Saturday, February 26, 2005

Epiphonema

EPIPHONE'MA n. in oratory, an exclamation; a vehement utterance of the voice to express strong passion, in a sentence not closely connected with the general strain of the discourse.

EPIPH'ANY, n. appearance; to appear. Definitions are from Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary.

The Greek word is used in II Timothy 1:10. The English word for it is "manifest", as it appears in the AKJB of 1611.
Sometimes when I close a window on my computer, another window is revealed that had been behind the window I just closed. If I had used Expose' (a useful feature on the Mac) I would have seen it sooner. A quirky little bug in my FireFox browser causes a little window to repeatedly pop up asking for my password for the "software security device". I have learned that entering the password does no good... the same window immediately reappears elsewhere on my screen. So I tell it to go away, without giving it the password, and then it's back to business as usual... SOS_DD. Sometimes we try to treat God that way.
Lately, I've been vividly reminded of a quirk of human nature that has been obvious in my own life. As fleshly creatures (more fleshly than spiritual) we want to please ourselves more than we want to please God. We want what feels good, regardless of what God might be trying to reveal to us. I lived through the "if it feels good, do it" era of the sixties. I generally don't say I "grew up" in the sixties, because I didn't... grow up, that is. In Romans 1:19, "manifest" (the word in II Timothy 1:10) is used again. Sometimes (as in this passage in Romans) God shows something to people, but they refuse to "see" it, and they claim ignorance. We cover our eyes, stamp our little feet, and say, "No! I can't see it." Kind of like that little FireFox window that I wish would go away and never come back. Verse 20 says they are without excuse. Sometimes the truth is less plain. God wants you to seek it with your whole heart, just because you love Him and want to please Him. When you meet that requirement, "ye shall find it." The question is, "How much do you love God?" Are you willing to give up something that you are hooked on (like rock music or that "occasional" beer) for the simple reason that to do so would be pleasing in God's sight? "We love Him because He first loved us, and gave Himself for us." (Love is an act of giving, not a warm fuzzy feeling.True love gives to meet a need, even though it may not feel good.) But do we love Him enough? I have NEVER believed (here I go again with one of my "judgemental opinions" that stir up such a fuss around here) that ANY of us meets the requirements of the first and second Commandments. Disagree if you must... I think that your disagreement simply proves your own pride and self righteousness. In my own experience I have found that people (including myself of course) want to have their own way, their own "individuality" that seems right to them. Our culture constantly affirms that we should do what "is right FOR US". There are many ways that "seem right". Each of us has a way that seems right to us. But what is right to God? Romans 1 describes people who "don't know" (although God has plainly showed it to them) and don't care. "There is A WAY which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof ARE the ways of death." Prov. 14:12. God does not have a grammar problem here. It means exactly what it says, especially in the uses of the singular and plural forms. There are multiple WAYS things may turn out if the way that seems right to you is chosen, and they all are the ways of death. The way to life, peace, fulfillment and happiness, on the other hand is through the death of self. Mark 8:35.

Music is a way of expressing our individuality. We cling to it , fiercely defending "our turf", and attacking (sometimes viciously!) anybody with the gall to suggest altering our preferences. Sometimes, we need to go to our preference folder and delete our preferences and let God recreate an uncorrupted preference folder. Sometimes we have the realization that the problem could best be fixed by not merely defragging the intracranial hard drive, but by erasing the disk and installing God's OS. My Mac does just fine on OS X (10.3.7 to be exact) but my brain needs OS J ("J" for Jesus). The Bible is clear that we need to DIE TO SELF. John Knox the great Scottish reformer and evangelist said to God, "Give me Scotland ere I die." God said, "You die first, and then I'll give you Scotland." John Knox died to self and God gave him Scotland. One seemingly small "deviation" (error in a file) wreaks great havoc in our lives. In the case of music preferences, we are slow and reluctant to see or admit the root cause of the difficulty. Music is a powerful, addictive force. When people get saved, it is rare that all sins are given up at once. Usually it is a progression, a slow substitution of better preferences in place of the old. The area of music preferences is usually the most adamantly defended "turf" and is given up to God one precious inch at a time, if at all. I have seen this in my own life. There have been changes large and small, and times of no change at all or even of regression. Looking back I can see the hand of God ever-present in my life, patiently correcting and guiding me by whatever means necessary, depending on my level of stubbornness. Sometimes pain was necessary to get me to change. It took a long time to arrive where I am now (and I have a long way yet to go) so I try to be patient with young christians who are going through the same choice-making process... and making wrong choices. I want to help, but help is not wanted. I understand how the father of the prodigal son must have felt, knowing his beloved son was headed for the hog trough. Too bad the boy had to learn the hard way... but lessons WILL be learned, one way or the other.

Recently, my "music consciousness" went through a "quantum shift". I obtained two things. The first was a DVD of Dr. Jack Schaap preaching at Youth Conference 2004 at First Baptist Church, Hammond Indiana. The second was an audio file I downloaded from http://hylesanderson.com/chapel. It is a chapel message preached by Brother Brian Cassada on 10-27-2004 entitled "I Can't See Your Heart, But I Can Hear It". You can download it yourself for free at the site. It takes guts to preach that kind of a sermon. I listened to it and had an epiphany. I thought, "Oh my soul... HE'S RIGHT!!!" The next thought was, "Oh God, I'm sorry." That was several months ago.

I have a special interest in music in that I record and produce all of the audio and video at my local fundamental Independent Baptist Church. I've been doing that for about eight months. Being able to do this has been a source of indescribable blessing for me. The whole thing kind of snow-balled after I recorded (for my own use) my daughters singing in church last June. Now I record everything... and haven't regretted it for a minute.
I just this week introduced myself to blogging and have since been reminded of just how adamantly I have defended my own "music turf" in the past. People get real mad real fast about the issue. This morning as I was slowly coming out of the fog of sleep, I had another epiphany. God was telling me, "Look, you can't expect people to just spend their hard-earned cash on a gamble that you might be right about a different kind of music being worth a listen. You weren't willing to spend YOUR money, were you?" I was NOT willing to go out and buy new music. Experience has shown that for $15 you're lucky if you get one or two really good songs on a CD, and the rest are "filler". The good ones you can hear on the radio six times a day for free, anyway. Out of curiosity, since I hadn't had a good look at the music department of a "christian bookstore" in a number of years, I had visited a local "christian bookstore" and found NOTHING of interest. So I got to thinking. God has put me in a position where I get ALL KINDS of music for free. People bring me tapes, DVD's and CD's and I burn disks. I get the music for free and charge $5 for a CD, $7 for a DVD, printable media with nice labels. Mostly I take cassette tape material and put it on a CD (the owner paid retail for the tape), or make a duplicate copy of a CD so that the owner (who paid retail for the original) can have multiple copies for use at home, in two cars, for several rooms at home, or whatever. I don't think that the fact that I am a "middle man" somehow makes this beyond the "digital rights" of the owner of the cassette or CD. And I don't think that keeping the material on my hard drive is illegal, since it also appears to be legal to swap music among friends. I'm sure there's at least one ambulance-chasing lawyer out there who would say otherwise. It's always about the money with some people. The spirit and intent of the law is to protect the rights of those who have invested a lot of money in producing and distributing the material. It obviously would injure them if someone made thousands of copies and sold them on the street, and they would have "legal standing" to bring a law suit against the offender. That's NOT what I'm doing. The DVD that I offered is not copyrighted, and I know that the people who did the preaching would be delighted that the material is getting around. My son, who attends the college where this material originated, just made a DVD that will be distributed FOR FREE to 11,000 people two weeks from now. It is OBVIOUSLY not about the money with these people. However, it might appear that I am "stealing" if I were to give away music. So to avoid "all appearance of evil" (Colossians 5:23) I have withdrawn the offer I previously made on this post with regard to trying some good hymns for free. Sorry, you're on your own. Actually, the silence has bespoken volumes of just how narrow-minded my detractors are. You would THINK that some would at least want to have a free listen, but NO!! THEY'RE TOO DOPED ON 'CHRISTIAN' ROCK TO CARE! Anyway, I highly recommend "Hymns For The Home" from Sacred Music Service. I have four (RETAIL) albums of their's and it's all really great stuff. They have other music and materials as well, and they're on the Net.

2 comments:

Jonathan said...

I was somewhat disturbed when I read this post. As a Christian myself I would like to truthfully and lovingly express to you the problems I have with your previous statements. I think that your logical justification for pirating and copying the music that you receive is skewed in relationship to what stealing is really all about.

Stealing as defined by the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary is “to take or appropriate without right or leave, and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully.” I would contend that justifying your copying of the music because “I'm not robbing the artists... my friends would never spend the money, even if they had any to spend” is faulty logic.

Let me ask you in return, would it be okay if I stole a TV from a store to sell to my buddy on the justification that “my friends would never spend the money [on a TV], even if they had any to spend.” From a Christian brother to another Christian brother I hope that you see that stealing someone’s intellectual property is just as serious as stealing someone’s material property. However, if you see a difference between the two I would like you to justify your claim to their being a difference between intellectual property and material property.

Craig Lowery said...

Jonathan,
Your logic is correct. I knew that when I posted the statement. I wish everyone around here was as logical and thoughtful as you are. You're the FIRST to correct my "faulty logic". Thanks, and I stand corrected. God bless you, brother.
Craig :)