This morning’s song

I woke up with this song in my mind. I Can’t Believe It, by Keith Green.

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Chester Bennington committed suicide

Authorities found his body today. He hanged himself.

In October of 2016, I wrote about the song Numb and Bennington as a child of divorce and a victim of sexual abuse:

Numb by Linkin Park: where’s the dad?

He is survived by his wife and six children.

Lord, may your perpetual light shine upon him and may he rest in peace. Amen.

 

Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

There are many Ave Maria’s, and this one is one of my favorites. Ave Maria means Hail Mary. It’s taken from Luke 1:28.

If you’d like to read more about the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I recommend this link.

Numb by Linkin Park: where’s the dad?

I love this music video by Linkin Park. It was filmed in Prague, which is in the Czech Republic. There is a lot of Christian imagery from the city that the video incorporates. For example, the video opens with a young woman standing on a very famous bridge, called the Charles Bridge. This bridge is lined with 30 statues of Christian saints. Later in the video, she is sketching the statue of St. Anne, who is Mary’s mother.

Other observations: the young woman is angry and sad, she’s struggling in school, she’s an artist, she cuts herself, the mom is frustrated at her, the dad is absent. Maybe the young woman feels “caught in the undertow” of her mother’s choice to live without her dad. Kids forced to live without their dads, forced to ignore that half of themselves, might relate to this diagram:

mothers life after divorce

Living like that makes you feel kinda numb after a while.

The video opens with the young woman looking down while on the bridge, and it closes with her looking down after running inside the Church. Not sure what that means, but one explanation may be that the Church is not doing enough to help her get connected to her roots, not doing enough to defend her emotional needs to be embedded in her own intact family.

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So after writing all that, I decided to look up the individual band members for some insight into their personal lives. Turns out that one of the co-authors of the song, Chester Bennington, is a child of divorce and a victim of sexual abuse. He’s the blonde singer in the video:

Bennington’s parents divorced when he was 11 years old and his father gained custody of him. After the divorce, Bennington started abusing marijuana, alcohol, opium, cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD. He eventually overcame his drug addiction, and would go on to denounce drug use in future interviews. During a Linkin Park tour, he started heavily drinking but claimed to have quit in 2011, noting, “I just don’t want to be that person anymore.”

In an interview, Bennington revealed that he suffered sexual abuse from an older male friend when he was seven years old. He was afraid to ask for help because he did not want people to think he was gay or lying, and the abuse continued until age 13. The abuse and situation at home affected him so much that he felt the urge to kill and run away. To comfort himself, he drew pictures and wrote poetry and songs. Later, he revealed the abuser’s identity to his father, but chose not to continue the case after he realized the abuser was a victim himself.

At the age of 17, Bennington moved in with his mother and was banned from leaving the house when his mother discovered his drug activity. He worked at a Burger King and used his money for cocaine and crystal meth before starting his career as a professional musician. He was physically bullied in high school. In an interview, he said, “I was knocked around like a rag doll at school for being skinny and looking different.”

Considering that the sexual abuse continued after the divorce, and that Chester was living with his dad, I wonder if the abuser was a friend of the dad. I wonder what the circumstances were surrounding Chester’s dad getting custody. I am comfortable saying that Numb addresses fractured family structures. It appears that Linkin Park addresses sexual abuse in another video, Crawling. Check it out and see if you agree.

Lyrics for Numb are available here.

Foo Fighters’ anthem for the kids of divorce

The Pretender by the Foo Fighters might make a good anthem for the kids of divorce. Not only are the lyrics great, but the imagery of the menacing cops reminds me of how in divorce, the state invades the home to destroy families without anybody doing anything wrong at the invitation of one spouse. Seriously–a spouse who doesn’t want a divorce could go to jail for resisting. Divorces are enforced by the government 100% of the time, even if you did nothing wrong. The state takes sides against legally innocent spouses in every case, by design.  And if you’re the child, doctors will drug you to get you to go to along with the re-education program of denying that your first family matters. As far as this video is concerned, we just need to add a cadre of PhDs in the background claiming that what the cops are doing is OK because they can clean up the mess after it’s all over… for a cut of the marital assets.

Lyrics available here.

 

Note to Fergie: sex makes us feel connected and that’s OK

Just a quick comment on Big Girls Don’t Cry, by Fergie. I have always liked the melody, and Fergie’s voice is so pretty, very sweet and endearing. I wish I could sing like her.

According to Wikipedia, the song is “about moving on from the pain of divorce.” This surprised me because her left hand is not wearing a wedding ring, and neither is her lover’s. There is no wedding or marriage imagery in either the lyrics or video. Another site indicated that it was about “the end of a relationship,” which was my impression and is more consistent with the contents of the lyrics and video.

The main thing I want to point out is how misleading the lyrics are. She’s pathologizing herself for feeling connected to her partner after sex… except this is what sex is supposed to do. We’re supposed to feel connected to our sex partners! She’s trying to get herself to not cry, but that’s not reasonable. By thinking these thoughts, she’s going against her own body. She thinks that something is wrong with her for feeling connected to a man she obviously cares for a great deal. It’s not wrong that she feels connected, since that’s what sex does. Her feeling connected to him is a sign that something has gone right with the sex act, not that something has gone wrong. The only thing that’s wrong is that she’s not married to this man. She’s put the cart before the horse then wondered why things seem backwards.

It’s good to feel connected after sex. That’s normal. Protect yourself, protect your heart, by only having sex with somebody you are married to. Don’t fall for the lie claiming that sex makes you independent. Sex does not make you independent. Sex connects us to people in more ways than one. That is its purpose. It’s the glue that puts families together.

Finally, there are a number of things I could comment on regarding the video, but I’ll just say one: there’s a bass on the set but it’s not being played in the video. That kinda bugs me. The bass drives the song forward in an unmistakable way. Somebody should be playing it in the video! 🙂

Alicia Keys’ “Blended Family” song is a lie and I’ll prove it to you

Alicia Keys says that there’s nothing she won’t do for love for the step-child. That is a pleasant sounding statement and lots of people will ooo and aah over it.

However, it is a lie and I’ll prove it to you: guess who’s the one living in “two homes?” It’s not her and her new husband–that would be too inconvenient. So that burden is placed upon the child under the belief that “kids are resilient but adults are profoundly fragile.” Did you notice the new photos in the family album? No sign of the child’s mother. The dynamic in these diagrams is fully at play:

remarriage-diagrams-both-together

As I have stated before, this dynamic is largely independent of the adults’ post-divorce behavior. It is a consequence of them “moving on.” See also:

 

 

Famous child of divorce: Kurt Cobain

From his Wikipedia entry:

Nirvana was labeled “the flagship band” of Generation X, and Cobain hailed as “the spokesman of a generation”…

When Cobain was nine years old, his parents divorced. He later said that the divorce had a profound effect on his life, while his mother noted that his personality changed dramatically; Cobain became defiant and withdrawn. In a 1993 interview, he elaborated:

I remember feeling ashamed, for some reason. I was ashamed of my parents. I couldn’t face some of my friends at school anymore, because I desperately wanted to have the classic, you know, typical family. Mother, father. I wanted that security, so I resented my parents for quite a few years because of that.

Cobain’s parents both found new partners after the divorce. Although his father had promised not to remarry, after meeting Jenny Westeby, he did, to Kurt’s dismay. Cobain, his father, Westeby, and her two children, Mindy and James, moved into a new household together. Cobain liked Westeby at first, as she gave him the maternal attention he desired. In January 1979, Westeby gave birth to a boy, Chad Cobain. This new family, which Cobain insisted was not his real one, was in stark contrast to the attention Cobain was used to receiving as an only boy, and he soon began to express resentment toward his stepmother. Cobain’s mother began dating a man who was abusive. Cobain witnessed the domestic violence inflicted upon her, with one incident resulting in her being hospitalized with a broken arm.Wendy steadfastly refused to press charges, remaining completely committed to the relationship.

Cobain behaved insolently toward adults during this period of his youth, and began bullying another boy at school. These behaviors eventually caused his father and Westeby to take him to a therapist, who concluded that he would benefit from a single family environment. Both sides of the family attempted to bring his parents back together, but to no avail. On June 28, 1979, Cobain’s mother granted full custody to his father. Cobain’s teenage rebellion quickly became overwhelming for his father, who placed his son in the care of family and friends. While living with the born-again Christian family of his friend Jesse Reed, he became a devout Christian and regularly attended church services. He later renounced Christianity, engaging in what would be described as “anti-God” rants. The song “Lithium” is about his experience while living with the Reed family. Religion would remain an important part of his personal life and beliefs…

The article describes his ongoing depression, bronchitis, chronic undiagnosed stomach pain, and heroine addiction that he deliberately cultivated in order to self-medicate his stomach pain. Then we read about his death:

On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head.

His suicide note is available to read here.

Lord, may your light shine upon Kurt Cobain, and may he rest in peace. Amen.

Sara, a song about Stevie Nicks’ abortion

I used to like this song. The melody is pretty, but once I found out its meaning, I couldn’t enjoy it like I used to. From LifeSiteNews:

Stevie Nicks is no stranger to rumours. She finally confirmed longstanding conjecture that she wrote one of her best-known songs partly about the child she conceived with Eagles frontman Don Henley, then aborted.

Henley said more than 20 years ago that the Fleetwood Mac song Sara, which hit number 7 on the Billboard charts in 1979, was about the baby they never saw.

“I believe, to the best of my knowledge, [that Nicks] became pregnant by me. And she named the kid Sara, and she had an abortion – and then wrote the song of the same name to the spirit of the aborted baby,” he told GQ magazine in 1991. “I was building my house at the time, and there’s a line in the song that says, ‘And when you build your house, call me.’”

In a special interview with Billboard magazine on Friday, Nicks said their baby inspired many of the song’s lyrics.

Ronald Reagan said, “I notice that everybody for abortion has already been born.” He naively thought that once it was proven scientifically that the unborn were human, this would change people’s minds. But it didn’t. Why? I think one explanation can be found in gnosticism, which I define as a denial of the importance of the human body in God’s plan for salvation. The lyrics of Sara might be a good example of gnostic thinking. Why is Nicks’ singing to the child as if nothing significant about their relationship has changed? Maybe it’s because what she did to her baby’s body doesn’t matter, and the baby’s body itself doesn’t matter.

Heavenly Catholic worship music

I’ve previously shared a few beautiful worship songs created by Protestants. Below I’ve embedded something Catholic called Agnus Dei, which means Lamb of God. It’s chanting in Latin, in four part harmony. In English it means:

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

You will recognize some of these words. They were spoken by John the Baptist when he saw Jesus (John 1:29). The words are spoken or sung during the mass as the priest breaks the consecrated host.

As I mentioned before, I am still acclimating myself to Catholic art. Thankfully there is no rush nor is there even an obligation. For example, I entered the Church in a parish that was meeting in a gymnasium it had recently built as part of a larger project. There was almost no art present inside the gym, and to be frank this is one of the reasons I chose that parish. Getting used to Catholic art is definitely one consideration in regards to becoming Catholic. Unfortunately it is never discussed, at least not that I’ve seen. I think converts, or potential converts, need to be told that they can become Catholic without embracing art that they find intimidating or off-putting.

Along these same lines, the kind of music in this video might be a bit of an acquired taste… like a fine red wine. I take a few sips here and there and find that I enjoy it a lot in small amounts. This piece in particular is heavenly and only about 1:30 long. Take a small sip and see if you enjoy it as much as I do! If you can read sheet music you’ll be able to follow along.

Just for clarity: most parishes in the U.S. won’t be singing these words in Latin at the consecration, they will be singing or saying them in English. The way to hear this in Latin during a mass is to attend a mass said in Latin, aka Extraordinary Form (EF).