FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 3 PAUL GAUGUIN’S 3 QUESTIONS: “Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going? and his conclusion was a suicide attempt” (Feature on artist Mike Kelley Part A)

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#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

The clip above is from episode 9 THE AGE OF PERSONAL PEACE AND AFFLUENCE

10 Worldview and Truth

In above clip Schaeffer quotes Paul’s speech in Greece from Romans 1 (from Episode FINAL CHOICES)

Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100

A Christian Manifesto Francis Schaeffer

Published on Dec 18, 2012

A video important to today. The man was very wise in the ways of God. And of government. Hope you enjoy a good solis teaching from the past. The truth never gets old.

 

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer examines the Age of Non-Reason and he mentions the work of Paul Gauguin.

paul gauguin march 1891 ,

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin was born in Paris, France, on June 7, 1848, to a French father, a journalist from Orléans, and a mother of Spanish Peruvian descent. When Paul was three his parents sailed for Lima, Peru, after the victory of Louis Napoleon (1769–1821). His father died during the trip. Gauguin and his mother remained in Lima for four years. There the young Gauguin lived a comfortable life. Gauguin then returned to Orléans, and eventually found his way back to Paris.

Below is from an article by Brian Thomas and is based on Francis Schaeffer’s film series “How should we then live?” In this article you will see some of the thoughts that the artist Paul Gauguin had before deciding to attempt to commit suicide.

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Gauguin as an artist strived to give his work a more human touch, expressing feelings and knowledge and human reactions to the realities of life, while at the same time freeing himself as an artist to express color and design boldly, overcoming the narrowness of merely copying what the eye can register as the Impressionists painted. In an attempt to obtain his goal of “regaining humanity,” as he called it, he moved to Tahiti in 1891. It was here that he painted his greatest work in 1897: Whence? What? Whither?

During the course of 1897 Gauguin referred increasingly to his own death, alluding to suicide in letters and his journal. In the autumn he noted that “The artist dies, his heirs make a grab for his works, sort out the copyright, his estate, and whatever else there might be to do. Now he has been stripped to the bone. I think about these things, and am going to strip myself first: it gives me a sense of relief.”

As Gauguin contemplated taking his own life he set out to create a painting that would leave a lasting legacy of his faith, worldview, artistic insight and intentions by asking three metaphysical questions: Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going?


In a letter to friend Daniel de Monfreid, he describes the painting as a “philosophical work” which could be compared to the Gospels. We must read the work, he said, from right to left and interprets it as such:

“In the bottom right-hand corner there is a sleeping child, then three covering women. Two figures dressed in purple are deep in conversation. A crouching figure, which defies perspective, and is meant to do so, looks very large. This figure is raising its arm and looking in astonishment at the two women who dare to think about their own fate. The central figure is picking fruit from a tree. Two cats by a child…a white goat. The idol is raising both its arms with rhythmic energy and seems to be pointing to somewhere beyond here. A covering girl appears to be listening to the idol. An old woman, close to the end of life, completes the circle. She is ready to accept her fate. At her feet a strange, white bird with a lizard in its talons symbolizes the futility of empty words…”

Where do we come from? A baby lies next to some young women as the source of life. What are we? A woman stands reaching for the apple, a probable reference to Eve in the garden and man’s fall into sin and ruin. Where are we going? From right to left we see the process of ageing taking place culminating in an old woman, “ready to accept her fate.” Art historian H.R. Rookmaaker suggests that in the background “mysterious figures, in sad colors, standing near the tree of knowledge, are sad as a result of that knowledge.”

It is interesting to note that a few days after completing this work, Gauguin went off into the woods and swallowed a large amount of arsenic. But his body rejected it and he was unable to keep the poison down.

I give this example to show how form and content can beautifully integrate in such a way as to make the work a more powerful vehicle of expression. It should be obvious to the reader by now that I do not share Gauguin’s unfortunate outlook on life, but as an artist and a Christian, I appreciate the thought and purpose behind his masterpiece. Both the aesthetic quality and intellectual content marry to form an important and thought-provoking piece of art. The creators of the religious kitsch that line the shelves at your local happy Christian bookstore could learn much from the serious attention Gauguin put into his work.

As Schaeffer was quick to warn, we should not judge art by this criterion alone, but view all works of art by its technique, validity, worldview, and suiting of form to content to gain a deeper understanding, appreciation, and true evaluation.

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If we live in a futile existence is our only logical choice a suicide attempt? It seems that more and more artists are telling us that we live in a chance universe and there is no future for us. Didn’t Jackson Pollock also attempt to display that?(This can be seen clearly in episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation” in How Should we then live?) How do secular people answer these 3 questions:  Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going?

The Best Art References in Woody Allen FilmsImage via Complex / APJAC Productions

Film: Play It Again, Sam (1972)

In 1972’s Play It Again, Sam, Allen plays a film critic trying to get over his wife’s leaving him by dating again. In one scene, Allen tries to pick up a depressive woman in front of the early Jackson Pollock work. This painting, because of its elusive title, has been the subject of much debate as to what it portrays. This makes for a nifty gag when Allen strolls up and asks the suicidal belle, “What does it say to you?”

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Woody Allen in Play It Again Sam

Uploaded on May 20, 2009

Scene from ‘Play it Again Sam’ (1972)

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Allan: That’s quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn’t it?

Museum Girl: Yes, it is.

Allan: What does it say to you?

Museum Girl: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos.

Allan: What are you doing Saturday night?

Museum Girl: Committing suicide.

Allan: What about Friday night?

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Guardians of the Secret

1943

painting | oil on canvas

The SFMOMA building is closed for expansion. Many of the works in our collection are on view at other institutions as part of our On the Go program.
  • Guardians of the Secret

    Jackson Pollock, Guardians of the Secret, 1943; oil on canvas, 48 3/8 in. x 75 3/8 in. (122.89 cm x 191.47 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Albert M. Bender Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund purchase; © Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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I have spent a lot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of his own secular view. I salute him for doing that. That is why I have returned to his work over and over and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative. Over and over Woody Allen has answered these 3 questions in his films: Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going?

Woody Allen has said on several occasions that he laughs at his fate when he truly feels like crying. In the film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE episode “The Age of Non Reason ”  we see modern humanist man act on his belief that we live in a closed system that was produced by chance with no God. Therefore, man’s only alternative is to look to chance and non reason for our search for meaning in life and for moral guidance. Schaeffer rightly points out that without the hope of finding the answer to moral questions or a hope of purpose, secular man turned to the area of non reason and he opens this episode with a discussion on Paul Gauguin and his attempt at suicide. Below is an article by Mark Beuving that quotes from Schaeffer’s “Age of Non reason” episode.

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

What Art Can’t Do

Mark Beuving —  January 24, 2012
Leonardo Da Vinci was brilliant. And not just in one area. He showed great skill in chemistry, music, architecture, anatomy, engineering, etc. Yet as he explored the world in an effort to find meaning, he realized that meaning would not be discovered through the sciences. You simply cannot begin with the individual things of this world and derive meaning through examining them. (This is a concept I explored in a previous post: What Science Can’t Do.)Realizing that finding meaning through science was futile, Da Vinci set out to find it through art. He had hopes of painting the soul or essence of man. Of course he failed. But Da Vinci is not alone in thinking that meaning can be found through the arts. If we can’t find meaning through the sciences, perhaps the poets, painters, and musicians of this world can point us toward the meaning of life.

Whence Come We? What Are We? Whither Do We Go? by Paul Gauguin (1897-1898)The French painter Paul Gauguin’s search for meaning culminated in his paintingWhence Come We? What Are We? Whither Do We Go? (1897-1898). But as we know, these important questions could not be answered through art. He writes about the painting:

“Whither? Close to the death of an old woman, a strange stupid bird concludes: What? O sorrow, thou art my master. Fate how cruel thou art, and always vanquished. I revolt.” (Cited by Francis Schaeffer in How Should We Then Live?)

Meaning is elusive, but only if we are looking for it in the wrong places.

Meaning is closely related to art. There is an important link between the two. Art is mankind’s constant wrestling with meaning. We find our existence and experience with the world intriguing, so we create works of art—works that go beyond propositions and rationality—in an attempt to identify and record the significance of life.

Art wrestles with meaning and can be a powerful means of communicating meaning. In fact, much of God’s revelation to us in the Bible is encapsulated in beautiful and complex forms of literary art. But art alone can never create meaning. It can present it, challenge it, illuminate it, etc., but art can never produce the meaning we are searching for. Many artists over the years have looked to their art to give them meaning. Some have thought that the meaning won’t be found in the artistic objects themselves, but in the very process of creating art. Either way, art simply cannot do what these romantic minds have hoped it would.

We misuse art when we try to pull ultimate meaning out of it. The best art is a response to the meaning that has been discovered in God, in the world, and in the human experience. Art carries and conveys meaning, but it will never be the source of meaning.

Though we seek substitutes all the time, God alone is the source of meaning. And once we find meaning in Him, we can explore that meaning in powerful ways through the art we create.

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How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

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I want to take a look at the life of the artist Mike Kelley and his atheist belief system. Then I want to explore what hard rock bands have to say about the issue of suicide. This is because Mike came out of the  hard rock band DESTROY ALL MONSTERS   (with the members  Niagara, Cary Loren,  Jim Shaw,  Larry Miller, Ben Miller, Mike Powers,Ron Asheton,and  Michael Davis, and he was associated with other rock bands such as Sproton Layer,  The Stooges, and MC5). Furthermore, I want to take a look at the issue of suicide and what some of the causes of suicide are. Could have Mike’s atheistic point of view contributed to his suicide? Maybe we can learn from it and help other young people to turn from considering suicide. I believe that putting a lasting hope in people’s lives can help accomplish that objective. We need positive answers to these 3 questions:Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going?

“I see a lot of things that seem to be nostalgic for the old avant-garde, like redoing of works that have already been done, and I don’t know if it’s trying to go back to those values or if it’s simple laziness. It’s like with contemporary music—I hear a lot of things that sound like I’ve heard them before. It’s almost like, ‘Well, what’s the voice of this generation?’ Maybe there isn’t one.”–MK

Bored – Destroy all Monsters

Uploaded on Oct 15, 2008

Oldschool! m/

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Destroy all Monsters – Child of the Night

Uploaded on Sep 10, 2011

1974-1976

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Mike Kelley taking part in his three short dance/performance pieces for Performa 09 known as “Day Is Done Judson Church Dance.” (photos by the author)

Mike Kelley: Bad Boy | Art21 “Exclusive”

Uploaded on Aug 6, 2010

Episode #117: Mike Kelley sets the record straight about being called a “bad boy” throughout his career, describing the shifting tastes of critics and artists towards abject art in recent years.

Mike Kelley’s work ranges from highly symbolic and ritualistic performance pieces, to arrangements of stuffed-animal sculptures, to wall-sized drawings, to multi-room installations that restage institutional environments (schools, offices, zoos), to extended collaborations with artists such as Paul McCarthy, Tony Oursler, and the band Sonic Youth. His work questions the legitimacy of ‘normative’ values and systems of authority, and attacks the sanctity of cultural attitudes toward family, religion, sexuality, art history, and education. He also comments on and undermines the legitimacy of the concept of victim or trauma culture, which posits that almost all behavior results from some form of repressed abuse. Kelley’s aesthetic mines the rich and often overlooked history of vernacular art in America, and his practice borrows heavily from the confrontational, politically conscious “by all means necessary” attitude of punk music.

Learn more about Mike Kelley: http://www.art21.org/artists/mike-kelley

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Norbert Arnsteiner & Nancy Schreiber. Sound: Stacy Hruby & Ullrich Vlasak. Editor: Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: Mike Kelley. Special Thanks: MUMOK, Vienna.

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“105 Minutes with Mike” : Mike Kelley Interview (Full) 2004

Published on Feb 1, 2013

Artist Mike Kelley. 1954-2012. Art, politics, Dali, New York art scene, Koons, reading from print work and more. Interviewed by Gerry Fialka. Filmed by Eli Elliott. 2004. Uploaded Feb. 1. 2012.

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In the above video Mike Kelley notes at the 46:40 mark  “Art making is making your sickness everyone else’s  sickness. I don’t buy the delusion that art is a curative process. I think art is an analytical process. You can choose to use it for healthy purposes or you do not... I don’t think art every cures you. It just makes you aware of the problems you have.” In an interview with John Welchman (at the 1:16:45 mark in the video below), Mike Kelley stated, “I am a Marxist and a materialist.” Since Mike comes to the table with a materialistic worldview that rejects the notion that humans were put on this world for any purpose in their lives then he did not believe they had any hope for an afterlife and also he could not find any final  answers to the problems that face humankind? Kelley said in the interview (at 1:37:10 mark in the video below) with Welchman, “I am not a believer in any kind of religion.”
In the above video at 7:30 mark Mike Kelley says that Zappa was the best besides John Cage. John Cage attempted to put forth music that was a result of chance and you can see at the 13:20 mark that Kelley said we are creative because of Darwinism luck and he didn’t think there was a reason besides that. Ironically he seems to contradict himself at the 18:30 mark when he says that creativity may be a sign of our humanity.
Many that accept that all there is to this world is chance and matter have turned to drugs as a leap into the area of non-reason and notice at the 24:00 mark in the above video that Kelley comments that if you stay on LSD all the time you will be screwed up all the time and you have to come back to reality sometime.

Mike Kelley with John Welchman

Pioneering Artist Mike Kelley Dies at 57

Over four decades, through bands, writing and his art, Kelley altered the course of contemporary art

By Andrew Russeth and Dan Duray 2/01/12 1:29pm

kelley portrait Pioneering Artist Mike Kelley Dies at 57

Mike Kelley.

Mike Kelley, one of the most critically acclaimed artists of his generation, has died at the age of 57, at his home in South Pasadena, Calif. According to several sources close to the artist that Gallerist has spoken with, the cause of death was suicide.

The artist had recently been selected for the 2012 Whitney Biennial, an exhibition that he has participated in seven times in the past. He has had major one-person exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Louvre, MUMOK, Vienna, and numerous other museums.

> Click to see images of Kelley’s art.

A sergeant in the South Pasadena police department told Gallerist that officers responded to the apparent suicide following a 911 call made at 7:47 p.m. by a friend who had stopped by Kelley’s house to check up on him. The friend hadn’t heard from Kelley since Sunday and, unable to gain entry to the home, called the police. Kelley was pronounced dead on the scene. Though police records show no mention of a note, officers said the friend who called 911 mentioned that Kelley had been depressed following a September break-up.

Kelley was born in 1954 in Detroit (he described himself as a “blue-collar anarchist”), and his childhood there provided material for many of his works. In 2010, he produced a sculpture modeled on his childhood home and carted it around the city on the back of a flatbed truck, for a special project with the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

In 1974, he founded the band Destroy All Monsters with Cary Loren, Niagara (Loren’s then-girlfriend) and Jim Shaw. They made noisy, feedback-drenched music that was influenced by the other local bands at the time, The Stooges and the MC5. Destroy All Monsters was recently the subject of two retrospectives, at the Prism Gallery in Los Angeles and at the Boston University Art Gallery. Kelley left the band in 1976, to attend graduate school at CalArts.

One of his earliest installations, The Little Girl’s Room (1980), is up now in the “Under the Big Black Sun” exhibition of California art at The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LA MoCA), organized by Paul Schimmel, the museum’s chief curator. The piece is based on a performance script centered around a child’s dream-within-a-dream in which the child imagines “the face of a pimp-like man whose smile reveals an infinity of sharp teeth.”

“I could go to Mike about a subject dealing with American art at the beginning of the century or whenever and he would know so much you would wonder if there was anything he doesn’t know,” Mr. Schimmel, who met Kelley in 1981, told Gallerist. “I think Mike is arguably the key individual who changed the world’s perception of Los Angeles art.”

Kelley’s studio released a statement this afternoon saying, “Mike was an irresistible force in contemporary art…. We cannot believe he is gone. But we know his legacy will continue to touch and challenge anyone who crosses its path. We will miss him. We will keep him with us.”

Correction (4:30 pm): An earlier version of this article stated Mike Kelley’s age as 58. He was 57.

arusseth@observer.com

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Now let’s turn to what hard rock bands have to say about suicide.

Papa Roach – Last Resort (Censored Version)

This concerns the song “The Last Resort.”

Amy Winehouse died a few months ago and it was a tragic loss. That really troubled me that she did not seek spiritual help instead of turning to drugs and alcohol. This post today will give hope to those who feel like it is all hopeless.

Walt Mueller noted, The band’s place in the pop music landscape was established with the release of their breakout single, “Last Resort,” which was quickly picked up by MTV and nominated for a “Best New Artist Video” award at the 2000 Video Music Awards. The song is a gut-wrenching first-person chronicle of hopelessness that’s gone so deep the singer is seriously contemplating suicide.   But the band is adamant about the fact that the song is about fighting to survive by overcoming depression, rather than allowing it to lead to suicide. “It’s not saying I can’t go on living. It’s saying I can’t go on living this way,” says Dick (Spin, 10/00).

I know there are some curse words in the following song. I have eliminated both times the curse word is used. I really think that there needs to be a response to the young people who are saying things like the words in this song Here are some of the words:

Do you even care if I die pleading, Would it be wrong, would it be right, If I took my life tonight, Chances are that I might, and I’m contemplating suicide, ‘Cause I’m losing my sight, losing my mind, Wish somebody would tell me I’m fine, Nothing’s alright, nothing is fine, I’m running and I’m crying, I never realized I was spread too thin, Till it was too late andI was empty within, Hungry, feeding on my chaos and living in sin, Downward spiral, where do i begin, It all started when i lost my mother, No love for myself and no love for another,Searching to find a love upon a higher level, finding nothing but QUESTIONS AND DEVILS, I can’t go on living this way, Cut my life into pieces, This is my last resort.

My response to these words:”Do you even care if I die pleading, Would it be wrong, would it be right, If I took my life tonight, Chances are that I might, and I’m contimplating suicide” is that you should plead to someone who can do something about your situation and that is Christ!!!!

Below David Powlison asserts:

How do you get the living hope that God offers you in Jesus? By asking. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

Suicide operates in a world of death, despair, and aloneness. Jesus Christ creates a world of life, hope, and community. Ask God for help, and keep on asking. Don’t stop asking. You need Him to fill you every day with the hope of the resurrection.

Below is a portion of the article “Papa Roach—Infesting and reflecting youth culture by Walt Mueller. 

Papa Roach’s Music

In a day and age where the walls are crumbling between what had been a variety of distinctive popular music genres, Papa Roach is like many other chart-topping bands whose music combines sounds that were once distinct. Coby Dick’s raspy and throat-wrenching vocals join with music that incorporates sounds of rap, rock, thrash, funk and metal. Listeners familiar with popular music will hear the influence of Faith No More, the band Dick cites as one of his early favorites. Similar contemporary bands include Korn, Limp Bizkit, The Deftones and P.O.D.

Reviewer Tim Kennedy of Spin describes the resulting sound as “an amalgam of below-the-belt guitar riffage, punk-rock urgency, and half-sung, half-rapped vocals (10/00). Rolling Stone’s Anthony Bozza says listening to Papa Roach is “like standing on a precipice—sustained tension and the threat of a tumble” (8/31/00).

The sound combines with Dick’s lyrics in a powerful and emotional blend that addresses the reality of life for kids who have been burned over and over again. Tobin Esperance says, “We write about things that have happened to our singer, specifically, and friends around us. It’s real life stuff. We’re not writing about s___ that we don’t know about, like girls and cars and money … we only know real life bulls___ that happens” (nyrock.com). Coby Dick says of his autobiographical music, “I’m venting my emotions. It’s blunt” (Rolling Stone, 8/31/00). He says “Papa Roach, lyrically, is my counseling” (Billboard,6/10/00). 

Infest (2000)

Papa Roach released the album they now consider their first in April of 2000. The album quickly began to sell as a result of radio and MTV exposure, went gold after two months thanks to scoring with MTV’s Total Request Live audience, and had gone double platinum by September 2000.

Papa Roach offers an introduction to their music, mission, message and intentions on the album’s title cut. After introducing himself to his listeners, Coby Dick informs them his “God-given talent is to rock all the nations.” In this, the band’s “first manifesto,” the group lays out their plan to “infest” the world and young minds (“wrap you in my thoughts”) with an angry musical message of anarchy and rebellion against a messed-up world that’s let them down: “We’re going to infest/We’re getting in your head/What is wrong with the world today/The government, media or your family.” Institutions and people are not to be trusted. In fact, “First they shackle your feet/Then they stand you in a line/Then they beat you like meat/Then they grab you by your mind … people are the problem today.” Dick admits the struggle so many young people feel: “the game of life is crazy.” Alone in this sea of brokenness and hopelessness, Dick asks, “Would you cry if I died today/I think it be better if you did not say.”

The band’s place in the pop music landscape was established with the release of their breakout single, “Last Resort,” which was quickly picked up by MTV and nominated for a “Best New Artist Video” award at the 2000 Video Music Awards. The song is a gut-wrenching first-person chronicle of hopelessness that’s gone so deep the singer is seriously contemplating suicide. (See lyrics on page 7.) The fact that “Last Resort” is part of the mainstream pop music landscape indicates it is connecting with more and more kids who see it as an expression of their own inner struggles. For casual listeners, the song is very confusing. Listening to the song reveals the criticisms claiming the song promotes suicide could certainly be warranted. Kids who are riding the fence because of numerous other problems in their lives could interpret the song in a way that would give them permission to go over the edge, especially if they don’t know the story behind the song. But the band is adamant about the fact that the song is about fighting to survive by overcoming depression, rather than allowing it to lead to suicide. “It’s not saying I can’t go on living. It’s saying I can’t go on living this way,” says Dick (Spin, 10/00). He also says, “Last Resort” has “a positive edge to it, as far as like, ‘Don’t succumb to it. Keep yourself afloat.’ With these problems in your life, find a friend you can confide in” (Sonicnet.com). Based on the band’s resolve to survive like a roach, one would have to take them at their word. The song chronicles the suicide attempt of one of Coby Dick’s former roommates. After his “unsuccessful” attempt, the young man “turned to God” … Dick claims the attempt was what killed the rotting part of his roommate’s soul. The song has definitely connected. “We’ve gotten so many e-mails from people who tell us ‘Last Resort’ saved their lives,” says Dick. “It makes some people feel less alone” (Rolling Stone,8/31/00)…

“Between Angels and Insects” is an insightful rant against American greed and materialism. Dick says he wrote the song to remind himself that the things the band’s success will bring are not the things that make one happy. The lyrics are powerful and excerpts could serve to spark discussion with teens about the false promises of materialism: “Diamond rings get you nothing/But a life-long lesson/And your pocketbook stressin’/You’re a slave to the system/Working jobs that you hate/For s___ that you don’t need/It’s too bad the world is based on greed/Step back and stop thinking ‘bout yourself … ‘cause everything is nothing/And emptiness is in everything … Possessions they are never gonna fill the void … the things you own, own you.” When discussing the message of the song Buckner says, “all the worldly things that people equate with happiness—do they necessarily make you happy? You can have Rolexes and diamond rings and cars and houses … but really the things that make you happy are peace of mind and passion in your life” (Alternative Press, 10/00).

Help for the Suicidal

God offers you true, living hope–not a false hope based on your death.
By David Powlison

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

It’s easy to see the risk factors for suicide—depression, suffering, disillusioning experiences, failure—but there are also ways to get your life back on track by building protective factors into your life.

Ask for help

How do you get the living hope that God offers you in Jesus? By asking. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

Suicide operates in a world of death, despair, and aloneness. Jesus Christ creates a world of life, hope, and community. Ask God for help, and keep on asking. Don’t stop asking. You need Him to fill you every day with the hope of the resurrection.

At the same time you are asking God for help, tell other people about your struggle with hopelessness. God uses His people to bring life, light, and hope. Suicide, by definition, happens when someone is all alone. Getting in relationship with wise, caring people will protect you from despair and acting out of despair.

But what if you are bereaved and alone? If you know Jesus, you still have a family—His family is your family. Become part of a community of other Christians. Look for a church where Jesus is at the center of teaching and worship. Get in relationship with people who can help you, but don’t stop with getting help. Find people to love, serve, and give to. Even if your life has been stripped barren by lost relationships, God can and will fill your life with helpful and healing relationships.

Grow in godly life skills

Another protective factor is to grow in godly living. Many of the reasons for despair come from not living a godly, fruitful life. You need to learn the skills that make godly living possible. What are some of those skills?

  • Conflict resolution. Learn to problem-solve by entering into human difficulties and growing through them. (See Ask the Christian Counselor article, “Fighting the Right Way.”)
  • Seek and grant forgiveness. Hopeless thinking is often the result of guilt and bitterness.
  • Learn to give to others. Suicide is a selfish act. It’s a lie that others will be better off without you. Work to replace your faulty thinking with reaching out to others who are also struggling. Take what you have learned in this article and pass it on to at least one other person. Whatever hope God gives you, give to someone who is struggling with despair.

Live for God

When you live for God, you have genuine meaning in your life. This purpose is far bigger than your suffering, your failures, the death of your dreams, and the disillusionment of your hopes. Living by faith in God for His purposes will protect you from suicidal and despairing thoughts. God wants to use your personality, your skills, your life situation, and even your struggle with despair to bring hope to others.

He has already prepared good works for you to do. Paul says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). As you step into the good works God has prepared for you—you will find that meaning, purpose, and joy.

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Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000 years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” episode 6 “The Scientific Age” episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” ,  episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” . My favorite episodes are number 7 and 8 since they deal with modern art and culture primarily.(Joe Carter rightly noted, “Schaeffer—who always claimed to be an evangelist and not a philosopher—was often criticized for the way his work oversimplified intellectual history and philosophy.”To those critics I say take a chill pill because Schaeffer was introducing millions into the fields of art and culture!!!! !!! More people need to read his works and blog about them because they show how people’s worldviews affect their livesFrancis Schaeffer’s works  are the basis for a large portion of my blog posts and they have stood the test of time. In fact, many people would say that many of the things he wrote in the 1960’s  were right on  in the sense he saw where our western society was heading and he knew that abortion, infanticide and youth enthansia were moral boundaries we would be crossing  in the coming decades because of humanism and these are the discussions we are having now!)

There is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true asSchaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMANRACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This linkshows how to do that.

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Francis Schaeffer with his son Franky pictured below. Francis and Edith (who passed away in 2013) opened L’ Abri in 1955 in Switzerland.

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By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Woody Allen | Edit | Comments (0)

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