Tag Archives: Breaking Benjamin

The Fakes We Make

Anyone that has read my blog in the past knows I love me some Breaking Benjamin.  What can I say?  Ben can scream with the best of them, and they’re simply my favorite band, as such I listen to them a lot, and as I’ve blogged in the past, Ben wrestles with a lot of issues in his songs, as in his life, so you can get a lot of fodder for contemplation from their lyrics (no, they aren’t a Christian band, listen at thy own risk).  On their latest album, Ember, there is a song (my favorite of the album) called “Psycho” which contains:

In the cold eternal light
I am the ember fading
Every scar we try to hide
I am the fake you made me

When I heard this I was instantly reminded of conversations that I had with a good friend of mine about the Church, about Christians, and how we treat one another and the expectations we hold.  Have you noticed people in our society abandoning the gathering together of believers, even abandoning the faith?  Perhaps that’s you (I hope you stick around til the end of this article and leave me a comment, BTW.)  Recently there have been some pretty recognizable names in Christian circles that have either renounced the faith, or even committed suicide.  Kids aren’t staying in the congregations they were raised in… why?

I think Ben’s lyrics touch upon something for me, and others I know, that partially explains it… the Church has been making fakes for a long time. (Disclaimer: this is not Ben’s meaning or interpretation, it’s all mine as he doesn’t like explaining the meaning he had in his head when writing/singing any particular song so who knows what he would think of all this.)  Now, the thing is here, I’m not blaming the fake, I’m “blaming” the environment and other people responsible for creating the fakes.  What has made our churches into fake factories?

One explanation comes in the song in the line just prior; “Every scar we try to hide.”  Scars are there from battles we’ve fought; grief and loss, addiction, betrayal, idolatry, greed, gluttony, dishonesty, sin of all shapes and sizes that are either a current fight, or one in the past, sins we’ve committed or sins committed against us.  Scars can also be from hard times in life; when there’s not enough money, when we fall flat on our faces, when we get sick or hurt.  What has happened is that the feeling many people have is they are not allowed to have scars, and if they do have them, they are supposed to hide them, act as though nothing has or is happening, OR that they’ve been handled in a perfectly cherry pie way.  We certainly can’t have the truth coming out, the doubts, the fears, the struggles… Lord help the parishioner who has real questions.

There is now an almost palpable feeling of fakeness in many sermons and songs, a weird kind of whistling past the graveyard.  So, everyone must march in a quiet lockstep and put on the fake face or else others get uncomfortable really quick.  If you sing the right songs with the right kind of lyrics, if you smile and nod at all the right places, you’re assured of salvation, right?  If you say the right things and follow along and don’t ask questions, everything in your life will be peachy keen, right?  No, it just produces fakes, but they’ve had to fake it to make it, right?  Well, that works as long as everything is chugging away, but what happens when a wrench gets thrown in to the works?  What happens when the husband leaves, the baby dies, another war starts, you lose your job, the doctor says “you’ve got cancer?”  Yes, if the faith was real and true and strong in you in a real way, and you are surrounded by real, true, strong believers, God does indeed become a fortress and a safe place… but what happens to all those faking it in order to appease the crowd?  They rightfully break and when they break… they are abandoned.

Please understand, I’m not talking about every church congregation, I’ve been part of a church where I truly believe those people would’ve died for me, warts and all, and I’d like to think I’d have died for them.  However, I am talking about something going on in our churches at large, and in general.  I used to think stronger apologetics would stop the problem, and I still think it would help, but now I understand; it’s not just the words that are lacking, it’s the actions that are missing.  We can defend the faith in word all day long, but if we don’t defend it in deed, we are going to keep losing people.  We are going to keep producing fakes.

A church under physical persecution doesn’t produce fakes.  Why?  Because your conversion and sharing the faith is a matter of literal life and death.  We don’t have that here in the West.  If we don’t have that, do we show forth the faith in deed in other actions in our lives, or do we live and talk just like everyone else, and then for an hour or two on Sunday slap on the fakeness?  In some respects I think it’s harder to be genuine when you are a part of a congregation.  What do you guys think?  I’ve been a part of a fantastic congregation, I’ve been a part of some not so fantastic congregations, and I’ve been outside of a congregation, which is where I’m at now.  I think that is one reason we see people disavowing Christian affiliation more and more; at least when you label yourself a “none” you don’t have to fake it in a sea of people every Sunday.  It would be hilarious, if it weren’t true.  It’s kinda sad that I feel I can be more Christian in word and deed outside of a congregation than in one.  What’s happened to us?

My last post was on The Good, The True, and The Beautiful, and I do think some of the answer is there, but those things have to include not hiding scars, not trying to fake it til you make it, not just living like the world while preaching something totally different.  We have to actually love everyone… somehow we’ve failed in that.  We don’t have to love like the world tells us to love, we have to love dangerously… we have to love in truth and in deed, but we can’t do that if we only accept someone when they are faking it.  And, we have to take responsibility for making fakes in the first place.  I don’t have all the answers, I don’t think any one person does.  What are your thoughts?  I’d especially love to hear stories from those who have indeed left either the faith, or the church.  Have you been “the ember fading?”  Did something happen to quench that ember? What hurt?  How about stories from people who have felt like an ember fading, but you were renewed? What helped?

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Conversion, Musings, Theology

Breaking Benjamin is back… and so am I.

I’ve posted several times about Breaking Benjamin, but it has been a while.  They were, and are, a favorite band of mine, though the current members are not the same as when they first arrived on the scene.  They have an all-new lineup except for Ben Burnley of course.  He finally won the court case enabling him to keep the name “Breaking Benjamin” and the rights to the songs.

The new boyz in the band; Jasen Rauch on guitar, and if you recognize the name he was indeed from Red, Keith Wallen also on guitar,  Aaron Bruch on bass, and Shaun Foist on drums.  Some of the guys sing backing vocals, which is unusual as Ben used to sing alone and do all his own backing vocals on albums.

It took me a long while to buy and listen to the album, Dark Before Dawn, I suppose I didn’t want to be disappointed, but also my musical tastes have changed over time, and I was strangely nervous I’d hear them and hate them.  I shouldn’t have worried, their style both remains completely recognizable as Breaking Benjamin, but allows Ben to showcase his journey and his maturing through an unexplained illness that causes him daily suffering.  I like the album a lot, and it is definitely worth the cost of a download.

If you don’t like alternative rock, this isn’t for you and they aren’t a Christian band… though if Ben’s not a believer by this point, I’ll eat my hat.

Here are my earlier articles about BB:

Breaking Benjamin Interview

Jesus; The Lamb and The Lion via Breaking Benjamin

And, yes, I hope this marks my return to blogging.  Honestly there is so much to say about world events, these times we live in, and how biblical wisdom is indeed that answer, that it is sometimes hard to know where to start.

1 Comment

Filed under Musings, Of Interest, Reviews, Sacred Secular

Breaking Benjamin interview…

For those of my readers interested in delving into the minds of Ben and Chad of Breaking Benjamin a bit more, there’s a good interview to listen to.  It is broken down into parts, so you can pick and choose topics if you don’t want to listen to the whole thing.  They both talk about spiritual stuff, Chad more than Ben, no surprise as Chad is really open about his beliefs. Click here for the link. *ETA: Listen in, the site that had the interview has now taken down all their archives so this interview is no longer available.  However, go to youtube and do a search for their stuff and you will find it in small video chunks; for example: Ben Burnley speaks about how obvious it is that God is out there

Interesting bits; Chad backs up the fact that he’s a Christian, and his feelings about following God…also his feelings about how abused drummers are (lol).  He also makes an interesting comment about not really knowing Ben’s faith either, because it is a private thing.  For Ben’s part, the interview focuses on his fight with alcoholism, but he talks (briefly) in general about God, and won’t come out and talk about songs like “Without You,” again, perhaps he feels it is a private thing, as well as his rule about not telling what a song is about so that fans can read into it what they like.

32 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Musings, Of Interest, Sacred Secular

Dear Agony…

Yes, it’s been awhile; major internet issues for months.  Anywho, Breaking Benjamin’s new album is out in stores and on itunes; Dear Agony is the title.  I’ll have a longer review later, but will just say that the sound is definitely different.  Not really better, nor worse, just different.  Some of the differences in sound could be due to the way it was recorded or edited or enhanced, but some come from Ben changing up his vocals.

It’s definitely worth the money, though I do have to be honest and say it isn’t my favorite album, and I will probably enjoy the songs more when they are mixed in with their other songs in my playlists.  There are several really good tracts, to mention two;  my favorite “Give Me a Sign,” gave me (the good kind of) chills the first time I heard it (I do like to hear Ben playing around vocally with the various notes), and the title track is definitely worth listening to several times.  Here is a link to an interview with Ben; if you are getting the album listen to it before reading this, then listen again afterward, it changes how you listen, and what you take away from the songs, IMO: Ben Burnley Interview

Chad, Mark, and Aaron do an amazing job on here as well, though I do have to say I would have liked to hear Aaron’s guitar a bit more, and a bit heavier in places.

3 Comments

Filed under Of Interest, Reviews, Sacred Secular

Breaking Benjamin’s new song and video…

Here’s BB’s first single off their new album Dear Agony (yet to be released, I believe it’ll be out on Sept. 29th).  The title is I Will Not Bow and it will be included in the movie Surrogates which is why there are movie clips in their vid.  The link is to myspace, which is where their single and the video was released:  Breaking Benjamin video: I Will Not Bow.

I like the song better than the video.  Ben seems to be cleaning up his vocals for this one, it’ll be interesting to hear the rest of the album…I’m sure he’ll throw in some heavier vocals with a bit more growl, at least I hope so, though he does sound good either way.  Loved the guitars in this one (go Aaron and Ben!…I like to hear Mark and Chad too, don’t get me wrong, but now that I’m attempting to play the guitar, that’s what I listen for the most) and just flat out love Ben’s new(?) guitar.

Leave a comment

Filed under Of Interest

Breaking Benjamin back in the studio…

Yes, my favorite band (secular alternative rock band Breaking Benjamin)  is back in the studio working on their next album.  The updates aren’t all that regular, but their first new single “I Will Not Bow,” which is said to be in the movie Surrogates, staring Bruce Willis, will be released on the radio  sometime around August 10th.  It should be available on itunes close to September 1st.  As far as the album itself goes, a set date hasn’t been announced but is tentatively (probably really tentatively) scheduled to come out around Sept. 29th.

My regular readers my not care, but I can’t help it…I’m excited!

8 Comments

Filed under Of Interest

Ben Burnley’s Collaboration with Red…

Since I write about Breaking Benjamin a bit on here, and am a fan of the band, I thought I’d remind everyone that Ben collaborated recently with Red on the song “Shadows” for Red’s new album Innocence & Instinct released in Feb.  For those of you who don’t know, Red is a Christian alternative rock band, and yes, I really like this song and I plan to check out the rest of the album soon.

I’ll list the lyrics, and post a YouTube vid, but as always, if you like the song, go out and buy/download it to support the band…

Shadows by Red

Sunset, I close my eyes
I pretend everything’s alright
Drowning in anger from all these lies
I can’t pretend everything’s alright
Please don’t let me fall forever
Can you tell me it’s over?

There’s a hate inside of me like some kind of master
I tried to save you, but I can’t find the answer
I’m holding onto you, I’ll never let go
I need you with me as I enter the shadows

Caught in the darkness, I go blind
But can you help me find my way out?
Nobody hears me, I suffer the silence
Can you tell me it’s over now?

There’s a hate inside of me like some kind of master
I tried to save you, but I can’t find the answer
I’m holding onto you, I’ll never let go
I need you with me as I enter the shadows

I’m holding onto you [x2]
There’s a hate inside of me like some kind of master
I tried to save you, but I can’t find the answer
I’m holding onto you, I’ll never let go
I need you with me as I enter the shadows

posted by Wickedsin69 over at youtube

5 Comments

Filed under Of Interest, Sacred Secular

The Prodigal Son via Breaking Benjamin’s “Medicate”…

Medicate

I got somethin’ up my sleeve
I know you will cover me
Inside out and in between
I know you will cover me
I’ve got bruises on my knees
I know you will cover me
Inside out and in between
And I know you will cover me

[Chorus:]
Run away
Make hate
And get laid
And get laid
You tie me up
I’ve had enough
So medicate
Medicate

I’m already incomplete
I know you will cover me
Broken by your empathy
I know you will cover me
I’ve been lyin’ here for weeks
I know you will cover me
Inside out and in between
And I know you will cover me

Some who hear this song will think it sung in praise of rowdy behavior, though it isn’t…some would just be plain offended, (“What’s all this ‘makin’ hate and gettin’ laid?!”).  Move past that if you can, if not, move on…

When I listen to it, in all of it’s rock angst glory, it reminds me of the story of the prodigal son, and all the sin that is forgiven us, past, present, and future, when we turn to God in faith.  Was this Ben Burnley and the band’s intention; hardly.  Again, my blatant disclaimer; Breaking Benjamin is NOT a Christian Band, far from it.  Most fans agree that this is more of a human relationship-centered song…but I can’t help the connections I make, though I’m pretty sure they are unintentional.

As I’ve said before, one of the ways I tend to think is in terms of the “sacred secular;” there are certain things that I hear/read/watch in the “secular,” or mundane world that reminds me of a lesson or story in the “sacred,” usually as how it applies to me.

So, let’s look at the prodigal son:

Luke 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Well?  The younger brother took his money, ran away, got laid, squandered all the wealth his father had given him.  Lest anyone think that “riotous” living just means partying…the greek is “asotos.”  He was living “profligately” that means “utterly and shamelessly immoral.”  Utterly immoral.  I’m pretty sure the prodigal would indeed have tried to self-“medicate” at some point…to go through all that money, booze has got to be involved somewhere.

He hits the bottom pretty hard, pretty fast.  He’s lusting after pig slop folks.  He does something else very important; he realizes all of it.  He realized what he’s done, where he’s at, and further, he realizes what he left behind.  He’s sorry.  Not just because of where he finds himself, but what he has done, the sin he’s committed against heaven, and his father.

He’s ready to go home and ask for the position of a servant.  But, there’s a surprise; he can’t out-love his father.  Before the son even gets one word out, before he’s even all the way to the front door, his father is there; Grace – unmerited favor.  Remember the line in the song?  “Broken by your empathy…” this is how we should all be, because the father is representative of our Heavenly Father; God Himself.

He’s waiting for all His prodigals to come home.  Find yourself having run away?  Alone? Scared? Doing things you could never imagine yourself doing before taking on a certain lifestyle?  Get out of the pig slop, ask for help, turn to you Father.  It won’t be all smooth sailing in this life, in fact believers are promised persecution.

I’ve got bruises on my knees; I know you will cover me” I know that when I slip, for I do and I will, that Christ has and will “cover” me.  I am also quite familiar with my knees hitting the floor in prayer, and in sorrow for the grief I must cause my Father…or them hitting the floor in order to show praise and worship.  We should never be tempted to sin all the more so that grace can abound, that is not what we are called to do.  But we should be absolutely certain that God, our Father, is there, He loves us, and we can be covered because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, if we only “return” to Him in Faith.

Breaking Benjamin’s “Medicate” off their album Saturate

Posted on youtube by wrestler805

2 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Conversion, Of Interest, Sacred Secular, Theology

Jesus; The Lamb and The Lion via Breaking Benjamin

Yesterday I talked about finding the sacred in the secular.  Today, I want to give an example of what I mean, while getting to the point of this post.  My current favourite band is Breaking Benjamin, and I can’t really recommend them to my Christian brethren, though there are many fans of theirs that are Christian; BB is alternative rock, secular, and like to add in the occasional (well placed) curse word.  However, Ben (Benjamin Burnley, lead singer) writes music that hits people on different levels, and encourages fans to find their own meanings to their songs.

One of the reasons that I like this band is their ability to capture certain emotion, and I don’t just mean when they’re screaming at the top of their lungs (which they occasionally indeed do, to very good affect). And, I don’t just like them for the themes that their songs make me conjure up, though that is part of it.  Sooner or Later, a song off their We are not Alone album, makes me think of Jesus and His position as King, and as a Lion, and of life and death without Him.  Now, to make this perfectly clear; I do not think this was Ben’s intent in any way, shape, or form (the song is more a self-reflection style song, and they are not a Christian band, although we know Mark and Chad believe, and ex-band member Jeremy); however, this is what certain verse make me think about.

Sooner or Later
…You’re like an infantile
I knew it all the while
You sit and try to play me
Just like you see on TV
I am an oversight
Just like a parasite
Why am I so pathetic
I know you won’t forget

These lines call to mind the way Jesus is often portrayed by TV preachers; like He’s standing head bowed, hat in hand knocking on your heart’s door, begging, for His own sake, to be let in out of the cold.  He’s also portrayed like a sure-fire celestial slot machine; a genie-type wish granter.  On the other hand, legalistic TV preachers often portray Him as a cosmic killjoy.  These images, that make me personally ill, stick in the minds of non-believers, and it definitely affects how they think about Him and even how they think about Christians.

People, even some believers, like to think of Christ as a Lamb, which He is; what they don’t like to dwell on is the fact that He is the Lion as well.  He is both suffering servant and conquering King, He brings mercy and forgiveness but also a sword of truth… in fact, I read a non-Christian’s write-up about The Chronicles of Narnia in which Aslan, a lion, is the Christ-figure.  The writer bemoans the fact that a lion is used; says it doesn’t fit Jesus’ character…he’s apparently never read the Bible, or he’s listened to too many of the “preachers” this song makes me think of.

…Just call my name
You’ll be ok
Your scream is burning through my veins

We are promised in scripture that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  All it takes to get the relationship going is for us to call upon Him with a true desire to know Him better in our hearts.  When we do, He hears us, and wants that relationship too.  One of the images I love to mull over is the idea that we are called sheep in the Bible…and sheep need a shepherd, ours just happens to be a Lion, full of power and protection for those that call upon Him, and He indeed should be a point of fear to those that come bringing trouble to His sheep.

…Sooner or later, you’re gonna hate it
Go ahead and throw your life away
Driving me under leaving me out there
Go ahead and throw your life away

These lines make me think of what will come to pass if someone dies still rejecting God and Christ, unfortunately, and also not to let those image of Christ being peddled on TV stick in your mind; learn of Him on your own, through scripture.  If someone doesn’t come to Him, and embrace eternal life, they are in effect, throwing their lives away.  Most humans, believers and non, and I really mean this, strive to make their way through life the best way they know how.  Many people try to leave the world a better place than they found it…but in essence all of that, without Christ, won’t wind up having a permanent effect.  Even those that don’t believe in anything acknowledge that; our short lives are over far too soon, and we will all probably be forgotten within two or three generations…but, with Christ, our lives find their true meaning, ultimate fulfillment, and we carry on after death, even to a new Heaven, and a new Earth.

Why is it such a bad thing to deny Christ…the next lines in the song change “Throw your life away,” to “Throw my life away.”  By denying Christ, we are basically spitting on His life, and His death.  He suffered horribly, and died so that we might live, and if we deny Him,  we deny His life.  The next go around, the lines get changed to “Throw our life away…” which is ironic, because the name of the album, as I mentioned is “We are not Alone,” God is with us, for sure, and the relationship He offers is such a close one, He offers to be with us in good times and bad, that He will never leave us nor forsake us…imagine throwing that relationship in the garbage…  I love the power, and emotion in Ben’s voice, and the music to underscore the idea of a Person in the position of power, again, just in my own thoughts.

I have two main points in this post; first, just because something is indeed labeled “secular” doesn’t mean we can’t pull something out of it to add to our spiritual lives, we just have to be careful and follow the Holy Spirit’s lead.  And Second, Jesus isn’t a pushover.  He’s not a beggar.  He’d not only the Lamb, but also The Lion.  In Him, God’s Mercy and Justice meet, and He displays both God’s love and His power to mankind.  Whatever the preachers push on TV, and there are some good ones alongside the bad, don’t forget the seek Him one-on-one and through the scriptures and really learn about Him.

For anyone interested, here’s Breaking Benjamin’s video for Sooner or Later at youtube:

Edited on March 19, 2010 to add this link to a relevant article; Breaking Benjamin interview.  Ben and Chad mention issues of faith in the linked interview.

58 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Sacred Secular, Theology