The Actual War on Christmas What is really under attack

Image

In 1994 Christmas fell on a Sunday and our church decided to replace the usual holiday that revolves around kids and treat it as if it was any other bland Sunday. At the time missing Christmas, that we would would wait months for, was a big deal. I am pointing this out like as if isn’t the most obvious thing in the world. Really there are only a few Christmases that matter. It is not the kind of thing that you can put off for later. I don’t celebrate the holiday now, so many Christmases have gone my now I can’t keep track or even estimate. It is like Halloween to me. Whatever appeal there was to dress up as a Ninja Turtle really only had to do with that time. The magic it brought then just isn’t relevant now.

If this was one isolated incident I wouldn’t have brought it up but from this point it just kept snowballing. The pastor talked about why people in the choir were spending time with their families at Christmas rather than putting that time into a Christmas production. Any time I may have wanted to put into extra curricular activities at school were steamrolled. I addressed many of these areas in more detail in previous articles. It is written about here so that I can move the subject from what was one short event to planning multiple years through the rest of your life.

When I was writing the Basics of Life section I also listened to the other songs off the album again. Another song had the lyrics "So don't waste your days In a useless parade of momentary matters when we can change what forever remains.” This song makes as much sense as the previous one I talked about. Isn't it saying don't waste your days on the present? It's like it is encouraging you to not put your focus on the present and like I explained before the present is all your really have. It is taking up time that I can't make a justification for.

The time I would put into a church production took up so much of my schedule as a Sophomore and Junior that I wouldn’t be able to fit other things around it. I would like to think that this work accomplished something but looking back many of the lyrics seem downright silly. The Chorus in the play we did expressed that we were being bombarded with “too much information.” There needed to be an adjective in front of the word “information” like too much frivolous information or too much false information, maybe too much information that I can’t use. Saying that high schoolers know too much info about life in general, that their main problem is that they are overly informed? It is the most absurd statement you could make. Why not give us the gift of just being students and nothing more?

Why is it expected for a kid to know this much about life?

Image

Why not just accept that you know very little of life’s answers so just learning is in and of itself enough? This year I visited a play at my high school called Pippin. It was largely about the main character not knowing what he wanted to accomplish in life and was trying to figure it out. There is no point in the story I can remember the lead character trying to instruct others on what to do, though. I don’t think you have enough deeply thought out your opinions at this time to stay so fixed on a rigid belief system (or even to be extremely rigid later in life to some extent.) That is perfectly fine. What I don’t think is fine is when others try to fill your schedule out of this sense of entitlement that you owe it to them and it is for them just to take. I remember someone from youth group just calls up “hey what are doing on this date” and I started telling her whatever was on my schedule and she start going off on something about “wrong answer you are going to do this.” I felt like there was no extent to what they would keep taking.

We would be promised a future but I don’t think the future is real in any fixed way as we tend to think about it. What we call the future is a concept in our minds. When we look back at the past which we once called the future we can understand that what we conceptualized as the future is very different when the future turns into the past. I was listening to a group of politicians and one said - we should do that proposition but let's just do it in the future. He could have outright said we shouldn’t do and had to deal with all the blowback the statement would bring from the audience but he thought it would be less controversial to pin it on this conceptual framework that doesn’t exist. Church required that you bend infinitely backwards for a God that wouldn’t even bother showing up in person.

"On a desert Christmas morning 1981

One month shy of six years old

In the valley of the sun..."

A year prior to this a musician I knew growing up, the lead singer of the band Pedro the Lion, started a multi-album project where he talked about the childhood towns he grew up in. One album for each place he lived in. Much of my writing that I did about my growing up years started in 2021 when he was working on the second album in the series entitled "Havasu." Upon its release in 2022 I was surprised that some of his stories were somewhat similar to some of my recollections.

I took this as an opportunity to compare and contrast those song lyrics with my thoughts. The album from the first set of towns he grew up in was titled “Phoenix” and I may incorporate those stories into my own personal writings as well. Since that record influenced me on more of a subconscious level I didn't think about making direct comparisons until now. I find it exciting that his project is an ongoing process that can work in parallel to this one!

This set of albums are the primary influence on this project. As they keep rolling out this page will continue getting updated. He also releases single songs from time to time which will likely end up on the three remaining records.

Image
Image

This album in the series will be coming out in early June 2024. I found out about that when I went to a show where he debuted one new song from it. He also spent some time talking about it which really makes me curious how this album will link up with its follow up called Paradise. Both albums talk about Paradise but cover very different life events as I understand it. The lyrics from the new song talk about new music he discovered at the time and the significance of checking out what is going on in Seattle.

It is interesting to note that the cover art is now slowly revealing a face. This is something which you can so faintly notice on the Havasu cover but the elements are a bit too spaced apart to really notice what it was. Below is a photo of me at a show when the first album, Phoenix, came out. I'm the tallest one in the crowd so it is easy to find me.

Image
Image

Bazan Solo Interim Releases

Image

In 2021 Bazan put out a set of solo singles with a couple of original songs that I bet will eventually make their way on future town records.

Some of these songs deal with events from later years in his life like marriage.

Strange Negotiations Film

Image

Strange Negotiations chronicles David's life from early years up until his current thoughts on faith in America.

The movie on his life was released in early 2019 around the start of the town albums. One fun fact about this movie is that it contains a clip from our home video collection! You can video the clip on my 1990s home video page as well as the trailer and of course it is in the movie itself.

Burning Up

Sitting in church while only a teen.
It is so different this stage how someone learns
from that point to the present and all between.
“God is not like George Burns”
I hear from the pulpit “he’s no fuddy-duddy crank”
What type of higher power is that?
The real God you’d want to thank…
but this portrayal no one venture a chat.

Now years later his films streaming free,
and I, waiting, expecting displays of a curmudgeon.
But he describes misunderstandings I did not expect of thee.
Admission of failure is much better then bluffin’.
Better to be honest,
that is the least he could do…
How can a person extend trust
constantly told that which cannot be true?