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Hi.

I think owe you guys a huge apology. I spent so much effort building up my blog and providing thought-provoking (at times) insights into life that may or may not have provoked your thoughts. Sure, my previous excuses have always been work/exams/school. But I still had time to post at least once a month. Truth is, I haven’t been posting because I’ve been spending less time at home. Truth is, I started courting :). You may have questions and you may be curious, but I don’t believe a public venue is the place to tell you my story. You may ask me when you see me face to face and I will tell you what you need to hear. Life has certainly changed. Most likely for the better :).

Assuming you accept my apology (sorry for being presumptions), please keep reading.

Note: After writing this, I realized that this is an extremely long post. I apologize. I don’t think I intended it to be, but I guess it makes up for the months and months of inactivity? If you are short on time, feel free to skip to the end. I actually think that point makes some kind of sense. Or you may read this post in its entirety.

I was reading Romans 5 and 6 on the bus as I was coming home from work today. If you wish, please spend 20-30mins (depending on your reading speed/ability) reading that passage. If you do not wish to read it, I forgive you (as you have forgiven me). I’m actually reading the book of Jeremiah right now, but recently I’ve been thinking of what scripture says in Romans. You’ve most likely (hopefully) heard this before, that we are sinners saved by grace. But what does that mean?

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7-8 (ESV)

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Wow. WOOOWWW. That’s crazy. Even when we were still sinners, God loved us so much to die for our sins, so that we may be saved. While we were still stuck in sin, while we were still unclean, while we still hated Him, God chose to love us. This love is nothing like we’ve ever seen before. Would you ever die for someone off the streets? How about the guy beside you on the bus? How about the girl who yelled at you on the skytrain? How about your coworker or classmates? Maybe we would die for a close friend or relative. Yet God loved us so much that He died to save us, even when we did nothing to deserve it. Grace is undeserved forgiveness. This is the grace that saves. We are sinners saved by the overflowing undeserved forgiveness that can only come from God.

I don’t know if I can stress that enough. Maybe it’s because I haven’t written in a while or maybe it’s because it’s so incomprehensible. This salvation, this grace, this forgiveness, is only available to you if you accept it. If I say that I forgive you for a wrong that you did. You don’t experience that forgiveness until you have faith that I have forgiven you and accept my offer of forgiveness. Grace, therefore, can only be experienced through faith in this incredible forgiveness and acceptance of God’s offer.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 (ESV)

The word “grace” appears in the ESV version six times in this chapter. Grace is usually needed when someone does something wrong. Grace is needed because of sin. Because of Adam and because of sin, we are subject to death and the bondage of sin. But because of Christ and because of grace, we are given life and given freedom from sin. Because of one man’s sin, death was brought into this world. But because of one man’s free gift of salvation and grace, life is brought into this world.

“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:17-19 (ESV)

Ok, so I’ve talked about how sinful we are and how we deserve death and how awesome and merciful God is to give us new life. What about the law? The law was given to Moses through the form of the infamous ten commandments. Disobedience cannot be defined without the definition for obedience. Because of the law, sin is made known. Because of the definition of black and white, we can now understand what is black and what is white. It doesn’t mean that black and white didn’t exist before someone came and decided to define it. But because of the definition, we now know what is classified as black and what is classified as white. While it may have been wrong to steal before we knew it was a sin, stealing despite knowing that it is wrong is even worse.

“Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20-21 (ESV)

But thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. Get this. Take a seat. Grace has power over our sin. When sin increases, grace abounds! The law was made to make known our sin, but we are not to be enslaved by it. Sin is not to reign and control our lives. God came to free us from the bondage of sin and the law. What does that mean? We are enslaved by sin if we live in fear of death. Because the punishment of sin is death, we are enslaved because we fear the punishment of our wrongs. Sin has power over us because of death. But what if someone took our punishment? God came to free us from our enslavement and free us from sin’s grasp. We no longer have to fear death

Imagine if there was a perfect king who came and said that you must follow all his laws. Breaking one of them would lead to death. The fear of breaking the law would have power over our actions and our behaviours. However, these were laws that were created to draw us closer to the king and make us more like him. Yet we would live in fear of death and our fear would control us. But what if the king died in your place to offer you grace? Knowing that you couldn’t follow the laws and seeing you trapped in fear of the punishment of death, the king took away sin’s control on you by taking your punishment. So, now, instead of following the law because of fear, we follow the law because of love.

Sorry if that was a horrible example. If it was, you may feel free to ignore it. Anyhow, once we are forgiven in such an unbelievable manner, once grace abounds to cover our sin, do we continue to sin so that grace can keep increasing? Ofcourse not, that makes no sense.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
Romans 6:1-2 (ESV)

The just punishment for sin is death. Why so extreme? Because anything less than perfection is not worthy of God. That is why Jesus died. He suffered our death sentence once and for all, with our sins nailed to that cross. And with the punishment dealt, we are no longer deserving of death, but we receive the gift that is God’s amazing grace!! Jesus does not have to die multiple times. He died once and He died for all sin so that we may no longer have to live in it. We are free from the bondages, enslavement, and fear of sin. We are free from the fear of death. We are dead to sin, and therefore holy, blameless, and alive to God through Jesus’ death.

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 6:6-11 (ESV)

But wait. If the punishment for sin has been paid and we now receive life everlasting, how come we are still tempted by sin? How come it may seem like we are still living in it? As long as we live on earth, sin exists. We are still tempted and we will still sin, but we can be assured that the ultimate victory belongs to God, who died for all our sins. In a way, you can say that we have the freedom to sin, given that we are and will be forgiven. Christ’s death gives us freedom. Yet, knowing that our freedom came at a huge price, as I mentioned previously, we now follow the law not because of fear, but because of love. We have the freedom to sin, but we don’t because of love.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
Romans 6:12-14 (ESV)

Sorry if that was unbearably long and needlessly confusing. My main point is, we shouldn’t focus on just sin or just grace. We shouldn’t focus on how sinful our lives are and ignore grace nor should we focus on how wonderful grace is that allows us the freedom to sin. Personally, I believe there is a balance. I’m not sure if this is the conclusion you’ve reached, but I believe this is how God intends for it to work:

sin –> grace –> obedience

And not a focus on sin, which is merely obedience out of fear:

sin –> obedience –> sin –> obedience –> sin –> obedience –> etc.

Nor a focus on grace, which is merely a life of disobedience:

sin –> grace –> sin –> grace –> sin –> grace –> sin –> grace –> etc.

But God intends for us to obey the law because it is our greatest desire to present ourselves as holy, not because sin leads to death. We have to understand that yes, there is sin, but there is also grace. We have to understand that yes, there is grace, but there is also obedience.

Many thanks for reading. I will post about my Urbana experience soon!

Carrie

Perfection

Life has certainly been keeping me busy, which is my excuse for being so inactive on wordpress. It’s not that I have nothing to update. I have TONS! During school, I would work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I leave the house at about 8 (give or take 30mins) and get home at about 7-9. Though I’ve decided to set aside Saturdays for friends (then go back home for homework), which is my way of keeping in touch. Then Sunday is my “day of rest” I guess. Which hasn’t been quite so restful at times. Then when school ended, I started full time work. Monday to Friday I wake up at around 6:45am and finish work at about 5:30pm. Anyhow, my post isn’t just about how busy I am. It’s about perfection.

I don’t know if this is human nature, a cultural tendency, or just me, but more often than not, I strive for perfection. Actually, I’m starting to think that this is more than an idiosyncrasy. Sure, you may think I am weird in many ways (I know a lot of you do), but I think many, if not all, of us strive to be the best we can be. But what does it mean to be “the best we can be”? Do we live to our full potential? Do we strive to use the talents God has given us? In doing so, I think it is very easy to compare ourselves to other people. In trying to live our life to the fullest, we look at others to see how we are doing.

This is how I see it. We try to do good deeds and try to live life to the fullest. We strive to do well in school, to get a good job, form good relationships with friends and family, to serve and care for those in need, etc. But since we are human, we are flawed. When we try to do something worthwhile, we mess up, we forget, and maybe even fail. Then when we look at how other people are seemingly perfect, our own flaws are magnified. We are always our own worst critic. Because of this, we strive to do better, to somehow wipe away the spots on our record. To destroy, or at least hide, all traces of our imperfections. To try to be perfect. Or maybe you just give up. You stop trying. Either way, we have compared ourselves to someone better than us, whether you are a perfectionist or not. But has it ever occurred to you that the other person is flawed as well? Have you ever wondered if they, like you, are only trying to appear perfect?

We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world hiding behind masks of perfection. Picture this for a second. You are stained and covered with dirt and blemishes. Looking at yourself, you are made aware of your flaws and try to create a mask so that no one will be able to see them. Other people, not able to see your weaknesses, think that you have it all together and begin to create masks themselves so that they can fit in. I don’t know about you, but I find that to be a very distorted and disgusting way to live. By hiding behind the appearance of perfection, we are forfeiting the opportunity of real relationships.

Or maybe that’s not you. But maybe instead of striving for people’s approval, you strive for God’s approval. We do good deeds hoping to please God. We serve the hungry and weak, we volunteer at church, we pray for the church, etc. However, because God is perfect, He cannot accept anything less than perfection. So how do we achieve perfection?

This past semester I helped lead a bible study at SFU focused mainly on the Jesus’ sermon on the mount. For the uneducated, the sermon on the mount is a beautiful passage about what it means to be a Christian. It is about the attitudes a Christian should have towards others, God, and life. It is about how a Christian should and should not be living. There are the legalistic laws of the old testament that tells us how we should live and there are the revised laws that Jesus presents that says a Christian life is more than just following laws. It is not just about legalistically following rules, but about loving others and loving God. It is not about not committing murder (double negative!), it is about not being angry with a friend who wrongs you. Christianity is not about following rules, but following rules are a result of living a selfless life.

The sermon on the mount paints a very clear picture of how a Christian should live. And the picture it gives is a picture of perfection. Jesus says that we must live selflessly, we must love our enemies, we shouldn’t worry about our future, we should be the light of the world, etc.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 NIV

We can strive to be perfect and meet God’s standards, but we will inevitably fail. But the beauty of God’s love is that we don’t have to be perfect. God understands our natural tendency towards sin. Which is why God, out of a selfless love for us, sent Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect and blameless life, became the perfect sacrifice, and died in our place. Now, God sees us as perfect because Jesus paid the price of our imperfections.

God redeemed our broken relationship. By accepting Jesus’ sacrifice, we are brought back into a real relationship with God. By continuing to strive towards perfection by our own strength, we forfeit this relationship.

Sorry if what I said didn’t make much sense. It did initially, then when I clicked submit, wordpress lost my original post :(. Now I can’t seem to put my thoughts back in order. But if I had lost you somewhere in the first few paragraphs, my main point is this:

Seeking to hide our imperfections and striving for perfection is just being dishonest. It is very clear, to me at least, that we are not perfect. So why pretend that we are? By being dishonest, we deny ourselves and others the beauty of a real relationship. I’m not saying that’s not a good thing to try to be perfect or try to live a more selfless life. On the contrary, I think it is a very honourable characteristic. However, we have to remember that we are flawed to begin with and admit that as well.

A familiar passage for you guys to ponder about. None of us are perfect. But as one body, we can compliment each other and build each other up. Only if we let others know about our weaknesses and needs.

“Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.If they were all one part, where would the body be?As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

1 Corinthians 12:14 – 26 NIV

Hope to write again soon!

Carrie

Graduation

Is this the end? How come it is only when we approach the end of something that we start to appreciate it. Last semester, I was really looking forward to graduate. To finally get out of university and all the troubles and stress it brings. To start a new chapter and become a productive member of society. I was excited and couldn’t wait to get out. But now, I have to say that I don’t feel the same way anymore. I still want to graduate ofcourse, it’s just that I will miss SFU. Yet, it took me almost 5 years to realize that.

In a way, it reminds me of moving from high school to university. Where you move from something known to something that’s unknown. You transition from an environment with all your close friends to having to start over again (for the most part). At that point in time, you miss high school yet you have to move forward.

When first year came around, I still mainly hung around with my high school friends. SFU, notorious for its reputation as a commuter campus, didn’t feel like home to me. I don’t think I ever made a friend in my lectures during first year. During my second and third year, I started taking more classes related to my major (actuarial science, for those who still don’t know). Being in those classes not only challenged me tremendously, but allowed me to form friendships with my classmates. Why? It’s because those classes were small, with 30 students max. Now since we were all enduring through the same assignments, professors, and exams, we were able to bond because of our shared struggles. Because of that, we were able to learn from each other and form friendships. It’s not like a business class where you are forced to compete with your classmates. Actuarial science classes actually created an environment where competition is not encouraged and where you want your classmates to succeed with you. Where, if you see your classmate struggling through his/her assignment, you want to help. Yes, our grades are somewhat dependent on how well we do compared to our classmates, but when you help someone, you actually get better (because you learn to explain something) and your classmates get better. Needless to say, I really enjoyed that.

During third/fourth year, my friends started graduating :(. It was bittersweet as I was happy for them yet a bit sad that they were leaving. However, for me, their graduation was out of my control. Then, as you all should know, I left for England during my fourth year. I really miss Leeds. Not just the city and the life, but also the friendships I’ve made there. True, I could have just lived by myself as the introvert that I am. I would be completely content with that. Yet, for some strange reason, God lead me to a wonderful group of friends at LCCC and a few friends outside the church. I am really thankful for a group of Christian friends to keep me accountable while I was away from home and living in a new environment. And equally thankful for all my friends who showed me hospitality and came to my assistance when I needed them. Needless to say, I was sad about leaving Leeds. When I left Vancouver, I knew I was coming home. When I left Leeds, like leaving high school, there was a very high probability I wouldn’t see these friends again.

First, second, third, fourth, and, finally, fifth. Why do I suddenly miss SFU? Based on what I’ve told you, you can probably figure it out (but I’ll tell you anyways since that was the point in writing this post). I’m going to miss SFU because of the friendships I’ve made over the past few months. If you guys have kept up with my updates, you would know that I posted about “belongingness” a few months ago. Because I felt a need to belong, a need to fellowship, that I couldn’t really find at church or with my friends, I started going to IVCF (Intervarsity Christian Fellowship). I don’t know if this “need” is universal, or if it’s just me. Yes, I consider myself an introvert, but I’m not ashamed to admit that at times, I need a reassurance of my existence. Anyways, over time, I began to get to know the people there.

At the beginning of this year, I went to a student leadership retreat with IVCF. I’m not really sure why I went, but I’m very glad that I did. I finally saw God working at my campus. In the past, I confined God’s work to my church, my fellowship, my family, my friends, my education, etc. Then there was my campus, a place where I went just to get a degree. I knew there were Christian clubs and I knew friends who were leading Christian clubs (like CCF), but I never thought it was for me. To me, Christian clubs were just a place for people to hang out and fellowship. And since I got this at church, I didn’t feel like I needed more of it. But I’ve realized that it’s so much more than just fellowship or a community of believers. Being at IVCF showed me that God is actively working at SFU. Maybe I just never wanted to think about that before because that knowledge requires action on my part. Sure, there is a time for fellowship, but that’s just a small part of IVCF. For the most part, it is just using my time here at SFU to make God known. To share God’s love and challenge myself to live faithfully.

I know that is a very short explanation, but I hope you understood what I meant. In summary, I will miss SFU because of the friendships I’ve made and how exciting it is to see God working on my campus right now. I never thought I’d actually miss SFU until now. Maybe I’m not alone in this. Maybe everyone misses SFU a bit when they graduate. But for me, I will miss SFU because I’m leaving at such an exciting time.

I never expected to spend such a long time at SFU. But when I think back, I’m so glad I did. If I never went to Urbana, if I never did coop, if I never went on exchange, I would have graduated and would be working right now (maybe?). Yet I would have never experienced God’s work at SFU and would have never gotten involved in IVCF.

My final thoughts? Through my experience, university, and maybe even life, is really not just about working for a better tomorrow. It’s not about getting a good mark on your midterm or final, completing your assignments on time, getting a good job, making enough money for retirement, etc. I don’t mean that you should neglect those things. But as you can see from my experience, there are more imporant things. It’s about the friendships I’ve made and the people I’ve encountered. It’s about how you can live as God’s light no matter where you are.

When I think back, it is whenever I decide to leave my friends that I am saddened (i.e. graduating high school, leaving Leeds, and graduating from SFU). In high school, I was still naive, thinking I could keep in touch with friends after high school. But I’ve realized that relationships and friendships are formed intentionally or out of convenience. When you see someone consistently, you become friends and maybe even very close friends. You don’t need to be intentional because it is very convenient for you guys to meet (e.g. if you have the same classes, or attend the same fellowship/church). However, when distance separates you (even if someone is a half an hour drive away) and you don’t see them as often, people drift apart. Unless you are intentional and meet up with someone consistently, that friendship will weaken.You can’t say you are close with someone unless you meet with them often. There is always a time for studying or for learning something. If you fail, just try again! It really is not the end of the world. But friends come and go. It is a variable you cannot control. We only get a few years of university experience. I hope you spend it building up friendships and being a light on your campus.

I definitely have more to say on this topic (and a lot more topics). But recently I have been very busy with school and work. You don’t know how sad I am that I have not had a chance to post on wordpress until now!! Hopefully I can post again soon.

Oh, and who knows, maybe I’ll fail my classes this semester and won’t graduate until next year =p.

Carrie

//edit

This is partially what prompted this post:

Plus, I just got my final enrollment appointment email for the 2012 summer term :(.

Jillian Edwards

So I don’t listen to pirated music. Do I buy all my music? Certainly not. I wish I could. Anyways, if you are interested in becoming more ethical and radical in your everyday acoustic endeavors, it doesn’t mean you have to start buying all your music. There are many websites that where artists use to promote their music by offering their albums for free. One very awesome one that I use is noisetrade. You can download whole albums. Granted it may not the newest or “hippest” song on the radio. But most of these artists are genuinely very talented. They also have tons of genres, whatever your style is. Oh, they also recommend that you tip the artists too. Ofcourse you don’t have to (I haven’t…). But if you really do enjoy the artists, I would recommend that you do, or at least buy their music.

Other sites where you can get Christian music are iTickets (unrelated to Apple) and gmc. I don’t use these two very often because they only give you a song a week. And with iTickets, the songs are only available for a week or so. But on gmc, you can download the “download of the week” even after the week is over, which I really like. If you go visit gmc, I would recommend “I Get to Be the One” – JJ Heller, “Leaving Eden” – Brandon Heath, and “The Earth Is Yours” – Gungor.

Anyhow, as you can see, I have not talked about the title of my post at all. I have found an extremely awesome singer from noisetrade called Jillian Edwards. I have actually bought one of her newer songs on iTunes. Her lyrics are beautiful and brilliant. When I listen to songs, I really want to listen to the lyrics. And when lyrics manage to incorporate so many different concepts into one theme, I’m amazed. That’s what I do (or at least try to do) when I write poetry. For example, Ms. Edwards relates, books, telescopes, cellos, Thursdays, etc. to love. Not just the typical stuff, but the seemingly unrelated stuff. Her lyrics go into directions you don’t expect them to go. Like how a movie or a book is good when the plot is so unexpected. Feel free to disagree with me though, since art is such an abstract concept, but I think she is an artists that puts thought into her lyrics, which is awesome. Here are some lyrics :).

“If you were a melody
I’d sing you all the time
And if your hands were poetry
I’d memorize every line
And if every look you gave me were
A different hue or shade of color
I’d learn how to paint you”

– Try

And if you were words in a story
You’d be in a book that’s overdue
That’s somewhere hidden in my closet
Looked a million times for you
And if you were just one day
You’d be the very first of May
And I’d be sunlight in your skies”

– Try

“Window to the sky
A telescope to the eye
Like a stamp to a letter
I want to know You better
I want to be so much nearer
I want to go together with You

Like a photograph to a smile
A runner to a mile
Like strings to a cello
Like a wave to a “Hello, how are you?”
Want to go together with You

Like a face in the mirror
I want to see You clearer
I want to be so much nearer
I want to go together with You
Want to go together with You

Paint to a canvas
First day to nervous
Birthday to a wish
Long distance call to I miss you
Want to go together with you”

– Go Together

The phone line outside my house
Wonder what words it has seen
What would happen if they all spilled out
And, I got the lovley ones for free

Tie them in a bow and send them your way
On the fastest train I know, to get to you
Do I really need a reason besides “I want too”
And I’ve got an unending debt to love you

If you were to say that you love Thursdays
I’d do my best to plan
I’d find a way, convince them to escape from there usual weekday clans
I’d set them right, so there side by side
On a calendar for you
Throw the old one out
Keep the yellow storage house of sunny Saturdays too
Free for you to use”

– July and June

“Check your mail, Did I get your address right
I’d hate to think that anybody else might’ve picked up all the love I sent for you

Wait a minute, Wait a minute Mr.Postman,
Wait, Mr.postman
Mr.postman look and see
Is there a letter, A letter for me?

– July and June

“I want to be a songbird
And I want to sit on the tallest branch
Of the tallest tree
And I want to sing lullabies
To Earth as she cries
I really want to try and make her laugh
I want to be a songbird

And I want to watch sunrise
With my love by my side
And I want to grow
And I want to learn
I want to fire
And I want to burn
I want to rise
And I want to fall
I want to run
And I want to crawl

– Songbird

And I just want to try
To know how far and deep and wide
This love is that You give
Cause that’s what it is to really live
To just try and look around
See You in our breaths
And hear You in our sounds
I want to be a songbird

Go through things that I need
Make me hurt, make me bleed
Cause I will arise and see the light
I’ll pray my way through the night
And I want to be a songbird”

– Songbird

Take the strings and the things
I use to tie me to the ground
Let them all be gone

– Songbird

“Used to want time to run so quickly
Now crawling is fine
Cause the older I get the more
I see I need every moment
To let my roots grow down deep

– Nonfiction Love Song

“I’ll try not to wish you would hurry
I’m learning how not to worry
I don’t want to let you down
Could I sing to every week
make just enough for what we need
And walk together ’round the town”

– Nonfiction Love Song

So I’ve enjoyed her songs so much that I would like to share it with you guys! If you look carefully, some of her lyrics incorporate her Christian faith. Especially the song “Songbird”. Love songs with a touch of faith, which is brilliant! Not all her songs are like that, but a modest amount. She doesn’t overdo it. And even if they don’t talk about God directly, her values as a Christian are portrayed in her lyrics.

I wish there were more songs like this. I don’t think you can get a physical copy of the cd yet though, but I hope one day I can buy it. Hope you like it!

Carrie

SOPA and PIPA: yes or no?

Yes, this is a hot topic right now because of the very recent “internet blackout” or strike or whatever you want to call it. It did indeed (finally) draw people’s attention. When I first heard about SOPA sometime last semester, I didn’t think much about it. Honestly, when I found out it stood for “Stop Online Piracy Act”, I actually thought the government was doing something against piracy (if you are interested on my views about piracy, you can find the post here). I thought it was a good thing. Then I decided to do more research on it last night and realized it is just people being greedy. First of all, let me say that it is very hard to find any articles that actually support SOPA or PIPA. And when I do research, I like to look at both sides of the issue. However, since online media is being attacked by this bill, I would have to say online media would be quite biased.

My understanding is that corporations, like the MPAA, are tired of their intellectual property (e.g. songs and movies) being stolen and made available for free. And since these websites that provide pirated content are based outside of the US, the US government cannot stop this from happening. So, since they cannot directly attack the people outside of the US, the SOPA and PIPA will stop US websites from making pirated content available from the sites outside of the US. Let me try to explain with an example. If SOPA or PIPA is made into a law, Google will be punished if they provide search results to websites with pirated content. Social media will be punished if its users post links to pirated content. In this age of information explosion, what kind of social media does not have links to pirated content? Based on what I’ve read, this is my understanding of the bill.

But if you think about it, the law will not directly punish those who are actually breaking US law, the users who knowingly upload illegal content. It will punish websites hosting the content, who may actually have users posting quality legal content. Take YouTube for instance. Personally, I do not view pirated music or videos on YouTube. But I know there are many artists who use YouTube as a medium to express themselves.

On the other hand, I can see the artists point of view, though I don’t necessarily agree with it. Songs and movies are intellectual property. I think we would all be offended if someone stole our car and there was nothing the law could do about it. But what if we had, let’s say, ten million cars. A hundred, or even a thousand, stolen cars wouldn’t mean much to you right? Yes, they are your cars, but if these people couldn’t afford cars and were huge fans of your cars? Would you enforce a new law to try to get those cars back or just let them have it? I think it depends on what your treasures are. Since my treasures are not my wordly possessions, I disagree with the artists and the corporations in trying to get their money back (though I’m not saying I’d let you steal my car…). I already have millions, why do I need that extra million? However, since obviously these people treasure wealth, I can understand that they want it back.

So what is my view? I think the idea of stopping piracy is good. If only it was achievable. However, I think it’s just a problem that we will have to live with because society is not going to give up its freedom to other people’s property. I don’t know if SOPA or PIPA is the best way to stop piracy as it doesn’t attack the source directly, just the social media that hosts it. Maybe there is a better way. But if you think about it, if we, as consumers, were never greedy and didn’t try to get free access to property that didn’t belong to us, we may not be in this situation. Nothing is ever free. It was for a while, but now the corporations are fighting back. So we are dealing with greedy corporations and greedy consumers. What a wonderful world we live in.

So that’s the end of the David Crowder* Band :(. But with death comes life and hope, as shown musically in their last album and as most of the members seem to be continuing with music separately. Anyhow, I pre-ordered the cd as well as the vinyl. The cd hasn’t arrived yet, but I got a free digital download. To say that this album is amazing and beyond words would be an understatement. You have to listen to the full cd from beginning to end (all 34 tracks) to grasp how amazing this thing is. They have modernized a requiem mass. I don’t claim to have known what a requiem mass was before I searched it on Google, but you have to understand what it is to grasp a little of how the album is structured. David Crowder & co. have, yet again, gone against mainstream culture. What singer/band looking for a profit would make a 34 track adaption of a requiem mass where there are (at most) 10 “songs” (with verses and a chorus) and where the rest of the tracks are just instruments or in Latin?

It’s also interesting to note (as pointed out by an online review I read), that this album, unlike most of their previous albums, is not a continuous loop. In their last album “Church Music”, I noticed that the ending of one track leads to the beginning of the next one and the ending of the last track leads to the beginning of the first song. But this last album, being their last, has a definite ending in their last song.

I don’t know about this point, but the fact that they use the brackets in that order seems add to the fact that they are counter-culture (but I know the rules of bracket usage may be different in other parts of the world).

Also note the cover art. I really like how DC*B combines science and Christianity. The combination of science and Christianity can be a beautiful thing. Yes, this is a requiem mass, but the term “mass” is also used in sciences. If you look closely (or just zoom in), there is Newton’s law of universal gravitation, the gravitational constant, the Compton wavelength, the atomic mass unit, the gravitational constant, and the equation for weight. This relationship is actually really interesting if you think about it. I haven’t touched physics since high school, but it’s not hard to recall that objects of a significantly smaller mass will gravitate and orbit around objects of a significantly larger mass, based on some law of physics. This concept also relates to Christianity.

Plus, 34 tracks. 3 + 4 = 7. An interesting theme DC*B has.

There aren’t may “worship songs” in the album, which is to be expected. But here is one that is pretty amazing (I’ve given up trying to describe the album with words). It’s called After All (Holy). The chorus is just… just listen to it. Since I do not condone illegal uploads onto YouTube, this is the only legally obtained full lengthed song I’ve found online. You can listen to samples on iTunes. Some other amazing songs are “Let Me Feel You Shine”, “Oh, Great God, Give Us Rest”, “Come Find Me”, and “I Am A Seed”.

I don’t remember how I started becoming so obsessed with this band. Maybe it’s because they are so different and counter-culture that got me interested. Nevertheless, this is the first CD I have pre-ordered without a second thought. Without knowing what was on the CD. When I first listened to it, I couldn’t help but smile at the hope and the joy that comes from the music and the lyrics. Despite it being a requiem mass, there is joy that comes from death. I listened to it all day yesterday and, I must say, when I went back to listening to the other songs on my iPod, it wasn’t the same anymore.  The other music seemed dull and uninteresting in comparison. Maybe I’m just biased, I don’t know. But I highly encourage you guys to buy this! Don’t go to a CD store in Canada though as it will most likely be more expensive. Buy it online at their store or when Passion 2012 comes to Vancouver in March (!!!), they might also have it on sale since David Crowder is coming (though I don’t think the whole band is coming :().

December Dreams

My last week of december in pictures! Got a new camera on boxing day (hence the image quality improvement) and a new stand mixer (hence the baking improvement?). Went out for brunch at Cora’s with Gen, Serena, and Vivian before Serena left us for a coop at Newfoundland. I’ve been to Cora’s quite a few times but I still really like the atmosphere (very bright and yellow inside). Though the menu isn’t quite a novelty to me anymore, I still found something that I wanted to try. The oatmeal. Either it’s new or I’ve never thought of ordering oatmeal before. Nevertheless, it was pretty tasty.

Then, on the same day, I went to a Christmas potluck at a friend’s place. Oh, the cake you see up there is an italian apple cake =D. I’ve made it before when I was in Leeds and wanted to try it again since the first one was almost burnt. Made it the night before (the same day I made sugar cookies and nutella brownies). Normally, I don’t praise my own baking. But this was seriously awesome. It takes a lot of work to peel and cut 5 apples though, but it’s so worth it! I’m going to make it again if I get another chance. Christmas party was fun, got to meet new people and sing praise songs :). And ate my third turkey this Christmas…

Oh, I also went to whistler, but too bad I only got camera phone pictures. Those pictures can be found on my Google+.

p.s. in case you’re wondering, my goal is to post pictures every month. There might be less pictures once school starts, but that works out since I’ll be more busy.