In October 2014, Oren Yakobovich made it very clear to the world that dark secrets are becoming much harder to keep. He gave a TED Talk explaining how the use of hidden cameras is making it much easier for exploited people to get their story told. He began with the story of Mary, a woman from a small village in Africa who used a camera hidden in her dress to showcase the violence and intimidation used to sway local elections. Before such technology was available to exploited people, militia were forcing people from their homes, murdering innocent people, and abusing their power in unspeakable ways. Mary got her video into the right hands, and it was broadcast all over the world, including back to her community. This changed things because it made the perpetrators realize that they were not invulnerable and that they would be brought to Justice. This was made possible through organizations such as Videre.
Videre as an organization that Yakobovich started along with Uri Fruchtmann. They work with exploited communities to get them the technology they need, and then to broadcast what they film to the world. In hist talk, Yakobovich explains that it is very important for the people to film these things instead of professional reporters because it has a higher impact on the world. It gives these people the sense that they have the power to make change, and it makes those who are in power think twice before continuing perpetrating injustice.
Yakobovich also shows some of the technology that is being used to make this process possible, and it is truly amazing. He explains that the kind of camera Mary was using is tiny and literally blends into its surroundings so that it is almost undetectable. However, there is more involved with this process than simply providing people with cameras. He explains that there is a lot of planning involved. Before any filming even takes place, the organization works with the camera person to come up with a backup plan if something goes wrong. Furthermore, there is a specific process through which video has to be verified. The credibility of these kinds of videos is extremely important in the cause for justice.
Yakobovich was inspired to on this project as a result of his service in the Israeli army. He saw what the Israeli army and police were doing to the resident Palestinians in the West Bank, and was shocked and dismayed. In fact, his work in this area started right at home. He eventually refused to serve in the West Bank and had to spend time in jail because of it.
The link to the original talk and transcript is here:
Something that has come up a lot lately in my classes is the issue of using “Christianese.” If you don’t know, “Christianese” is basically a way of describing all the cliche words and expressions that Christians use in writing, song lyrics and even just in speaking sometimes. For example, a lot of contemporary worship music all sounds the same. It all has imagery of mountains and valleys and God calming the seas. I think people are just afraid to get away from Biblical language in worship. The problem this creates is that no one who hasn’t grown up using that kind of language and listening to that kind of music is going to have a very difficult time relating. Furthermore, people generally don’t tolerate cliches in “secular” music and I don’t think we should tolerate it in worship. To me it feels like taking the easy way out. It makes it feel too routine and practiced and less genuine.
Something else that came up in my “Music in Worship” class is the idea of using secular music to worship. I am of the opinion that we can use secular music and even instrumental music if it helps us feel a spiritual connection. I am also a fan of metaphor and allegory in worship music. I like artists that are what I call “sneaky-sneaky.” I think the best kinds of worship songs are one’s that could be passed by as secular if you weren’t paying attention.
Some great examples are:
I’ll admit the Tenth Ave song is a little less subtle, but it’s different than a lot of Christian songs, which is why I like it.
I like the Andy Timons tune because it technically has nothing to do with grace or love or sacrifice, but it sounds happy and it makes me think of freedom and forgiveness in a way. It makes one feel like there’s been something difficult to overcome and it has been overcome. It isn’t cliche, which I think makes worshiping to something like this more genuine.
Also, just for the record, I know nothing about Andy Timons. I just heard this on Pandora and liked it, so I bought it on iTunes. It may have been his intention to do a sneaky-sneaky worship tune for all I know.
Something else that came up in my class is whether using or misusing Christianese is a moral issue. I’m still not entirely sure what that means, but I feel that it is generally better to be original in worship. The only foreseeable problem is that there should also be unity which means singing and playing songs that everyone knows. I think the best thing to do is to keep creating new music and teaching it to people so that everyone will constantly be able to express their faith in new ways and change as the world changes and as God changes. People don’t stay the same and God certainly doesn’t stay the same, so neither should the music that connects us.
Well guys, It’s almost Friday! I thought I’d post a few music videos that were happy and Friday-ish. Music is universal and heals all wounds.
Check out this fantastic display of musical joy!
I also thought I’d share this song because I found it pretty helpful when I was feeling down, and maybe somebody whose week is dragging will find it helpful too.
Finally, I thought I’d just share one of my all time favorite songs because it makes me happy!