GOD ETERNAL

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trinity

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. — Psalm 90:1-2

How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation. — Daniel 4:3

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. — 1 Timothy 1:17

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive yout your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’ — Deuteronomy 33:27

But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. — Psalm 102:12

But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. — Jeremiah 10:10

But you remain the same, and your years will never end. — Psalm 102:27

366 DAYS OF METAL: “Born Dead” (Death)

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On Evangelicals and Dr. King

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mlk

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Nearly 60 years since his tragic death, and the man is still managing to stir the souls of many, and evoking many emotions in the hearts of Americans today. In observance of the man, I present to you an articles from the Internet Monk site, written by the late Michael Spencer in 2007, concerning the attitude of the Evangelical church toward Dr. King:

I don’t like the ambiguity of evangelicals toward Dr. King. If I preach about Dr. King, I can already tell you about the letters and comments. It’s even worse in the blogosphere. The venom and hatred of Dr. King is of a kind I haven’t encountered about any public figure. It goes beyond personal. Somewhere, it touches the fact that many evangelicals are committed to a kind of white flight, practical apartheid that lets the occasional minority preach or sing, but still wants an all white suburban private school so our kids can become “leaders.”

I know all the facts. Plagarizer. Theological liberal. Adulterer. I know that many Christians to this day feel he was out of line to provoke reaction. (Clarence Jordan of Koinonia Farm opposed public marches, even as his ministry was persecuted for integration.) When he’s mentioned by preachers and invoked by Bono, I can feel the shift in the room.

King wasn’t a saint on the level of perfection. He was flawed like David, and used by God anyway. I have read his sermons many times. They are hardly orthodox in some ways, but they have an incredible appreciation of Jesus in others. While some evangelicals will spend the day linking his college and seminary papers as evidence of his apostasy, I’ll be grateful no one can find my college and seminary work. Good grief.

We ought to be glad King’s vision was of the peace of Christ and treating people as the images of God. We should thank God he was willing to suffer, be bold and go to the cross. We should see him as an American martyr and thank God for his faith, Christ’s power in his life and his love for all persons, especially his enemies. We can learn a lot from him and we should embrace him.

Instead, evangelicals will be of split mind and some will make it their business to run down the great man as some expression of service to God. Weird. Here’s one time we can tell the culture to look at a flawed person and see the grace and power of God, and we won’t. I guess he’s not Pat Robertson. That’s right. He’s not. Look at all the orthodox evangelicals have done for racial justice. ***crickets***

In his day, King said the church- the moderate, white church- was his greatest disappointment. Progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go. Some evangelicals won’t learn from anyone that isn’t one of their “kind.” That’s their loss, and a poor witness.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the man and the day. I celebrate it. I pray for its genuine influence in our country. But we haven’t done so well with it, and I pray we can do better.

[If you want to celebrate the day, the Dream Speech is fine, but if you haven’t read Letter From Birmingham Jail, you don’t know why Dr. King is so relevant and important for Christians today.]

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In Memoriam: BRIAN HEALY

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brian healy
Yesterday evening, on January 13th, after getting back from work, I discovered via my Facebook news feed, that Brian Healy had died January 12 from a brain hemorrhage.

Brian Healy, among other things, was the man behind the highly influential band Dead Artist Syndrome. He was instrumental in bringing the alternative styles of Goth rock and post-punk to the Christian music industry, along with contemporaries L. S. Underground, The 77s, Undercover and The Choir, among others.

His debut album, Prints Of Darkness, is a classic of the genre, and is one of the albums that have gotten me through some rather dark times in the past, and probably more in the future.

I was very fortunate to catch his D.A.S. set at Cornerstone 2002, along with Nex and my cousin Erick. He was a fantastic performer. I remember picking up his post-hiatus album Jesus Wants You To Buy This Record and playing it multiple times at the fest on my personal player. “In Your Hands” is one of the best Gothic worship songs that most churches will never know about because it wasn’t penned by Hillsong or whatever is big.

Brian Healy was dubbed “the father of Christian Goth” by Rozz Williams himself. Without him, we would probably never have had Saviour Machine, the Asylum Tent ministries, or even the underground Xian Goth community to begin with.

I am still trying to process the loss of this man. He will be missed greatly, not only his music, but his twisted sense of humor put forth in his Facebook posts that end up on my feed. His openness with his fans and friends.

I shall share with you some of my favorite Dead Artist Syndrome songs. Rest in peace, sir, and see you soon.

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OBLIGATORY YEAR-END POST: 2019 Edition

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NecRoSarX Chronicles Header
2019-2020
So, here we are, the end of not only another year, but another decade. They seem to go by so fast now, especially after I’ve made it over the hill, so to speak. May have something to do with the downhill momentum. Or something like that.
never mind
In case you’re wondering if I’m going to do that thing everyone’s doing on social media where they post a picture of themselves ten years ago, and one of them now, no. I’m not doing that. For one thing, I don’t have any pictures of me back that far (I’m not a picture person, though I’m sure someone from my family or friends have one), and really there’s no need to compare how I am now versus where I was ten years ago. Let’s just say, I’m not the same person I was ten years ago. Heck, I’m not even the same person I was five years ago. Or even a year ago, one could argue. Though some similarities remain from then. Ergo, the year end review. Because nobody demanded it.
new years resolution
I began the Year of Our Lord, Twenty-Nineteen, on a generally cautious optimistic mood: I had been back at work since the day after Christmas 2018 after several months on long-term disability due to a medical procedure needed done on my right foot. I spent New Years Eve like I normally do, by picking up the Admiral’s Feast from Red Lobster for takeout after work, then slapping it into “B” for “Boogie” and split back to my domicile at the Haunted Victorian to eat my seafood feast and call it a year in the peaceful dark solitude, far away from the crowds and drunken idiots on the streets.
darknoodle star wars fan
I had taken all of the music reviews and band-related interviews from this normal blog of mine (the one you’re reading) and posted them on the NECRO SHOCK RADIO blog. It seemed a better fit. From then on out, any music review and/or interview would be first posted there. In case you were wondering where all of them went to.
pearls before swine generation gap
Over the year, I watched a bunch of movies, either in the theater with the Exalted Geeks, or on streaming devices, or otherwise. Most of them I wrote a review for and posted. Others I recorded episodes of the newly-christened Movies+Beer Pubcast. Some still need to have a review written. I’m getting to those.
eek brain heart eyes
Also over the year, I read a bunch of books, mostly on the Kindle, some actual physical books. Some I’ve written reviews of already, some need reviews done. I’m getting to those as well.

I dreamed of eating kale. That was weird.

I took the entire season of Lent not posting any movie and book reviews, and focusing on study of the Scriptures and meditating on the purpose of the liturgical season. A vow I apparently broke in April. Me so holy.

The dream of the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock died a horrible death before it could happen. Make your own application.
Baby-Yoda-With-His-Little-Cup-Is-All-of-Us
In December of 2018, I bought an Audio-Technica AT-LP60-BK turntable, so this past year has been big on me collecting vinyl records to use on it. It’s a very satisfying, if a bit expensive, hobby. Nowadays, I’m usually just buying a download of the MP3 of an album; if I want a physical copy, I check to see if it’s available on vinyl, or nothing at all. I suspect I shall be continuing this hobby in the years to come. Consequently, a new series on my blog grew out of this: Vinyl Confessions. My only regret is not getting the model that has a USB connector for easier playing through my laptop.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO is still a thing. I just haven’t been able to coordinate any further shows in the past few months that I’ve been relatively absent from the blog. And since we’re at this point…
a novel in french
On June 1st, I was readmitted back into the hospital, due to what ended up being the stints in my right leg’s artery failing miserably. This resulted in needing an arterial bypass on my leg, as well as 1/4 of my right foot amputated due to gangrene. Spent over a week in the hospital after the operations, learning a brand new definition of pain and suffering while trying to use the bathroom with even a smattering of self-respect. Since getting discharged, I’ve spent the rest of the year (as of this writing) recuperating at my parent’s homestead, my mother taking care of the daily bandage changes on my foot while it slowly heals. Meanwhile I’m focusing on my health, and trying to keep the crushing darkness and loneliness from suffocating me.
alice cooper steve carrell marijuanas
On the plus side, my eyesight was steadily getting worse and worse since last year, due to rapidly worsening cataracts that were detected in August of 2018. That’s not the “plus side” thing. That would be, since I was out with a bum leg and foot anyway, I decided it was a good time to get the eyes taken care of. At that time, I couldn’t see very well, even with glasses. It was like looking at the world with a thick film of Vaseline smeared over my eyeballs. So, I went in for the Lasik surgery. I’m glad I did, it was the best decision I made this year, bar none.
eyeball
That said, these past six months have been a constant, almost non-stop struggle against severe depression, suicide, bitterness, loneliness and feelings of abandonment and betrayal, with very few bright spots along the way. To quote Grave Robber, I struggle to believe that faith hope and love remain.

As we enter a new year and a new decade, I find myself in a pitch-dark place. I entered the year with cautious optimism; I end it unsure of the future, and not able to trust and believe anything from those I call friends. I wait for the other shoe to drop, to find myself once again without a church family. I don’t regret being honest and up-front about my struggles with mental illness; I regret having expected any other kind of reaction than the one I got. I only have myself to blame for all this.

I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.
garfield new years eve
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an Admiral’s Feast to pick up, before the drunken revelry gets too unruly. Until next year, I remain your humble servant Uncle NecRo. God bless, my wonderful freaks.

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Confessions Of A Depressed Christian: DEPRESSION, CHRISTMAS, & STAR WARS

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charlie brown christmas depressedI will confess that, like many other children, I used to love the Christmas season. There was always something magical about the time, something in the air. The world just seemed to be brighter, shinier and lit up, somehow. I was probably what you would call a Spirit of Christmas Junkie, come to think of it. The build-up to the big day, Christmas Day, then the inevitable After Christmas Depression that would come over, a malaise that hits and stays with until after the first of January and everything gets back to the standard day-to-day mundane existence of it all.

I haven’t been excited about Christmas for years, now. I do recall the exact last time I was actually jazzed about celebrating the season: 2013, and that was because my betrothed at the time had an enthusiasm that was downright infectious. No need to retell the tale of how that ended up. Needless to say, it’s almost like the depression I suffer from has intensified since then, over five years ago as I write this.

Now, the act of gathering with what’s left of the family seems merely perfunctory, going-through-the-motions kind of celebrations. I still have times, often out of nowhere, where a wave of grief and sadness and shock will hit me. It’s the nature of the condition. And starting right after Halloween, the closer we get to Christmas, the more and more I can feel this dark time close in on me.

I’m not writing this to elicit sympathy. I simply want to share what I go through each Christmas, and despite the loneliness, the despair and darkness of the time, why I still celebrate Christmas. What Christmas really means to me.

First, it means that my pain and suffering are not unknown to God. Instead, they are shared by God. He is not the absent God of the deists, or the remote God of Aristotle. Nor is He only the moral/creator God of the Old Testament. He is a God who has chosen to walk among us, to get down into the messy, dirty and broken world of our humanity.

At the tomb of his friend, Jesus wept. Not perfunctory tears, but tears of great grief. Even though he knew before he got there that Lazarus was dead, he wept. Even though He knew he would in a few minutes raise Lazarus from the dead, he wept. Even though he knew that Mary and Martha’s tears of grief would soon turn to tears of joy and shouts of thanks, he wept. Even though he knew all would eventually be made right, Jesus wept.

The incarnation means to me, in a deeper way than I had experienced before, that God’s heart beats with love and sympathy for the losses of my life. But even more than this, Christmas is also precious to me because it tells me that the worst thing is not the last thing. Jesus came, not only to share our sorrows, but to redeem them. And to give the hope of the resurrection. The hope that pain and suffering and loss are not random, not pointless, not the hand of impersonal fate. And definitely not the end of the story.

Let’s pretend that there exists someone who only has seen one Star Wars movie: The Empire Strikes Back. For whatever reason, this is the only one they’ve seen, and are unaware that this is merely the second part of a continuous story that began with A New Hope and concluded with Return Of The Jedi*. This person would probably conclude that the story, although powerful and profound, is pessimistic and somewhat sad; so much is still wrong, so many sacrifices wasted on nothing, so much evil still holding sway.

This is where we are at right now. At this point, we are still living in the middle of a bigger story arc. But Jesus has come, and told us that the future volumes are already written, that evil and death and suffering are not the final word, that sacrifice is not in vain, that pain has a purpose. That death is not eternal. For the Author has stepped into the story, to make all things right, in their time.

This is what I believe. This is why I still hold Christmas as a time for hope and joy, despite of what my chemical imbalance and circumstances tell me. The hands of the King are hands of healing and redemption. Suffering and separation are not forever; pain is not the final word. Death itself will die, and resurrection will rule.

The worst thing is not the last thing. This is what Christmas means to me.

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[*=I‘m only going with the Original Saga here, as an example; let’s not get pedantic with the comments, here]

T’was the Day After Xmas…

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boxing day
Gift Return Day. Known in the UK as Boxing Day. Time to take the things that we got and exchange them for the things we wanted, regardless of the thought that counts.

What follows is a post that a friend on Facebook made this mourning, and I felt it was good enough to steal for the blog:

Christmas is over. What difference did it make? Were you happy with what you got? Were the recipients of your gifts pleased? What difference does it make?

Is your life full today, as it felt yesterday? If not…then it made no difference.

If you are suffering from Post-Christmas Depression, maybe you forgot, didn’t know, or don’t believe in the reason for much of how the American Christmas tradition looks and feels. It means you haven’t gotten the greatest Christmas gift of all. The gift of God’s presence in your inmost being.

Christmas can truly be every day of the year, if you understand and accept the Gospel of Jesus, that he is God in the flesh, come to earth, died on a cross as atonement for your sin (for my sin as well), thta you might be forgiven, and know God intimately. That you might become a son or daughter of the King of all eternity.

Without Jesus, Christmas is, was, and will be little more than self-gratifying emptiness that leaves you void the next day.
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