Music Has A Beautiful Unspoken Power to Change You

When You Are Given The Gift Of Music, Be Grateful For Its Power

There's nothing you can do except listen.

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I was lucky enough to be born into a musical family. My grandfather taught himself how to play piano by ear, my uncle traveled around playing bluegrass, and my mother sang in various backup choirs for Christian singers.

Needless to say, I grew up surrounded by music. When I was younger, my uncles would come over and play bluegrass for the whole neighborhood to hear. There are tons of videos and tape recordings of me and my brothers playing along with them, creating memories we will all hold onto forever.

As I grew older, I picked up a few instruments and have never been able to put one down since. From the piano to the banjo, I've tried to play any instrument I come across.

To me, it's a way to relieve stress.

When I've had a stressful day (or week, month, year, etc.), the only thing I want to do is play the piano. There's something about banging on glossy white keys that takes all of my stress away.

While music acts as stress relief, the ability to play music allows you to create music too. To me, that's the best part of being given the ability to play music.

Music is not just a stress reliever or an emotional outlet - it's a tool.

It's just as much of a tool as a hammer or screw. When you start to fall apart, you can turn to music and it can piece you right back together. Music can unite others all across the globe. Music has such an incredible power that cannot just be described - it has to be felt.

When you hear a song that truly moves you, there's that feeling in your chest of excitement.

Your brain instantly feels sharper or clearer. You can't help but feel something in your bones that makes you want to get up and run around. That something? I wish I could tell you what it is, but all I can think is that it's the gift of music hitting you.

The next time you listen to your favorite song, I challenge you to think about why you love it. Jot down ideas as to what you feel when you listen to it. Do your ears feel like they're being enchanted by magic? Do you feel as if you can't contain yourself from singing the song? Or do you just sit in silence and listen?

Everyone experiences music in different ways, but just think about how one person is giving you that gift of music and how it has changed you. Thank them in some way. We live in the days of social media, so put it to use.

When you're given the gift of music, there is nothing you can do except listen and be grateful.

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Dear Taylor Swift, Christians Are Not Homophobic Bigots, Sincerely, The Majority Of Christians

Taylor, you need to calm down when talking about how most Christians act.

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When Taylor Swift released her newest single "You Need to Calm Down" last Friday, I didn't agree with the entire message of the song, mainly because of its heavy political overtones. But as the great Dick Clark once said, "It's got a good beat, and you can dance to it." So, for what it is, it's really easy to dance to this song, and I can see it becoming a pretty big hit.

But then the video came out, and I saw something that really bothered me.

In the music video for "You Need to Calm Down", Taylor is seen partying and hanging out with multiple LGBT+ icons in honor of Pride Month, such as the hosts of Queer Eye, RuPaul, and Ellen Degeneres. There's also a moment with Taylor, dressed as French fries, renewing her friendship with Katy Perry, who's dressed as a hamburger, which is as amazing as it sounds.

However, there's another cast of characters which acts as a foil to the happiness and colorful joy which is taking place in the video. There's a group of protesters surrounding the trailer park where Taylor and all her friends live. They're all dirty, buck-toothed, and dressed like your typical redneck stereotypes. They're also holding up protest signs while screaming at everyone in the trailer park. I saw one of the signs said something about Adam and Eve, and I realized most of the protesters were most likely meant to represent Christians.

And that...didn't sit well with me at all.

I know that these people never explicitly said they were Christians in the video, none of them even wore a cross. But, whenever someone sees anyone protesting rallies and organizations such as Pride, I can guarantee you that most of the time, the first thing people think is that they're from the Westboro Baptist Church, which is notorious for its protests. And I won't lie, there are some Christians who act that way.

But if you haven't heard this yet, let me be the first to tell you that not all Christians act like that. In fact, most of them don't act that way.

Christians don't agree with the LGBT+ lifestyle because of what the apostle Paul wrote in the book of 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). However, Jesus never once taught that just because you don't agree with a person doesn't mean they're automatically your enemy (Matthew 5:44). Christians are supposed to represent the love of the Savior of the world, which encompasses every and all aspects of humanity. This definitely includes people whose lifestyles we don't agree with. By not showing love to certain types of people, we are directly going against one of Jesus's greatest commandments.

Not agreeing with people is one of the cornerstones of humanity. It's a divisive world out there to be sure, but that doesn't mean people from any side of the debate need to perpetuate the division. Grouping all Christians into one group of hateful bigots is no different than Christians grouping all the members of the LGBT+ community into one group of evil people. One of the key elements of Christianity is showing people who have different beliefs from us the same love Jesus would show to anyone. And I know I'm not the only Christian who wants to show love to people of all walks of life. I may be the only Jesus they ever see in their lives, and we all wish to express the same love to others.

So Taylor, it looks like you're the one who needs to calm down on this issue.

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Summer Break Just Started And I Wish It Would Stop Already

Is it August yet?

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Going into my third year of college, you'd think that I'd be looking forward to my summer breaks, or any breaks that I can snag a chance at getting. But the sad reality is, summer breaks now consist of working and stressing about the next semester. I'm sure not everyone feels this way, whether you're in school or not.

But for me, summer breaks are just depressing.

Most of the time, my summers have to do with making plans with people that always fall through, or not having enough time in the week to execute such plans. Many people are busy working, at an internship, or out of the country for the summer.

If you're in your hometown (and if it's boring and dry like mine), it's not a place you look forward to coming back to every break. I also sit and worry about what internships I didn't get and how I'm not gaining any experience, so that makes for a stressful vacation.

I also find in the summer months that my skin is at its worst. She just doesn't cooperate with the treatment I'm giving her and I'm always sweating, so that doesn't help too much either. It's like no matter what I do, my skin continues to disrespect me.

It's unfortunate to find yourself in this position because I really used to enjoy my summers.

I loved being home, going on little trips, and sometimes, dare I say it, I liked working at my minimum-wage job at one point. Now, I feel like I'm in this constant drought of nothingness and staring outside my window every morning.

But I cannot blame this solely on my environment. I have to share some of the blame with myself. I could have planned my summer out, I could have found better people to hang out with, I could have applied to a thousand internships and maybe gotten at least one of them. But sometimes things don't go the way you want it to, and that is okay.

Maybe I'll do better next summer, who knows.

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