Friday, September 30, 2005

AP article

i have had several questions about the interview that i did in the current issue of AP. here is the interview in its entirety.

1. What do you think has caused the resurgence of Christian bands in the punk/indie scene?
a "resurgence" would presuppose that there was a Christian indie scene to begin with some time ago. i don't see this as a resurgence as much as i see it to be an integration. the cause is due to the fact that in the past Christian music has been a imitation of anything that was happening in the general market. if boy bands were on the billboard charts then the christian industry would wait a couple year‚'s then sign their own boy band. when creed was cool (well ok so they were never cool), let me rephrase; when creed was selling records the Christian market waited a couple years then signed every creed rip off band that replaced the word "baby" for the word "Jesus."and this is where "the cause" comes into play. finally we in the indie scene who are labeled "Christian musicians" are making original & talented music that is competing with the general market both in sales and in aptness.

2. What'‚s the difference between being Christian and being in a band, or being in a Christian band?
Timmy (from under oath) and myself have talked hours about this subject. we take different paths as to the answer to this question but see eye to eye and respect each other on our different opinions of where our bands take a stand. as anberlin we are Christians but feel our music is not "Christian music‚". C.S. Lewis (a prominent Christian philosopher/author) was once asked "how does it feel to be the writer of some of the greatest Christian literature of all time." C.S. replied "Christian literature", are you saying my writing's have a heart and a soul, as if pen on paper can choose right or wrong? good or evil?."
in the same way i do not think that i write Christian music. i write music from experiences and truth that i have learned (thus God is seen in various times on our albums). if someone walks away from our albums touched or changed by something on our record that is amazing! but i don't think "spiritual" music is limited to those who claim themselves to this or that religion. for me the greatest spiritual music of all time is sigur ros and jeff buckley, neither renowned to be apart of any religious affiliation. i am not ashamed of my belief in Jesus Christ; but music is my profession, i am not on that stage to preach my conviction's i am there to simply to entertain.

3. You don't typically see any Jewish or Muslim punk bands; why is Christianity the only religion actively praised in rock?
this is no debate for me, i listen to a band because they are good, i don't listen to a band if i don't appreciate their music. i have never liked or disliked a band because of their belief's. if a jewish band chose to announce their faith openly i would not judge them for the belief's but whether or not their music is good. and i hope people do the same for all band's including those labeled "Christian." if we suck don't listen, if you like it buy the record. people think that Christian's can be narrow minded sometimes, but its VERY narrow and actually closed minded to not listen to a band because they believe in something greater than themself's.
Rumi (an amazing Muslim poet) once said "if you are considering the different roads, the variety is immense and the difference infinite; if you consider the goal, however, they are all in harmony and are one." in the same way we may take different pathÂ?s but the goal (the goal's being making music and following are dream's in this case) are the same.
in summation religious affiliation should have NO bearing on whether one likes a band or does not. i would hope that people of every race, creed, sexual orientation, or religious preference could enjoy and listen to anberlin. and if there is are any Christian's out there who don't appreciate that last statement than i would ask them or anyone that care's to learn more to read Philip Yancey's book "what"s so amazing about grace."

4. Do openly Christian bands have to sign to openly Christian labels? Do openly Christian labels have to only sign openly Christian bands?
no, i don't believe that Christian bands have to sign to a Christian label. Openly Christian bands are now so amalgamated it is hard to tell whose who, and in all reality they should have the same limits or freedom's as any other general market band. i honestly don't think major label's care whether a band is agnostic, atheist, or believer's. they want to know a band is going to sell record's. from a business standpoint I think it is idiotic to limit yourself to just one audience, and if you truly believed in telling other's about your particular religion why would you limit yourself to marketing yourself to only that particular religious circle? thus: if you are a 'Christian label' and your goal is to tell others about God why would you put obstacles in the way of getting your message out, such as putting your CD in the 'christian section,' and marketing your product as a 'christian CD', or 'christian band?' it's clearly an enigma, and even though we have been labeled by some as a 'christian band' i still don't get it.

5. Is it fair to make money off of your faith? Should Christianity be a selling point?
to paraphrase a spiritual mentor of mine, 'Christianity started in Israel as a movement, then went to Rome and it became an empire, then went to Europe and became a government, then finally it came to America and became an enterprise.'
i have the utmost despite and contempt for those who make a dollar by selling the name of Jesus. since when did God become a marketing bullet point? if you want to write about God in your songs because it is the overflow of your heart than that is great, but if you sit down as a song writer and your ulterior motive is to sell records by adding in the word 'Jesus' or 'God' then that is disgusting. but it happens more often than not. the Christian record industry is the fasting growing segment in music today. i This why now more than ever integrity in music (especially 'Christian' music) is imperative. write music because it means something to you not because the dollar means something to you (and that goes for any musician no matter what they believe!)

6. Punk rock was based off the idea of not falling into a predetermined belief system, which Christianity obviously is. So, is it possible to be Christian and 'punk?'
i have a lot of questions as to what is 'punk rock' music in today's music. the definition is very very loose and open to scrutiny now. such as can a 'punk band' be on MTV or fuse? just the other day i saw a dead kennedy's shirt @ nordstrom's, and a ramones shirt @ macy's! in other word's 'punk rock' has now opened its boarders to include all types of people and all types of beliefs systems. the foundation of punk rock was antiestablishment and against the rules and regulations forced upon the general populace of the time. therefore, would Jesus not be considered antiauthoritarian in his day? a psuedo-rebel if you will who went against the common practice of Judaism and fought the Jewish laws that were in place. im not going to say that Jesus was punk rock' because that is just stupid. i am going to say that the sex pistols and black flag did not invent fighting the predetermined belief system. there is a history full of men and women such as Ghandi, Buddha, Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther, Jesus, Mohammed, Nelson Mandela, Che, Rosa Parks, etc. that have made more of an impact on this world than anberlin or the buzzcocks ever could or will.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

lowercasepeople.com

please check out lowercasepeople.com
it deals with some amazing issues that faces all young people.
from art to music, all the articles are profound.
my favorite section, however, is the justice page which
deals with some relevant topics that sets out to help make
a difference in this world.
lowercasepeople.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

abstain from regret's

'Stephen,
            I hope I'm not intruding by writing this email, but after reading your post for September 8 I decided I was going to write you on this. This is something that has been on my mind for quite some time now. Well in the religion of Christianity, you are not supposed to believe in premarital sex, and I am brought up to be Christian and it is everything I believe in. I admit I have not taken the time to read the bible. I do not understand it. Since I am young, it’s hard to understand. But what I am trying to get at is I don’t understand how premarital sex is bad as long as you are in love with your partner and he/she loves you back. Being at my age, you get so much pressure to do things that you are not ready for. People will call you a “prude” and if you are a “prude” a lot of people will not like you. And the bad thing is, I AM what people call “a prude” because I have not really done anything. Sometimes I feel ok about that and other times I feel like there is something wrong with me. Honestly, I hate how the world is today because of things like that. It’s what our world has become and I think it’s bad. The thought on how premarital sex is a sin is what kept me awake last night. I can’t get it out of my mind because I was never planning on waiting until I was married, I was planning on waiting until I found the right person, married or not. Sometimes I wonder if these thoughts make me a bad person, and I know I'm probably a bit young to be worrying about stuff like this but I really can’t get it off my mind. It may be the pressure from other teens. I thought I didn’t really care what other people think, but I think everybody does at some point. It’s really hard to understand for me. I tried talking to my mom about it and she tells me “well people do it everyday” (sex before marriage). I have no idea why this bugs me so much but I really need to get it off my chest and you seems like maybe you could help, considering you wrote the song “Ready Fuels”.'
-the innocent

dear innocent,
bulls***. people who tell you that you need to have sex, or everyone is having sex, are full of s***. alcoholics buy you a drink so they themselves don’t feel guilty about drinking by themselves, and justify it by saying to themself’s ‘well they had just as many as i.’
in the same way, to those who have had casual sex with multiple partners feel that they need to convince you that everyone is doing so their conscience does not haunt them day and night.
SEX IS NOT BAD!!! who ever told you that came from parents who had sex. and thoughts of having sex are completely human and natural. you are not a bad person for wanting sex. it is human, and (scientifically speaking) your genetics are made up so you can pass your genes on to a new generation, thus making sure your species survive.
sex is sacred, though it gets marred each and every day by those who cannot control themselves enough to wait for a committed relationship, beyond just a boyfriend/girlfriend.
simply put... WAIT. it is not worth experiencing this spiritual ritual because some one in high school pressures you into it. you can’t regret what you do not experience. the people you know in your school you will not know in 10 years. so why try so hard to impress someone you don’t care about and who doesn’t care about you!
regret will haunt you, but keeping your virginity is something to be proud of. and this reaches far beyond the bounds of religion. sex is supposed to special, something between you and the person you love. well after eight or nine partners how special is it? what set’s you apart from the other people that the other person has slept with?
there is no harm in waiting. in fact it will make sex that much more amazing when you find the person you want to spend the rest of you life with.
but for those of you who have had sex, having sex doesn’t make you a bad person. don’t be discouraged. you have has much worth today as you did the day before. you are still beautiful and worthwhile. don’t give yourself away just because you think you can’t sink much lower. don’t let yourself tell you that your aren’t valuable. don’t let yourself go just because you have had the experience before. reconsider starting over and abstaining until you know there is a vow in place. don’t be nieve to the fact that men want sex and women want to know they are wanted. men go to great lengths to achieve this pleasure and women go to great lengths to show men that they are willing. find value in yourself and hesitate from giving over what is rightfully yours in the first place.
people will respect you for not giving into the pressure that surrounds you whether they say it out loud or not. not everyone is doing it.
NOT EVERYONE IS DOING IT.
you are beautiful and worthwhile, do yourself a favor and wait.

post script. i'd rather be a 'prude' with no heartache's ; than experineced and ridden with anguish and regret.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

acomplished.

sigur ros


one of my favorite bands of all time has come out with an amazing album entitled "takk". imagine going to a museum of modern art and meeting God for the first time all in the same moment. yes. that is what this album is like. for sure.

manchester, england


here i sit in cafe nero in manchester, england. what a dream come true. i don't know how many of you know or care but i am the biggest smiths fan in the world (well not the world but, that i know). morrissey (stephen patrick morrissey) was born and raised right around here, and his mother still lives right behind the all girls school right down the road.
"meet me at the cemetery gates" was a line written about the south cemetery here in the city.
but for me the big event is on coronation street, the salford lads club. i have to take a taxi but i WILL get a picture in front of it today!
last night was so surreal, wondering the streets of london, england alone. this is something i have wanted to do for about 10 years now. i felt like i had stepped into a surreal movie, one i never wanted to get out of. the air was a bit cold but walking through the gardens @ buckingham palace was a memory i wanted to contain in a capsule and show the world. i don't know how life could have got better in those seconds. the entire world fell into place for me. life is good.

Friday, September 09, 2005

the promise

my friend kyscho helped me put this together.
'the promise' is now up on purevolume.com/stephenchristian
i hope you like it.

produced by kyscho@hotmail.com

Thursday, September 08, 2005

of broken halo's; a letter from beloved.



"I'm only a glimmer of the girl you think you know. I've fallen from grace quicker than newton's apple fell from the tree. Like it, I did not fall far, but I fell quick, and hard.
What happened? Where did my innocence go, or was it only feigned all along? In the last four months I've gone from angelic grace to a furious decadence. I imagine my flowery prose is making this all sound much worse than it is, though. It seems normal for 'kids' to be drinking, smoking, and having sex by this age. I guess I still pale in comparison to the general population, I just feel like I've let myself down.
I drank, not a lot, but my intent was to get drunk. I partied a few times this summer. I had a casual relationship with a dear friend, and fortunately our close friendship survived the trauma.
'The bottle holds no answers, her lips can only sway ... desire is close at hand, his lips can only sway ... there's more to life than this, don't give your self away...'
I don't think words have ever spoken to me more clearly. The true path, the ethical path, the good path is obvious to me, but I don't know how much I care to follow it. That frightens me the most out of all these sudden changes. I know what I need to do, but I don't know if I will do it, and I can't figure out why on earth I wouldn't.
Do you practice what you preach? And why should I?"
-beloved

my beloved,
at first i was not going to put this on modesty because of how personal i considered your heartfelt letter. but then i realized you are not the only one in this world that feels this way, or has felt this way.
a lie has appeared in your sonnet though. "It seems normal for 'kids' to be drinking, smoking, and having sex by this age."
what is normal? and if this is normal than call me a late bloomer or insane. either way, following what others around you participate in 1st makes you a decisively indecisive sheep, and 2nd i question who is truly in charge of your decision making and moral standards; you or them.
these are the days that one day you will regret. when you are older you will look at these times as 'nieve' but in the back of your mind it will be remorse that haunts you.
is sex bad? no sex is not bad @ all. i know, beloved, that you struggle with doubt in God but i personally believe that God made sex for mankind’s pleasure. but in the confounds of a committed relationship sealed in a vow.
is drinking bad? no, i love dark beers, and had a couple glasses of wine while watching the wilco documentary a couple nights ago. but did i get drunk? no, because i realize that there is no point. its a mind altering drug that conforms your mind into who you are not and what you don't necessarily want to do. ben franklin said "beer is one way we know that God loves us." he helped found our country. Jesus had wine, and even participated in creating it for a wedding. but in access it can "only sway." and if you know that you cannot handle this harsh poison than wait until you have learned self control.
smoking? i abhor it. there is nothing good that comes from smoking. sex is for procreation and pleasure between those in a lifelong vow. wine is said to be good for the stomach, and known to prolong life. smoking was popularized by weak minded conformists to tax other weak minded conformists. it destroys from the inside out. it is an outward appearance of the ignorance that resides inside. who, knowing that a particular time consuming product would literally take years off your life, would continue to use this toxin with such loyalty? what mind can fathom this?
you are an angel still beloved. there is grace, there is mercy. you feel like you have failed but i don't believe you have. if you do not learn from mistakes than that is the failure. but we will all make mistakes. and as for me practicing what i preach, all i can honestly say is ‘i try’. i try my hardest but i fail so miserably. all the time, every day. but i will get up, dust myself off and learn from my mistakes. i do not count myself as a failure, but as a saint. a saint with a broken halo and some very bruised knees.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

STop LOok LISTEN!

it baffles me to no end how people are so quick to speak out of their own unintelligence, acknowledging to the entire world that they are mere fools. if i do not know about a certain topic i am quick to concede my ignorance and ask several questions in hopes i can learn more.
for instance.
i recently was talking with someone at Joe’s coffee (which is located on 5th ave and 13th street in new york city) about the relationship between the Chinese government and the United States. although i want there to be a positive relationship between the two biggest superpowers in the world certain things seem to be standing in the way.
my friend, we will call him/her dr. e thought that regardless of how we perceive the communist Chinese government we must accept them and their economic stipulations and basically give them what they want, because they are equals.
though i was not arguing whether or not we as humans were equals i did argue that they weren’t playing fair in the world spectrum. i brought up the point that the Chinese government is oddly building up their Chinese military and arms supplies. They (Chinese investors) also just bid on an American oil firm (which could endanger its security).
He gave me mumbling about how they are oppressed and we are only adding to the oppression, but i reminded him that the Chinese are a communist government, and communism is a known oppressor. i also informed my pro-life friend that the Chinese government only allows one child per family and establishes a military enforced “birth quota.” i don’t think dr. e believed me as he had never heard this “myth” before.
after he backed off the conversation he began to complain about his job situation and how hard it is to find a decent job, and i of course had to drive the nail in the coffin by bringing it back to the fact that China has harsh labor conditions and are really making it hard to compete with slave like wages & on top of that we have a huge trade deficit (nearly 200 billion) which take jobs away from here in the US and send them to China.
he looked foiled, truth is hard to swallow.
either way, we moved onto conversations about a wilco documentary i watched last night. but the real question remains. why do people desire to sound so psuedo-intelligent when really they have no idea about the topic??
i am sure i have been guilty of it. but people can see through your ignorance, because they know!
a current example are all these anti current government stickers/protesters here in NYC. do they really know why they don’t like Bush or do they do that because its the thing to do here. and if they know why do they know both sides of the story? have they met with Bush or anyone in his administration and know what's going on behind the scenes?
i am not saying Bush is right or wrong, im saying I DON’T KNOW. and that is better than a solid stance with unstable reasoning.
what about those people that send me e-mails about how im not a Christian, or i am ashamed of God because i don’t give a Christ pep rally from stage? do they know my heart? do they even care? if they care so much why don’t they take a stand at their college or their job? i believe its because it is easier to point fingers and type an e-mail than to actually get off the couch and do something with your life.
you have to learn both sides. you need to take into account your benightedness and learn. but if you continue in your current vein of erudition and never stray into other cultures, religions, thought, or philosophies than you will slowly narrow yourself into a corner of self-righteous ignorance.
i recently had the privilege to play a show at a prestigious religious college. i admired the campus, the student's and faculty treated me tremendous, and the aura of knowledge and learning seemed everywhere. i strayed around for a good while before the show (which is very like me) and ended up in the campus bookstore. there i began to look through the magazines, than wandered into the textbook section, then into the hardback/paperback books for sale. i suddenly realized a peculiar pattern; all the books i had encountered were coming from one angle of thought. it seemed all the books were from one corner of the room looking out at all the other schools of thought and trying to reason why the others were wrong, why the school’s philosophy was right, and what to do about it. i even saw a book called “how to deal with other cultures.” no joke! i couldn't believe it, not “how to learn other cultures” or “how to appreciate other cultures” but “how to DEAL with other cultures.” hey, i love hot-dogs, wall street, and baseball as much as the next American but i do NOT think we are the center of the universe (ok so i don't like hot-dogs or baseball but whatever). the point of all this is
LISTEN, DON’T TALK. LEARN BEFORE YOU TEACH. BE OBJECTIVE BEFORE YOU JUDGE. READ BEFORE YOU WRITE. EMBRACE OTHERS KILL CULTURE EGOISM.