Masada, Citadel of Freedom’s Cry

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“May this provide fresh inspiration for liberty-loving people everywhere. For death is sweeter than loss of liberty. And freedom is still worth dying for today.”

I just finished reading this Article from the May 1972 Ensign on a place called Masada. The story while fictional is based on true historical events and is, or at least I find it to be quite inspiring. The story of 960 Jews who rebelled and fought the Roman legions and choose death over slavery and oppression. I highly recommend reading this article. I hope that we can be just as steadfast in defending our personal liberties and freedoms.

Masada, Citadel of Freedom’s Cry

 

The Tea Party: The Ocean at the End Concert review

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On December 6th I went to my 5th Tea Party Concert. I have seen them in Concert more than any other band. To say that they are my favorite band might be a bit of an Understatement. In fact The Tea Party is about the only music I listen to overall. Sometimes I will listen to something else but not very often.

I love good music. Sadly that is becoming something of the past. So much of Modern music is produced on an assembly line like mass-produced goods. I feel that this detracts from the artistic expression that should be there in the music. Much of modern pop music is churned out like worthless dollar store crap with high school crush music with lyrics like baby baby oh baby repeated over and over again.

The Tea Party is not like this. The Music The Tea Party has created is so full of emotion, soul and artistic expression that for me, it defies anything I could truly express in words. Their music expresses such raw emotion you can’t help but feel a pull and attachment to the soulful lyrics and the music draws you in and invokes emotions from deep within your soul. Songs such as Save me and The Messenger are examples of this incredible and beautiful yet dark and emotional music that The Tea Party has come to master more than any other music I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Taking me Away and These Living Arms are 2 other examples of this.

The Tea party has a reputation for taking you to the darker side of the psyche. What they sing about  goes beyond physical urges and sex charged rhetoric. Though some of their songs are certainly charged with raw emotion and sexuality. Jeff Martin, the front man of the band, has a voice that has been described as smoky sensuality.

The concert itself was not in a large venue though they have played venues like Rexall Place (20,000 concert seating) and Shaw conference center (8-10,000 seating). This show like the last one was at a small venue called Union Hall which has a top capacity I would estimate of 1,000 though probably less.

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One thing I love about this band is that they are not in it for the money like so many others. Consistently they opt for smaller night clubs and venues because it creates a more intimate show for their fans. I have been to many concerts at large venues with 15-20,000 fans. And I can tell you that it makes a big difference when it comes down to the experiences of the show.

The Tea Party does an amazing job of really connecting to their audience during there show. There stage presence is one that sticks with you for a long time. Other bands I can hardly remember the show except that it was good music, but that is about it. I can still remember the first time I went to a Tea party concert which was also at union hall. It was 10 years ago and I can remember it better than any other live show I have been to other than Tea Party concerts.

This show was no different. From the moment they walked onto the stage the audience was cheering before the first note was struck. Opening up with the first track on the new album the L.O.C. and it just kept getting better from there. I was very happy to hear some of my favorite songs live. The Tea Party just came out rocking hard from start to finish with no break. Each song so full of energy.

The connection to the audience was unlike any other concert that I have been to. Despite being at the back of the crowd it felt like I was right up against the stage and part of the show the entire night. The small venue helped to created a more intimate setting for a concert and the Tea Party really takes advantage of that through the entire show.

There is something amazing about having the entire audience just take it away and sing the songs right along with the band. You just don’t get that in a larger venue. The chorus of Save me and temptation were taken up by the audience and it was me and 7-800 other people I would estimate singing the song along with the band. It was pretty awesome. The fans know the songs so well that they were belting out the chorus in near perfect harmony. The raw emotion charged music brought together hundreds of complete strangers connected to the music in a way no other band could or has done in my experience.

One of the best moments for me personally was when The Tea Party took a minute to break into a short rendition of the Little Drummer Boy, personally my favorite Christmas carol. Without any cue or urging from the band the audience began to sing along with the drum beats Pa Rum pa pum pum. Then it was right back into high energy rock show.

The Tea Party has truly proven yet again that they are, in this bloggers humble opinion, the worlds most underrated band. They truly capture the raw emotion and make the audience part of the show in a way no other band has ever done for me.

While they did not sing all my favorite songs, which would have taken probably 5-6 hours since they are all so good, it was still an amazing night and I cannot wait to see them again live. I hope they come back soon as this was a night never to forget.

Some of my personal favorites that they sung are

Save Me, Temptation, Pyschopomp, The Ocean at the End, Sister Awake, Fire In The Head. Some of their best songs.

Thank you Tea Party for a wonderful and amazing night.

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Don’t Judge Me because you disagree with my parenting!

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A couple of weeks ago I had an experience at church that no one should have to deal with. Especially at church. Considering I belong to a church that teaches about not judging others. My experience deals with 2 extremes in approaching a situation that was difficult for me as a parent. When reading this keep in mind that my daughter is 11 years old. She is not a small kid.

I don’t make it a habit of broadcasting to the world my parenting struggles, however I felt that this needed to be written in the hopes that others may understand that sometimes the greatest of harm can result from the best of intentions. It is important to seek first for understanding before judgement. I make an effort to deal with my kids in the best way I know how. This story is a story of 4 people. Myself, my daughter and 2 people at church who viewed the circumstances from 2 completely different positions. Let me tell you a bit about what happened.

I had asked my daughter to sit down and please be reverent and quet during the church services. We were not actually sitting in the chapel but the foyer outside the chapel with the speakers on so we could hear the sacrament talks. My children are not the kinds of kids that can simply sit still in a pew for an hour and listen to people talk which is why we often sit in the foyer. They are often fidgety and active kids. You know the kind of kids that get put on Ritalin and are told they have a mental illness because they can’t sit still for an hour.

My daughter, who I needed to just sit down for a few minutes reverently refused to do so. She had previously been getting angry with her sister for looking at her. When she tried to get up I asked her to sit down and proceeded to sit her down in the chair. She did not take kindly to this and began to hit me, kick me and scream at me. Even though I asked her to stop she refused. While I was busy being hit and kicked and yelled and screamed at (If an adult were behaving this way it would be considered assault and would be a criminal offense) I grabbed a hold of her arms and sat her down in my lap while restraining her. She continued to kick me so I restrained her legs as well. While using her head to head butt me and screaming and yelling at me she continue to fight against me hurting me in the process. She was screaming “let me go, I hate you, you’re hurting me” and other things like it.

Shortly after this started a man came out of the chapel and approached me. His response was not helpful to say the least. Let me summarize the conversation for you. It went something like this.

“stop that you’re hurting her”

“Thankyou but I can handle this”

“you know that could be considered child abuse and you need to stop”

“excuse me, who are you to come out here and accuse me of child abuse, how dare you”

“I did not say it was child abuse”

“you implied it when you said this could be child abuse, you have crossed a line sir and have no right to judge me”

“you have crossed a line as well learn how to parent and stop what you doing”

“walk away now I am getting angry just walk away”

“learn how to parent then and you won’t have this problem”

His comments were made in a rather condescending and judgemental tone. At this point, naturally I was not happy with this man and to be honest more angry with him than my daughter. I was not even that angry with my daughter, I was more frustrated with her than angry. This is where a woman came to intervene before I lost my temper and cool with this man who I was ready to assault at this point so it is a good thing he walked away. However he did not walk away till a women who I did not previously know entered the scene. She approached the man and told him that he needs to leave, he is not helping and he should just walk away before matters got worse. When she finished guiding him away she approached me and apologized on this mans behalf and told me that she was sorry that happened and felt that his comments and tone were out of line and that he did cross that line. She offered to help and asked if there was anything she could do to help the situation.

Clearly this was not an ideal situation to be dealing with. Not one any parent would want to deal with. It is difficult enough as it is dealing with a child that can act out aggressively towards you at times without having to deal with judgemental, condescending and arrogant attitude of others. This woman took the opposite approach and made an effort to understand what was going on and made an effort to help the situation rather than contribute to an already escalated problem.

A while later when my daughter had not calmed down I told her that we are going home but she refused. Not so much because she did not want to go but because she was in a state of mind that she could not calm down from. I asked her to get her coat and boots on (keeping in mind that it is winter here in Canada and temperatures are cold). She refused so I had taken her to the door with her boots and coat and asked her again to get dressed. She refused again so I took her through the first set of doors and asked her again to put her boots and coat on. She refused. I took her outside knowing that the cold would convince her it is time to go with boots and coat. She promptly put her winter clothes on and agreed to leave. Once she realized I was not messing with her she calmed down and decided it was not worth the fight and agreed to come back to church without the fight and behave. This same man apparently witness this as well and once against judged me to be an abusive man. He reported to the Bishop that I was abusing my daughter.

Naturally the Bishop became alarmed at such a report and asked to speak with me. I explained what was going on and that this person is lucky they walked away when they did because I was likely to begin the laying on of hands. I explained to him everything I just explained before in this post and that I stand by everything that I did 100% and would do it again. Apparently this brother also claimed that I had hit my daughter as well. Interesting in that he was the only witness to this in a room of at least 5 other people.  I told the bishop that if he is reporting that, then he is not only judgemental and condescending he is also a liar and I have even bigger issues with him now. I told my bishop that I will use as much force as is necessary to prevent myself from getting hurt, whether that is my daughter or any one else. It is not about hurting my daughter, however she is not a small kid and that requires me to use more force than I would on a 4 or 5-year-old. It is not supposed to be comfortable. That would defeat the purpose of any kind of punishment or discipline. I told him that I see nothing wrong with restraining my daughter to prevent me from being hit or kicked as much and as hard as I must to prevent injury. Any “pain” she may have felt was a direct result of fighting against my restraint rather than me squeezing her so hard that I hurt her.

This is an experience that I hope that I do not have to deal with again. I tried to approach this brother a week later to try to help him understand how he came across to me in the hopes that we could make this issue water under the bridge. Sadly I was shut down and he basically made it clear that he has no interest in hearing what I had to say and that his opinion is unchanged.

I Thank God for an understanding Bishop who takes the time to hear what is happening and does not come to rash judgements based on little to no info. After my conversation with the Bishop I thanked him for taking the time to understand the situation and he feels that I have done no wrong in this situation. This other brother however I can’t help but wonder if he is confident enough in his assessment to stand as a witness in a legal court with such accusations. Regardless he is entitled to his opinion but this experience goes to show that there is a much better way to approach such a situation.

The moral of the story. Don’t judge me because you disagree with my parenting. I have enough problems with that from my own family as it is. In fact it is one of the reasons I have not spoken to or seen my mother in over a year. If you have never had to raise a child with behavioral problems then you can not possibly understand the difficulty involved in dealing with less than ideal circumstances.

And that is the gospel according to Andrew.

PS.  Please don’t tell me how I should have my daugther assessed by a pyschiatrist because they have a drug for that.  I have written plenty about why I won’t do that and your comments in this area won’t help. It has honestly become a pet peeve people tellimg me I should have my daugther drugged. That will never happen!