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How to be a Christian 101 & Epiphanies

How to be a Christian (in no particular order):

  • Don’t work or sleep in on Sundays – go to church instead
  • Don’t wear revealing clothing… ‘cause Modest is Hottest!
  • Don’t sleep around
  • Don’t curse or use foul language (they’re the same thing right?)
  • Don’t get wasted or do drugs

Those sound about right, right? We’re always told what we’re not supposed to be doing because we’re Christians. Because we said a prayer when we were 5 in Sunday School or 15 at church camp, etc. etc.  

But what’s the list of DO’s? Basically, I’m saying this:

Let’s try to be known for what we DO, not for what we don’t do. Or rather, not JUST what we don’t do.

I mentioned this to Kirk the other night. During college, I was known as the girl who didn’t. I was the girl who didn’t hook up with the hot guys in our class (who am I kidding there weren’t any), who didn’t drink or party, who didn’t curse (at least not in front of anyone), who didn’t cheat or engage in the overwhelming PRSSA gossip, blah blah blah.

Basically, I was known for everything I didn’t do. And that’s easy. However, it’s much harder to DO things that go against the status quo than just avoid the bad things.

Be known for what you do, not for what you don’t do

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I first heard that phrase when talking to Alex and Brett Harris, co-authors of Do Hard Things. Remember I Kissed Dating Goodbye? The guy who penned that lovely manual is their older brother. I talked to the twins right before Do Hard Things released a few years back. They spent a good part of our interview talking about their mission to start a “rebelution” and encourage students to do hard things…not just avoid the bad things.

It stuck with me ever since.

I forgot about it for a while, but in the past few weeks it’s be in the forefront of my mind. I’m out here in Nashville hanging out with friends, working at a non-religious nonprofit, doing side work for artists and just living my own life. But how do I do all of those things in a way that reflects Christ? We were created to glorify God. I’ve known this since I was old enough to talk. But now, I’m not really sure how to put that into practice.

This is where “How to be a Christian 101” starts to get sticky.

So let’s evaluate this list again.

  • Don’t work or sleep in on Sundays – go to church instead
    (go to church on Sunday, but still make time to hang out with God Monday through Saturday)
  • Don’t wear revealing clothing… ‘cause Modest is Hottest!
    ( well, I can’t think of a “do” for this one)
  • Don’t sleep around
    (but just because you’re not doing IT, doesn’t mean you can do everything else. Stay pure.)
  • Don’t curse or use foul language (they’re the same thing right?)
    (how about we use our conversation to encourage people?)
  • Don’t get wasted or do drugs
    (yeah, but don’t sit around and do something else unproductive or destructive either. Use your time and money wisely. Help someone.)

I hope this doesn’t come off as judgmental. I screw up absolutely all the time. I focus on the “don’ts” more than the “do’s” every day…and I do a lot of the don’ts..a lot of the time. Sheesh, this is like a tongue twister. 

Today, I went to church out in Chattanooga. It was awesome. Sidenote: Everyone should go to Chattanooga, because you can see things like this:

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Anyways…the pastor was a large black man from Miami who spoke with such inflection that I thought he was going to burst into tears at any moment. He spoke on the importance of witnessing. He told a story about how he witnessed to one guy in college and in turn, the entire football team started following Christ and spreading the Word. Crazy, right?

Yup. Crazy for sure.

But surely I can’t do that. I mean, that’s the ULTIMATE “do.” It’s the epic mother of “do’s.” It’s like the Norma Jean of hardcore. (Alright, that one might have been a stretch).

The church service was awesome. Of course, my encounter with Dr. Jay, a little elderly lady who came over to tell me how exotic I looked and that I needed to commute two hours to this church because it was where I should be on Sunday mornings and who asked if I had Jesus in my heart, made it even more memorable. But ultimately, it was the genuine passion and excitement emanating from the pastor and its members that inspired me. Everyone was there because they wanted to be. It wasn’t a “cool” church with the latest gear and songs and famous attendees.  It was refreshing. It was convicting. It was challenging. And they wanted me to do witness.

I had an epiphany on Friday. Krista sometimes tells me when she has epiphanies but I never fully understand what that was. I now know. At least, I think so. I could be incorrectly using the word. It was a true light bulb and a “wow I never realized that and I’m now so pumped on life” moment. I was reading the responses to a status I had posted on the Soles4Souls Facebook the night before.

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The comments below that post made me cry inside. But a good cry. I read things like,

“Find a loving home for every orphan in the world”
 “I would protect every child from sexual abuse. That would be my super power.”
“abolish violence”
“Abolish cancer”

The list goes on. Over 30 people shared their dreams and what they would do to change the world, if they had unlimited resources. And then it dawned on me. People are so good. They really are. Yes, I know we are born with a sin nature and are inherently evil. BUT, people are still good. they want to make this world a better place and have good intentions. I just think we all are too scared to do something about a cause. 

I’ve worked for so many causes over the years. I’ve worked at breast cancer walks, pro life events, summer ministries, VBS…heck my full time job provides shoes for people who have none. But really….people need to know the Gospel. that’s how they’ll know I’m a Christian and that’s how their lives will be saved. 

All that being said, I want to be known for what I do for Christ. i want to make a difference in this world, and have it last an eternity. I’m not really sure how to go about doing this, but I’d like to find out. And I’m inviting you to find out with me.

Now aren’t you glad that was way shorter than my usual word vomit ramblings? =)

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Sleeping Giant – Tommy Green – A White Flag

Hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts – I’ve begun writing for Substream Music Press and putting most of my writing efforts into that magazine. In addition, I’ve picked up some PR work so that takes time!

Check out the latest issue of Substream, featuring The Cool Kids. You can also find my pieces on Dream on, Dreamer, Noisetrade, Sleeping Giant and Will Call Clothing in there as well.

That being said – here are two new pieces. One on Substream and one on Come&Live!
Enjoy!

 

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Band Interviews

 

The Band That’s Been Winning Game Shows Since…Forever?

The Band That’s Been Winning Game Shows Since…Forever?

Before their set on Family Force’s Five “Tourantula” concert in Philadelphia, PA, photographer Chrissy Dumire and I met up with Brendan Johnson (guitar/vox) of Since Forever in the small alley behind The Trocadero in Chinatown. He was finishing up another interview when we got there, yet still entered ours with excitement and an unmatched energy. Despite the fact that my voice recorder was close to being confiscated by venue security who, once again, didn’t believe that we were there as journalists, the interview went well. Brendan’s whit and uncanny character shine through in the following transcription.

Immediately following our brief chat, Brendan and the crew took the historic stage. After their set, fans lined up for pictures and autographs. The band’s accessible and engaging personality works well in this scene. Check out the full concert review HERE.

To find out more about them, including what game shows they want to be on, what it’s like to play for FF5 fans each night, or how a band transitions from heavy music to pop, read below:

Rebecca: Give me a little history of the band:

Brendan: My name’s Brendan, and I’m in Since Forever. Three of our members were in a previous pop/rock group that they had just sort of started as a small thing. I actually played in it at one time so I had met all those guys. And we met Eric at college as well. We were actually playing music together at a church in our hometown and then we started playing our own songs. At the time, Nashville didn’t really have a whole lot of pop/rock at all. It was mostly hardcore bands. So we decided just to make the music we wanted to hear. So that’s how we started. Was there more to that question?

Rebecca: Nope! Alright so I apologize if this is cliché but…tell me about your name.

Brendan: Yup! We have such the most story boring story about that. The truth is we were looking for a name, and I don’t know who thought of that phrase..cause you know it’s a phrase. Like, “I’ve been doing this since forever.” And so.. or, “I’ve been working on this paper since forever,” ya know? So we googled it and no one had used it and we were like “This is stupid. No one has used this!” It’s short and simple. It doesn’t have numbers. It doesn’t have the word ‘the.’ All things I like in a band name. So that’s how we got the name. We really just picked it. Sometimes we lie though and say that it’s the letters of our name all put together, or that they were Zach’s first words.

Chrissy: You could totally say that though. People would believe you.

Brendan: Yeah. It was Zach’s first words!

Rebecca: We’ll just keep that as the official answer. So I noticed that there’s a distinct difference between your first record and this new one. Why did you decide to pursue a more pop/rock sound than before?

Brendan: Well our old bass player did a lot of writing on the first CD. Well not a LOT, but we wrote it all together and he put his feel on it. And at the time we were also, like I I said playing with a bunch of heavy bands, so we wanted to have a little more of a heavier thing. We played those songs for a long time. But it was a natural progression. I was tired of playing five minute songs. I wanted three minute songs and that’s it! And that’s what we were going for. We wanted to do more hooks, ya know? It’s so weird for people who are unabashedly about pop. But we really are. We just love pop music. So we tried to craft a bunch of short pop songs with hooks and work in that format. So it’s just a stylish change and progression. We didn’t want to do breakdowns and that stuff anymore.

Rebecca: Well it’s definitely a change when you go from breakdowns to pop hooks, but it seems to be working really well for you. So you’re touring with Family Force 5 and witnessing their heavy dance music set each evening. How has it been playing for their fans?

Brendan: They’ve been great. When you look at us on paper..well, not literally on paper..but when you look at our music and compare it to their music you wouldn’t necessarily think that it would mesh well.  But we always strive to put on a really energetic live show. And they have one of the best live shows I’ve seen in my entire life. I mean it’s different, but their fans have been so awesome. They get what we’re throwing down. They’re picking up what we’re laying down. They like to bounce with us and stuff.

Chrissy: So are you all FROM Nashville?

Brendan: Well, pretty much the Nashville area. Jason and Zach and Taylor live in suburb called Hendersonville.

Chrissy: Ohhhhh we were just down there!

Rebecca: Yeah we were down there for a show. A friend of mine played at a church in Hendersonville and we went to see him.

Brendan: Who? Who’d you see?

Rebecca: Dependency.

Brendan: Ohhh yeah yeah yeah! We know all those guys. Yeah we were at that show. It’s the opposite way of Murfreesboro which is where I’m from. Eric’s from Maryland. But we all went to school in Murfreesboro.

Rebecca: Alright so let’s switch things up a bit. If you were interviewing Since Forever and could ask the members anything you liked – what would you ask?

Brendan: Oh shoot. So like a question I’ve always wanted to be asked?

Rebecca: Yep! Or something you’d want to know about one of the other guys.

Brendan: I would totally ask Eric why he beat boxes so much. I would ask Jason why he loves shopping so much. I would ask Zach how he sings so nice. I would ask both the Easterwoods that. Actually, because I don’t really know it, I would ask them about their vocal training. I know their dad knows a lot about singing but I don’t think they really have much training besides choir in high school, but they sound like they do. But that is something that no one ever asks about their singing. I mean, are they not good singers? I always thought they were.  Are those good enough?

Rebecca: No those were great. And yeah, I’ve thought they were as well!

Brendan: Oh man wait. I would ask what game show we would all want to be on! And the answer would definitely be Legends of the Hidden Temple.

Chrissy: Ohh yeah!

Brendan: The thing is, we would win anything you ever put us on. We would be on Minute to Win It. We tried to be on Silent Library. We’d win that. They probably wouldn’t take us because they know we’d win. We’d be like – we’ll eat anything, we’ll never laugh. Family Double Dare, Wipeout, Ninja..what’s that..Ninja Warrior? I really liked the game Lingo. Do you remember that one? Ah, Family Feud! We’d be AWESOME on Family Feud.

Chrissy: So you’re in Philly – what do you think of the town? The food? What do you eat on tour usually?

Brendan: Oh man. Tons of junk food. Tons and tons. It sucks. WE all really like sports so when we get free minutes we do that to stay in shape. Eric’s really into P-90X. I can’t do it. It kills me, it’s so hard.

Rebecca: Ah yeah. I know a lot of people on tour who use that because it’s so convenient.

Brendan: Yeah because you don’t need anything. Dereck from Family Force 5 uses it. Dang that man is ripped. He’s a short guy but yeah..they all are really in shape. But food I like to eat on tour – homecooked food. Foods with vegetables. Oh and Taco Bell of course.

Chrissy: Ever been to Moe’s?

Brendan: Yeah but I’m not huge into it. Taylor though – Taylor could eat a burrito for every meal for every day of the rest of his life. Taylor loves burritos so much. He ate Qdoba today.

Rebecca: Well, it is Cinco de Mayo. And in case you forgot,  half of the Facebook world mentioned it in their status!

Brendan: I know right! Philly’s been really cool though. I’ve never been here before. We walked down to a market to get cheesesteaks earlier. So good.

Rebecca: Awesome. Anything else you’d like to add?

Brendan: What is this for?

Rebecca: IndieVision..

Brendan: IndieVision! No way! Oh man, I want to say that when I was in a heavy band in Nashville that we were on there once. Well that’s super good. Exposing music. How awesome.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Band Interviews

 

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Tourantula Review

Tourantula Review

Tourantula. Who would expect a less extravagant name for a Family Force 5 tour? Fortunately, no hairy, long-legged arachnids showed their faces at this event (at least not at this particular date), but the show was adventurous nonetheless.I won’t go into too many details if you haven’t yet seen it, but I will say this – opening band Since Forever has a ton of energy. They’re new to this national tour jamboree and bring an excited, positive, hopeful demeanor to the show. They opened their set with Justin Bieber’s “Baby Baby.” And baby, you bet it worked. The dimly lit room suddenly erupted in screams from the less than 100 attendees (consisting of mainly high school girls). Lead vocalist Zach Easterwood jumped off speakers, reached down into the crowd and interacted with individual audience members. The super pop/dance “Get Low” proved to be a hit as well.

Swimming with Dolphins filled the second set. Most of the crowd didn’t know how to react – and I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure how to either. Their music is uncannily catchy and their indie style and seemingly laidback personalities intriguing. But from the crowd, it’s hard to know what to do. Do we dance along? Do those who know the words sing along? No one did. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Concert Review

 

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DJ Rossstar: The Bridge To Your Favorite Artist

DJ Rossstar: The Bridge To Your Favorite Artist

(also published on Kings of A&R)

Nine years ago, an American University student grew sick of watching bands interviewed by the same Average Joe and asked the same mundane questions on a cliché set. “Why would I need to watch Green Day do another interview when they’re going to be asked the same questions again?” says DJ Rossstar, now in his twenties. Then the light bulb went off. “I’m in college. I have a radio station. I’m going to do an Internet show,” he proclaimed.

Rossstar then began reaching out to local artists, all whom were rather receptive. “Almost immediately I started doing shows once or twice a week,” he says. However, this was in 2002. This was before YouTube, MySpace, Facebook or Skype. Most people were skeptical of his project, declaring that the Internet would soon die off and therefore put an end to his show. Despite criticism, he created DJ Rossstar’s Punk Rock Radio Show – an interactive radio show where fans could call in and directly ask the bands questions.

And now here he is – having recorded over 1,000 shows with some of his favorite artists and currently living in Los Angeles, California, DJ Rossstar found himself on the phone with me, recounting the tale of his slow but sure rise to Internet fame. Let’s just say I was a tad bit nervous reciting interview questions to a guy who abhors cliché interview questions. Check out some of our conversation below: Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Interview with Trevor Kelly of He is We

Interview with Trevor Kelly of He is We

(also published on IVM)

Justin Bieber’s new movie, Toby Mac, incorporating faith into music…these are just a few of the topics that came up during my chat with Trevor Kelly.

He is We recently finished a stint on the road with The Scene Aesthetic, Carter Hulsey and Plugin Stereo. When they played  Wilmington, DE a friend and I met up with the male  half of the boy/girl duo. Their performance was great. While most of the audience members were not familiar with the band’s songs, more than half were singing along as vocalist Rachel Taylor taught the crowd a chorus or two. After their set we met up with Trevor outside the venue, amidst multiple fans and even parents who wanted his attention. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Band Interviews

 

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Interview Time with Before There Was Rosalyn

Interview Time with Before There Was Rosalyn

During our rather long conversation on a freezing cold winter night outside the Ukraine Center in Philadelphia, photographer Chrissy Dumire and I listened as Before There Was Rosalyn shared why it is they’re sticking it out on the hard road of touring, how they stay accountable to each other and even how much they love their moms. Read on.

Rebecca: Life on the road can be crazy – what makes it worth it?

Carlos: I’ll go first, since I know we all have something to say about this. For me, it’s stuff like tonight. We show up, the place looks sketchy and everything and I see someone singing the lyrics and I meet them after and find out they drove an hour and a half. It’s meeting people who appreciate what we do and it means something to them.

That’s what makes it worth it. You drive 800 miles to a place you’ve never been before and someone does that seem thing for you. It really just helps to reinforce what it is that we set out to do. That’s it for me.

”]Trent:For me, it’s known that we’re out here glorifying God and doing something we love. There’s no adding to that. That’s plain and simple what I t is. We come out here worshiping God and we hope that kids see something they can take home. Something that is real and hopeful. Then they can seek out truth themselves. Being on tour and suffering the hardships that you don when you’re on tour – like promoters not showing up to a venue, tings like that..it makes it worth it when we know that at the end of the day we glorified God in a way that He’s happy with and pleased with.

Rebecca: Great answer. Great testimony.

Trent: Why thanks.

Chrissy: Being a Christian band, how do you keep yourselves going and spiritually fed? Do you keep yourselves accountable or is there someone at home you talk to consistently? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in Band Interviews

 

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