Repost: Music that moves you?

I hate to admit it, but one of my favorite songs right now is Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which I first heard on American Idol.

What… a… song! The lyrics are freakin’ STUNNING. Amazing piece of work. The relationship between sex and God explored artistically and respectfully.

Other music that stands out among the madding crowd, in no special order other than how it occurred to me:

  • “It’s a Miracle,” from Roger Waters’ “Amused to Death.”
  • “Wish You Were Here,” Pink Floyd, from “Wish You Were Here.”
  • “Closer to the Heart,” Rush; best version IMO was on “Exit… Stage Left.” “La Villa Strangiato” is another excellent piece of work on this live album, which has many excellent tracks on it. Rush also has “Natural Science,” one of my all-time favorite songs… but “Closer to the Heart” is the song that grabs me emotionally.
  • “For Those About to Rock,” AC/DC, “For Those About To Rock.” “Back in Black” is a better album but if I had to name a real rabble-rousing song of theirs, this would be it.
  • “Misunderstood,” Dream Theater, “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.”
  • “Schism,” “Reflection,” and “Parabola,” Tool, from “Lateralus.” Amazing album.
  • “Darlene,” by Led Zeppelin, off of “Coda” — basically a castoff song on an album of castoffs. But I can’t get it out of my head once I hear it. “Wearing and Tearing” is another song like that, same album. Let’s be real, though: most Led Zeppelin tracks are probably candidates for a list like this.
  • “Siberian Khatru,” Yes, “Closer to the Edge.” Same album, “And You and I” is another fine candidate… but “Siberian Khatru” always … I don’t know how to describe it other than to say it makes my skin crawl in a good way like most songs on this list.
  • “Whipping Post,” Allman Brothers.
  • “All Along the Watchtower,” Jimi Hendrix. “Machine Gun” is another song like this of his, but… Watchtower is the one.

My requirement for a song being on this list is the inability to listen without having that feeling in your gut that forces you to listen, to pay attention… skin crawling, emotional attachment, the works.

It’s a personal list, of course; I’m sure people can hear lines like “The blacksmith and the artist, reflected in their art, they forge their creativity closer to the heart” without getting tears in their eyes. But I can’t.

What are your “killer songs?”

Author’s Note: Another repost, but I’m interested in how people respond…

First World Problems

There was a tweet (captured on imgurl, of all places) that said: “Muslims view ‘Islamic’ terrorists the same way most Christians view the Westboro Baptist Church…

A lot of comments suggested otherwise, with justification.

The thing is: would an Iraqi Christian rather be faced with ISIS, or a moron from the Westboro Baptist Church?

It’d be an easy choice: even if the Iraqi were a flaming homosexual, the worst Westboro would likely do is shout at him. (I say “likely” because there have been Christians who apparently think throwing bombs at abortion clinics is justifiable.) The worst that ISIS would do is hard to imagine; their ordinary response seems to be “convert or die, or just die.” Carrying that to extremes would be scary.

It comes down to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: the Westboro Baptist Church is a first-world concern, and Islamic terror is a third-world concern.

A first-world concern is what you pay attention to when you have health care, when you have food, when you have shelter, when you have some expectation of reasonable protections.

A third-world concern is … well, among others, health, food, shelter, and safety.

Threaten someone with a first-world concern, and their lives may be disrupted, disturbed; nobody wants to hear how God is going to throw them into the pits of Hell. But they’d choose that years before choosing to have their lives threatened and their names and histories erased.

So no, I don’t think the tweet is correct. Maybe both are viewed with contempt (as they should be); maybe both are stains on their respective host belief systems. But there’s no real equivalence between the two, past that.


Westboro Baptist Church is curious to me, because of how poor their theology is. I don’t understand why they see homosexuality as the damnable offense, when the New Testament is rather clear: it’s sin that is considered sin, not a specific act. No sin is more damning than any other. That’s not to say that sins are equal in all contexts – stealing a stick of gum is a far less grievous sin than murder is. But theologically speaking, the presence of sin is why Christianity says Christ died in our places, so homosexuality is just one of a large number of areas in which mankind can sin.

Westboro is missing the whole point of Christianity by focusing on one aspect of life.