Monday, November 27, 2006

Di ko alam ang masasabi ko. I don't believe in desire-universe-Paulo Coelho principle, but it does seem that the universe is conspiring against us. Basta parang ganun, ano ba yan, wala akong masyadong ma-reveal dahil hindi ko alam kung sino ang nagbabasa nito. Haha. Swimming upstream ito. Love is a battlefield nga daw diba? If I only knew what's on your mind. Would it be easier?

Monday, November 20, 2006


I never knew how much I missed LB until ths first day of classes. It's the first time in my entire college life that I arrived at Los BaƱos before 6am. We had to catch the early bus because my sister has, unfortunately, a 7AM class. The morning looked so inviting, so fresh. "Bukang liwayway" is so apt a phrase.

Our apartment is a bit musty and smellslike an old closet. But what did I expect? We left it for a month. So we're hiring housekeepers to clean tomorrow. Part of the welcome of the new sem. Our last sem together.

I'm glad to be back where I can see big and beloved trees everywhere. Here, everything I need is within a ten minute walk or a very short jeepney ride perhaps. forgot how I missed just walking around campus and accidentally bumping into a friend - a few minutes' chat turning into several hours of 'tambay' around benches or building stairs nearby.

And another thing I missed - the food! I had dinner with Mam Amy and Jaz at the place formerly called Ellen's Fried Chicken - it has a different name now but everyone still calls it Ellen's. They have the best fried chicken and monggo in the world. The only place Elbi needs is... GO NUTS DONUTS! Hehe, life would be sooo heavenly then.

One thing, or should I say person, is missing from Elbi though and that's Red. He's left teaching and is now in La Union (I think). Elbi life doesn't seem complete without him.
- no more late coffee and blueberry cheescake
no more joy rides to Forestry, Calamba and SLEX
no more ice cream binge eating
no more movie and LOST episodes marathon
no more raiding each other's private library (he's my main source of Yancey and Lewis books)
no more hours of conversation about theories, books, movies, Narnia, LOTR, Star trek, and everything under the sun
no more spur of the moment food trips
and no more Valerie (his ever dependable Vios).

In short, no more friend who could be right there the minute you text regardless of time or date. Yeah, I know it's selfish to wish him back here when this place is keeping him from fulfilling his dreams. It's just that it feels like losing a best friend, a brother. He's so far away now, it seems we're in different continents.

I'm sure there'll be a lot of things and places and people that I will miss once I leave this place which I consider a home. But for now, I'll just enjoy the 5 months I have left, do really well in my studies, continue building lifelong friendships and desperately wish for a Go Nuts Donuts branch to open in LB.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Secular music - a guilty pleasure?

I heard it once said on the pulpit that Christians should only listen to Christian music. I'm sorry but I disagree.

Music is one of those essential things that I don't want to live without. Not only is music a source of pleasure but it is also sometimes my spokesperson - creating with sounds and lyrics what my heart wants to say but my lips can't utter.

Music provides a pleasure that few other art forms can match. Music satisfies the entire being: physically through the senses, emotionally through the heart, rationally through the mind and wholly - mind, body and soul. It is a pleasure most people would not do without, whether we would disagree what exactly is good music.

I believe that music is a pleasure that God created to refresh us, to comfort us, to give us strength - to be our companions at times. Music is what I would count as 'legitimate pleasure'. Ravi Zacharias says that "Any pleasure that refreshes you without diminishing you, distracting you, or sidetracking you from the ultimate goal is a legitimate pleasure."

But of course, since the world is imperfect, music can also have a 'dangerous' side. It's somewhat accepted to say in songs what is not socially acceptable in real conversations. A lot of mainstream songs say something about sex, love, family issues and political issues that would not be normally heard in everyday conversations. Songwriters and singers have 'artistic license' and can give really ambiguous metaphors and whatnot for things not openly talked about. This is a freedom when used properly could give the song depth - but when misused, can be used to exploit and distort.

I can see the danger in this - that lyrics (and the music videos that come along with the song) could influence young minds. But I believe that it has less to do with what kind of music you listen to and more to do with what kind of character you have. If parents concentrate more on raising up their children in a way that builds the right kind of values, principles and ultimately character - then their children would have the proper foundation to choose for themselves what kind of music is appropriate and good.

I guess Christian parents, teachers, elders and pastors are afraid that worldly and secular music (and all forms of art and entertainment for that matter) might take away focus, desire and devotion for the Divine. I do admit there is that kind of tendency. But as Phillip Yancey says:

"Natural desire was not the enemy of the supernatural and repressing desire not the solution. Rather, to find the path of joy I needed to connect desire to its other-worldly source."

According to Yancey, we should view our earthly longings, desires and pleasures - things that give us enjoymentt - are clues and 'rumors' of another world. We should see these worldly pleasures not as threats but as glimpses or tastes of God's gifts and what He has in store for us. He made this world and I believe He also intends for us to enjoy it. We should approach good and appropriate secular music not as evil threats but as something that God gave us to enjoy, something that gives something more to hope and desire for.

For me, the enjoyment of music is not only in its message or lyrics but also the meshing of different instruments and sounds together to create something that gives delight to the listener. Often times, when lying in bed as i listen to my player, I would sit up because the drums or guitars would catch my ear and I would have to give it my full attention and appreciation. And that's delight for me - utter beauty and joy. And if secular music could give me that, how much more delight will I get in music that is made for our Lord's ears.

And I do hate to admit it, sometimes mainstream Christian music lacks that. It concentrates so much on the lyrics and sometimes forgets about the sound. I put emphasis on 'mainstream' because there are a lot of Christian artists out there who produce and create really great music that glorifies God and still delights the soul. I guess that's the challenge for Christian artists - to be able to give glory and praise due God through music and at the same time give us a taste, or should I say a whisper, of what music will sound like in heaven.

*sources: Phillip Yancey. Rumors of Another World. and Ravi Zacharias. Cries of the Heart.