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Guitar Weenie

740 Posts

Posted - 01 Sep 2008 :  04:01:52 Show Profile Reply with Quote

Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter - September 2008

The Band:
Bobby Shepherd: Drums
Steve Pettit: Lead Vocals
Jay Woody: Bass
Will Rauser: Guitars

The Crew:
Mark Bussell: Webmaster, Computer Tech, Photography, Roadie
Tammy Woody: Video Production, Wardrobe
Juli Rauser: Booking
George Sparks: Roadie

Editor's Lead

Principles And The Gospel

Hello again. I enter this issue of the newsletter with some indignation. The feeling was triggered by a recent newspaper editorial. I am not really sure how to begin to describe what I am feeling at this moment, and I am even less certain that I should pour out my heart on this. Before I do, I must mark out some of the grounding context.

Obviously, for those of our American readers, this nation is in another presidential election cycle. Naturally, this dominates the media (as it should). However, as editor of this newsletter, I have tried to maintain a fair distance from the political for several reasons. First, as I have just mentioned, not everyone of our audience is American. Quite frankly, our political arena is of no real interest to those outside of U.S. borders (obviously, there is outside interest, but not necessarily from fans of this band).

Second, as a Christian band, we are not motivated by politics. We are motivated by Kingdom business. We are not a political band. We do not believe that there is any salvation or final security in any political party or candidate. As important as choosing one's leadership is, it pales in significance to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Third, politics is a rather divisive subject. It has never been the desire of the band to create an uncomfortable situation for those whose political beliefs differ from ours. I have no personal problem with someone who does not support the same candidate that I do. If I am asked, I will offer my opinions on why I support one over another. I have definite, well-thought out reasons for why I have chosen my candidate, and I am willing to go to the mat for that. But, not in this venue.

Fourth, most everyone who reads this newsletter, or fellowships with us at our website, does not come to find out what we think about politics. This is usually not an arena for such debates. People come to find fellowship with other believers and some edification for their souls.

Having said all of that, I must now delve into an area that I have personally tried to avoid. My statements still stand that who one chooses to support for political office is one's business. And anyone has that right, whether I agree with that choice or not. However, although this will broach the political arena, I do not wish to discuss a preference of one political party (or candidate) over another. I wish to discuss the "ecology" of the beliefs of some Christians, and how that has affected their political decisions. Allow me to explain;

The newspaper editorial that I referred to earlier was entitled "Faith, Politics." The Bi-Line read this way; "Our View: Christianity gets a new role and new complexity in presidential campaigns." Naturally, this caught my attention. So, I began to read. In the article, a somewhat familiar name caught my eye, as this individual was the center of the article's point. The name of the individual was Donald Miller, author of the million selling book, "Blue Like Jazz."

Now, I have read that book, and I can tell you that, from a personal perspective, Miller has what I consider very liberal ideas of what the Gospel is. Although he has some good and legitimate points, most of the time those points are offset by pure emotion and not any real meat. Symbolism over substance, in my opinion. But, read the book for yourself, and you can decide.

At any rate, Miller gave the benediction at the Democratic National Convention, following Michelle Obama's speech. That's all fine and dandy. There's nothing wrong with that. According to the editorial, Miller is quoted in Christianity Today as saying he switch from being a registered Republican to a Democrat because he felt that his faith was "being manipulated." I cannot fathom how he came to that conclusion, but he's an American, and he can support whatever candidate and political party he chooses, for whatever reason he has. Again, no real problem here. It is the next few parts that begin to get me steamed.

The editorial goes on to quote Miller that America is no longer one nation under God. "It's not considered a Christian nation anymore." Okay, Mr. Miller, there may very well be some truth to that. But it is his following conclusions that irk me.

The editorial states that Miller is calling for the nation's leadership to move beyond the divisive matters of abortion and homosexuality, and consider that the faith community is a lot more complex. "I get frustrated when the Evangelical position is reduced to two issues," Miller says. "In my opinion, the Christian positions have been reduced in order to manipulate us."

At this point, I am not exactly sure who the "manipulators" are that Miller is referring to. My suspicion is that Miller thinks that only Christian leaders, who vote Republican, are somehow trying to subtly control how the laity (folks in the church) choose their leaders. While I highly disagree with that sentiment, I can see where some may feel that way. But this gets even deeper.

The editorial ends with the final words of Millers benediction. In his closing prayer Miller made a specific request of God: "Help us serve people, and not just causes." To which the editorial ends with, "that merits a hearty Amen."

Now my response to this is, "Really?" Tell me, Mr. Miller, just how do you expect to serve people, and have compassion on people, when you support a political party whose agenda has no compassion or support for the unborn? How can someone talk about their faith being "manipulated," when your compassion is being manipulated to support an agenda that is totally contrary to the tenets taught in Scripture?

What has begun to really disturb me, and is being illustrated by the above editorial, is how we Christians should no longer hold to the principles of the Faith, because those principles somehow 'interfere' with serving people. I say, that is utter baloney! And unfortunately many Christians are beginning to believe this deception. This stuff is being taught in our Churches. Principles do not seem to be important. Holding onto convictions somehow makes you a Pharisee, and we all know how Jesus dealt with the Pharisees.

I am sorry, but as "divisive" as the subjects of abortion and homosexuality are, division is really not our problem. I do not see how I can serve and have compassion for the lives of people if I cannot have compassion for the "least of these," as Jesus said. So, to me, aborting a child (the least of these) is simply something I cannot support or condone.

As far as the issue of homosexuality is concerned, the Scripture says that it is sin. I am sorry if that bothers anyone in our audience. That doesn't mean that we do not love you. That doesn't mean that you're not welcome into our fellowship. That does not mean that we won't extend an arm of love around you, or the hand of fellowship to you. But it does mean that we believe that it is a practice prohibited by Scripture. And if we choose to acknowledge the Scripture as the final authority in our lives, we would be inconsistent in our faith to support and/or condone that practice. That is called sticking to one's principles.

But, apparently, Donald Miller thinks that sticking to one's principles only hinders the faith. I expect that kind of thinking from the world, not from Christian leaders. No, no. Apparently, Donald Miller thinks that catering to the world's opinion of how Christians should believe and behave is the only way to reach the lost. So, tell me, Mr. Miller, does not the Scripture tells us to not conform to the patterns of this world?

Many people cite the words of Jesus where He commanded, "Love your neighbor as yourself." That is certainly important to God, as the Scripture further says that we cannot love God, whom we cannot see,if we do not love our neighbor, whom we can see. However, many of them seem to forget that that is the second command. Second being the order of priority. The first command is "Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength." Somewhere along the line, our love and loyalty to Jesus must surpass even our love for our fellow men.

Oswald Chambers writes something very interesting. He wrote:
Our Lord's primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people - the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. Not being reconciled to the fact of sin - not recognizing it and refusing to deal with it - produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the lofty virtues of human nature, but there is something in human nature that will mockingly laugh at every principle you have. If you refuse to agree that there is wickedness and selfishness, something downright hateful and wrong, in human beings, instead of reconciling yourself to it, you will compromise with it and say that it is of no use to battle against it.

I have grown weary of hearing from well-meaning Christians, who have confused compassion and service with compromise and sub ordinance, telling me (either by outright accusation or subtle implication) that I am a "Pharisee" because I choose to stand on Scriptural principle.

Joshua 24:15 states, "Choose this day whom you will serve." If we choose to serve God, then we need to direct our loyalties to Him. That does not give us excuse to ignore the needs of our fellow human beings. However, should the needs of our fellow human beings come into conflict with serving God, who do you think gets priority?

Guitar Points from Will

Extended voices, Part III

In lasts month's installment, we examined "alterations", or chords that contain notes that do not fit diatonically, or "within the scale". The example I used was an "E7#9" chord. Usually, the altered chord is the V (or "fifth") of the key you are in ("E7" is the V in the key of A Major). The "V" chord is usually called a "Dominant 7 chord", or simply just a "Dominant" chord. Dominant chords have a strong pull, usually, and most commonly, toward the Tonic, or "I" (one) chord (usually documented as a "V-I" progression. A Dominant chord can also pull toward other dominant chords, even chords that are not a part of the original key center.

Not only can dominant chords pull toward the I chord, they can also be altered (illustrated last month). In the case of the "E7#9" chord, the "#9" (of G in the key of E) is not a part of the original key center, but your ear "accepts" the tone as part of the Dominant harmony. However, there are many other types of alterations. There are "V7b9" chords, there are "V7b5" chords, and "v7b5" chords (all of which we will examine at some time).

However, this month, let's look at a cool, bluesy type of Dominant chord, the "9th" (or "V9") chord. Keeping it simple, we'll stick with an "E7" type of dominant chord. The "E9" chord (or "E ninth") is an 'E7" chord, with the "9th" scale degree added to the dominat 7 harmony. In the case of the "E9", it is spelled;


Now, you could also view the "9" as the same note as the "2". In the key of E Major, it is spelled:


The reason we call it a "9th" rather than a "2nd" is because the tone is considered above the octave when the Major 3rd (3, or G#) and the Dominant 7(b7, or D) are present in the same chord. If we had an "E2" chord (spelled E(1)-F#(2)-G#(3)-B(5)), the "b7" would not be present, and therefore the "F#" note would function as the "second". In theory, you could also refer to the "E2" as an "Eadd9" if the "F#" note is above the 5 in the voicing, but that's another subject for another time.

At any rate, we have the "E9" chord. What makes it so special? Well, the "9" voicing has been used in countless styles. It is used a lot in Funk music, it is used in Blues (particularly to beef up an ordinary "V7" type chord), and it is used in Rock. One of my favorite examples of the use of the "9th" in a rock context is none other than Edward Van Halen. He used the "9th" in everything, it seems. He would use it in a funky type rhythm;

        E9      E7

        *       vib

This little rhythm part is based on all of the notes of an "E9" chord. Yes, I posted two chords (an E9 and an E7), but both chords are dominant, and reflect the overall harmony.

Mr. Van Halen would also use an E9 to end a song, giving the tune a real cool ending;

(Strum as fast as possible)  TH  TH TH  TH  TH  TH   (Strike chord and slide out)

And yet another example is using a "9th" chord a half step above the final "9th" chord to add drama to an ending or setting up for the "9th"chord itself. In this case, an F9 leading back to an E9;

   F9 E9


Now, since we have been using the "I-IV-V" progression in the key of A Major (the last two months or so), let's see how this can apply to that progression. The chords are A-D-E, where E is a type of Dominant chord. Let's do an "Asus2-DMaj7-E9" progression, and see what happens;

   Asus2              DMaj7             E9

To me, the "9th" chord is a little "sweeter" than the "7#9" chord. Try to substitute the "Dominant 9th"(9th) for any "Dominat 7" (7th) chord, and see what kind of sonic flavors you get. Until next month....

Lead Techniques from Will

Two-String Arpeggios, part II

Last month, we looked at how to use two-string arpeggios in a cool sounding lick. However, there is a way to get more mileage out of the same concept, but without repetition. Let's look at last month's lick for review;
Ex. 1

    v  ^  v  ^  v  ^    v  ^  v  ^  v  ^


This is a "CMaj7 arpeggio.Not only is this a cool sounding lick, but a nifty picking exercise to help with speed. The picking is all alternate (up-down), even when crossing strings. Now, you could keep this same shape or pattern, and play the shape all the way up and down the neck. That would be cool, but keeping the same shape while ascending or descending means that you would be changing the arpeggio. Watch the next example;
Ex. 2

   CM7                 DbM7                DM7
    v  ^  v  ^  v  ^    v  ^  v  ^  v  ^   picking simile


Notice how the implied chords ascend in pitch? Now, that's perfectly fine and dandy, if that's the effect you're looking for. But, what about playing in the same key? What about using the same arpeggio (in this case, the CMaj7) all over the neck?

Well, since the arpeggio has four notes in it (C{1}-E{3}-G{5}-B{M7}),and can be played in any order, it would be reasonable to assume that there are four different fretboard shapes that can be played in any arrangement.

Starting low on the neck, let's examine some ideas.

Ex. 3 CMaj7 Arpeggio, starting on "E{3}"

   E G B C E G B C E G B C

Ex. 4 CMaj7 Arpeggio, starting on "G{5}"

   G B C E G B C E G B  C E

Ex. 5 CMaj7 Arpeggio, starting on "B{M7}"

   B C E G  B C  E G  B  C  E  G

Ex. 6 CMaj7 Arpeggio, starting on "C{1}"

   C  E  G  B  C  E  G  B  C  E  G  B

If you practice each arpeggio "box", you will begin to see the fretboard a little clearer. Plus, it gives arpeggios less of a "classical" sound, and more of a "rock" sound. Since a lot of Rock players tend to use two-notes-per-string phrasing with pentatonic scales, these exercises will give you the same phrasing, but with wider intervals. Next month, we will try some licks using these shapes.

News and Events

  • Happy Birthday to Will Rauser. On September 4, he will turn 41!
  • Hopefully, by the time this newsletter goes to print, Bass player Jay Woody, and his wife Tammy, will be the proud parents of a new baby! Congrats and prayers for a successful delivery!
  • If you have any questions for the band, or any single member of the band, send an email to Axeman2415 via the JJ24:15 website. Any questions are welcome, but the band reserves the right not to answer any questions of deeply personal or vulgar nature.

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"

Edited by - AXEMAN2415 on 01 Sep 2008 20:00:53

Junior Member

322 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2008 :  05:28:10 Show Profile Reply with Quote
I have the answer to your political woes , vote for this guy

but some of you need to be awakened and slapped silly - William D Rauser
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Junior Member

322 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2008 :  05:31:23 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Happy birthday mate , may your roo's all stay in the top paddock

but some of you need to be awakened and slapped silly - William D Rauser
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Guitar Weenie

740 Posts

Posted - 04 Sep 2008 :  14:19:13 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Thanks, Big Guy....

But, what's a "paddock"...

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"
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