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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Apathy, Sympathy and Epathy.

I mentioned this in the letter that I put up as the last post, so I thought I might expand on that a bit. Just going to look at each of them in turn, basically.

Apathy is fairly simple to get. It's not caring, not making a choice. Just ignoring whatever's happening and trying to lie in your own little world. It's fairly common, unfortunately, in today's world. You get a pretty big bunch of people that are apathetic - or perhaps that's just my generation; we are the 'lazy' generation after all. Apathy is pretty easy to do. (Generally speaking, at least, though in some cases sympathy may be easier.) It's also, unfortunately, pretty hard to get people out of. Change is difficult, so often it has to be more gradual.

Sympathy is prettty simple to get too. It's basically feeling sorry for someone. A lot of people would say that there's nothing wrong with this - I have to say, I disagree here. Most people don't want people just feeling sorry for them. There's a pretty big portion these days of people that are just sympathetic, as well; lots of people feeling sorry when they see the ads on TV, or get approached by someone at an event, or see someone struggling on the street. Ultimately, though, that's all sympathy is; sometimes there's a bit of people ranting and raving as well, but there's nothing really constructive there. Sympathy is also very easy, and it's also easy to get other people that way as well.

Empathy is the hard one. Empathy is walking a mile in someone's shoes to get to know them better and really understand where they're coming from and what they're going through. And, ultimately, not just wanting to do something about it, but also doing it. It's the rarest one you see, but it's the one that people need. Empathy is a difficult thing to do, which is why it's not as common as it should be. It's also very difficult for people to change to this, and very easy for them to slip out again back to one of the others. But it's so important that we give it our best.

That's it from me for today. Until next time.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Thankfully, as of 15 minutes ago, this internet is back up, so posting shall commence.

I have realised that this EP is probably not going to be released soon; many more ideas are coming through, and they are going to need a fair bit of organisation, time and money. The first I can do bit by bit, the second I have a fair amount of, but the third is sadly lacking. So, for the moment, it will have to wait. We'll see what happens.

I thought, however, that this was as good a place as any to put my main idea for this EP up. It's a fairly left field idea, so I suppose I'm looking for a bit of feedback. I'm sure that if Mozart is still looking at this he'll have an opinion, or even if TB happens to be looking at this again that'd be great. It's basically the words that I'd have on the insert to the CD, I guess. (So, yes, I think I will be doing a physical launch, when it comes round to it.) Will need a fair bit of fine tuning, obviously - especially if I'm wanting to get this out there a fair bit, which would be good.

Dear Reader,
This is to you. Whoever you are, wherever you are, this is for you.
We don't know whether you were given this CD by friends or family, or bought it because you liked the music, or maybe just liked the cover. But we hope, whichever it is, that when you listen to this music you will not be thinking about the person that is playing or singing, or wrote the songs. That is not what this CD is about, and this is why you will not find any names on it.
And that is why this letter is being written. Because this is about the message. The songs are decent songs, but they are only a beginning; only there to start something. A change.
This letter we are writing is a challenge for you. To start a change, to make a change, to be a change. Both in yourself and in others.
This is your Challenge to Change.
1. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Be a person of integrity, and always walk the walk as well as talking the talk.
2. Don't be a content and comfortable person. Don't just be sympathetic; and certainly don't be apathetic. Be empathetic; care, and help to make a difference.
That is our challenge to you. It is the challenge we have also taken up. Don't expect to meet it; that is an impossible task, we are human. Just do your best, and keep at it.
Hopefully, you will have received a couple of seeds with this. They are there to be a reminder for you of how much a little thing, given some patience and love, can do. Keep one and plant the other where you will see it regularly. Hopefully, it will grow well for you.
Thankyou for taking the time to read this. Now your part begins. What you do with it is your choice, and yours alone. We cannot make it for you.
We hope that you will have every success in whatever path you choose.
The Seeds of Change core team

That's it. Perhaps the point of it is ruined slightly by me posting it up here; however, I think I have few enough viewers that it should be fine. It may seem pretty corny or idealistic; as I said, it needs some fine-tuning. Your feedback would be most welcome.

Monday, 27 June 2011


The internet went kaput at my house yesterday; hence why I am writing the post today, and from a PC in my local library. Also, it'll be a short one, because Mum's expecting me back soon.

The sermon on Sunday was a good sermon. Talking about spiritual excercise, and getting to know God more intimately. Definitely a good thing. But - being me - I couldn't stop myself from comparing the preacher's opinions to my own ideas on the matter, and I thought that he had perhaps said a couple of points in the wrong way. I had thought that I might send him an email, telling him of exactly where he went off. (Haha. Sounds pretty bad, actually, in retrospect.)

However, I got a little thought from the big guy: just leave it. God's word has been preached today, and his message has been heard. People make mistakes, God uses them. So I did. God has a fair bit of experience with working with our mistakes, after all...

But I suppose the idea is that we don't always need to correct people. Sometimes it's OK for them to make mistakes, and we just need to let them be a little freer. That's a good thing.

If I have internet up by tomorrow, I'll do another post on another idea I've had for the EP.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Seeds of Change

Recently, I've been trying to get stuff together for something akin to an EP launch. At the moment, whether that will only be electronic or if I'll have actual CDs is an unknown, but we'll see.

I'm planning to call it the "Seeds of Change EP", after a song that I've just written today, actually. Basically, the idea is pretty simple; actually living up to the words you say and the promises you make, and not being content to just sit around. It's not an easy task. And I'm hoping to somehow incorporate that into the EP - perhaps all the money will go to a charity (or various charities, depending on how much I spread this around), or maybe I'll think of something else. That seems a bit unoriginal, so maybe something else as well as that.

The difficulty, though, lies in living up to this standard that I suppose I've set myself - after all, if I'm challenging other people to rise up to it, then I need to do so as well. And it's not easy. But I suppose not very many things that are really worthwhile are.

Hopefully, more on this EP launch will be coming up soon. Ish.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


I don't use my phone much, at all. I barely give my number to anyone, and I don't have many numbers. I don't get many calls, and I don't make many. Most of the communication that I do is via email or Facebook. And I check that pretty regularly; because my thoughts are, if someone sends you a message, it's polite to respond as soon as you can, to get back to them quickly. And so I'll probably check my email several times a day.

Most people, however, seem to not respond to anything except a text message. Which can be annoying, particularly when there's more you want to say than you can fit in a text. Yes, I suppose ringing them seems to be the logical conclusion here. I suppose I just prefer an email because then you have a bit more time to think about your response.

You would hope, however, that people would check their emails every now and then. (As an aside, this is not directed at anyone in particular, and certainly not - to the best of my knowledge - at any of the readers of this blog.) Annoyingly, however, it seems as though the mobile phone still reigns supreme for many. Maybe that's just my generation. Thoughts?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Easy peasy...

Something interesting that I've found over this semester...

As I believe I've mentioned once or twice, I've taken a Psychology elective. In it, there's not a heck of a lot of work required. One 2000 word essay, and one 120 question multiple choice exam. And some research participation. Psychology, as an aside, is something I've known a bit about from here and there for awhile, so a lot of what we did I knew a bit of.

The essay we did was basically this question: should western practices be used in non-western environments? (That is, in regards to mental/psychological health.) That wasn't the exact question, but that's the gist of it. I found it really interesting to research, and not too difficult to write. I recently got my mark back for it. I got 93%. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I had done well, but not that well. Then I checked in with a friend of mine who was also doing the elective (and had done Psychology before, as a matter of fact) and he hadn't done so well. And he was a bit annoyed, because he felt he'd put a fair bit of work into it. I felt slightly guilty, because I know I didn't put that much work into mine.

The exam was two hours, so one minute per question. Multiple choice had always been something I was good at. I used to get heaps of these, it was my bread and butter, pretty much. I didn't do much study for it. I read (well, skimmed)  through a couple of the chapters, and read (ish) the lecture slides. That was either the night before or on the day. I found it pretty easy, finished in exactly half the time. Again, my friend who does it found it fairly hard, and he studied a fair bit for it.

One of the resources we have access to is called MyPsychLab, which is basically just something that helps you study. Gives you example questions, that sort of thing. Another thing we have is PASS classes, run by former (or sometimes third year) uni students, who basically just help us out with whatever. I didn't use either of these at all.

Added to this, there were many people frequently complaining on the forums about the difficulty of the essay, research participation availability (which was pretty bad, but if you checked it often enough you were fine) and the exam. Many of these people were using Mypsychlab, possibly the PASS classes as well. I was using neither, found it easy.

Don't get it. Do I just find this stuff easy to understand? Do I have a good general knowledge of it or something, does my brain just click the right way? Or is everybody else just having a rough time? :P I dunno.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A few words of encouragement.

I've been finding myself having more to write than I've had days to write, so I've decided to do Sundays as well, to bring it up to a total of four days a week. So I'll be writing Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Today, I've had a few good words of encouragement. I had a gig today, and I had a few people who were liking what I was playing, so that was good. And I had also ran this song that I had written past one of the guys at church, and he said that he really liked it, which was really great to hear :)

I wrote the song only a couple of nights ago. I wrote it at the same time as another song, so at first, the music I was thinking of for that song was sounding very similar to the other one :P I've had that happen a ew times before, so when that does happen, I just leave it and come back to it later. And I'm really happy with it - I'm really excited about it, actually, I'm thinking about hopefully doing this as a CD at some point. Though that's thinking a fair bit down the track, unless something of a dramatic nature happens soonish...

If you're interested, the lyrics are below, and the video I did to show to the couple of guys that I sent it to is here:

About You
What if we took the religion out of religion
Got rid of any rituals or rites
Stopped waving our own sparkly banners
And started to wave the bloody and torn one of Jesus Christ
What if we put the thanks back into thanksgiving
And put the Christ back in Christmas
Stopped arguing about our differences and disagreements
And started remembering the power of love and forgiveness
What if we started to make it
All about God
All about Jesus
All about love
All about His Kingdom
All about what He's done for us and what He keeps doing
Let's stop talking about ourselves and start talking about Him
What if we shone a light for all the world to see
And sang a song that the whole world could hear
Not just talking about things that might have happened long ago
But doing things now and here
It's all about Him
We want it to be just about Him (x2)
It's all about You
We want it to be just about You (x2)
All about You
All about Your Son
All about Your love
All about Your Kingdom
All about what You've done for us and what You still do
Let's stop talking about ourselves and start talking about You

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Boring religion.

One comment that I've heard from a few different places is that church/Christianity is boring.
If it's the church that people find boring, in some cases, that's a fair enough comment. And that can usually just be solved by looking a round a bit at a few different churches, and you can usually find one that's spicing things up a bit, going a bit more contemporary.

But if people are saying that Christianity is boring, then we need to look into that a bit more. Usually, when people say that, it's because they see Christianity as giving up a lot of the stuff they see as fun - things like drinking, or sex, or even drugs if they're into that. It can be very easy to see Christianity as a long list of "Do-nots".

Two things I think I can say here. Firstly, it is not in the Ten Commandments "Do not drink". Jesus himself famously turned the water into wine, and that at a time when the guests had already had a fair bit to drink. It also does not say "Do not have sex". It says that it's something special that should be saved for your husband/wife. That's hard to do, yes, but all the more special because of it.

Also, I think sometimes people need to reassess what they think of as "fun". Generally, I'd call anything that brings me joy "fun". And I certainly don't have less of that as a Christian, I'd argue. God gives an amazing sense of joy, which can't be matched by other earthly things. The joy of God really is an absolutely amazing thing to experience. Though, admittedly, I can't really compare it to any of the three that I listed before, because I've barely experienced the first, and I haven't done either of the other two. But I'm pretty sure this is a heck of a lot better.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


I have - as of today - completed all required work for this semester for uni, and (to the best of my knowledge) won't be going back to uni again until next semester, a gap of about 6 weeks. I go back on the 1st of August.

It's a slightly bittersweet feeling. I mean, it feels good to have finished all the work and stuff, and know that there's no more of that for awhile. But this also means that, chances are, I won't be seeing my friends for another 6 weeks. We'll probably talk about get-togethers and end up not doing anything. Or other people will but I won't. I hope something will happen, though, cause 6 weeks is a while. Which I'd like to be broken up slightly.

Also, strangely enough, I actually like uni. Really like it. It's just a place where I'm really thriving, I guess, I'm really getting a lot out of it. I enjoy most of what we learn - I'm not going to say I enjoy all of it, cause I don't - but I do find it all pretty interesting, even when I don't find it that enjoyable. And I'm getting heaps of opportunities to create and try new things, which I'm really enjoying. Just today I was having a go at African music, which I've never composed with before, and pretty much only heard in movies or TV. That was fun :D But yeah, I'm really loving uni.

Would it be the same if it were a different course, a different uni, or different people? Different course, possibly - though I've been doing a psychology elective and I'm really enjoying that. Different uni - maybe. I was always attracted to UWS, though, because it was a little smaller, and less theory-based. (Though whether others will agree with me there, I don't know. :P) And the atmosphere as well, I guess. So maybe a different uni I wouldn't like as much. Different people - if it had been different people to start off with, then I would've made friends with them just like I have with these guys. But if you took me away from this bunch of guys now and put me with a different group, yeah, I'd really miss them.

I've made some really good friends there, and it's sad for me to think that in about 1 1/2 years I probably won't see most of them again much, if at all. Partly just cause I'm really bad at that. And I know that cause I've been out of school for about that same time now, and the amount of school people that I've seen since then - that wasn't just by accident or something - I could pretty much count on the fingers of one hand. Hoping that won't happen with these guys though, cause there's some pretty great guys that I know there at uni. (Not just saying that cause there's a couple of them reading my blog, either.) Not that the school guys are any less great, cause they're pretty cool too. (Similarly.) And yeah, think that's about it. Until Saturday, then.

Monday, 13 June 2011


How many of you know people - or even are people - who are just constantly moving? Always about the next thing they need to do, things that need to happen, places they need to be. I'm sure that all of us can think of someone - or see how we can sometimes be like that. Exams and assignments tend to have that effect on most people.

But this isn't good for you. Both physically, and on a lot of other levels as well. You're more grumpy when you're tired, relationships can decline. Mental capacity won't be at its best. Rest is a thing that we need, that our bodies can't function well without. Some of us can do better without actual sleep than others (I regularly go to bed after midnight) but the point still stands. Rest is a vital part of life that should not be missed or deprioritised - otherwise we can easily miss out on some of the good things in life.

Having said this, I will finish up here and head off myself. Night!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Something to live for.

There seems to be a fairly frequent reference in many love songs, poems, movies, whatever, that people would do anything for the person they love, and that this is displayed ultimately by willingly dying for them. Perhaps a well-known example of this today would be the song "Grenade" by Bruno Mars.

But I have to say, I have a problem with this view, and I don't agree. I don't think that dying for someone is the ultimate display of love for them. I actually think that living for them is.

Look at the two for a moment with me.
If you die for someone, chances are, it will be very much spur of the moment; something that you barely think about, it's just the decision of a split second, possibly an impulsive reaction. There are times when this is not the case, and Jesus is certainly the best example of this. Apart from these, though, dying for someone is usually very in the moment.
Living for someone, however, is every moment. It's a constant decision to do the right thing by someone, even when it's hard, even when it hurts, even when they don't.

To me, that seems to be a much bigger statement, and a much more difficult thing to do - generally speaking - than dying for someone. Any thoughts from people here?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Killing time.

I have, as of yesterday, finished all of my assignments, except for a little 1000 word essay that's on my composition. It's pretty good to know that the work's all basically done. But now, as those of you who have been/are at uni know, there is a massive break. I have 6 weeks after this next week until I start up uni again. And I don't have any plans at all. I generally don't, and I end up doing nothing, pretty much.

Hopefully, however, I can manage to be a bit more productive this holidays. What exactly that will amount to, I'm not sure. It could mean getting a job (which would be great, but hard to find a decent one), or spending a bit more time with friends (because, honestly, apart from at church and uni, I don't), or trying to get some of my music out there a bit more (because currently I am nearly unknown outside my family/friends as a musician).

The difficulty, of course, lies in the action, as always. I've always found starting - and actually getting going - the hardest part. Once I've gotten into something, I don't find it too difficult to keep going. Which can be annoying when it comes to trying to lose bad habits, but there you go. I suppose if every dark cloud has a silver lining, so too does each silver cloud have some dark side to it.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Business as usual.

Recently, a couple of things that I've known for a while have made a few changes.

My church has a new senior minister, which is good. And he's changed a few things up a bit; one of the things we used to do in night church was take communion by sitting in a circle together, because we were always a pretty small group. But now, we're back to the seats. It's partly a time decision, partly a numbers decision (because the former is getting precious and the latter is increasing) so it's understandable. As well as this, in the church weekly newsletter now, there's a little economic update on how the church is going, and the new senior minister is regularly encouraging people to give financially to the church, calling it part of their weekly offering to God. Which is right, in a sense, but the way he says it almost makes it sound like an obligation.

There's also a website I've been following that's just had a major overhaul. It's now looking very neat and clean, efficient, new, that sort of thing.

Each of these things, in and of themselves aren't bad; most of them are good things, or are based around good ideas.
The problem lies within this: each of these different things, like clean, efficient, economic, neat, etc, I all associate with business. And I'm afraid, in my mind, business has a heck of a lot of negative baggage that it lugs around. (Which is quite possibly due in no small part to Hollywood, which loves to portray the bad guys as business-like.)

And so I face a thorny issue. These very negative feelings I have about business clash with very positive feelings that I have about both the church I go to and the website.
I actually do a psychology elective, and this has come up in it. However, usually one of the things that clashes is your view of yourself, and it's usually resolved subconsciously. I don't get it that easy. Usually, this is resolved by one of two things: classifying either one as the other (that is, either calling church and the website 'bad' or business 'good', neither of which would sit right with me), or filing those things into a subcategory (that is, filing neat, efficient, economical etc, into a subcategory under 'business' [which has bad connotations] which is labelled 'good business' - but it's still under business, which is still 'bad').

I'm still attempting to figure out a way to reconcile the two ideas. The best idea I've had so far is putting those things into a completely different category, but I don't think it would work. Anyone else got any ideas?

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A somewhat touchy issue for some...

This will be the first in my series of posts that have a go at some common thoughts about the Bible/Christians/God. I'll try and make this a bi-weekly thing, we'll see how we go.

This first one I'm tackling, admittedly, is a bit of a hefty one. There's a - what I would say - fairly common idea that the Bible/God/Christians/all of the above are anti-gay people. And yes, there are verses in the Bible - from Paul, I believe - which certainly don't condone homosexuality. And yes, there are many Christians who will not be very happy with you if you suggest that God loves homosexuals too, ala this comic.

But I'd like to present you with two different ideas that counteract this.

Firstly is an idea that I read in a book called "God, Actually." (As an aside, very interesting read, though a fairly lengthy one.) The author makes the note that, in that day and age, they don't quite understand things like we do now. They didn't realise that homosexuality was something that you were born with, and was a part of someone's identity.
What exactly that amounts to, when it comes to all the Bible being "God-breathed" etc, I'm not sure.

Secondly is a slightly more simple idea. God loves his creation. The Bible says that pretty often; Genesis, right at the beginning, says a fair few times, "And He saw that it was good." Good, by the way, isn't so much how we use it today - that is, just OK. Good was a much higher up word that was used to describe God - similarly to how Jesus said when the man called him 'good teacher': "Why do you call me good? None but God is good."
And we are a part of that creation. Every person, including people that are homosexual. They are no less created by God than you or me. So God most definitely loves all his people, no matter what their anything is.

That's probably more an argument for God not being anti-homosexual than Christians or the Bible, but you would hope that the latter two would reflect the former; that is, after all, part of the idea. How well it is implemented, of course, varies dramatically.
That's me done for today. Until next Monday.

***Additional part: Recent idea I had, looking at a couple of the verses in the Bible that do talk about homosexuality. The common example here, for instance, is Romans 1:26-7. "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error." My emboldening, obviously. I would argue here that the key difference is between lust and love. Here in this passage, it's talking about lust, not love. And I'd agree that if guys/girls that aren't generally homosexual are going into that sort of thing just to satisfy their lusts, that is wrong. But if it's actually love, then I don't think that's wrong, and I don't think that that's what this passage is talking about. I suppose that's my argument there.***

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The most powerful person in the world.

This post follows on a little from the one I wrote a week or so ago about how the circumstances can at times be more of an influence to a result than the person. (Here is that post, if you can't remember it.) Similarly, this post will be talking about influence, but more about how different people can/do influence each other.

Peer pressure, of course, leaps straight to mind. And it's definitely a big influence in the society of today, and probably one of the more recognised. Chances are, if everyone in your group is suddenly listening to rock band A, you'll probably check them out too. If everyone else is saying how bad the government is at the time (and let's face it; whatever government is in at the time, it pretty much will always get bagged out), you'll probably agree.
But there are other influences that are common as well. There's two in particular that I'm going to have a look at: the influence of authority, and the influence of innocence.

The influence of authority is one that's used in ads all the time. "9/10 experts prefer product X." It's a standard. Basically, the idea is, you get someone in who's considered smart, and get them to say whatever - and because they're smart, people will believe them. Of course, this isn't only smart, it's also experienced - getting a Vietnam veteran in an ad against conscription, for example. It's the idea that people will go, "Oh, well they know a heck of a lot better than me, so I'll just go with what they say." It's very common, though it works less and less these days (though that depends on the culture; but again, look at the Australian attitude to politicians and you get what I mean).

The influence of innocence is another one exploited often by ads. Get the cute looking thing in, and they can't say no. It goes back to the title I've got for this post, which is a bit of a personal joke of mine. Most people - I'm guessing - would probably say that the most powerful person in the world is the President of the United States, which is currently Barack Obama. You might disagree, but I'd guess that many people would think that. I'd argue that the most powerful person would actually be his daughter. Because of the influence of innocence - it's very difficult to say no to a little kid. (Depending on how they ask, of course.) And this can of course result, in many cases, with absolutely spoilt kids. Not a good thing. (In the long run.)

So what's the point of this post? Well, I guess that by knowing things like this, you can be more aware, more alert - and so you can be wary of them the next time the ad companies - or whoever else - serve them up to you.