Bob's Basement

Just a short, simple blog for Bob to share his thoughts.

Richard Wayne Mullins - 1955 to 1997

It was on this day 20 years ago that Rich Mullins was killed in a car accident on his way to a benefit concert in Kansas. At the time of his death, Rich was only moderately popular and had never won any awards - not even for his internationally-famous worship songs which are still sung in churches throughout the world.

i-still-miss-rich-mullins

The exact cause of the crash which took Rich's life is still unknown, although you can read the details about the crash online. That being said, I will never forget how I learned about Rich's untimely death at the young age of 41. My daughter and I were driving through the empty deserts of west Texas on our way home to Dallas after attending a youth conference in Tucson, AZ. I had been channel surfing on the radio and trying to find something to listen to, which was rather difficult since we were out in the middle of nowhere. I discovered a radio station which was playing a song by Rich Mullins, whom I had always admired, and I remarked to my daughter that we needed to see Rich in concert whenever he came through Dallas.

After the song had ended, an announcer came on the radio and delivered the news that Rich Mullins had just been killed in a car accident. My daughter and I were both stunned, and for some reason I found myself crying a lot over the next several hours as we continued our drive home to Dallas. (This has always been a mystery about myself for which I have yet to find an acceptable answer: why was I so upset about someone whom I had never met? It has been 20 years, and I think that part of my emotional makeup will remain unsolved, but to be honest - I'm not too worried about it.)

Nevertheless, I often wonder where Rich's career might have gone if he had not passed away at such an early age. He tended to be openly blunt about sin and judgmentalism within the church, which is one reason why he was largely overlooked and often ostracized by the "Contemporary Christian Music" industry until after his death, (when the establishment was suddenly forced to deal with the reality of their hypocrisy). With that in mind, if Rich were alive today, he would probably still be living in veritable obscurity in a hogan on the Navajo reservation in northern New Mexico, where Rich was working as a music teacher in self-imposed destitution after taking a voluntary vow of poverty.

If nothing else, Rich Mullins was certainly unique; I still miss him and his music.

Posted: Sep 19 2017, 10:00 by Bob | Comments (0)
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Is Syndicated Christian Music the World's Most Boring Genre?

I used to live in the Dallas Forth Worth area, which helps form the lower band of the Bible Belt. While we were there, my wife and I were fortunate to have a wealth of local Christian radio stations and concerts to choose from. It didn't matter which subgenre you preferred: pop, rock, gospel, praise, etc.; there was always a radio station for you to listen to.

However, after moving away from that region, we have been forced to suffer through the following syndicated options:

All three of these syndicated radio stations continually spew never-ending streams of utterly forgettable music. The playlists for these stations often consist of unimaginative and trite originals, or generic attempts at copying secular music genres (yet falling several years behind what is current).

One of the most-common problems the Christian music genres face is endemic to Christian music in general, and this is the constant insistence that "the lyrics are more important than musicianship." This mindset is, of course, a ridiculous proposal. Not only does it completely ignore Psalm 33:3, but it means that the bulk of Christian music cannot be taken seriously; because if the people who are creating Christian music cannot take their craft seriously, then no one else will.

That being said, the Christian music industry is just that - an industry. And like it's secular counterparts, the Christian music industry attempts to crank out hit after hit in an effort to prolong their revenue stream. Let me be clear: I am a capitalist at heart, and I have no problems in principle with anyone who chooses make their living by sustaining a successful product line. However, those responsible for producing Christian music fail to realize that by turning out an endless torrent of pedestrian drivel, they are putting themselves out of business. I guarantee that fewer and fewer people are buying Christian music because - to put it bluntly - most of it is crap.

While the Christian music industry is afflicted with serious problems with regard to a general lack of musical inspiration, a willing accomplice to Christian music's crimes against itself are the syndicated radio stations who continue to cycle through hideously short playlists of repetitive melodies and prosaic, middle-school rhymes. I ask anyone who listens to Christian music to answer these questions honestly:

  • How many times per hour does someone really need to hear Chris Tomlin?
  • Couldn't the lyrics to "Good, Good Father" have been written a heck of a lot better? (Yes they could, yes they could, yes they could.)

In closing, there are thousands of wonderful Christian musicians around the globe, but chances are good that you'll probably never hear them. The people at the helm for charting the course of the Christian music industry are not interested in talented musicians; they are far too preoccupied with trying to produce next year's crop of bland and predictable "hit makers." In a like manner, if you tune into any of the syndicated radio stations that I listed above, then you'll have to endure hours of songs from Chris Tomlin, Matthew West, tobyMac, and something from MercyMe or Casting Crowns, (who are secretly the same band anyway... yes they are, yes they are, yes they are).

Posted: Sep 10 2017, 17:27 by bob | Comments (0)
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Forgiveness and Restoration

I stumbled across the following article recently, which briefly discusses an issue that our family has struggled with:

How to Extend Forgiveness and Set a Boundary

Without going into too much detail, someone in our family hurt my children; and by that I mean this person really hurt my children – in life-altering ways. When someone injures your children, you want them to be punished; you want them to suffer for the years of pain your children have had to endure. And yet for reasons I cannot explain, this person has never faced justice. We cut this person out of our lives as you would with any other cancer, but unfortunately that is the most that we can do.

That being said, our family is predominantly populated with Christians who want everyone and everything to be "forgiven," and for all of us to get along as one big, happy family. However, since the person who caused all of this pain and suffering has never changed, any semblance of restoration is probably never going to happen, for reasons which should be obvious to anyone who loves their children. But seeing as how it was only my children who were hurt, my wife and I have received countless comments from other family members asking whether we have "forgiven" the pernicious person who is the source of our family troubles. We have assured everyone that we have, which then leads to the questions about why can't our "lives go back to the way they were before all of this started."

First of all, the way our lives were before "all of this started" does not mean that the guilty party wasn't hurting other people; it was just happening to people outside our immediate family, and being swept under the rug because people chose not to see that it was happening. But that is a different problem for a different day.

The problem which currently faces our family is: what does it mean to forgive someone?

For some of our family members, "forgiveness" means a complete and total restoration. But that is a totally naïve sentiment, and it completely ignores or trivializes the suffering of those whose lives were damaged. My wife and I have tried to explain time and again that we have "forgiven" the person who wounded our family, but we have no desire to rekindle a relationship with the guilty party. To other family members this looks like "unforgiveness," whereas to me this looks like "common sense." One should not willingly subject their loved ones to a harmful person in the name of "forgiveness."

This is why I enjoyed the article which I mentioned earlier; in that piece, Dr. Cloud did a great job of summarizing the different parts of a restoration process, which I will paraphrase and adapt to our family's situation:

Forgiveness: This is letting go of what you believe is your right to punish someone for how they hurt you. My wife and I have done so; it was difficult, but holding onto unforgiveness is more harmful to yourself than it is to others. Or as a popular idiom states, "Holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

Reconciliation: This is when the other person apologizes and accepts forgiveness; this has not happened within our family. In fact, the guilty party is still asserting that he or she has never done anything wrong, and recently demanded an apology for the years which he or she was denied access to our family. With this person's attitudes in mind, any hope of reconciliation is currently impossible.

Trust: This is when you allow a person whom you have forgiven back into your life. This may be a long, slow process, because it involves re-establishing your confidence that the person who hurt you will not do so again. In our family's situation, the person responsible for all of the suffering still insists no wrong-doing, so there can be no reasonable assumption that this person will not hurt someone again. Perhaps he or she will not wound someone in the same way as before, but still – I do not trust this person around my spouse or children.

Bringing this discussion to a close, we need to make a clear distinction between "forgiveness" and "reconciliation" in our lives. When we confuse these actions, we may subject ourselves to further injury. We certainly need to forgive those who harm us, but it is up to the other person to reconcile the situation and to re-establish trust. If the other person is unwilling to do so, then you are far better off without them in your life.


By the way, the following book by Jerry Cook is a good resource for anyone who is faced with difficult life situations and questions about forgiveness:

Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness: Being Christian in a Non-Christian World

Posted: Jul 19 2017, 11:22 by bob | Comments (0)
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Saying Goodbye to an Old, Trusted Friend...

I was going through some boxes recently, where I discovered the following book…

Natural History Book

My parents gave me this book in the early 1970s when I was eight years old, and I carried that book everywhere. Way back then, my life’s ambition was to become a paleontologist, and this book had some excellent chapters on dinosaurs which I read over and over again.

However, my copy of this book was definitely showing its 45 years of age; it’s binding had worn away to nothing, countless pages were torn… even though I didn’t check, I’m pretty sure that some pages were missing. There is no doubt – this was a well-loved volume of knowledge back in its day; but now it was little more than a shadow of its former self, and a sad relic of days gone by.

Natural History Book

Still, though, it’s amazing the history through which this book persisted in my personal (albeit negligent) care… when I received this book as a gift, Richard Nixon was President of the United States, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was 39 cents, the United States was still embroiled in the waning years of the Vietnam War, Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon, and the biggest single of the year was “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Tony Orlando and Dawn.

Nevertheless, this compendium of natural history knowledge had outlived its usefulness several years ago, and it was time to say goodbye. So with a heavy heart I unceremoniously dispatched my once-faithful companion to the recycle bin, where I hope that some part of it might wind up as another book which will spark another child’s imagination in decades to come. Or perhaps that’s just what I tell myself in order to feel a little less guilty…

Sad smile

Posted: Jul 14 2017, 10:25 by Bob | Comments (0)
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Ride Notes for June 24th, 2017

During today's 32-mile ride through the deserts on the east side of Tucson, I probably should have called it quits when the temperature hit 120 degrees on my GPS... but then again, I was out in the desert with nowhere to stop, so my choices were: 1) keep riding, or 2) die. Or as Winston Churchill famously remarked, "If you're going through hell, keep going."

2017-06-24 - Pistol Hill Loop Temperature

Originally this was supposed to be my usual 40-mile Saturday ride, but I decided right before my departure to drop the 8-mile loop through Saguaro National Park. (Which in hindsight was undoubtedly a really good idea.) On a positive note, there appeared to be no other cyclists riding today, so I had the roads all to myself.

(PS - I didn't get a photo for when the temperature hit 133 degrees on my GPS because my cell phone shut down due to the excessive heat. Of course, my lack of cell phone meant that I was also unable to abort the ride and call my wife to come find me.)

Posted: Jun 24 2017, 22:55 by bob | Comments (0)
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Apple's Self-Driving Car?

Wait... Apple is working on a self-driving car? Have they even SEEN Apple Maps?

An Apple car would drive you right off a bridge, and as your car settled to the bottom of a river Siri would cheerfully say, "You've arrived at your destination."

Posted: Jun 13 2017, 17:22 by bob | Comments (0)
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If D-Day had happened in 2017...

Given the increasingly-ridiculous levels of political correctness and unnecessary inclinations towards white guilt, here is a bit of alternative history for today, which examines how the contemporary mainstream media might have handled the D-Day invasion if it had happened in the present:

7:30am, Tuesday, June 6, 1944
From various World News Services
:

This just in - American and Allied forces, undoubtedly with imperialist ambitions, are currently attacking hundreds of undermanned and outgunned German soldiers, who are now desperately fighting for their lives amidst an onslaught of unprovoked Anglo-Saxon aggression. Just four years earlier, these same German forces successfully liberated France from centuries of colonial and imperial oppression, and yet they now find their comrades senselessly slaughtered on the beaches of Normandy while trying to defend the innocent people of France from foreign invaders.

American soldiers landing on the coast of France under heavy Nazi machine gun fire.

Joseph Goebbels, the distinguished spokesman for the widely-popular German National Socialist Party, condemned the heinous atrocities of the invaders by stating, "This is a sad day for Europe. German sovereignty has been deliberately and ruthlessly challenged in a cowardly, pre-dawn surprise attack by those who wish to see Europe returned to the Dark Ages. After we have forced these intruders back into the sea from whence they came, history will remember this as a triumph for humanity, and henceforth remember this day as 'Deutschland-Day!'"

General Eisenhower, the duplicitous 'commander' of the invading forces, could not be reached for comment.

Posted: Jun 06 2017, 11:26 by bob | Comments (0)
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Double Standards and Hypocrites

Someone close to me (who shall remain nameless) posted the following image to Facebook with the caption that "Double Standards Abound:"

kathy-griffin-is-an-idiot

Now I will not attempt - even for a second - to defend any of the Drumpf's ludicrous statements; he is a never-ending stream of verbal diarrhea. However, I want you to imagine if four years ago some comedian had posed with the severed head of Obama... that guilty party would still be serving a jail sentence for a hate crime, and there's your real double-standard. Or what would have happened if the Drumpf had posed with the severed head of Hillary Clinton during the presidential race? Can you imagine the uproar that would have caused?

Make no mistake - the Drumpf is an idiot, but what Kathy Griffin did exceeds the mere assertion that she "went a little too far." If we take the Bette Davis quote from that image at face value and we assume that Ms. Griffin was just "giving her opinion" by her actions, then think about what that really means.

I'm sorry, but espousing the death of a sitting president is unconscionable, even if that president is hypocritical buffoon and you cannot stand him; you cannot defend the indefensible simply because you happen to loathe the target of their hatred.

Posted: Jun 03 2017, 10:18 by bob | Comments (0)
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Why I Fail To Understand Women

No woman in her right mind would want to be called a "Cow," and yet so many women shop at a place called the "Dress Barn."

This makes no sense to me... Open-mouthed smile

Posted: May 24 2017, 11:03 by bob | Comments (0)
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The Windmills of La Mancha

Here is an HDR shot which I took of the windmills in La Mancha, Spain...

La_Mancha_HDR

However, this photo does not do justice to the actual spectacle, nor does it capture the rain and hail which were pelting me as I took the photo. With that in mind, I felt a little more in tune with Don Quixote as I was chasing the impossible amidst an onslaught of oppressive circumstances...

Surprised smile

Posted: May 18 2017, 04:18 by bob | Comments (0)
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