Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#100 DAYS OF ELIJAH - Revival in Belfast

Robin Mark leads the Revival in Belfast Worship Team

And so it begins...

So, being that this is my first ever blog**, once I announced my blog to the masses, I wondered how to know if anyone was reading. Seems that there are all these stats that tell you how many people visit and how many times people read your pages. So far I'm amazed at how many page views there are, all throughout the weekend. Interesting. At least I know I'm not just writing this for myself

**Technically this is my second blog, my first one didn't go anywhere, and was shut down. It was called, 'Why All White People Are Superior, Oh, And By The Way, Men Are Too, Now Why Don't You Go Make Me A Sandwich, Woman? '. Don't know why it wasn't more popular, perhaps it needed more cat pictures. 

Today, the actual top 100 countdown begins with a wee bit of controversy. You see, there are two types of songs on this list that may cause the most head-shaking amongst the masses: 
1. Songs that I'm sure everyone else thinks should be ranked higher
2. Songs that everyone else thinks should be lower, or not even on the list at all.

So, either by dumb luck or design, the first two songs on the Top 100 Countdown will help to illustrate both of these types of songs. While reviewing this song, (as well as song #99 - Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepson), I will attempt to explain how I navigate the treacherous waters of having my opinion being in variance with the general public.

And instead of trying to nuance it, I'll just get right to it and rip off the band-aid with regards to Days of Elijah:

I don't like this song.

Bonus Question: What has one thumb, no paws, and isn't a fan of the song? 
Answer: My uncle Carl - terrible thresher accident. (and his cat is dead)

For some reason, it seems like Days of Elijah is a perennial favorite amongst the praise and worship intelligencia, but I just don't get it. Many times we can't fully comprehend or put into words why we do or do not like a certain song; it either hits us in the sweet spot or it doesn't. And this song just doesn't do it for me. In a lot of ways, it may be just like physical attraction towards the opposite sex**

**The University of California at Berkley was recently awarded a 29 million dollar grant to study why men are attracted to women. The study looked at female characteristics such as height, weight, hair length and color, eye color, personality, sense of humor, teeth, ear shape, foot size, and vocal pitch. Alas, after 4 years the study had to be scrapped altogether when 99.4% of all male respondents cited 'breast size' as the most important characteristic.

Since I think the vast majority of those reading this probably think I'm wrong on this one, I should probably take some time to rethink my opinion, get input from other various sources, and in general open myself up to the very real possibility that I might be wrong on this one.

Nah, it's probably gonna be more fun if I just plow ahead and spout off about why I don't like this song:

1. I don't like the sound of it. 
Again, I can't quite figure out why, but the sound of this song is just 'off' for me. Maybe it's the Celtic influences, whatever the heck that means - is Bill Russell playing tamborine??; or maybe it's because it sounds like a special musical guest you'd hear on a TBN broadcast in the late 1970s. Maybe it's because the whole production sounds way too Riverdance-y to me. If I had any kind of musical background, knowledge, or training, I might be able to put it better. But whatever it is, the sounds just doesn't hit me right in my earholes.

2. It takes too long to start
On the only recording I have of this song, it takes a MeatLoaf-ian 1 minute and 48 seconds before the guy starts singing. Back in the early oughts when I was leading worship with the yutes, I had to put the CD in and wait 2 minutes for the song to start. This of course would mean that I had to ad-lib some spiritual stuff while the intro was playing. The overly long intro wouldn't be a problem now, since I can just edit it out, but at the time it was bothersome.

3. I'm not a fan of Generations, or Seasons, or Days of, Etc.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I was at a meeting and heard the speaker tell us in the audience that we were some sort of special ________ Generation, with the blank usually being some Old Testament character, or some number indicating a Bible verse, or even on some rare occasions an animal.

You know what I'm talking about, visualize your typical Christian Youth Camp speaker telling you that: "These are the Days of Hezekiah", or "This is the Season of Ruth", or "YOU are the Leviticus Generation", etc, etc, etc. Ok, so maybe no one's ever the Leviticus Generation; but I swear I was at a retreat somewhere where the speaker did a 45 minute talk on why we were the "Porcupine Generation" (ironically, I think his proof texts were from Leviticus).

Take your average Christian speaker today. He comes up in front of a group of people he barely knows, if at all, and immediately announces that the particular group of people he's speaking to are some sort of special chosen 'generation'. Apparently they earned the special 'generation' title by the mere fact that they happened to be in the building at the time in which the speaker was giving his talk. 

I've been to many of these things, and besides exiting with tote bags full of new ministry books, CDs, keychains, and Purpose-Driven roll-on deodorant; the whipped up passion and excitement rarely makes it past the drive home. And although earth-shaking cultural change is routinely promised, the practical end result is almost always very little cultural change. 

Why not be honest? If we wanted to name a generation or a season, why hyper-spiritualize an Old Testament character or verse? Why not just call our generation exactly what the Bible does? - The 2Tim317 Generation. (nice ring, huh?). The appropriate Bible verses for our generation can be found here: The 2Tim317 Generation

NOTE: A large part of my problem with the song Days of Elijah comes with the labeling, rather than anything wrong with the actual lyrics. For some reason, we have to slap a label on something so that we're sure that it's a 'movement'. I've read Robin Mark's explanation of the song's beginnings, and I'm fine with it. I daresay a few of things he said about his song's meanings would be a bit too fundamental for a lot of modern churches. 

WOW, Andy, sounds like you hate this song. How is it that you've decided to put it on the list?

Ok, maybe I went a little too far there. Who's to say? I guess that's what the comments section is for. I don't HATE this song. I mean, if I was only allowed to listen to 100 worship songs for the rest of my life, I certainly wouldn't choose this as one of them, but I guess it's ok. I liked it at first, and it does, after a fashion, get you going.

But, the reason that this song is on this list, is, quite simply, it belongs on the list. I have an obligation when compiling this list to take into account the general quality and popularity of a song AS SEEN BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC when I decide what goes on the list. When I did a little google research for this blog, I saw that many, many people have Days of Elijah ranked pretty high on their lists. I feel like I have to take that in to account. 

But you know what, this just gave me an idea. Maybe at some time later in the countdown, when I reach 1,000 followers, I'll have people send me their lists of the greatest worship songs of all time. Yea, that's a pretty good idea. If I can get enough people to do it, it would be pretty cool to see what others think.

For now, I'll just post a video to the song. Here's the best way to play this: 

1. Click on the link to get the video started
2. Go outside and wash your car
3. Go to the grocery store
4. Come home, put the groceries away
5. Do your taxes.

By the time all that is done, come back here and you should just about be to the part where the singing starts

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