Monday, April 15, 2013

Adjusting to a Meaningless World

Maybe your back doesn't itch, but mine does sometimes, and I've got spots I can't reach.  Right hand from below, right hand from above, left hand below and then above, twisting, bending, and finally recognizing I'm not getting there.  After a few of those you learn, not every itch is worth going after.

What was once obvious isn't obvious any more.  For you in the Midwest, we have very few flies out here in California.  You can leave the door open and have zero of them in your house.  Our spiders are bigger, but we don't have the mosquitoes and flies.  In high school, we had a student teacher, who was an older married man.  He was really serious about his teaching.  When a fly landed on his face, he wouldn't do what seemed normal, that is, brush it away.  One landed on his lip and there it sat, right at home.  I'm having a hard time with something similar today, even worse.

I think you'll know what I'm talking about.  When you first saw someone wearing his pants hanging mid-thigh, it got a reaction out of you.  Even the world didn't like that one, and it's still not allowed at certain public schools.  Ed Sullivan wouldn't show Elvis from the waist down.  Parents wouldn't let their kids listen to rock music.  Teenagers would hide out in their rooms, listening to Wolfman Jack under their blankets with their transistor radios.  The Bible doesn't say any of this is wrong.  You could still judge that it was though.  BUT not anymore.  What's wrong now ... is saying it's wrong.

Can a child give you a dirty look?  Does rolling the eyes mean anything?  A smirk?  A snort?  Let's be consistent.  I'm having a hard time adjusting to a meaningless world.  This hasn't just struck the secular world, but include Christianity in it, and it's worse really.  The world still thinks that the bare thigh of a woman means something.   The world doesn't have a problem with it -- it can be tasty eye candy for the world -- but it still means something, something scrumptious to behold.  For Christians, on the other hand, it's a convenience not to be criticized.  If you do say something, you're the bad guy.  You are.  There are so many different ways that you are wrong to say that a bare thigh means anything in public.  You've got a choice.  You can go ahead and say something, and get a worse reaction than the bare thigh itself, or just be quiet.  Keep it to the gospel, they say.  You've got a handful of things to talk about beyond the weather without getting in trouble with them.   Are they worth trying to itch?

I've been thinking about my adjustment to a meaningless world in the last few weeks.  Growing up, when my dad really wanted to get a point across to me, he would poke me in the chest with his index finger.  He did it a lot.  (Today you'd get fired for that.)  I hated it though.  I would often put my hand up when I sensed it coming, so I wouldn't get it in the sternum.  Is it possible that you are connecting more and better with your audience when they react like you've poked them in the sternum?  Probably so.  I don't try to get a rise out of them, but it happens the most when I deal with music and dress, those two subjects.   I get way more out of people when I deal with those issues.

Four posts have been written about me in the last two weeks because of two that I wrote, the one that mentioned the rock music at MacArthur's Shepherd's Conference and then the essay on the orthodox Jewish understanding of Deuteronomy 22:5 and designed distinctions in dress.  My own personal most looked at post ever, still getting weekly hits, is the one about deleting your facebook account.  Know this though, those things aren't important, and you can tell by the reaction.  No one.  Thinks.  They're important.  THEY'RE NOT, YOU DISHONEST, LYING JOKE!!!

I haven't really said how I'm going to adjust to a meaningless world.   I'm not going to agree to disagree.  I'm not going to keep my mouth shut.  How dare a teenager give you a look?!?  People are very tuned into what offends them, still.  President Obama said the female attorney general was good-looking.  That became a bigger news story than massacring at least seven babies in Philadelphia.  I made two observations about the Shepherd's Conference music.   One, they used rock music for worship.  Two, I saw pastors swaying.  I was actually making a major application from that in the post, which was ignored.  It wasn't geared for a fifth grade audience.  The answer to that post was that I was a dishonest, lying Cretan IFB, akin to Jack Schaap and Jack Hyles, trying to gain momentum for a national following.  And that was not the worst of it.  Then when I tried to challenge that assertion, I was mocked repeatedly before the comments were closed down.  I do see these people like I did the teacher with the fly on his lip, except worse.

Rock music isn't wrong.  Rock music is great.  Pop music is fine.  Modern art is beautiful.  Offering God the rock music in worship is super.  It's genuine.  It's very good.  You want it.  God loves it.  It's what He prefers in worship.  That's what you get to say.  These people were close to God.  They got close to Him through their rock music.  If you criticize it, you're bad.  You're horrible.  You're a hater.  You're a heretic.  You think you're always right.  You should be fired as a pastor.  You're a moralist.

You can't point out the obvious, that someone's got a fly on his lip.  You're the bad guy if you do.  Some people like flies on their lips.  It's an acquired taste.  Something you can get used to.  You'll even learn to enjoy it.  You really have to keep your opinion to yourself.  Sit and enjoy the rock music.  Appreciate the Great Rock of Inner Seeking.  Touch base with love as viewed through chain link fence.  If you stare at it long enough, you'll realize the genius in it.

I said I saw men swaying.  I saw it on a close-up on a live stream.  I didn't report it with animosity.  It didn't surprise me a lot, just a little.  I didn't think they did that at Shepherd's Conference, only to contextualize to the youth culture at the Resolved Conference.  At least they're being right up front with it.  (I can't help it -- I'm getting this vision right now of shepherds leading sheep to the pelvic rhythms of hip hop, sheep break-dancing with their shepherd -- don't judge me, you haters.)  Now, my viewpoint was sitting behind the first base dugout.  Someone else had the obstructed view with a super 8 from the grassy noll behind the center field fence.  They're saying I'm lying.  Not just that, I'm a liar.  And then extrapolate from there.  Can you see why I see the man with the fly on his lip?

By the way, here's the person, Fred Butler, the picture he posted of himself on his own twitter page, who has written two of the posts.  He's in charge of volunteers at Grace to You.

Here's how I'm going to adjust.  I'm going to write what I think, but I'm done defending myself with a bunch of kooks.  And they are kooks.  They're people who expect you to be fine with pants hanging down the rear end.  They don't think rap music is wrong. (I really like the hip-hop '$' for the letter 's,' very effective communication with your hip-hop crowd that likes to wear it's 'bling.'  What was ironic here was the second of the comments about Shai Linne, the Calvinist rapper:  "I totally agree with is poem about false teachers, too many churches are using worldly entertainment to get them in the door & then promise a good time & more. They're using our Savior like He is some kind of bargaining chip, it is so sad to see."  He's rapping about other people using worldly entertainment.  Huh?)  It's effective.  It's fine.  It's for God....and the cat-and-the-hat crowd.  Be edified; you don't know what you're talking about.

I'm not going to try to see it their way.  Their way is wrong.  I'm fine being hated by them, mocked by them.

A recent blog post against my recent pant-skirt post attacked me for being "certain" about everything.  Ouch.  That really hurts.  You get how bad that is, right?   He said that I found "comradery with Pharisees" because I "sited (sic) some Orthodox Jews" (sited:  past participle, past tense of "sit," adopt or be in a position in which one's weight is supported by one's buttocks rather than one's feet and one's back is upright.).   Jesus said the following in Matthew 23:2-3:  "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." (By the way, they were "sited" in Moses' seat...hahahahaha...[many won't think that's funny].  And in this case, Jesus actually "sited" them.  I guess I'm in good company "siting" orthodox Jews.)   Jesus' problem was when the Pharisees didn't practice what they preached, not when they actually practiced what scripture said.  When they tithed of mint and cummin, Jesus didn't say, "Stop that!  That's bad!"  No, He said, "Don't leave that tithing undone, just make sure that you do everything scripture says."

My dad worked as a security guard when going through college.   He worked at a very large home for the mentally disabled.  When he went to work every day, he didn't expect to see normal behavior.  He saw young men with replica NFL football helmets talking to no one on walkie-talkies.  I'm going to stop expecting normal from abnormal.  It's when you start fitting in with morons that you need to be concerned.  The large home for the mentally disabled has spread out to the culture at large.  Now you need a home for normal people, because the world is turning looney.  And I'm not giving in.  That's how I adjust.

Addendum 1

Above I had linked to Phil Johnson's parallel of Shai Linne's rap music with his upcoming Strange Fire conference.  I just got back from jogging, and while I was out, it surprised me that I hadn't immediately noticed the irony of this.   You do know what the "strange fire" was?   Strange fire was the personal homebrew of Nadab and Abihu, mixing up a taste of incense that appealed to themselves.   Two teenagers with soul patches having fun in the garage.  God struck them dead for the disrespect.  And rap music as worship isn't strange fire?  Lust trumps sacrifice.  That music is strange fire, and the poetry isn't far behind.

John MacArthur and cohorts will expose the false worship of the Charismatics.   There is a lot I have respected about him, but he's the man who said that the Jesus movement, kicked off by Lonnie Frisbee and Chuck Smith, was a genuine revival.   MacArthur has some of the best material against Charismaticism, but how does he not see the connection?  This hurts a lot.

I drove to Morgan Hill, CA on Saturday and there was a billboard for the hemp convention.  I could see the parallel with that smoke.   I smelled some drifting from one of the houses I jogged by tonight.  The burning of the leaves akin to the incense that is rap music.

I'm just adjusting.  More.

Addendum 2

Not much worse can be said about me than has already been said, but I'm expecting some heavy bashing to come.  I don't anticipate people allowing this to go, but as I said, I'm not planning on scratching that itch.  If you can't reach it, don't use your energy to scratch.  And I understand why I can't reach it.  You reach and you reach and your reach.  They're not interested.  Think walkie-talkies.


d4v34x said...

Man, Butler holds his light sabre like a salad fork or something!

Anonymous said...

Kent, I can help you understand a bit what is happening. People know that those that know the least know it the loudest and most dogmatically. It offends them when you take ignorant dogmatic positions.

They should not get upset. They should just do what I do: laugh at you. Take the issue of music. You don't have a clue about music. I have forgotten more about music than you will ever know. If you and I ever debated music (I would not waste my time), you would be exposed for a fool.

People know that you don't have a clue and it annoys them that you are dogmatic. Again, that is their problem. They should read you like I do. You are one of about 4 stops (others include Martuneac, Cloud, and Don Johnson) that I check out to start revving up for the day. Sort of a warm-up to actual serious stuff.

Kent, you probably think you are influential and your blog is helpful to people. I suspect about 1/3rd your readership are kooks that agree with you, and rest read you either to laugh (like me) or to get mad (they really shouldn't and I won't defend that practice).

Your influence is probably pretty close to 0% though. But don't stop writing. I enjoy the laughing.

Kent Brandenburg said...


First, thanks for the courage to stand up. You embolden rock music lovers everywhere to take their stand on this important issue. Dogs join you in protecting their dog food. Brava!

Second, I opened my book of "who knows what" and you were correct, that people who know things the least say it the loudest. And you say, people know that.

Marking doooowwwn 0% influence.

Got it all, buddy. I'm one of your four starts as you are revving up. When morning guilds the skies, you are reading me. Thanks for that.


Careful on the salad fork. Second amendment rights.

Anonymous said...


You can bump that 0% up to at least 0. something. I have been reading this site for the last 4-5 years and you have been a tremendous help and blessing to me. I'm not saying I agree with every single thing you write, but far more often than not, I find you to be right in line with the Word. Thanks for taking the time to write. It does more than just make some people mad :-)

As for music, I'd love to debate, Mr. Anonymous on this topic. I am ashamed to say that I could almost guarantee I know more than he does about rock and pop music. I used to be into it like few others are. And I know what it is. It's exactly what the rock 'n rollers themselves say it is. It's about sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. It's about rebellion, sensuality and the occult. They know it, Mr. Anonymous, and so should you. I've done a message on "The Nature of Rock Music" and it is about the easiest case I have ever made for anything. II Thess. 5:21 says, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." When you honestly "prove" rock music, it comes up squarely in the evil column. And as you said, Kent, this used to be obvious to virtually everyone.


Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Mat. If he can stop laughing, Anonymous might debate you with his reservoir of knowledge not forgotten, still towering above all others. He's also too serious to waste his time that way, because he prefers to waste his time writing only inane comments, hiding behind anonymity. Thanks for raising the support level to .01%, part of the kook (I said kook first, so he should have at least looked for a synonym) influence.

George Calvas said...

Anonymous (not a real man) is a "blind leader of the blind". He is correct in his assessment of himself and others like him that are carnal, sensual, not having the Spirit. Rock music is straight from the pit of hell (been there done that as a lost man) whether it has Jesus in it or not. It is like some reprobate who calls himself a Christian justify himself for being in a bar, drinking Jack Daniels with a bunch of whores because John 3:16 is written somewhere on the label.

This is the perverted, corrupt and filthy mindset of lost people who have "another Jesus" because they have been preached "another gospel".

Anonymous said...

LOL. Thanks, but I will stay anonymous. I want no one associating me with the foolishness of this blog for various reasons. Yes indeed I am laughing. I love how everyone claims to be rock music experts. Let me guess: you played in a pathetic garage band back in the 1970's and never had a paying gig (except maybe beer). But you are a musical expert. The truth is that not one of you could defend your beliefs against a music expert if someone put a gun to your head.

Kent Brandenburg said...


One doesn't need to be an expert in rock music to know what's wrong with it. It's like saying that I need to explore Playboy to refute pornography. It isn't a deep study. I think there are better arguments than others, but it doesn't require a technical knowledge of music. We don't need music theory to reject rock music.

Every person of the referred blog posts are no musical experts, so your annoyance theory doesn't work. You're the genius of your own estimation, projecting your own irritation upon them, a scoffer walking after his own lust.

Anonymous said...

Guilty as charged. I am indeed a scoffer of this blog anyway.

Oh no, you don't need to be a musical expert to pontificate about music. Just like you don't need to be a medical expert to tell doctors how to practice medicine. Just like you don't have to be a physics expert to tell engineers how to launch rockets.

No, you don't have to be an expert. But you need to be an expert if you want to be credible. The bunch of you, and I include the four blogs I mentioned earlier are just laughable. Cloud is the most so since he is the most specific and thus most obviously displays his ignorance.

There are people infinitely more knowledgeable about the subject than the bunch of you. And yet they are not as dogmatic. Why is that do you think? Even the people like Aniol on your side are not as dogmatic.

Kent Brandenburg said...

To be clear, anon, I was talking about the three guys writing against -- Butler, Dudding, and the other guy -- not understanding music. So these are not pent up music experts, unleashing on ignorance. I can't say I know their precise motives. If it didn't matter to them, they would leave me alone though.

Cloud, that I know of, is the only one, besides me, that writes about music. He wouldn't say he was an expert, I don't think. I've only spoken to him one time. Aniol isn't less dogmatic than me. He just doesn't separate like I do, but that's because of other beliefs, not music. So we already find something that indicates your lack of understanding about what's going on. But we already knew that.

Joshua said...

What a surprise that the wiseman of this world happen to come down on the side of the current culture and the desires of men's flesh! If only Paul had given the great ones of this world a better rap than all that "not many wise" stuff.

True Christians have been fools for the amusement and scoffing of others for two millennia - so I'm happy to put the hand up as another one of the kooks.

That said, I'm growing more and more attached to Matthew 15:14. People have definitely made their minds up when it comes to music and dress (firmly in the current cultures camp there, or else it's scoff town for you!). I'm not saying Pastor Brandenburg should stop writing about it, as he has been a huge encouragement and blessing to me there, but I'm more fond of giving the teaching and then discussing with open minds rather than trying to a lead a horse to water who wants anything but.

Jon Gleason said...

You DON'T need to be a musical expert to pontificate about music, or a medical expert to tell doctors how to practice medicine.

But it doesn't take an expert to note that Harold Shipman's patients died, or a physicist to notice a space shuttle explosion, or an artist to notice a sculpture of the emperor has no clothes.

Lance Ketchum said...

Why allow anonymous people to make comments on your blog? In my experience they are cowards that speak without any accountability to their local church or other Christians for what they say. Secondly, why give such comments any credibility by responding to their incredulous accusations? Ridicule often comes from ridiculous people.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thanks for commenting, and I understand your criticism. It was a judgment call on my part to allow it. He represents the other side. I probably wasn't going to get anyone from that side publishing their name, so I allowed it, so people could see what it looked like. He'll get big applause from his pals and people like him, but they aren't going to listen anyway. However, I think, and it was my judgment, to let him stand as the kind of person on their side.

Thanks for your comment.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Jon and Joshua.

Joshua had already entered the marginalization zone with support, but I appreciate your willingness to do so, Jon.

Anonymous said...


What about me? I used to play in church worship bands. I played in a Campus Crusade band: in fact, it's the same chapter where Matt Olson's son is in some sort of leadership. I played in several bands, one of which was on the cusp of a national tour before my conviction about what I was doing became acute enough that I unplugged, literally.

What about me? I sold off my equipment to be able to afford my first tuition payment and to pay for our move up to Iron Mountain, and our first month's rent. I had nice stuff. I was assured I would never need it again.

I can't say I'm surprised by what Northland has done, or by the way they're handling it. I wish I were, but I know them. I met with them while I was a student there to ask about changes way back in 2006. I got non-answers of about as much substance as people trying to justify their midlife crises.

I am, however, surprised by people like you who wish to justify the dishonesty and posturing of people in charge of an institution that till recently publicly repudiated what they secretly loved.

Sophistry minus the soph-.

As far as I'm concerned, Northland can change all they want, but they ought to do it honestly, and not do it at the expense of the consciences of the faculty and staff and students who are stuck there.

Chris Ames

KJB1611 said...

Pastor Graham West of Music Education Ministries is an expert, with degrees in music, etc.; his material, which is excellent, has been posted here:

However, it is obvious that rock is sinful even without being an expert, as it is obvious water is wet without being a chemist.

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of Graham West but I looked at the materials you posted. They are umm, underwhelming and I say that kindly;) The first is just basic music theory you learn in your first years of music study. The second is the same old unproved assumptions and opinions that have been long since weighed in the balances and found wanting.

The fact that you consider his materials excellent reinforces what I already knew: you don't know anything about music. You are embarrassing yourself by using those materials as support for your "position." But then you link to Cloud's foolishness on music too.

Face it. As funny as I find your writing such as your excrement = blended perspective, you are way out of your league. That is why no one takes you seriously.

I say that with all Christian love. Go back to writing about something you know something about.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm not KJB1611. That's Thomas Ross. He's a very good violinist. His wife is an amazing pianist. If I include your comments, you don't think I would approve his. The rock music issue doesn't require tremendous music theory, although if it did, he and his wife have enough. It's more philosophical, cultural, and theological than it is a great grasp of music theory. I do know that rock music is easier to play than classical. I don't know that from experience, but from others who have played both. It's not even close. I don't have to have a degree in art to judge art or English to judge poetry or music to judge music. It's a false argument. Now, if we get someone who does know music very well in order to please someone like you, you're still not going to be pleased.

For anyone reading,

The attack is typical from anon, which is why I include it. If we started talking about theology, Thomas Ross is very well read, has devotions in Greek and Hebrew, but it wouldn't mean that someone can't make an argument against a point of theology he holds. We don't operate that way on the music issue either.

I have no measurable basis for judging who "knows" music better than others. As to me, I took piano lessons, played trumpet from 5th grade all the way through college in band and orchestra. I sang in high school and college choir. I traveled three summers singing. I sang in Handel's Messiah seven times. I've directed about 25 school programs. I've written 7 or 8 songs, both the words and the music. I'm on the board of two orchestras, one of which is the second oldest youth orchestra in the United States, which played at the Golden Hall in Vienna last summer. My son played trombone in California All State band and was principal trombone in Young People's Symphony Orchestra and won the concerto competition at Berkeley Youth Orchestra. My three daughters play violin very well. They take lessons from a tremendous violinist, Vasily Chuckhlov. All four of my kids are very proficient on the piano. My wife is a piano instructor. And still I don't see myself as an expert on music, because I know people who are. However, on this issue of worship, knowing the Bible very well, and being well-read in history is just as important. With that being said, I stick with what I wrote, that being you don't have to be a music expert to judge in this area, just like I don't have to be an expert to know if I hear foul or profane language. It is a straw man argument to scare people away.

Joshua said...

I'd just leave that anonymous chap alone folks.

The man has confessed that part of his daily ritual is an orgy of pride whereby he reads 4 blogs he disagrees with to laugh in superiority. He's already confessed to being a scoffer, and he's already explained why he wants to hide behind anonymity. Anyone who thinks they are dealing with a brother in Christ should be applauded for charity but chastened for naivety.

I appreciate Pastor Brandenburg letting his comments be put up here to remind us all that not all who oppose are merely sincerely and innocently deceived by the world, but some do so in out of malice, pride, contempt and everything else that comes with being the scoffer spoken of in the Bible.

That said, in my extensive experience with internet trolls, this man is just enjoying the rise he's getting out of us, and the quicker you leave him alone the quicker he'll leave.

Paul said it best: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly;."

He's just here to offend, and doing a pretty good job of it. Just let him and his belly go.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thanks. I believe you are correct. Thank you.