Threee Geniuses

Tonight’s misGuidance Theatre presentation is so trippy, you don’t have to drop LSD to enjoy this.

When I was on summer breaks during college years, I’d watch public access channels for funsies. In the Los Angeles area, we have a crapload of epic weird and cool shows to watch, some of it very racy. One time, my brother would crank call an open line and would do a “Deez Nutz” joke.

But there was this show that was my favorite of all of them, The Threee Geniuses. A bunch of people would futz around with the public access studio equipment and used TV clips and obscure sound effects. I thought I was the only Missouri Synod Lutheran who watched this regularly. Nobody at Irvine or at the Sem have ever watched it, a shame as I want to hang out with such people. (And I want you to watch it with me so I won’t be the only Confessional who contemplates the death and rebirth and re-death of psychedelia.)

Flashback Paper: Why Should the Fluffy Have All the Good Music?

Cleaning out my room, I’ve found this on a forgotten flash drive. It was for the final class I took at Ivy Tech, a college writing class. I thought my AP grade would excuse me from this general requirement. Nope. So I ended up in this class. I was pleasantly surprised at how I enjoyed that class. The prof respected me greatly. I also taught the students a small tip. One day, the prof said to all of us to bring in a trade publication or an academic journal article. Most of the class brought in small articles, 2-5 pages with pictures. Thinking of nothing, I brought in a 25 page article. The students thought I was crazy to bring in a “large” article.

Guys. When you get to a 4 year college, you will be expected to read these articles and use them in papers. By the time you get a Master’s, these articles are a walk in the park.

I would rack up A-grade papers, mainly because of my years of training at Concordia Irvine and at the Sem. I also imported a bit of Confessional Lutheran theology into arts and culture. Here is one paper from this class, entitled “Why Should the Fluffy Have All the Good Music? An Analysis of Contemporary Christian Music.”

Why Should the Fluffy Have All the Good Music? An Analysis of Contemporary Christian Music
Carol Rutz, 2009

The Christian Church is a singing church. It is the Church of King David the Psalmist, Bach, Mendelssohn, Charles Wesley, and Johnny Cash. It is also the Church where Jars of Clay, Amy Grant, and other Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) artists flourish. However, like any form of art, CCM music is subject to review and criticism. Contemporary Christian Music with its cultural isolation, overemphasis on human emotion and light theology, should take steps to become more engaging to the world. A disclaimer: This paper offers a confessional Lutheran viewpoint that is highly liturgical. This differs from the American Evangelical tradition, CCM’s theological roots. Music is a sensitive subject as questioning the content risks offending a variety of people. It is not the intention of this essay to question one’s motivation, dedication and faithfulness to Christ. The question about CCM is not about using language or musical forms that people understand– various churches do incorporate various instruments in their worship. The question is whether popular culture should dictate how artists produce music at the expense of compromising what the Christian Church throughout history believes.

To understand CCM, it is necessary to define it and look into its historical origins. “CCM” is Christian music that runs parallel to various genres of music and adopts current innovations and artistry while carrying a Christian message. Its roots are in the Jesus Movement, a youth-based revival among the hippie subculture of the 60s and 70s. Out of the Jesus Movement spawned various church groups like Calvary Chapel, the charismatic Vineyard churches and Jesus People USA and influenced others like Campus Crusade for Christ and non-denominational churches. CCM is trans-denominational, although it is dominated by the “born-again” evangelicalism inspired by the Jesus Movement. Christians within the movement thought that via rock and folk music, they can reach Vietnam-era alienated youth. They faced challenges such as limited radio coverage and publicity, disapproval and hostility from various Christian organizations, and “technically inferior record production” (Romanowski 103). Over time, CCM became a multi-million dollar industry, with an awards show, magazines, and implemented cutting edge technology.

CCM is a tight-knit enclave that mainly entertains and edifies the converted rather than reaching the unconverted. Peacock (60-65) noted that trend started at the very beginnings when Billy Ray Hearn, under the auspices of the Southern Baptist Convention, created the folk musicals Good News (1967) and Tell It Like It Is (1968). The Baptists’ aim for these albums was to entertain their own youth so that the youth would not turn to the countercultural rock of the Sixties. Although today there are “crossover” bands and secular bands with professed Christian members like Creed, Sixpence None the Richer, P.O.D., and Jars of Clay, the vast majority of CCM bands rarely find Billboard or Grammy-level success because of its emphasis of being apart from the world with its own subculture. One Barna Group survey reported that while 96% of evangelicals listen regularly to Christian music, only 25% of non-Christians expose themselves to Christian media.

Its cultural isolation spawns the attitude that the CCM bands are solely substitutes for Christians so they can not only participate in the commercialized rebellion of rock ‘n’ roll without the sin, but also participate in the consumer culture. That sentiment prevails every time a Christian band gets compared to a secular band. Like drugstore knockoffs of designer perfumes, CCM bands are touted as “safer” alternatives to objectionable secular music. One youth ministry in Troy, Michigan has its own “Alternatives to Secular Music” guide online. The message behind these lists is that if the listeners care enough being a Good Christian, they should support the CCM artists and not the secular bands. The unintended consequence of these lists is that the marks of Christian identity are no longer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and active Christian corporate worship but instead outward consumer consumption of goods from music CDs to themed t-shirts.

Even today, related magazines would review a band, comparing the guitar sounds to secular bands. Here is a sample review for alternative pop CCM duo, Chris and Conrad, written in 2009: “From the first notes of ‘You’re the One,’ the duo bursts out with simple but singable harmonies and lyrics similar to Waller’s vertical-style fare. Next, the techno-flavored ‘Rescue’ boasts a dance beat and enhanced vocals reminiscent of One Republic. Vocally, Chris and Conrad prove quite versatile, with momentary glimpses of The Fray, Goo Goo Dolls and Lifehouse.” Another one for Revive reads: “While chunky guitars a la Third Day are present throughout most songs, Revive is more readily compared to fellow countrymen INXS or Midnight Oil, plus newer secular standouts Glasvegas.” The problem with these comparisons is that CCM bands will be typecasted as analogues (inferior versions) of the secular (real; better) thing.

CCM’s substitutions give a message that their talents are stagnant and years behind the current trends. Note also which secular bands were compared with the CCM bands: INXS, Midnight Oil, and the Goo Goo Dolls were popular in the late 80s and early 90s. To say that Revive is like INXS and Midnight Oil is to say that their newest work sounds like what was popular in the 90s, and to compare Chris and Conrad to the Goo Goo Dolls is to say that their sound is years behind what is trendy in 2009.

Furthermore, the CCM industry prefers that music should be positive and optimistic, even though those outside the subculture do not find it engaging. Peacock (119) recalled one episode of “Seinfeld” when Elaine complained about her boyfriend’s penchant for Christian music. George Constanza’s response: “I like Christian rock. It’s very positive. It’s not like those real musicians who think they’re so cool and hip.” Peacock was not amused. Despite the popular sentiment, the musicians are forced to follow that trite and true pattern and stay the positive course lest they get scathing criticism. Howard and Streck (177) quoted Peter Fuhler of Newsboys: “We’ve definitely done our share of cliché-driven songs…” and noted that Audio Adrenaline described their first albums as “cheerleader music”. That emphasis stifles creativity and ignores the reality of the Christian life—that a Christian, a saint and a sinner at the same time, will experience joys and struggles until his life on Earth ends.

CCM with its short entertaining lyrics provided little information about Christ and too much emphasis on personal emotions. Christian hymns and songs are singable confessions of the Faith. When a congregation sings a song, it is confessing what they believe, teach, confess, and practice. The Christian Church has a Latin saying: Lex orandi, lex credendi: As one practices, one believes. As religious music is heavily marketed and blurred the lines of entertainment and worship, CCM focuses upon the subjective feelings and reactions of man more than the concrete work of Christ. One explanation by Peacock was that the Charismatic movement was heavily involved in CCM, which placed personal experience and private revelation on par with Scripture (44). Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, which is a product of the Jesus Movement, admitted that “a lack of sound Bible teaching” was a weakness of the movement. A Barna Group survey reveals the hazards of novelty: “Overall, nearly half of all worship attenders said that the words in the currently popular praise and worship songs lack the spiritual depth of traditional hymns while three out of ten adults noted that too many new worship songs are introduced into their services.”

To demonstrate the paucity of theological content in these hymns, here is Pastor Todd Wilken’s diagnostic with two popular songs: “I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever” by Delirious? [sic], and “Radiator” by 2009 CCM Magazine Readers’ Choice winner Family Force 5. Wilken, host of the radio talk show Issues Etc., introduced a diagnostic for sermons, hymns and song writing as a way to expose weak theological points. The first question states: “How often is Jesus mentioned? For His purposes, a simple tally will suffice.” This is not a license to produce heavily commercialized “Jesus Per Minute” music so a band gets heavy rotation in Christian radio stations. In fact, the other two questions erases the notion that only mentioning Jesus’ name suffices for good songwriting. The second question asks: “Is Jesus the subject of the verbs? Is Jesus the one who acts, or are you?” The final question is: “What are the verbs? What has Jesus done and what is He doing?”

In “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever”, there is no mention of God or Jesus, although Delirious? used capitalized pronouns and referred to God as “the Healer”. The second Wilken question reveals that the singer—represented by the pronoun “I”– is the subject of most of the verbs: “Over the mountains and the sea,/ Your river runs with love for me,/and I will open up my heart/and let the Healer set me free./ I’m happy to be in the truth,/and I will daily lift my hands:/for I will always sing of when/ Your love came down.” In the third question, those verbs reveal the lack of what Jesus did, except with hazy terms: “Your river runs”, “The Healer set me free” (from what?). Family Force 5’s “Radiator” is like the first song in that Jesus was not mentioned except in third-person pronouns: “Hey You You’re blowing my mind again/Out of my skull, I feel the levitation/I feel my skin crawling up from my soul/I feel Your radiation/I’ll be a radiator just like You/Radiate it on me, burn it all through.” Most of the verbs described what the singer is feeling, and if the third person refers to Jesus, He is “blowing [the singer’s] mind again.” How is Jesus “blowing away” one’s mind? According to singer Nathan “Nadaddy” Currin in an interview on, the lyrics reveal an out-of-body experience, death and the here-after. The listener must provide the meaning of this song instead of the song explicitly teaching what Christ did. Unless one reads an interview, it is unclear whether Family Force was talking about Jesus. Note also the use of “I feel” in both songs (Delirious? : “Oh, I feel like dancing -/it’s foolishness I know”, Family Force 5: “I feel the levitation/I feel my skin…”). Neither song mentioned any Scriptural reference, which makes it unsuitable for worship or catechesis.

What does CCM must do to improve? On the part of the artists, an intense period of personal catechesis and continuing theological education. If a singer wants to sing about Jesus, she must know about Him and His work for mankind. A serious regimen of study can lead to not only theologically rich content, it will also provide creative insights. Another avenue for artists to express creativity is to incorporate older hymns and adapt them to new music for modern styles. Of course, artists must exercise discernment when selecting hymns, as even the seemingly conservative hymnals of yesteryear are guilty of assimilating popular culture of past eras and focusing upon human-centered actions. The Wilken Diagnostic is a good way to gauge and adjust the content of these hymns. This is not to say: Throw away the guitar and keyboard. The use of musical instruments is what theologians call “adiaphora”, indifferent matters that people can disagree. But solid Christocentric doctrine is NOT adiaphora, especially in worship environments. To introduce faddish sound and man-centered lyrics into corporate worship is to strip away the holiness of God, making the Christian life into an exercise of kitsch.

The final suggestion is that the artists should not consider music as Sunday School lessons promoting morality and happy platitudes but creative works of art that can be judged by their own merits. Romanowski in his 2005 essay refers to CCM as “propaganda” with diluted and sanitized musical styles. If CCM artists want the secular world to take their art seriously, they should first meditate upon Huxley (1932): “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” According to Franky Schaffer (113), the whole world belongs to God without any compartments between real life and Christianity. That means that artists should be free to sing about a whole range of topics in a whole range of emotions without adding a gloss of spirituality as an afterthought so the album is easily accepted by the industry. It also means that the “transformational” artists described in Howard and Streck have an idea and vision worth looking at. Brown (147) points out that kitsch is immature, like the mawkish Precious Moments figurines. What CCM need are more maturity and substance, and they are located outside the range of shallow “selling Jesus” pop consumerism.

Works Cited

Argyrakis, Andy. “Revive- Chorus of the Saints: Faith-Affirming Fun from
the Land Down Under.” CCM Magazine. 12 June 2009

Barna Group. “Christian Mass Media Reach More Adults With the Christian
Message Than Do Churches.” 2 July 2002. 13 June 2009
< >

—————-. “Focus On ‘Worship Wars’ Hides The Real Issues Regarding Connection to God.”
19 November 2002. 13 June 2009 < update/85-focus-on-qworship-warsq-hides-the-real-issues-regarding-connection-to-god >

Brown, Frank Burch. Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste:
Aesthetics In Religious Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Cartwright, Grace S. “Chris and Conrad: Smart Debut from Slick Pop Duo.” CCM Magazine. 12 June 2009

Delirious? “I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever.” Cutting Edge. Furious/Sparrow,

DiBlase, John. “Family Force 5 Interview.” 27 July 2008.
14 June 2009 <>.

Family Force 5. “Radiator.” Dance or Die. Tooth and Nail,

Howard, Jay R. and John M. Streck. Apostles of Rock. Lexington:
The University Press of Kentucky, 1999.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York:
Harper & Row, 1932.

Life Christian Church. “Positive Music for Teens Youth – Alternatives to Secular Music.”
12 June 2009 <>.

Peacock, Charlie. At the Crossroads: An Insider’s Look at the Past, Present, and Future
of Contemporary Christian Music. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1999.

Romanowski, William D. “Evangelicals and Popular Music: The Contemporary Music
Industry.” Religion and Popular Culture in America. Ed. Bruce David Forbes.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

Schaffer, Franky. Addicted to Mediocrity: 20th Century Christians and the Arts. Westchester:
Crossway Books, 1981.

Wilken, Todd. Issues Etc. 15 June 2009
< >.

“I will love you today and I will love you tomorrow.”

After posting up the Benny Hill clip, Preggie went to the hospital. He was sleeping for hours and I checked his oxygen. 70%. I called 911 and he was on a BiPAP machine and the folks at Parkview did everything they can to prevent him from drowning due to congestive heart failure. They also found pneumonia and gave him strong antibiotics.

He woke up, but his short-term memory was greatly reduced. He has vascular dementia and due to the various health problems, I was advised to place him in a nursing home. So I did, knowing that he will be in a safer place than home alone while I work.

So now, everyday, I visit Preggie. Wheel him around the facility, getting to know the CNAs and nurses who help him. He now lives in a private apartment, and I put up pictures and diplomas on the walls. I would bring snacks to put into the pantry and cans of Diet Coke for him to enjoy.

January was a hard month for me, with the transitioning, plus a medicine change for me. Olanzapine made me gain 60 pounds and the good shrink and my family doctor figured it’s too dangerous for me to remain. So the shrink placed me on Geodon. BIG MISTAKE. It did not make me feel good. It gave me extrapyramidal effects (aka “the twitchies”) and I felt very fragile. During Symposia, a retired District President noticed that I was not at my best and he prayed for me as I tried not to reduce myself into a weeping puddle. I JUST CAN’T EVEN. So I told the shrink that I need a different medicine. So I was placed on a new generation medicine called Rexulti. The shrink warned me not to drink my usual Rockstar. She was right. Energy. Alertness. 3am, waking up alert. But, the melancholia disappeared. So I coped better with the transition.

My mom came to visit us, and we cleaned up the house of years of clutter. Bags of ill-fitting clothes went to the Salvation Army. Old junk was tossed out. The fridge and pantry was cleaned out and I got new food to replace old products. My bedroom has changed. A twin bed in place of a queen-sized bed, my makeup table, and a bookcase. My office will be my parents’ bedroom. They will stay with me.

During this time, was I angry at God over all this? Believe it or not, NO. Not pissed off at Him at all. You see, Wayne smoked for decades, from his college years on. Preggie brought it all to himself. He was addicted to these cigarettes. There is a visible cause-and-effect, it was not an “Act of God.” I made sure that Preggie and I get spiritual care during all of this. I arranged for the pastor to give Preggie the Sacrament weekly. Now that I wake up early, I attend early morning church and I too receive the Sacrament. I would listen to Pirate Christian Radio and Issues Etc. I love listening to people shredding Theology of Glory hucksters and pious claptrap from the dominant Protestant culture. Confessional Lutheranism is my last stop. I cannot go to other places, can’t go home to Rome, can’t swim the Bosphorus to Constantinople, can’t stroll to Azusa Street, and certainly I can’t be an atheist.

I also got a new job. Yesterday was my last day at the Kroger Marketplace at Coventry. I was an event specialist, a sample lady. But I need to be closer to Preggie and needed regular hours. So now, I will work as a hostess at Voodoo BBQ inside the Winner’s Circle Brewpub and off-track racing. I need a high energy environment. I got to know my new coworkers and regulars who would follow simulcasts and betting on stakes and maiden races. I immediately had a crash course in horse racing. I subscribed to the Daily Racing Form’s online site, learning to read stats and past performances. I’m learning about the progeny of Tapit and Mr Prospector and Storm Cat. I’m learning which jockeys at certain parks are good performers. In a few days, the folks at Hoosier Park will train me and other new workers at their casino in Anderson, then various test runs back in New Haven. I am very excited about my new job.

I told people to pray for us and to check up on me regularly. And during all of this, I hold my Preggie’s hand and we tell each other “I love you.” I hope we continue to say this to each other as much as possible, as long as possible.

Childhood Hero: Benny Hill

Technically, it’s another installment of MisGuidance Theatre, but this is not a silly educational film. It’s much more saucy and amusing.

My dad used to work at a restaurant and when he’s done, it’s about 10pm. Every Saturday, he’d bring home breadsticks and we’d watch Benny Hill on KCOP. We laughed and I was amused at the fast forward sketches and choppy editing. My dad would slap my head like Benny would to Jackie Wright (aka the short bald man). Here is an odd mix: a devout Catholic (later “Born Again Christian”) enjoying the art of the single entendre. When the Thames ident comes on, it’s a signal that it’s gonna be a great show. In fact, whenever I hear the Thames ident, I would run to the source and hope the show is worth watching.

I would catch Benny Hill whenever I can, and I was sad when network television stopped showing the episodes. One day, I was looking through the TV Guide and I thought it said “Benny Hill.” Then I tuned it and it was Benny Hinn. Hill was much more entertaining. You seen the Hill’s Angels? When I saw In Living Color, I said to my family that the Hill’s Angels were the original Fly Girls.

I was thrilled to learn that he was featured on Comedy Central in the early morning, so I would watch it in the morning during vacation. So, one Sunday, I programmed the VCR so it can record the show and I slept in the living room instead of my room. Several hours later, there was an earthquake and I was safe. It was the Northridge Earthquake of 1994. When we were cleared to enter the apartment, I noticed that there were broken glass on my bed. So I credited Benny Hill for avoiding injury.

Here is a very funny clip, a “How Not To” guide on making movies, with real bad editing and continuity errors. It’s funnier than Manos: The Hands of Fate. Here it is, “The Police Raid in Waterloo Station”.

Detailed look at Chanel’s LA Sunrise

As I promised, I came back to Von Maur. The Beverly Hills quad has not arrived, maybe for a few weeks. Will call or visit another store next month.

I’ve posted up a synth track by Midnight Driver. You should press play and enjoy “Laser” while you are looking at these pictures. This collection has that 80s vibe.

The display for LA Sunrise. Missing: Le Vernis Nail Gloss in 684 Sunrise Trip. I got the last one. Von Maur in Fort Wayne received only three.

Posted by Carol Rutz on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Sunkiss Ribbon with Tissé Camélia. Beverly Hills has not yet arrived. From what I heard, the shortage is all over.

Posted by Carol Rutz on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Combined swatch of Sunkiss Ribbon above, and individual colors below.

Posted by Carol Rutz on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Rouge Coco Shine in Mighty, Energy, and Shipshape.

Posted by Carol Rutz on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Illusion d'Ombre in Moonlight Pink, Ocean Light, and Griffith Green.

Posted by Carol Rutz on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Stylo Yeux in Purple Choc, Fervent Blue, and Pacific Green. Looks like Ardent Purple has not yet arrived.

Posted by Carol Rutz on Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Chanel LA Sunrise Mini Haul (Spring 2016)

Short post, want to cover this in further detail.

Got a phone call from Von Maur a few days ago that Chanel’s LA Sunrise collection came in. I went tonight and all except the Beverly Hills eyeshadow quad is available. They might get it tomorrow, so I’ll be going there for full pictures of everything else. I bought Sunrise Trip Nail Gloss and Rouge Coco Shine in Energy. In the meantime, here are the pics of possibly an early leak. I’ve look at other sites and nope, not in the wild. Saks and Neiman Marcus are currently promoting the Vamp Attitude collection.

Von Maur on Jefferson Pointe has most of Chanel's Spring 2016 makeup collection. I bought Sunrise Trip nail polish.

Posted by Carol Rutz on Monday, 21 December 2015

Rouge Coco Shine in Energy. Chanel Spring 2016 LA Sunrise collection.

Posted by Carol Rutz on Monday, 21 December 2015

Hair Ties and one reason I won’t use them.

My hair is short, coarse and thick. To keep my hair long is a task I’m too busy to maintain. So I don’t buy these ribbon hair ties at Ulta.

I’m more fascinated at this one story from Kentucky, in which a woman had a wicked skin infection because the hair tie she wore harbored bacteria which went into her wrist. When I saw the warning about graphic material, I thought “This is Pop That Zit material!” And I was not disappointed. Three types of bacteria! A huge hole in her skin!

From what I learned in school over the years, we harbor bacteria, good and bad. Our skin is the first defense in protection. Despite our ample use of Purell, we think we can keep the creepy crawlies out. We couldn’t, especially with our hair! Ms Kopp mentioned that she used a glitter hair tie. It must be some fabric-like material. The minute beings would get stuck in the fabric. And I bet the metallic bits in the hair tie made very small abrasions on her skin. It reminded me of warnings to athletes to be mindful of cuts and scrapes during workouts.

Too bad we are unable to obtain video of the drainage.

Song of the Moment: Jon of the Shred’s Manhunt: A Last Stand

I have been listening to Synthetix.FM’s podcast and I found this track from a horrorcore/synthwave performer. This is from a concept album The Spectre City Slasher, about a serial killer being cast out from a dystopian city and into a cannibal-infested desert.

I enjoyed Track 7 the best. I thought a certain part (from 1:23) was perfect for RPGs and feats of badassery. (Maybe background music for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, if you are a Pre-Mil Dispie.) Or probably good for a procession for a triumphant nobleman with heavy Machiavellian tendencies. I dare you to listen to this album, and CRANK IT UP when Track 7 comes up.

Makeup Fukubukuro!!!!


Sometimes, I would buy a mystery bag of something. It’s hit or miss but it’s enjoyable to guess what I will get. One year, I got almond-colored caulk from the hardware store. Another time, I got 500 floppy disks (which I dropped off at the computer lab at Ivy Tech, and giggled when the profs wondered what the frell does a box of 500 floppy disks has shown up out of nowhere). And if I go to a place where Sanrio has a shop, I always buy their grab bags. To this day, I drink coffee from a blue Hello Kitty mug.

So here I am in the Hoosier State, with no Sanrio in sight. Woot crashes on my browser when their Bag of Crap is offered, and I am really not interested in almond caulk.

This year, the guys and gals of Beautylish has something for me.

For 75 bux, I bought a lucky bag of makeup. I was glad to see past pics from fortunate customers. They got Z Palettes and Lit glitter and that thing in which streaks your hair an unnatural color. Some even have a Wayne Goss brush.

Watch this blog so I can post pics of this year’s Bold Lucky Bag!

Friend of the Predigtamt