Hungry in Paradise

I sipped the can of root beer he gave me, looking out at one of Oahu’s best beaches on my free trip to Hawai’i. The water was an unbelievable blue. The mountains rose in the sky, the palm trees swayed to the perfect breeze. The sound of happy tourists wasn’t loud enough to be annoying.

Why would he give me a soda?

I turned my back to the beach and stole a last look at his tent. He was hidden behind the others, but I knew he was right where I left him. Probably looking over the fruit and pastries I brought him. He just wanted to give me something back. Somehow, I understood that. The grasping at the assurance you earned something, even as a homeless man accepting food from strangers.

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I was on staff for a volunteer trip. I was pretty much in Hawai’i in charge of 30 teenagers for 10 days. Our very last service project was to bring food to the homeless (or, in correct terms, “houseless”) at Waimanalo Beach Park. We handed out sandwiches, chicken, fruits, to the people who lived in tents by the ocean. These people were there illegally, so every once in a while security would do a sweep and they’d all have to pack up and move to another spot, cycling locations like this one.

But we’d been in Waimanalo Beach before, though just to swim in the crystal clear water. How did I not notice the tents when we were there the first time? Why did I just go about my fun, blind to the hurting?

What a thought, to be hungry in paradise. 

The irony of living in a tent, unsure of your next meal, right next to one of the most beautiful beaches in one of the world’s biggest vacation spots.

Throughout my time in Hawai’i, I would find myself at a homeless shelter one moment and snorkeling the next. Handing out food on the streets one second and shopping for souvenirs the next. It reminded me of every trip I’ve made to the Philippines, navigating through the slums with orphans clinging to my arms one day and the next being delivered a mango smoothie by the beach at a private resort with my extended family. driving past kids digging through the trash on my way to a nice restaurant.
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I used to hate the irony. I hated myself for it. I double and triple checked my motives when Hope worldwide sent me Hawai’i to help run this program. Because not going to lie, it’s nice here. Really, really nice. But I knew I wasn’t coming for a vacation. I was coming to do work.

So how does one explain that? “Yes, I’m going to Hawaii this summer, but it’s for a volunteer program.” How do I talk about it without making my trip sound like something it’s not? If I post too much about the service it’s like I’m hiding that I did fun stuff too. If I post all the fun stuff, everyone will think the whole “service trip” thing was just a facade. If I post both, it seems like I’m two-faced. 

 

But the thing is, there are so many places around the world where poverty and privilege dance around each other in a clash of cultures. Everywhere neighbors the rich and the poor, we just don’t always see it. 

A place has just as much depth and complexity as a person. A person can be loud and quiet, shy and confident, happy and sad. A place can be a #1 vacation spot and have families living on the streets. 

So what now? If we take time to realize that some of our favorite luxury vacation spots are miles away from starving children, does that mean we can’t enjoy said luxury? Shall we demonize the rich to compensate for ignoring the poor? When would that ever be a solution?

Guilting people into not enjoying their vacations does not seem like the answer to me. To me the only thing that seems helpful is to see the opportunity within the irony. To acknowledge the abundance that I have, whether that be assurance of my next meal or the ability to fly to Hawai’i, to see the needs around us and acknowledge their proximity. To see that our neighbor is hungry and to capitalize on exactly that. That they’re our neighbors, which means they’re right there.

Maybe Jesus was on to something when he said to “love your neighbor.” I’ve grown up taking Jesus’ metaphors as they come no matter how seemingly random or confusing, but maybe his choice of “neighbor” as a metaphor was a reminder and an encouragement. There are so many people in need of love in this world, it can be overwhelming. So what’s the good news? They’re right there. Neighbors.

Seeing the poverty in Hawai’i made me uncomfortable. The thought of thousands of people coming in and out of these islands unaware of the hurting made me uncomfortable. But isn’t this the case anywhere you go? Wherever you live there’s Uptown and there’s the ghetto. So whether I’m flying to Hawai’i or going to school in Dallas, it’s something to keep in mind. People have a different experience in every city I go to. And I think the key is to remember that everywhere you go there’s something beautiful to see, something fun to do, but also someone hurting to help. And I’d hate for that thought to drive guilt, but rather, awareness that there is always something to be done.

I think we should always enjoy our vacations, I think we should rest and soak up the fun and live in the moment and squeeze every bit of happiness out of life that we can. But perhaps we can do better at seeing our neighbors and how their prison might be our paradise.

Oh, am I being a downer?

Oops.

My Ticket In To See President Barack Obama

“Being a journalist, it’s your ticket into any room,” said Lauren Smart as we sat at a downtown hotel coffee shop next to her gorgeous black dog, Lilo. Lauren was the professor who had gotten me the Dallas Observer job over a year ago, and we get coffee every once in a while to catch up. I had just told her I was going to cover an event with President Barack Obama.

“I’m not interviewing him,” I laughed, clarifying a misconception some people had when I had posted on my Instastory in all caps I AM COVERING AN EVENT WITH BARAK FREAKING OBAMA. Yes, I misspelled the President’s name. No, I didn’t notice until too late, I was drunk with excitement at the time. “I’m just going because I can, basically,” I said.

My editor had asked me to cover a breakfast with America Ferrera at a Diversity conference at the Hilton Antole in Dallas, so I was in the email thread when the conference’s PR had asked the Observer if our editor in chief wanted to cover that night’s keynote speaker, by the name of Barack Obama. (See? I know how to spell it, I promise.)

The Observer turned it down, but since lil’ ol’ me saw the email chain, I asked my arts editor if I could cover it. She said they probably didn’t need an article but that I could just go for fun. I promised I’d write an article anyway but just really wanted to go for the experience.

That day was crazy. Of course, I still had to cover the America Ferrera breakfast, which was fun. I hadn’t ever done a job that involved free food before. I was, however, running excruciatingly late and ran frantically in my heels and the borrowed blazer from my mom to get there. The breakfast was at 8, and I think I got there around 8:20, but luckily I was told by the PR people that America was still in her dressing room and I was fine. Gosh, Dallas traffic. I wrote about the Ferrera breakfast, and that article was published.

After the breakfast I had to book it to my 11am Typography class at SMU. I had back-to-back lectures and had to turn in a final project, and was finished around 4pm. I then camped out at La La Land Kind Café, a new favorite, before I headed back to the hotel to see Obama.

My pants were very tight all day, that’s mainly what I remember from this period of time. But the most satisfying part of the day? There were thousands of people in line to get into the President’s speech, all having to go through metal detectors and bag checks. But I got to walk past them all with my “Media” badge, and that felt nice.

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The VIP guests got a red carpet in front of our metal detector, and there was no line. Perks. I was told to walk in with an influencer who didn’t really know what was going on half the time and was told to get off her phone a lot.

Eventually I was seated in the VIP row. The only person sitting in front of me was the President’s personal guest and friend, a former mayor of New York and former member of his cabinet. Barack Obama and I made contact many times as a result of me sitting right behind his friend, directly in front of him. In a room of over 3,000 people, I was right there in front of the 44thPresident of the United States.

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I did write up an article on this, but since there were lots of changes going on with the arts editors at the Observer at the time and I was never officially given an okay to write it up, it didn’t get published. So here it is, my Obama article!

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Who better than President Barack Obama to speak at the 15thAnnual Diversity & Leadership Conference? Thursday, the former President came to the Hilton Anatole to inspire thousands of leaders towards facilitating more inclusive workspaces.

The Trinity Ballroom at the Anatole was set up with seating for 3,000 people, and still there was not enough room. Up until the last minute, hotel staff were scrambling for chairs for some of the highest VIP ticket holders. Companies like Amazon, Toyota, and more had their leaders seated at the president’s feet.

Dennis Kennedy, the chair of the National Diversity Council who started the organization in Dallas which led to a nationwide movement that caught the attention of the President, moderated the event. He introduced Obama, as a “name synonymous with change.”

When President Barack Obama stepped out onto the stage, the cheers were not unlike when a boyband heartthrob appears at a concert. It had been exactly 811 days after he left office, according to Kennedy.

“What have you been up to?” Kennedy asked when the crowd finally settled down.

The President mentioned catching up on sleep and spoiling his wife Michelle, saying, “Whatever she wants, I do. I owe her that.” He has also spent a lot of time with his girls and is working on writing a book.

“I’m a little behind Michelle, she’s about 30 million copies ahead of me,” he joked.

After the brief catch-up, the President spoke on the big topic of the conference, diversity. He began with the fact that we must “overcome these instincts that there’s an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ and start moving toward a ‘we’.”

In a time where it feels like left and right millennial-bashing is trending, Obama was quick to point out something to learn from them. “You’ve got a generation coming up that instinctively understands and respects inclusion, they appreciate this instinctively,” he said.

The President gave practical examples on how organizations can better their inclusivity. He had to speak up about wanting a diverse staff during his time at the White House. He wanted to make sure he had different types of people in the room, going through a process of making sure it wasn’t only white men as candidates for jobs. “Once you do that process, you may not have people with the experience in which you can elevate them to a higher level. So we implemented something at the White House,” said Obama. Since he noticed minorities weren’t given the same opportunities and so weren’t always qualified with the same experience as others, he made sure the “hot shots” as he called them, who had potential and not as much experience were trained “to be qualified to fill in those senior spots later.” Then he added, “be patient, it doesn’t happen right away.”

“You have to shut down the idea that diversity and inclusivity is an opposition to excellence,” said the former President. He went on to talk about gender equality. “Every study shows that an organization that is made up of half or more women outperforms the organizations that don’t… Performance shows women will get the job done.”

He made sure to point out the different types of diversity. He wasn’t just talking about race, because diversity is so much more than that. He emphasized the importance of having people of different socio-economic backgrounds, religious beliefs, and more. “We each come to the table with blind spots,” he said, stating that the goal is that “everyone comes to cover each other’s blind spots.”

He talked about the different ways in which he tried to be inclusive in the situation room or with his cabinet members as well as things he learned about leadership during his time as President. “I learned that I like having people smarter than me in the room.”

Obama never directly talked about the current White House administration, though he did say that when he was at the White House, “we didn’t have scandals or people going to jail… people might make stuff up, but we didn’t.”

The former President was also asked for marriage advice. He kept the audience laughing with funny anecdotes of the ups and downs of one of the most famous marriages in the world.

And then, probably the most controversial topic of the night- barbeque.

During a rapid fire miscellaneous questions segment at the end of the night, Dennis Kennedy asked Barack Obama who had the best barbeque, “Kansas or North Carolina?”

The audience got heated.

“What about Texas?” Obama asked. “Let me say, there’s some good barbeque in Texas… without naming a place, the best barbeque I ever had was in Texas.”

And with that, the audience was satisfied.

 

 

The Wild Detectives: One of My Top Favorite Places in Dallas

 

The Wild Detectives is probably the coolest coffee shop in Dallas. And anyone who knows me knows that I’ve evaluated about all of them.

Located in the Bishop Arts District, the Wild Detectives is not only a coffee shop, but also a bar, a music venue, and an excellent bookstore.

I wrote an article about this place for the Dallas Observer last year, interviewing my professor and friend Lauren Smart about the events they hold to empower women.Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

I went back this year to cover the Wild Detectives, this time for its 5th year anniversary for my video class. The owners and staff were wonderful and even gave me a Topo Chico. I mean, what’s not to love about this place?

My news package for SMU TV is linked below. It covers the trend of bookstore closings and how the Wild Detectives is doing a stellar job at keeping the interest of their customers.

 

Let’s Talk About Coffee Shop Instagram Culture

I’m a coffee addict. But besides stopping by the Starbucks my best friends work at, you can almost never catch me hanging out at a coffee shop chain. I go to coffee shops for the experience.

I don’t consider myself a coffee connoisseur, but I do consider myself a coffee shop connoisseur.

I recently made a survey for a class in which I asked people different questions to try and see what their perception of me is, and one of the questions I asked was, “What place best describes me?” And 39 out of 52 responses were some sort of coffee shop. People know what I like.

In December of 2017 I made one of my most popular blog posts, a list of some of my favorite coffee shops. My school newspaper also heard about my affinity for these establishments (absolutely no idea how), and asked me to write a list for them in 2018.

And yes, I pay attention to the quality of the coffee and of whatever food these places serve, but honestly? What I love most is the atmosphere.

Is it just me or are coffee shops getting prettier?

This is a hypothetical backed up by no data whatsoever, but it seems to me that coffee shops are becoming more and more about appearance as time goes on. I can only assume it’s because of the Instagram culture, because what’s more basic than a coffee pic? Taking photos of the places you’re getting your coffee is normalized. We don’t whip out Instagram for our grocery store runs, but when it comes to coffee, it’s become so much more about image.

I’m guilty of this. I. Just. Can’t. Stop. Taking photos at coffee shops. It’s a compulsion. I don’t know why, I just can’t not.

In my Media & The Art of Fashion Design class, we’ve been discussing stores that have turned into things that resemble museums. More high end stores like Louis Vuitton or Prada, for example, are more like an experience. You go in, you’re waited on, you observe the modern art and the way the store looks, but there isn’t a pressure to buy from the thousands of items on display. The stock is minimal, the salespeople are accommodating.

This is something I see in coffee shops now. Yes, you go for your drink of choice, but so many go for the “feel” of the place and the look of the place. As if the cool aesthetics help one get their work done better or facilitate better conversation. But there have been so many new places popping up with such attention to interior design as to firmly weld that marriage between the words “cute” and “coffee shop.”

It’s almost as if we pay for the Instagram picture. A $5 to boost your feed. An extra shot to add to your story. Maybe even a muffin for a new profile pic.

According to Wes Gay on an article on Forbes.com, “Millennials aren’t necessarily drinking more coffee than other generations, but they are spending more money on coffee. In other words, they are spending more on higher quality coffee experiences. ‘Millennials have a lot of disposable income,’ says Kahn. ‘But they aren’t spending it like their parents did on cars and clothes. Instead, they’re spending it on a better food and beverage experience.’”

Different studies have pointed to this generation spending more on experiences than things. And I think that has trickled into Instagram coffee shop culture. Here is my hypothesis:

A coffee shop is only as good as it is photogenic.

Though, wouldn’t you agree? Yes, I understand that the real coffee drinkers don’t care if they get their bean water from a hole in the wall, but for most of the world, we flock to the pretty places. Starbucks is always trying to catch up, seemingly renovating their stores every other year, but they will never beat the local hipster shops. Slap some cool art on the walls and some man buns on the baristas, and presto! you’re tagged in a million Instagram stories and could serve brown paint for all these kids know.

Got Paid to Let Hamilton Blow My Mind

Before Wednesday, I thought Hamilton was over-hyped. (Hence, the title of my article on the Observer.)  It feels like the entire world would not shut up about it.

A couple summers ago, I found myself trapped in a van full of theater nerds- as you do- and they decided to play the entire Hamilton soundtrack. They had the whole thing memorized front and back, every million-miles-a-minute spitfire rap line. And none of them had ever even seen the musical. Their passion came from simply streaming the music on Spotify, and I didn’t get it.

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(All photos credited to: Joan Marcus)

Hamilton fanatics like these are found everywhere. They live among us. Maybe you see a t-shirt with the famous star logo, maybe you see a phone case with the “Schuyler sisters” in their iconic hoop skirt dresses. Maybe, like me, you tried to listen to the soundtrack and even Googled the musical and got even more confused. I even took a History of American Musical Theater class, and we spent a few weeks studying the musical and watching a documentary on it. And as an immigrant myself, I’m all for diversity, but what’s with black men playing some of the most famous slave owners in our history?

Confusing. It feels like everyone who likes Hamilton loves Hamilton.

Well, I need not bother you with a theater review, because I already did that. It’s on the Dallas Observer for your reading pleasure!

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In the editing, however, some of my more political commentary got cut out. Which is fine, I just had a hard time trying to explain Hamilton without getting political. I mean, besides the fact that it’s about politicians, the production itself is an incredible statement.

I talked a little about it in my article:

Miranda’s script seems to perfectly juxtapose where we’ve been as a nation with where we are and where we could go. The cast of Hamilton is performing to audiences at what seems like a pivotal time in our nation’s history. Folded into an inspiring rags-to-riches story is the theme of immigration, carved into a romance plot line are nods to women’s rights.

But I would love to elaborate.

I’ve been thinking about diversity for the sake of diversity. Approaching this material, the story of the founding fathers of America, one has a very specific America in mind. Let’s face it, the historically accurate way to tell this story would be through white men. And let’s face it, a lot of them were slave owners. Talk about awkward. I’m all for inclusion and diversity, but as someone who usually likes historically accurate portrayals, I have to admit I was the slightest bit hesitant for the “why.”

But after I saw the musical, it was obvious. Every decision- the casting, the music style, it was all genius. And seeing all the pieces together the way it was meant to be seen, it all finally made so much sense to me.

As Lin Manuel Miranda has said, the musical is “the story of America then told by America now. It looks like America now,” according to CBS news.

Beautiful.

It also looks like America now because much of the issues they are battling in the musical are issues we battle today. You have Hamilton and Lafayette representing immigrants and that infamous climb towards the American Dream, played by a hispanic and an african-american. Because though those two characters were white, they represent a demographic that is very racially diverse. And by looking like today’s immigrants we are able to connect with them in a way that we couldn’t with a historically accurate portrayal.

And it goes on and on. By watching the show, you are watching the story of our nation being built. And it makes one think, what nation are we building today? These are crazy times. It seems like left and right our nation is shifting and wobbling and being molded into- what, exactly? 

This is the genius of Lin Manuel Miranda. Today’s political climate feels like new territory. How will he get the next voting generation to think about the nation that we will build, with the technology and advancements we are privileged to be equipped with? By connecting our nation’s beginning with our nation’s today, and asking about our nation’s tomorrow. All in a couple hours of Broadway hip hop.

The Daily Campus | Video Project

Hey again, I’m back with another video on that borrowed $3,000 camera I told you about in previous posts.

For our third video project in my Basic Audio and Video class, I decided to cover our school paper.

The nice thing about doing a video of my fellow journalists is that they made things so easy for me. They knew exactly what I needed when I said things like “match on action” or “checking levels,” all that. They’d all taken this class before so their patience? Amazing.

Our school paper is called the Daily Campus. It is run by a handful of students that were great to spend time with.

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After filming one of their meetings, I decided to try for a leadership position on their staff. So we’ll see!

 

I Asked Hillsong UNITED for Worship Advice

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This interview ended up being about 3 or 4 times longer than most. Here’s why.

I lost my marbles when the Observer asked me to set up an interview with someone in Hillsong UNITED. I sing and play their songs on a weekly basis. I’m a worship leader at my church, so I can’t count the amount of times I’ve sung or led a congregation in singing Oceans, The Stand or Hosanna. To say that worship has had a huge impact on my life is an understatement (though I’ll probably write more on that in a later post). I spend hours a week rehearsing worship songs, or singing to God on my own or with friends, especially my boyfriend. I’ve sung at churches around the country, and so much of what I play is from Hillsong. Not everything, but a lot. Most of the song requests I get are Hillsong songs. And I know some people bash them for having songs that sound the same or whatever, but all I say to that is “let’s see you do better.” Is that mean? Whatever.

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I respect Hillsong United so much because of how well they’ve been able to create music that is cool and accessible to youth while holding on to the heart of what worshipping God should be about. So when I got a call from JD, one of the OG members of Hillsong United, I lost it. I mean, the guy gets to sing to God for a living.

(JD is the guy in the video with long hair and glasses.)

It was early in Australia but late afternoon where I was answering the call. After my initial gush of “omg I love worship too” super professional intro, we dove in with some intro questions like what’s the difference between UNITED and Hillsong Young and Free, and stuff like that.

Some things I learned?

  • JD was 13 when he and his youth group friends started writing songs and formed Hillsong UNITED.
  • When they’re not on tour, they’re part of their worship teams at home and participate just like any other volunteer.
  • Hillsong UNITED is the “original” band, with Hillsong Young and Free being a band that started to focus more on the youth. And Hillsong Worship is their actual church’s worship.

Here’s some snippets from the interview:

JD: Thursday nights we do rehearsals we call team nights and we come together and do devotions and pray and rehearse and then be a part of Sundays. Most of us are, like I’m one of the worship pastors here in Sydney so we just help out. Make sure the church is happening on weekends and there’s a lot of people not in United that are making it happen as well and I just work alongside them.

Isabel: Because worshiping God and playing music is in a way a job, how do you balance that? …

I think what’s been amazing about our journey is we never set out to make a job out of it or that it would become what we do with our lives, we’ve always kind of viewed it as our service to God and our volunteering and involvement of church. The truth is all of us were doing this for years and years before it ever became a job and we’d be working- I remember I did everything from working in McDonald’s and working in cafes and then leading worship and doing our youth ministry…. None of us started this to get a job out of it but it’s been amazing and we’re amazed at God making these opportunities for us. And I think United is really a family and a strong community so we make sure that if anyone’s feeling down we’re able to pick them up and if anyone starts to be a little too high we can pull them down, it’s the great thing about  I think church or family or cumminty. If someone’s going to get a big head then there’s plenty of brothers and sisters there to help that head gets small but more importantly when people are down or struggling we’re there to lift them up and it’s an amazing dynamic.

That’s awesome. So what do you think makes a good worship band?

I think skinny jeans and long hair.

That’s true!

I’m glad you’re laughing.

But I think going off of what I just said I think the desire to bring glory to God, the desire to establish God’s truth here on earth and tell everyone that we can that we have some really good news and that is that God sent his son Jesus so we wouldn’t have to be lost but that we could feel comfort in our pain and the greatest gift of all is salvation. So I think in my mind it’s great to have big dreams and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to write songs that people around the world will sing or people want their songs to travel to millions and billions of people and to go and travel the world to large crowds and that’s great but to be honest that’s the least important thing when it comes to having a worship band. The most important thing is that our lives will bring honor and glory to God. Paul writes in Timothy that we need to live a life worthy of the calling that God has for each and every one of us….

I eventually started asking him questions about their upcoming tour, his musical influences… the typical things you ask when you interview an artist. But right when the interview was reaching to 3x longer than what’s unspokenl-y expected, I ventured to beg for a couple more questions.

Alright, I only have two more questions for you. I could honestly ask you questions for hours but I won’t take up too much more of your time

All good. That’s fine, I wish I had hours as well! I’m glad to talk to someone as passionate about it!

So my worship team is practicing tomorrow night, and I was wondering if you had any advice for a worship band, worship team? Any words of wisdom?

Ugh. Gosh, I could talk for hours on this because I love it and I’m on this journey myself of trying to do the best I possibly can but I think that in what we do as a worship team there’s two elements. There’s obviously the spiritual side of trying to lead people into the presence of God and getting people’s eyes and attention to God and there’s also the practical and physical element of trying to make the songs sound as good as they can and not stuffing it up, singing the right words, hitting the right chords and all that and staying on time and all the things that come. So there’s always this tension of, can I keep up? It’s one eye on God and one eye on the people type thing. There’s that balance of actually worshipping yourself but also making sure all these elements are lining up as well as possible to get people to go to God with as much ease as possible. So I think my biggest advice would be from my journey of doing this is that that’s all important and we got to do it all as best as we possibly can but never, ever, um I would say never ever- I’m trying to word it best as I can but never ever take the focus off trying to honor God and worship who he is ourselves. I think the greatest way we can actually lead people into worshipping God is to worship God. And so the temptation is to perform or the temptation is to sing a song really well or for people to think the service is awesome but to be honest it’s great to do all that stuff but as long as it becomes a very long second to when we’re on that platform in a worship sergice actually worship God for who he is. People see that and that’s contagious. And that’s attractive. And so keeping that pure heart of okay we’re going to worship God first and foremost. You can’t ignore all the other elements otherwise we’ll lose people but don’t get it around the other day where we do everything to set it up to be amazing and then we try to worship God. No, you start with trying to worship God first and people will see that and if you lead someone in worship worship God first.

Thank you so much for that. I know, I said two more questions, but can I ask you one more? I’m so sorry this is taking so long.

That’s alright I’ll give you one more.

I was wondering what your convictions are on the pairing of music and faith and why music is such a key part in worshipping God. I know it’s a big question.

It is a big question and I’ll answer as quickly as possible but it’ll be, number one, because God created it. God created everything to bring glory to worship himself. The Bible talks about how even the rocks will cry out. God created beautiful creation, I think we see even a sunset and a beach, God created that. And it reflects his beauty. Everything reflects it…. I think we can take God’s creation like a mirro… Music in its purest form was created to glorify God. That’s why we all love it and some people out there aren’t using their music to glorify God but even those songs  in the mainstream like big anthems everyone loves that’s a big extension of God’s creation. I think, number one, it’s so powerful because God created it, but I think secondly if you read all scripture it teaches us to sing. It teaches us to break into song. And I think we’re also instructed to use whatever we have to show people who God is. Music is one of those but it’s also kind of a universal language. I can’t remember who exactly said it but it’s that music has a way of entering your heart without asking permission. So I think that if that’s what we love and with UNITED and we sing songs and travel, my favorite is when we hear people who have never set foot in a church or don’t have anything to do with God or maybe had a bad experience when they were younger or have disbelief but somehow someone will play them one of our songs through the beauty of streaming with Spotify or Apple Music and all the rest of it, and our songs find their way into random playlists and people listen to our music without even realizing that it’s worship or Christian. And the testimonies people email us like, I didn’t want anything to do with God or church but there’s something about this song that makes me cry or gives me peace. I think that’s the power of music. And it’s powerful because God created it and it’s at its purest and best form when it’s giving him glory or telling the glory of who God is or what he’s done.

That’s awesome. Wow. Thank you so much for your time.

No problem, it was fun. It was good to talk to someone who is so passionate about worship!

There it is, folks. To be honest, I almost didn’t want to share it because it was just something so special to me. Sure, a lot of Hillsong songs sound similar, or whatever people wanna say about it, but their songwriting has gotten me through a lot and has helped me in my spiritual and emotional connection to God. And for that I am forever thankful.

Click here for the article!