Monday, October 14, 2013

There once was a Prince in the West

There once was a Prince in the West
Who’s thoughts he held close to the vest
The petulant King
Allah on his ring
All enemies scourged was his quest

Place Czars through the realm at my feet!
Told NASA you will not compete!
His head held in pride
His queen by his side
Vindictive was she quite complete

The prince’s new plan was quite vile
Declare hope and change with a smile
His enemies were beat
So friends have their meat
And blame it on Tea Rank and File

When lie becomes truth the king teaches
The sheeple are fooled by his speeches
falsehoods he did spread
Like buttering bread
Which pleased all his cohorts and leeches

You can Keep your own plan we were told
But Truth was plain seen by the bold
The Prince he did lie
Our plans went goodbye
And health prices went up four fold

Ma’m  Secretary’s  Mandate enacted
The unjust law not retracted
The faithful did protest
Without strife or unrest
Foul law they had surely impacted

New energy was the hailed charge
With Windmills, and gas lines to sparge
But panels did break
Solyndra was fake
Poor taxpayers bill grew quite large

Then came guns fast and furious
The plan was a bust and quite spurious
The press they did lie
Good men they did die
And others were wounded injurious

Now came debate called Gay Marriage
Good men lacked the wisdom or courage
So sheep went to sleep
Without a soft peep
And morals went into cold storage

Yet, was the NSA spying
Our cellphones were tapped without trying
Men looked at our inbox
Without any roadblocks
Made Watergate look like tots lying

A YouTube Video was blamed
For murderous acts not explained
The story is leaving
The Families left grieving
The lie has been deftly ingrained.

Don’t tread on me! flags went to fly
And Occupy streets! was the cry
But men start to whimper
Like Sheep with distemper
And visions go south bye and bye

The second act plan was called forward
But sideways we skewed back and toward
Good men went a hiding
Truth wasn’t abiding
So logic and peace went disordered

 Now here we are down on our knees
Just fighting off taxes and fees
High Finance doth  dance
While workers per chance
Are hoping to work not for free

So let the young lads start to see
While old men look back as years flee
Will good men regain
And Lasses sustain
The land of the brave and the free?

D.J. Thrush 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Bard,

Young man,

 I have a bit of advice for you if you're apt to listen, and if not I understand for so it was when I was your age, not willing to listen, because in my mind I knew most everything, (I believed)

The Bard (Musician) is an extremely noble endeavor, a calling much like a doctor or preacher.
It's something one has a passion to do and is appointed to, not a task one says "I'm going to be a bard because that famous, rich man does it, and I want to be famous and rich like him" 
But you must understand that being a Bard can be fraught with great difficulty and heartbreak, as well as great jovial kinship and a lifetime of pleasure, enjoyment, and friendship.

You must know that the craft of the Bard starts young and requires intensive study and practice, giving up pleasures your youthful mates strive for and enjoy, in order that you may become very skillful.
 Later, the Bard's job requires perseverance and a stubborn unwillingness to give up, and there will most definitely be times when you want to give up. You must know that not everyone is capable of such long term determination and patience.
The Bard's task is not for the greedy, nor materialistic wanting great wealth and material gain, because, while
some periods of a bard's career, he will enjoy hearty employment and great financial rewards (as well as other great rewards, such as seeing other distant lands), other times will be endured with financial hardship and loss of material wealth, and sometimes, even friendship and loss of family because of the song's very nature, and because the calling of the bard can be very demanding in ways not observable to those who don't work in it.

Those who do become well known Bards have to be very careful so as not to be taken advantage of by the greedy...whether for their notoriety, or, by those who seek to be well known themselves, just using the Bard's fame and influence for their own gain. Even at times, being wary of those who are close to you...It's up to you to decipher who, among your friends are truly loyal, or, they've become friends and even closer than friends, because they want to be close to you for their own advantage and gain.

You will find, (If you've worked hard and studied your craft well) in your career as a bard, that you may play for the extremely rich and famous, the wealthy and elite of society, even kings presidents and princes, and the next week you may find yourself playing for the homeless man on the street, or the very poor in a part of the city most of your friends will not venture into. As a bard myself since I was your age, I've found that the poor and destitute, the lower class (so called) are by far the better audience for the bard, simply because the rich and famous are too self important and too worried about moving up in their circle of self important friends to notice at their large and very expensive parties, that you're there for their enjoyment and pleasure, not to make themselves feel more important among their self important peers. The poor, you will find, listen to you, and appreciate your gift and skill as a bard much more, although they have not much to give you for your performance.

 Most of your Fellow Bard's will toil away for much of their lives in relative obscurity, just knowing that in their craft they were well respected in their sphere of influence, whether wide, or small, for their mastery of their chosen instrument (or instruments).
You must understand that the work of the Bard is not understood by many, and that the calling of the Bard is not one of being served, but one of service to others bringing great enjoyment and a very welcome respite from the dreary, work a day world of men.

 Because the Bards work is one of service to others, many times those you serve (perform for) will (sometimes) be obstinate, brash, unkind, very demanding, and even hateful and cruel, but most will be very happy you are providing your song for themselves and their compatriots, for the compensation of you being able to feed and house yourself and your family, which is not too much to ask.

As you work at the Bard's craft in time (If that's what you decide to do), you will come across many different types of bards, confident, not at all confident, arrogant, humble, very gregarious and loud, and very quiet and introverted. Many bards will admit that they are a broken and non assuming lot, not being arrogant and overconfident, but not lacking in confidence either, however, you will find that those who are cocky and much too overconfident are many times those without much skill at the song at all.

Many in the Bards service believe that our calling is a very high one, and so believe that the gift and ability to
perform as a bard is from the one true creator of the song, and use their bards gift to lead the people of the creator of songs in worship, which is a very high calling indeed, while others are simply happy using their gift of the song for men's pleasure and entertainment, and some bards, like myself, do both, because that's what we've been asked to do.

I hope this letter has not seemed in any way arrogant or condescending and assuming, but instead, a handing down of hopefully, some knowledge of a long time bards near lifetime of experience that may be helpful...

But over drums and piercing fifes,
Beyond the soldiers' hails
They swell the song, five hundred strong
Those martyred bards of wales

The Bards of Wales-Janos Arany. 1857-Translation by Peter Zollman

Friday, August 16, 2013

A friendly encounter with a Jehovah's Witness Yesterday...

The young man knocked on the door yesterday morning, my son alerted me as I did not hear the knock, looking out the glass I knew immediately it was a young Jehovah's Witness. I've encountered probably a dozen or so JW's in the last 20 years, and, to be honest in times past I was somewhat argumentative, but, with age comes a bit of wisdom (hopefully) and I opened the door and greeted the cordial and intelligent young man who then began his "spiel" (which I've heard before), he asked "When you look at the world and what's going on today, the violence, the degradation of society, what do you think is going on?, what's the answer?, I spoke up right away nicely and calmly but with emphasis..." I'm a born again Christian,and I have several bibles in my possession, I also use, and Bible as reference because you can compare about 30 different versions of one Bible verse. I spoke up a bit more saying..." I'm a musician and I toured in Christian Rock Bands in the 1980's and 90's all over the world, Australia, Europe, South America, Canada, and I became a Christian while doing that."

The young man seemed fascinated by my story and asked, "So, what do you think is going to happen with our society the way things are going?" and I said, "Well, the scriptures tell us that Jesus will return someday, He will come back to earth at the end point of a struggle with the Anti Christ who will be able to capture and control the entire world and those who follow him. Jesus will return destroying this character and establish his Kingdom where we who believe will live with Him." I said. The young man spoke up knowingly, "Ah yes, the thousand year reign of Christ." and I said "Yes, except you're a Jehovah's Witness aren't you?,  "Yes" he stated sheepishly, as if not wanting to reveal that fact, so I stated very nicely, but clearly, " You have to understand I'm a Christian, and have been for awhile, and I believe that Jesus IS God, not an angel or some other lower being, the scripture states that Jesus himself said "I and the Father are one" which makes very clear that he was affirming his deity, his Godhead with the Father, that is the basis of my faith."

The young man then began to finish his memorized spiel and said, "May I leave this pamphlet here with you? it describes several things that will take place?" so I very nicely just said, "No, thank you though, I know what I believe and why I believe it" We ended cordially and agreed that things in society seem to be getting worse not better with all the NSA snooping and IRS targeting conservative groups etc... and then he said "May I come back again?" and I said "sure, no problem..." At that point, the bright young man left the doorstep and I said a quick prayer for him. That was my morning encounter with a Jehovah's Witness yesterday.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Why does it take Tragedy like Aurora to bring people to the Cross?

I was pondering this as I was looking at pictures of the twelve crosses near Aurora Century 16 Theater.
Seeing a man kneeling down touching one of the crosses that artist Greg Zanis built yet again (He's built many crosses for other mass shootings like Columbine over the years)

Why does it take a tragedy like Aurora to bring people to the Cross I thought?

Being a student of human nature, I've pondered this question many times since I myself became a believer in the Cross, the Cross of Christ. Not the Icon of the cross, but the actual cross of Jesus, the death of Jesus on the cross by the Romans and his enemies over two thousand years ago.

I don't worship the Icon of the cross  because simply, that is Idol worship, but, the death of Christ on the cross of course is the basis of all Christendom, without the cross, there is no salvation, without the cross, there is no forgiveness of sins at all. That's why (I believe) the symbol is so powerful.

Seeing tragedy in others lives I have known (as well as my own), it's become clear to me that for some at least, it's only after tragedy in their lives that many come to the cross.

I used to take my kids to Century 16 theater when they were young and we lived not too far from those theaters.
 Being a musician married to a teacher at the time we were on a tight budget, and the Century 16 theaters were perfect for us and many families with kids in that area. The theater was modern and kept clean
and ran the latest films like "Lord of the Rings", "Star Wars", or the "Ice Age" Films my two boys loved, but the ticket prices were less than other theaters in the Front Range area, usually $3-$4 less per show. So for us it was perfect.

My older son and I attended a film at those theaters about 4 months before the night in July last year, 2012, when an insane gunman methodically shot and killed many innocent men women and children and wounding many others.

The night of the shootings I became a little frantic as my son had said a couple of days before that his College friends were talking about going to the Batman Movie at Century 16 at midnight.
Making several repeated phone calls until about 7 am the next morning I found out my son had not gone to
the midnight screening with his friends, but I learned that someone I knew personally, and was in my band class at a Charter school in Aurora where I once taught had been in the theater next to theater nine. Thankfully this former student of mine was not injured. At least not physically, and I pray that all of the scars from that horrific night will eventually heal,

But, the thought occurred to me "That could have been my son in that theater"

I've watched a few people I know personally that waited until tragedy struck in their lives before kneeling before the cross of Christ and taking the free gift of His forgiveness and salvation. Unfortunately, loss of loved ones
or other sad tragedy happened first.
It seems to be part of human nature that we say, "I can do it myself and I don't need any help" when in fact, all of us need some help at some point in our lives, I know I do and if anyone is truly honest with themselves they would say the same.

Sadly, I've come across parents that have lost their child before humbling themselves and admitting that they need to change, change their thinking, and change their hearts toward the one that created us.
Our creator knows that we need Him, that we are made to have a relationship with Him, that's why He made the way for us to do exactly that, the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus, who was put on that cross that is represented once again as a balm against these awful shootings so that we won't have to pay the price. God's own Son was put on that cross so that we won't have to be put on it for the sins we commit almost daily.
That's an amazing thing when you think about it...

Looking at the poignant photo of the man kneeling and touching the cross near the Century 16 theaters where I took my kids, my prayer is that those who need to turn to that cross will think carefully while there is still time... and turn to that cross and the one who was nailed on it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why I'm Pro Life...

For anyone that pays attention to the news at all over the last 40 years or so, you've certainly noticed that Pro Life vs. Pro Choice (or Pro Abortion) is still to this day one of the most divisive topics in our society and in the Church (The Church as a whole Protestant and Catholic) and possibly the most divisive.

I recently read a an article by self described Progressive Christian writer Rachel Held Evans on this very subject, and, it has finally prompted me to do the here goes.
While I come from the complete opposite background and viewpoints on abortion as Evans does, I did agree with some (but not all) of what she had to say on this issue...But first a bit of my background.
I was raised in a nominal Catholic home in the 1960's and 70's, I say nominal because it was, that's just a fact, my Mom specifically tried (like any good Catholic Mom does) to get my brother and I to Church which many times failed...

My boyhood household was for the most part liberal,  (of course keep in mind liberal meant something quite different in the Kennedy/Johnson era than it does now)
My parents were not Fundamentalists or Conservatives of any sort, voted the straight Democratic Party line and were Catholics typical of that era. Which meant,  Bronco's football on Sunday's for my dad who had worked a long week as an electrician, and my mom typically cooked a good Sunday dinner of pot roast or the venerable meatloaf.

Religion played a part of our household scene, but not a very major part, and reading the Bible was something the priest did, except for Catechism class which...I hated, because it took my good Saturday morning cartoon watching away, and my mom made sure my brother and I went to Catechism classes to my chagrin because I was missing Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo.

 After growing up in the Denver suburbs and partying like a good number of my 70's compatriots did, going off to College at C.S.U. (That's Colorado State) on a partial music scholarship, dropping out of College, working as a printer for a short period, and then getting a professional music gig six nights a week in a local Denver top 40 band (when those gigs were around, which they're not anymore, sadly) something very strange happened...I went on the road in a Christian Rock Band with a High School friend of mine and became a born again Christian after three years in that traveling Christian minstrel extravaganza known as "Steve Taylor and Some Band"

 Needless to say this admittance was a shock to my family at the time (mid eighties) and they didn't know what to think of my new adventures in born again land...But that's a whole other Blog.

While in STASB we did one tour around the Country with another Christian rock band where there were T-Shirts we sold that helped keep the band on the road with the "Choose Life" moniker on them, which was a very popular saying at the time. Little did I know at the time was that saying came from the Bible (oddly enough)

Unlike Rachel Held Evans, I was not privy to the Conservative upbringing knowing what the "Pro Life" movement was really all about. I knew (as a Catholic) that 'Thou shalt not Kill" was one of the Ten Commandments and that abortion was...well, wrong. Catholics (even very nominal ones like myself) knew sort of instinctively I think that abortion was just plain wrong. "Thou Shall not Kill" meant exactly that even if one didn't know the Bible well at all (which I didn't at that time)

When I compare myself to my then young conservative Christian friends at that time who grew up in fairly strict Conservative homes, I suffer some of the same angst and rejection about my spiritual upbringing that they do ( You may turn on the poor me sign now) about their spiritual upbringing, except for the OPPOSITE reason. I had no prodding to read the bible as a kid, I had no one reading bible stories to me at six or seven just before bed, I had no Sunday School or youth groups I was a regular part of, and so, naturally I think I had a lot of spiritual confusion which later came out in a desperate search for spiritual meaning by dabbling in everything from New Age books to Eastern Religious Philosophy in High School and College. I was desperately looking for deeper meaning in my life like a lot of 70's post hippies were beyond what I had been taught (or not taught)

And then I found Jesus...not religion, and that difference was an important one...

The Bible I now know is full of evidence that God is most definitely Pro Life and definitely not "Pro Choice" except today, I understand through God's written word that He has provided for us, that that is so.

How do I know that? someone might say. Well, for instance, the "Choose Life" saying that was so popular 25 years ago in certain circles is from the book of Deuteronomy, "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19.     And, this one from The Book of Isaiah..."Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother's womb he has spoken my name."      And lastly, there's this sentence from the Prophet Jeremiah, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb " Jeremiah 1:5. So, for me there is a lot of evidence from God's word itself that He knows us humans before we are even born!  That being the case, if God knows us before we are born, what makes we humans think we have the "Choice" to destroy that life I ask?

But, beyond all other evidence, what makes this sojourner unequivocally "ProLife" is my own personal life experience...My son, now twenty and a Junior in College at Colorado Christian University with scholarships had a 50/50 chance of coming out of the Hospital which was down the road from our then California home.  There were pretty severe complications my wife was having with the pregnancy at that time and she had toxemia, which can kill the baby, but also kill the mother. It's a very serious condition some women get during pregnancy that caused our son to be born very prematurely in 1993, over seven weeks to be exact, and his birth weight was a very low two pounds two ounces.

 My son, whom I played my sax for before he was even born, we were told, would be deformed, that he would have something called Achondroplasia which is a rare form of Dwarfism. Our doctor at the time said that we should have an amniocentesis to check for genetic abnormalities and said there's a small but real chance that would put the birth at risk, and that, we might want a possible abortion. When that was spoken to my wife and I it shocked and angered me. That, the child we wanted very much would be aborted because of a possible deformity was offensive to me and, to be blunt I let our doctor know that very clearly. Abortion was out of the question, and we would take him deformities or not which I think may have surprised her.

As it turned out, our first child was NOT deformed, did not have dwarfism, and he turned out to be the huge blessing we had hoped for even though the pregnancy and birth was very difficult.

So there you have it...Why this spiritual traveler on life's road is Pro Life, and thanks for listening...

I'm just the sax player...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Where was God at Aurora Century 16?

My son and I at Aurora Century 16 in 2011
I took my kids to around 40 films at the Aurora Century 16...

My boys and I watched Star Wars films, Shrek, Ice Age, and any number of movies just like any other parent in America. That's why I had to come back here 7 months after the terrible night in July when an orange haired psychopath took it upon himself to enter in what should have been an enjoyable time for mostly teens and young people...
 I taught a young band student a few years ago who happened to be in that Theater last July, and, thankfully, was not hurt, at least physically.

And so, like so many in the Denver area I have a personal connection with Aurora Century 16. I have memories with my two boys there, that, are now tainted, not quite the same. I 'm not sure I'm ready to go back in that theater yet. even with all of the beautiful facelift and remodeling. Just not quite ready...

 I cannot imagine the horror of that night, and I hope I never have to, but particularly I pray to God my kids never have to live through a nightmare like that awful night....and I'm very concerned for my two boys who will be here when I'm gone that they may live in a much more violent, aggressive, and dangerous society.
Newly remodeled Cinemark Century Theater

I just read an article on CNN about the increase of atheists in America...apparently, those without faith are increasing in our land of the free and home of the brave. The CNN article had a video by a blogger/writer who is very vocal about his atheism to the point that he was sounding off in a homemade video about the more recent Sandy Hook shootings, railing against an evangelical Christian on another video stating that "We've taken God out of our schools, we cannot mention his name there, or pray to him publicly. How can we expect him to be there if we have dis-invited Him?"
The young atheists response was " How can an all powerful Deity, a God that is everywhere and all powerful not be there if we dis-invite him? What kind of a God is this?"

I actually relate to this young atheists question, to a point... however what this intelligent but misguided young man, like so many, young and old today don't take into consideration is that God gives all of us free all powerful God gives men, women, teens, good and bad, rich and poor, white, black, brown, yellow and red, free will because he doesn't want automatons, He doesn't create robots without free choice...that is an act of a truly loving God, not an act of a controlling angry deity that so many like to think He is.

God, (and I believe an all powerful God) gives us free will because He cares for us. Much like a parent that allows their teenage son or daughter more freedom, more choice, more autonomy to choose what they want to do as they mature instead of telling them what they may or may not do for every situation that comes up, God allows us to freely choose our actions, our deeds, and that means we suffer the consequences, or gain the benefits of those choices.

Many, many have asked, "How can a loving God allow the evil that took place in the Aurora theater that night?, where...was God that night?

And the answer is the same, we have been given free will to do evil...or good.

As I walked around the newly remodeled Century (now Cinemark) theater, I sensed something I've felt before...a feeling of reverence, as if I was walking into a five hundred year old Church in Europe. I sensed a quiet, holy presence as if angels were standing over this theater. The other place I feel this same reverential, holy presence is at Columbine H.S., whenever I drive by there near Clement park.

It's almost as if God places angels over these sites of terrible tragedy and sadness to remind his people that He is with us always. As the Lord Himself said in the scriptures... "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age"

And we can indeed be encouraged by that.

Remember, I'm just the Sax Player...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Next 40 Days...

In the 1990's I was privileged to witness something very extraordinary up close and personal...It's what some in the Christian Church call a "Revival" that is to say a spiritual awakening of Christian believers moved to draw closer to God and His Son Jesus. I'm not a Theologian, just a Sax Player so I don't know the history of these movements called revivals, I'll leave that to the Church Historians and Theological Professors...

What I do know is that I was a Musician in a Band (actually three Bands) that performed what is known as Worship Music at Stadiums across America for three straight years starting in 1995-1997. I've never experienced anything like it since.

The Christian movement I was playing music for was known as "Promise Keepers" and we performed music in a myriad of Football Stadiums from The Los Angeles Colosseum, to Chicago's Soldier Field, and Texas Stadium as well as my hometown's Mile High Stadium in Denver Colorado. Every one of these events were packed full of men who wanted to draw closer to God and learn more about the God of the Bible.

I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but during this time period we (the Bands) performed for probably a Million people (or more) at these events leading stadiums full of men in what is known as Worship Music, or music that is designed to draw people that believe (and some that may not believe) in Jesus Christ's atoning Blood and sacrifice into a closer Communion with their maker.

As I stated I'm not a theologian, but I'm pretty confident that a spiritual movement that draws at least a million people to repentance (and that's a key operating word here) or, turning men away from their lives of sin and corruption to a new life that is free from these things  can be safely called a Revival in the historical sense.

 I'm so glad you asked why I bring this esoteric stuff up not well known outside of Christianity, because starting today, January 28, 2013, I'm starting 40 days of straight prayer for a Revival in our Country, a non stop (well except for Coffee Breaks, Lunch and hopefully a few Gigs of course) Prayer session for a spiritual awakening in this Land of the Free and Home of the Brave of ours.

Someone may ask "Why are you doing that? our nation is doing just fine" And to that I would say, no, we are not doing just fine. Our Country is in Massive debt for one, almost 17 Trillion and counting, and any economist will tell you that even the greatest most powerful Nation the Earth has ever seen is not excluded from the laws of finance and debt. At some point, our economic fault line will rupture much like the San Andreas Fault in California will someday rupture.

We are also as a Nation becoming more and more morally bankrupt...think about it for a minute. We now condone and finance the morally corrupt practice of abortion on demand. You may call it "Choice" or "Reproductive Freedom" but what it boils down to is the destruction and annihilation of tiny human beings, even after being partially born. The old Testament (if you read the Bible) talks about a generation of people who were so decadent and corrupt that they had actually began sacrificing their OWN children to false gods. These people burned their OWN son's and daughters in sacrificial fires burning them alive. Disgusting right? Did you know that a saline abortion is doing exactly that?, burning a tiny living human being in it's mother's womb (which should be the SAFEST place a tiny human being could be) with salt burning the baby alive?
I know a little about this issue because my own son was born 20 years ago at 2 pounds 2 ounces, and was supposed to be deformed (he is not). The main doctor told us we had the option of abortion to which I replied that is unthinkable and was angered that a professional that took the hippocratic oath to save lives, was telling us we had the "option" to kill our own child. My son now attends Colorado Christian University on three scholarships...

I took my two boys to the Aurora Century 16 Theaters probably 30-40 times to see movies as they were growing up. It was a great place and less expensive than some other theaters in the area to take my kids to see current films. And then the unthinkable happened...A psychotic College student dressed in Black with orange hair walked into that theater I took my kids to and systematically murdered and wounded a large group of movie goers. A former band student of mine was at that Theater that night and was thankfully not hurt.

14 years ago two psychotic deranged High school students walked into Columbine High School and murdered at point blank range 13 of their classmates not 20 minutes from where I worked as a musician at a large Church in Littleton, Colorado.

How can anyone say with a straight face we are doing fine as a Nation? If you believe that, either you are incredibly deluded ignoring what's right in front of your face or you're not a truthful person...

And so that's why I'm starting (already started actually) 40 days of  prayer for Revival, for a spiritual awakening that is paramount if we are to turn things around in this Country. You're welcome to join me if you're so moved to. Thanks.

Remember, I'm just the Sax Player...