If imitation is the highest form of flattery for the mimiced party then it must be the highest manifestation of admiration from the one enacting the reproduction. Of course, not every form of copying is praise for the original producer. Claiming the work of others as your own without due credit being given can oftentimes be an outright criminal act. But somewhere on the scale of orginality, there lies a space for one individual to come in and take the work of another and make it his or her own work (without incurring criminal charges, of course.) And that space, my friends, is commonly referred to as the cover song.

Cover songs illict a wide range of reactions that run the gamut from cringing to absolute joy. Some make you realize just how good the original song is (because the cover is just that bad) while others make you wish the original had never existed. Then there are some cover songs that just make you pause and think. And then think some more. About the differences, the similarities, and how if a different perspective can really change one song so much, then maybe, just maybe, a different perspective can change the world.

When my favorite band, Disturbed, dropped their new album recently, they covered one famous song by the favorite band of many of my friends–U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for.” Below you will find first the original then the cover for your listening pleasure. Take a good listen and see the different perspectives. Then maybe today you can go out and change the world.

Advertisements

Among my friends, I am known for my lack of driving skills. It’s not a reputation I ever try to rebut. I admit it. I am not a good driver. But if there’s one thing I do right when I drive, it’s my obedience of traffic laws. I stop at all stop signs, I yield when I’m supposed and I always signal before I switch lanes. Except when I drive into the city where my law school is located. With a reputation for being a fairly dangerous and lawless city where the police have bigger fish to fry than those disobeying traffic laws, I find myself treating red lights as mere suggestions to stop. I go 55 miles-per-hour in a zone with 25 miles-per-hour speed limit. And I rarely ever signal.

The state of lawlessness around me makes it much easier for me to break laws I would never break otherwise. St. Paul honed in on this point in his epistle to the Romans when he wrote, “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness…”

Lawlessness leads to more lawlessness. It’s much easier to cheat, lie, and steal when everyone else is cheating, lying, and stealing. And this is the problem that arises when we begin to set the bar for comparison at our surroundings. The world is full of lawlessness and if the world is the standard we aspire to reach then we set ourselves on a downward spiral. But we are called to perfection and holiness just as our Father in heaven is perfect and Holy. The bar must be set high so that we may continue to reach toward Him at all times.

When faced with a hard decision, we all have our own ways of making the judgment call. Some make lists of pros and cons, others seek the advice of those they trust, others just flip a coin. But what about when the decision is something bigger than which school to go to, which car to buy, which job to take. All seemingly very imposing, life-altering decisions, but what about those bigger decisions? Those life or death decisions we all make on a daily basis. Don’t think you’re faced with life or death decisions on a daily basis? Well think again; you are. Your life constantly hangs in the air based on which way you decide to go.

“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)

The question often presents itself: Which way do I want go? Do I do the right thing or let it go this one time? And what happens when I let it go that one time? Will I let it go again? Will one lie lead to another? Will one angry comment produce rampant hatred?

We are given the answer… when we follow the path sin, we are led to death. Sin is a slippery slope where the decision to sin just once will numb the conscience just a bit so it’s easier to make the decision to sin the next time we are presented with it. Lie once, then lie again, then find yourself unable to tell the truth, and you have arrived at death’s door.

When conceptualized in this manner, sin and decision-making can be overwhelming and that’s why it must be broken down moment by moment. Every time we face a sin, we must face as if we were facing it for the first time. Each “no” must be emphatic and strong because every time we decide to sin we decide to die. Every time we resist sin, we choose to live. It is that simple and clear-cut.

My Dear Reader,

It has been a while. But the flow of writing has an peaks and troughs just like any wave would, so I will be back with plenty eventually. And that this is how C.S. Lewis describes our spirituality. He likens it to a sine wave. There are times when we are wholly and entirely motivated and our connection with God comes with ease. Then there are the times when it is a struggle just to crack open the Bible or say the Lord’s Prayer with real zeal and meaning. Danger lies in any complacency we may develop during the spiritual lull. So the key to emerging from the depths lies in the recognition of the trough. Only then can we begin to reach upward and begin the ascent to the peak.

With that said, expect more to be written soon.

With Love,

M.A.R.

While having a miniature quarter-life crisis the other day (not to be confused with an actual real life crisis with real life implications but more of a crisis of thought) I stopped myself for a minute and very bluntly asked myself the question, “What is it that you want exactly?” Although it may seem like a question that would open up a thought-filled can of worms, it actually brought everything and all the racing thoughts to a swift stop.

What do you want? What’s your heart’s deepest desire? Where do you wish to be?

We can learn much about ourselves simply by asking, “What do I want? What is it that I treasure?”

Because to pinpoint what one treasures will lead the individual to find his or her heart. You’ll be surprised where you find your heart abiding.

Do I treasure success? Possessions? My family? My significant other? My friends?

Don’t get me wrong; it’s essential to treasure the people in your life, but if the first answer that comes to mind when asking yourself “What do I treasure?” isn’t “God” then it might be time to take a step back and evaluate things.

To treasure God above all else is the only path to joy and gladness of heart and prosperity in life. And the beautiful thing about placing God in the number one spot so-to-speak is that it rests in our hands. WE can choose to place him there. WE can choose to make Him the one we treasure most.

In other words, we are the ones who can shape our lives by placing Him at the very center of our hearts and surrendering our will up to Him. Once He becomes our treasure, our lives overflow with treasures heavenly and earthly in nature. Figure out what or who you treasure and you will find out exactly what you have been shaping your life to become and most likely you may just be able to see a clear vision of your future.

“Above all else, guard your heart,  for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

What enters the heart will run and rule your life. What emerges from it will affect the lives of others. Choose those you let into your heart wisely. Give love from it freely and without restraint.

“…humans can be made to infer the false belief that the blend of affection, fear, and desire which they call ‘being in love’ is the only thing that makes marriage either happy or holy. The error is easy to produce because ‘being in love’ does very often, in Western Europe, precede marriages which are made in obedience to the Enemy’s designs, that is, with the intention of fidelity, fertility and good will; just as religious emotion very often, but not always, attends conversion. In other words, the humans are encouraged to regard as the basis for marriage a highly-coloured and distorted version of something the Enemy really promises as its result. Two advantages follow. In the first place, humans who do not have the gift of continence can be deterred from seeking marriage as a solution because they do not find themselves ‘in love,’ and thanks to us, the idea of marrying with any other motive seems to them low and cynical. Yes, they think that. They regard the intention of loyalty to a partnership for mutual help, for the preservation of chastity, and for the transmission of life, as something lower than a storm of emotion. (Don’t neglect to make your man think the marriage-service very offensive.) In the second place any sexual infatuation whatever, so long as it intends marriage, will be regarded as ‘love’, and ‘love’ will be held to excuse a man from all the guilt, and to protect him from all the consequences, of marrying a heathen, a fool, or a wanton…”

From The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

*******

Being young and having little experience in the world, I personally cannot say very much about marriage and the love between a married couple but I found this excerpt by C.S. Lewis to be interesting and tought-provoking. I think Lewis encourages his reader to seek out the substance and the heart of a person as opposed to the feelings the person invokes. The inability to connect with the substance of man or a woman is one thing, waiting for the one to give you butterflies in your stomach is another. Lewis would most likely tell you to forget the butterflies; afer all, they only have a lifespan of a week.