigger, who sits back and “waits for more information”, who analyzes yourself into inaction. I know your type and these decisions aren’t for you apathetic wannabes. These decisions are for the J.F.K.s of the world, for the Steve Jobs and Rosa Parks who looked past the gray and saw the black and white and embraced one over the other.
So, leaders of the world, show your cards:
- (A) McDonalds Vs. (B) Chick-Fil-A
- (A) Justin Bieber Vs. (B) Taylor Swift
- (A) The Office Vs. (B) 30 Rock
- (A) Apple Vs. (B) PC
- (A) CNN Vs. (B) Fox News
- (A) Jacob Vs. (B) Edward
- (A) Harry Potter Vs. (B) Lord of the Rings
- (A) Twitter Vs. (B) Facebook
- (A) Kanye West Vs. (B) Charlie Sheen
- (A) Starbucks Vs. (B) Dunkin Donuts
Maybe there’s one or two that you feel real passionate about. I’m a huge Dunkin Donuts fan and have multiple reasons why the DD is better than the Bucks … reasons such as lower prices, the employment of the India culture, awesome donuts and the DD coffee doesn’t curdle when you pour both creamer and sugar substitutes into the cup (it’s really nasty).
If you want to rant on a certain “verses”, go ahead.
OR, give me your list. Here’s mine: 1B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5A, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9A and 10B.