Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why only about God?

While I was discussing with my sister how to fix all of the worlds problems (I'll keep you updated on that project as we progress), my mind wandered to one of the common short-comings in the genre of Christian music. To be more distinct, the thought that, for a band to be labeled as "Christian", all of their songs have to have God as their direct subject.

In my mind, this is skewed. Think about it. It's akin to telling a web designer that they can only build websites for churches. Or notifying a homeschooling mom that she can only teach the Bible, forsaking all other subjects. Or informing a public speaker that their speeches must always be sermons.

As Christians, we CAN glorify God without being continually overt about it.

As I began talking about Christian bands, I will continue with that. I believe I made it obvious that it is silly to constrain these bands to writing songs that speak directly and exclusively about God. Instead, they should balance songs like these with others that instead explore different parts of life with a basis of Christian values.

The tricky part about this is that certain people would be offended by the lack of "spirituality" of the bands, but I think as a whole, the Christians would benefit from this, the bands would benefit from this, and most important of all, Christ's kingdom would benefit from this.

47 comments:

  1. I've sort of thought something like this before, although I've paid it little attention.

    While praise and worship is important, I found it pretty annoying at times that bands my church promoted didn't do anything but that. But if God is their muse...

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  2. Since the Bible is our ultimate source of truth I will reference Psalms. I believe you would be hard pressed to find a Psalm that doesn't directly reference God.

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    1. This is true, however the Psalms were written for the purpose of worshiping God, whereas bands write and perform music to match their own style. The discussion is as to whether Christian bands should focus specifically on praise and worship.

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  3. "Should Christian bands focus specifically on praise and worship?"
    Show me in any part of the Bible where people were singing or worshiping and not directly referencing God. If this is our source of truth, we should seek to carefully model it. If people singing in the Bible are always worshiping, shouldn't that cause me to consider my own actions accordingly?
    "..bands write and perform music to match their own style..."? Has worshipping God gone out of style? For that matter, I've heard bands of every style worshipping God.
    If God has given you the talent of a beautiful voice, shouldn't you use it to his glory? The problem also is that bands are "performing" for audiences other than the audience of ONE. Their offering may be tainted to please the crowd. If you are "called" to be a singer, when does the worship stop and the show begin? The word "worship" is so polluted by our culture that we can hardly understand what it means when we read it in the Bible. Do a word study on worship in the Bible, and then look at what Americans call "worship." I don't think we are speaking the same language.

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    1. In that case, we can agree to disagree. If you want to use your own talents solely to make God happy and not do anything else, that's fine with me. However, I think that we are given room to pursue our own happiness and interact with others as well - keeping our eyes on God is important, but some of us need the quick glance at our surroundings.

      Delete
    2. You didn't answer any of my questions.
      You respond, "If you want to use your own talents solely to make God happy and not do anything else, that's fine with me." I didn't say that. Please don't try to over-interpret my posts. You may say "Do you believe that you should use your own talents solely to make God happy and not do anything else?"

      Consider when Peter was walking on water to Jesus - as soon as he took a "quick glance at his surroundings," it didn't work out so well for him! I think if you are doing ANYTHING that is not ultimately intended for the glory of God in some way, that is the very definition of sin. I'm not saying that we don't all sin, just that we believers should set our sights and standards a bit higher than that.

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    3. Like I said, we don't have to agree. I have chosen not to answer your questions (which appear to be rhetorical, imo), and you have chosen to continue the comment debate, which is all fine and dandy if you are doing this for the glory of God. So I will continue it as well.

      But by your definition of sin, inaction itself is sinful. While I would certainly consider negligence to border on sin, I would not agree. I have said before that God has granted us a little breathing room, a little creativity in how we choose to live our lives. To me, it's more than a little.

      Anyway, it worked out well enough for Peter for Jesus to have pulled him out of the water. We can be fairly focused on human endeavors, but the moment our mind plunges into doubt and fear, we'll need to be pulled out of the water too.

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  4. As I see it there are three basic genres of music and from these stem sub-genres, now I am not saying I endorse or enjoy them all.

    1. Worship - Includes Hymns, Praise and Worship, etc.
    2. Message - These can be Christian, Secular, etc.
    3. Enjoyment - This is probably the biggest it covers Children's Music, Folk Music, Classical, Jazz etc.

    In my opinion a believer is to live their life to honor and bring glory to God in everything they do.

    Also here is anther thought, bands are not Christian, they don't have souls, it is the people who make it up. It's almost like calling a sandwich Christian.

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  5. "In my opinion a believer is to live their life to honor and bring glory to God in everything they do."

    What does that mean to you regarding this topic?

    Agreed, bands are a thing. When I say "Christian band" I put a label on them to distinguish them from other bands.

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  6. If a believer is walking with Christ than he will guide in the way they should go, if a person is truly following Him than their life will bring honor to God, I am not saying play classical, jazz, or singing folk music brings honor "directly" to God, but our lives do if we are walking with him. As to what a person is to perform, that varies on different circumstances, it depends on where you are and what your goal is.

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    1. Your post is well written.
      Please allow me to ask you a question. What is truth? I know this might seem off topic but if you find the time I would appreciate a response.

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    2. Jesus said in John 14, I am the way, the TRUTH and the life.
      and in John 17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

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    3. God is truth and His word is truth? Is that correct? If it is, then please answer me another question, how can we obtain truth?

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    4. How can truth be obtained? As I have already clearly stated Jesus Christ is truth, the Holy Words of Jehovah are truth. How can man obtain this? God in his Holiness sent down his sinless, spotless, holy Son to earth, that he might lead mankind who is unholy, sinful, haters of God and all that is Holy, reprobate, depraved, poor, blind, miserable, wretched, and unable to stand in the presence of God without shame, to redemption through the sacrifice which he made on Calvary, being crushed of his father to bear the wrath of God's holiness for mankind who has scorned him and his name since Adams fall in the Garden. Because Christ bore the punishment and wrath of God for our sins we can obtain Christ, his holiness, and everlasting life if we will repent, turn away from, and forsake sin, and walk in the righteousness of God that Christ made available to mankind. This my friend is how we can obtain Jesus Christ, thus obtaining truth.

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    5. I believe you described the way to obtain salvation . . . which is a truth.
      My question is not specific to one truth but to all truth. You answered previously that God and His word is truth so I am guessing that you believe that a person must first understand the universals first in order to understand the particulars. Or do you believe that in order to understand the universals we must understand the particulars first?

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    6. A person cannot understand anything without first having presuppositions, if I am a believer, than my source of truth is Christ and his Word, in order for me to understand anything in life I must look to and base my understanding on the syn qua non of all truth, THE WORD OF GOD.

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    7. Do you agree with me when I say that the ONLY ONE who has a COMPLETLY PURE view of ALL TRUTH is God? Is God's word is ENTIRELY TRUE without ANY LIE in it?

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    8. As I said the Word of God is the sine qua non of all truth, without it truth cannot be understood, and God in his omniscience IS in fact as you said the only source of completely pure truth. All that he says is true, because he is truth, he is not a man that should lie, let all men be liars but God is true, let heaven and earth pass away but His Word will last forever..

      Constitutionalist Reformer.
      (didn't feel like signing in.)

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    9. Thank you for your forbearance.
      You believe that the ONLY source of PURE truth is God and His word. That humans must look to it and to Him for ALL the answers to the questions.
      Please answer the question that this post has posed using the Bible or God as your only source of truth. I am very interested in your answer.

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    10. I must jump in here now. :D

      1 Corinthians 10:31 says "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." If this verse implies that Christian bands can only play praise/worship because the Bible only mentions people singing songs directly relating to God, how are we to eat or drink? Does this verse mean that we can only eat the foods directly mentioned in the Bible? If so, pizza is EVIL. A Beka Books were never talked about in the Bible, does this mean that teaching from them is going against God?

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    11. As I said in my first post I do not endorse nor enjoy all the genres of music mentioned, now as to your question. I do not believe it is Biblical for anyone to have a "Ministry" of music apart from the preaching of the Gospel, and even if the Gospel is being preached the ministry must be under the direction of the local church, in relation to this post, If I was going to make an album I would not include secular music. Neither do I think any Christian should. What they do should be for the Glory of God. As to playing music at home or with a group of friend not in a Church setting I don't see a problem with playing clean non-christian labeled music, it would be no different than playing checkers, chess, monopoly, or any other recreation activity.

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    12. If I may interject, while the Bible is the most truthful book out there, what are we to make of its contents? Perhaps some ideas are outdated, and perhaps some ideas that could be considered outdated aren't. Or worse...perhaps people could just carve out their own meanings by quoting it a certain way. Or maybe most of it has simply been lost in translation.

      It is my belief that we are imperfect beings, and though we should strive to be like God we should also pursue 'mortal' interests to remind ourselves that we are not perfect, to expand upon virtues that can't be strengthened when focusing solely upon God's kingdom, and to get a little bit of breathing room. Let's say a band writes and performs songs praising God, but thinks it might be okay to write songs about something else, for instance other aspects of Christian life. In my opinion, if they denied their ideas and wrote and performed only praise and worship under the premise that it is the only way to focus on God, every other band, including non-Christian bands, would have to do the same in order to be seen well in the eyes of God. Does that make sense?

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    13. I agree, when I was speaking of music to glorify God I was including music with a message as well, as long as the focus is on God, living the Chrisian way, encouragement to the believer, call for sinners to repent, and pretty much anything that is theologically sound.

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    14. Let me clarify what I was agreeing with...

      "Let's say a band writes and performs songs praising God, but thinks it might be okay to write songs about something else, for instance other aspects of Christian life." Duke of Awesome

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    15. Caleb Grove
      "1 Corinthians 10:31 says "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." If this verse implies that Christian bands can only play praise/worship because the Bible only mentions people singing songs directly relating to God
      I Corinthians 10:31 is talking about food offered to idols and how to behave at a banquet. It does not talk about singing or worshiping God with our voices.
      "how are we to eat or drink? Does this verse mean that we can only eat the foods directly mentioned in the Bible"
      Clearly this verse says eat whatever is put before you at a banquet of unbelievers, even if it is pizza, it doesn't say pizza but it says whatever is set before you.
      10:27 If any of them that believe not bid you [to a feast], and ye be disposed to go; WHATSOEVER IS SET BEFORE YOU, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
      My question still remains please justify this post using the Bible or God as the source of truth.

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    16. The Constitutionalist Reformer
      "I do not believe it is Biblical for anyone to have a "Ministry" of music apart from the preaching of the Gospel"
      I don't understand what you mean, please elucidate.

      "the ministry must be under the direction of the local church"
      This statement, as I am understanding it, isn't in line with this scripture. Mark 9:39. Here is a person not under the local authority and Jesus says that is perfectly fine.

      "As to playing music at home or with a group of friend not in a Church setting"
      When does "the church" stop being "the church?" Doesn't the Bible say you are the church? If you are the church then there is no such thing as a non-Church setting.

      "I don't see a problem with playing clean non-christian labeled music"
      Please justify this statement not based upon your thought but on the word of God or God himself.

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    17. 1 You never hear of anyone going about singing in the Bible as a ministry to win the lost, the fivefold ministry does not justify this, it is the preaching of the cross that is the power of God unto Salvation.

      2 I would hardly call a man who cast out devils having a ministry, but for the sake of argument he let's say he did, there was no actual church system until Acts, after Acts do not see people going out on their own to minister, they are sent out by the authority of the church.

      3 I am not speaking of profane secular music, I am speaking classical, folk music, patriotic etc... As to the setting I was speaking of outside the setting of corporate worship. Not outside the church.

      4 Also would you please tell us your feelings on the matter?

      The Constitutionalist Reformer

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    18. "You never hear of anyone going about singing in the Bible as a ministry to win the lost, the fivefold ministry does not justify this, it is the preaching of the cross that is the power of God unto Salvation."

      Are you saying that preaching and worshiping must accompany each other? This scripture is taken from Ephesians. The chapter is full of instructions of how to live. In it, it says to sings songs but it doesn't say that preaching must accompany it. A person could imply from this scripture that worship isn't for the unbeliever at all but has a specific place within the body of Christ.

      Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

      I am sorry if I am off topic. I am still not sure if I understand completely what you are saying.

      ”I would hardly call a man who cast out devils having a ministry, but for the sake of argument he let's say he did, there was no actual church system until Acts, after Acts do not see people going out on their own to minister, they are sent out by the authority of the church."

      If you don't like Mark 9:39 then go to the next one Mark 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
      What does it mean to be "on our part?"

      Certainly not all were sent out by the church. Paul was not chosen, appointed or sent out by the local church. God chose him and the church was afraid of him.

      "I am not speaking of profane secular music, I am speaking classical, folk music, patriotic etc... As to the setting I was speaking of outside the setting of corporate worship. Not outside the church."

      Again, the scripture above doesn't seem to have people in formal corporate worship. It seems to be just a part of daily life the body is the body where ever it is whatever it is doing and when it is singing it isn't singing things that don't directly mention God.

      Since we have established that man is totally fallen and God totally good. Please tell me from His word or Himself the answer to the question.

      My feelings on the matter are irrelevant feelings come and go.

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  7. Wow, this post has caused a bit of a firestorm. However, I am glad to see that the parties involved seem to be handling this well. Tread carefully though. If I find a comment to be disrespectful of another person, it will get deleted. Challenge beliefs, not the people themselves.

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    1. I did not intend to disrespect anyone. If I have caused any hint of offense I humbly apologize.

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    2. Heh, sorry. It's sort of unbecoming for a new writer to get into a debate just about right off the bat.

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    3. Don't worry, all you guys are handling it fine. I just wanted to make sure it stayed that way.

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  8. I am saying it is not scriptural for a person or group to go about having concerts, singing and playing music without the preaching of the Gospel included and call it a ministry.

    After Paul is called of God we do not see him going about doing what he wants to do, he is sent out from the Church with the laying on of hands.

    The scripture does not say this is the ONLY way a person can use music, it is how a believer is to worship God and have a spirit of praise at all times.

    TCR

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    1. "I am saying it is not scriptural for a person or group to go about having concerts, singing and playing music without the preaching of the Gospel included and call it a ministry."

      שרת sharath is the word used for ministry in the Old Testament. It is translated ministry and service used interchangeably. Perhaps it is how you define ministry. If you define it the way the Bible does is seems to mean "serving."

      Can a person "serve" God by singing alone?

      Genesis 39:4 is the first time this word is mentioned. Fascinating.

      diakoneō is the word "minister" in the new testament and it means serve.

      "The scripture does not say this is the ONLY way a person can use music, it is how a believer is to worship God and have a spirit of praise at all times."

      The Bible does not say that it isn't a good idea for a woman to go out alone down a dark alley at night. The Bible does not say that deodorant is effective. The Bible does not say A LOT.

      I am not interested in what the Bible does not say but what it does say.

      You said that the word of God and God alone is the perfect source of truth but still have been unable to tell me why the posting is correct based upon these alone. You have only quoted two scriptures to me and that was during the truth line of inquiry.

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  9. I have not said I agree with the blogpost so I therefore am under no obligation to defend it.

    Also there are several instances when the people of Israel sang songs that did not mention God in any way.


    Numbers 21:17-18
    17 Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it:
    18 The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves.
    And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah:

    1 Samuel 29:5
    Is this not David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

    Singing music outside of direct worship to God is not condemned neither is it said to be right. But their is a place where something is neither Holy nor Evil but rather common, in this I am not speaking of sin, but of everyday things in life. It is not Holy to use a computer, neither is it sinful, but it can be used for sinful or Holy purposes. The same may be said of music.

    Also we must keep in mind the words of Paul in Romans 16:19

    19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

    Wisdom is essential in everything a Christian does, we have to be wise in making our everyday decisions. But when it concerns evil we are to be very simple about it, shun it, abstain from the very appearance of evil as Paul said.

    I agree the Bible does not say alot about common things, we have to use wisdom and common sense in our decisions.

    TCR

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    1. “I have not said I agree with the blogpost”

      May 31st

      “Let me clarify what I was agreeing with...

      "Let's say a band writes and performs songs praising God, but thinks it might be okay to write songs about something else, for instance other aspects of Christian life."”

      If this isn’t agreement please clarify.

      I therefore am under no obligation to defend it.”

      If I have caused you to feel an obligation I am sorry. You are under no obligation.

      Would you like to tell me what you believe regarding this post basing your beliefs on what you believe is the only source of truth?

      “Also there are several instances when the people of Israel sang songs that did not mention God in any way.”
      Numbers 21:17-18

      Is this one scripture enough to justify the post?

      1 Samuel 29:5
      Is this not David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

      What was the rest of the song? If they sang about David and Saul alone do you think God would have been pleased that David and Saul got all the glory?

      “Singing music outside of direct worship to God is not condemned neither is it said to be right. But there is a place where something is neither Holy nor Evil but rather common, in this I am not speaking of sin, but of everyday things in life. It is not Holy to use a computer, neither is it sinful, but it can be used for sinful or Holy purposes. The same may be said of music.”

      You equate music to something common. If this is truth then we must be able to find it in the Bible or from God’s character. Is this true - is singing common or is it something else?

      “we have to use wisdom and common sense in our decisions.”

      Am I to understand that God and His Word is not the only source of truth? Common sense is another source?

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  10. You asked me offer you reasoning from the Word of God that justifies singing songs that do not directly mention God, I have given you two. What do you want me to provide a scripture that says, thou shalt sing praises unto the name of Jehovah, and you can sing songs about your country and life to if you want.

    I mean its not there, they do it, he does not condemn it, so apparently it is not sin. If it was it would say, I'm sure

    When I said it takes common sense I was referring to your deodorant and alley walking comment.

    Also I agreed with a portion of Dukes comment about singing songs about the Christian life, not Caleb's blog, this is an area where we have disagreed before in the ConLaw forum.

    Can you provide me biblical evidence that it is wrong to sing or play music that does not directly mention God. If you can this debate is over. I will humbly stand corrected.

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  11. "You asked me offer you reasoning from the Word of God that justifies singing songs that do not directly mention God, I have given you two. What do you want me to provide a scripture that says, thou shalt sing praises unto the name of Jehovah, and you can sing songs about your country and life to if you want."

    I asked you to prove what you believe from the Word of God or God himself.

    "I mean its not there, they do it, he does not condemn it, so apparently it is not sin. If it was it would say, I'm sure"

    The Bible doesn't condemn abortion either. Child sacrifice offered up to false gods, yes, but not abortion. Does this mean that abortion is not a sin because the Bible doesn't mention it?

    You found two scriptures. Is that enough to make a case that God doesn't condemn it? To answer this question I point to Samson and Judah. Samson slept with a prostitute. Nothing bad happened to him that the Bible mentions. Another time Judah slept with Tamar and nothing bad happened to him. Conclusion: it is okay to "sleep around." To refute this a person could use any number of scriptures from the Bible especially ones at the beginning of Proverbs.

    This is my point. The WHOLE Bible must be considered when answering any question. God's WHOLE character must be considered.

    The first commandment of the ten is Love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and strength. Does it say "Don't hate God?" No, not directly. Often God points to the good, Himself, his character. When we look at that then we recognize the lie.

    "Can you provide me biblical evidence that it is wrong to sing or play music that does not directly mention God. If you can this debate is over. I will humbly stand corrected."

    I don't know that I can make a case for it but I will give an attempt.

    I have no desire to humble you or correct you. That is for the immature.

    My desire is to ponder about, know and understand God. I want to answer every question through the filter of His word and His character. If you are a searcher of Truth then we can enrich each other's lives by revealing Truth to each other.

    Let me make the case against something God created lifting up their voice in song to anything else but their creator. If I err then please illuminate it to me.

    1. We never see Jesus signing anything but songs about God.

    2. There is scripture in abundance that refer to people singing and when they are singing(almost entirely) they are offering up praise, worship or ministering.

    3. When the heavenly beings sing they only sing of God.

    4. When creation "speaks" in the Bible it only glorifies God.

    5. Many times when they are singing it appears to be a command. "Sing unto the Lord" Psalm 96 and SO many others. If it is a command then wouldn't it be similar to saying "Get on your sandals." If a person went and put on tennis shoes that wouldn't be following the command right?

    Shouldn't ALL of us be given over to him for his service and devotion? He has given us EVERYTHING and whatever gift that we have shouldn't we use it to his service and glory?

    I did not quote a lot of scripture here it would have been exhausting. If you disagree please let me know based upon God's word or His character.

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  12. Let me make it clear I do not play or sing anyting except what I believe what brings honor to God. I just dont see how it is morally or spiritually wrong to sing or play music tat does not directly mention God. I do understand your position, and it is as I see it a matter of personal conviction, much like dress.

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  13. Continuation...
    I dont wear muscle shirts and shorts, because I do not believe I reflect Christ in that manner of dress, but I do not see it wrong or sinful, if someone else wants to do so go ahead.

    As to Samson and Judah, the commandments clearly condemn their actions. They sinned and it was clear.

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    1. Thanks to everyone involved in this discussion, as well as the original poster. I know that I've certainly clarified my views on this topic as a result of our exchange of ideas, and though I realize my conclusions are probably quite different from many of the other commenters, it is good to have the discussion and rub against each other, as iron sharpens iron.

      One final thought about music - not to get all mystical here, but we know that old Father of Lies specializes in the area of music, so my personal opinion is that we need to be very careful that our view of this topic are informed by the Word of God, and not on our cultural upbringing, even our Christian cultural upbringing. Music is used extensively in our culture to draw out our emotions and connect us to things emotionally. It is similar to assumptive language in this way – our emotions are drawn in a certain direction by music, even if the topic of the music is clearly contrary to God’s commandments and character. I know this is also countercultural, but I also tend to think we put too much emphasis on nationality (maybe a topic for another blog post response). When I listen to a song like Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” it is difficult not to get swept up in emotion about our country, but at the same time, nations are nothing but dust in the wind in the light of eternity. As another example of the influence of music, consider how important music is in advertising and movies, many times being used to try to make us feel happy about something that is directly opposite to God’s best plan for our lives.

      We don’t have to agree about this topic. However, as one’s understanding of a subject increases, so does one’s responsibility to obey this new understanding. Our culture is awash in music, everywhere we turn, and it is difficult for us to extricate our perceptions and beliefs on this topic to determine whether what we believe is really in alignment with God. I encourage prayerful consideration of this topic – let the Spirit of God be your guide. Happy listening!

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  14. I enjoyed the discussion Eli, this is actually the first time I have debated anyone since ECDC died. Looking forward to you blogpost.

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    1. This isn't Eli . . . .
      Who is ECDC?

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    2. What is your first name?

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  15. Excuse me I assumed this was Eli, ECDC was a debate community Eli had helped me and Caleb form for our ConLaw class. ECDC stands for Enlightened Citien's Debate Community.

    TCR

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  16. Thomas mostly known as TJ... and yours?

    TCR

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I'm Caleb Grove

Yep, that's me. I'm a 17 year old web unicorn and own OnRamp Web Design. My skill base is quite broad, though my real focus lies in UX and UI design for the web. When it comes to designs, I'm a perfectionist, scooting 1 pixel at a time.

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