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Countering the culture of death with classical music: one Catholic composer’s mission

Thaddeus Baklinski
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BARRY’S BAY, Ontario, October 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky said it first. But acclaimed Catholic composer, virtuoso pianist and dynamic performer Eric Genuis agrees: beauty – in this case the beauty of classical music – has the power to save the world.

Genuis tours internationally with soloists and orchestras to spread his message of hope and joy through his music. In his presentation he also exhorts youth, and their parents, not only to learn to appreciate the beauty of classical music, but to guard against forms of music that might be described as belonging to the culture of death.

Genuis shared his insights into the importance of music on culture during an evening of beautiful music at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ontario recently, where he and a trio (violin, cello and voice) of very young but accomplished musicians moved the audience in turns to tears and laughter.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Mr. Genuis stressed that although he warns about the negative influence of some kinds of music on youth, he believes exposing youth to the beauty of classical music will have more far-reaching positive results.

“Most parents are very concerned at the nature of what their children are listening to,” Genuis said, illustrating the point with his own intimate knowledge of the music industry’s preoccupation with “who’s popular, who’s edgy, who’s cool, who’s good looking, who’s cute.”

Genuis noted that Plato said, “If I was given the choice to govern a nation’s music, or govern its laws, I’d govern the music,” because Plato “knew that music was more powerful to reach the people’s hearts.”

“If Plato is right,” Genuis said, “then there is something far more powerful, far more sublime, about music than the modern world is willing to admit.”

The modern music industry, Genuis maintains, has “nothing to do with beauty, inspiration, intelligence. There’s always got to be a gimmick, and, regrettably, music has declined to ‘How are we going to sell this’ and consequently, great music never gets heard.”

Genuis is a modern rarity, a classical composer who seeks to follow in the footsteps of the greats such as Mozart, Bach, Beethoven¸ Brahms, Chopin, Handel, and Haydn.

“What I’m trying to do with my music is compose and perform music that uplifts and inspires, and, while having the same spirit as these brilliant classical composers, is composed in a way that is appropriate for modern people. So I try to make my music accessible to people who have never heard, maybe never even seen, a violin.

“Which is fine - you don’t need to know about music to be moved by music. So the purpose is not to make a cultural statement, or a political statement, but to make beauty which feeds the soul. No matter who or what you are, we all have a soul, and the music is meant to go there, and revitalize our humanity.”

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Genuis told LifeSiteNews that he loves playing in prisons because the reactions of inmates, some of whom are hardened criminals, is amazing.

“These men who are killers and rapists, they cry at the concerts. They come in thinking it’s going to be something boring - they all come in with ‘attitudes’ - and then, after the third song, they’re weeping.

“And I think to myself, these guys have maybe never experienced beauty in their entire lives, and there is something about the music that is touching them, in a way that hope hasn’t touched them in a long time.”

Genuis believes that reform of prisoners will only be achieved through touching their humanity by inspiring them with beauty.

“If you really want reform in prisons, give them a violin - talking is not going to do it - teach them to create beauty, empower them with beauty,” Genuis said.

He remarked that he had received a letter from a maximum security prison in which the warden said that after the concert the prisoners’ behavior and attitude “had markedly improved.”

Genuis said, “the warden made it very clear that these guys will never see the light of day again, and yet why was their behavior improved? Because they were moved, for a minute, they were given beauty, they were given back their humanity.”

“So that’s what I’m trying to do,” Genuis concluded. “In the midst of a world where there is a lot of ugliness, a lot of distortion, a lot of ‘sex sells’ mentality, I’m trying to give people real beauty. Something that will move them in a mysterious way that is far deeper than modern ‘hype’.

Information about Eric Genuis, including his tour schedule, is available on his website.

 



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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two things happen each time a significant pop culture figure dies: Christians attempt to dredge up some moderately conservative or traditional thing that figure said at some point during his long career, and mainstream media attempts to convince a society thoroughly bored with such things that the person in question was a ground-breaking radical. The two most recent examples are the androgynous David Bowie—a cringe-worthy and possibly blasphemous video of him dropping to his knees during a rock performance and uttering the Lord’s Prayer circulated just following his death--and the pop star Prince.

I’ve had to suppress my gag reflexes many times as I saw my Facebook newsfeed fill up with memes sporting quotes from Prince about his faith and articles announcing that the musician who “embraced gender fluidity before his time,” according to Slate and “will always be a gay icon” according to The Atlantic, was against gay marriage. Sure, maybe he was. But only a Christian community so shell-shocked by the rapid spread of the rainbow blitzkrieg and the catastrophic erosion of religious liberty would find this remarkable. After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said the same thing barely one election cycle ago. As one obituary celebrating Prince’s paradigm-smashing sexual performances written by Dodai Stewart put it:

Dig, if you will, a picture: The year is 1980. Many states still have sodomy laws. The radio is playing feel-good ear candy like Captain and Tennille and KC and the Sunshine Band. TV hits include the sunny, toothy blond shows Three’s Company and Happy Days. There’s no real word for “gender non-conforming.” But here’s what you see: A man. Clearly a man. Hairy, mostly naked body…a satiny bikini bottom. But those eyes. Rimmed in black, like a fantasy belly dancer. The full, pouty lips of a pin-up girl. Long hair. A tiny, svelte thing. Ethnically ambiguous, radiating lust. What is this? A man. Clearly a man. No. Not just a man. A Prince.

Right. So let’s not get too carried away, shall we? I know Christians are desperate to justify their addictions to the pop culture trash that did so much to sweep away Christian values in the first place and I know that latching on to the occasional stray conservative belief that may manifest itself in pop culture figures makes many feel as if perhaps we are not so weird and countercultural, but this bad habit we have of claiming these figures upon their passing is downright damaging.

After all, parents should be teaching their children about real heroes, titans of the faith who changed the world. Heroes of the early church who stood down tyrants, halted gladiatorial combat, and crusaded against injustice in a world where death was all the rage. These men and women were real rebels who stood for real values. If we want to point our children to people they should emulate, we should be handing them books like Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by the brilliant writer Eric Metaxas rather than the pop albums Purple Rain or Lovesexy by Prince. If parents spend their time glorifying the predecessors of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus instead of highlighting heroes like William Wilberforce, they can hardly be surprised when their children choose to emulate the former rather than the latter.

The mainstream media’s adulation of these pop stars is equally irritating. The unspoken truth of these obituaries is that the flamboyant antics of Prince and the rest of the so-called rebellious drag queens populating the rock n’ roll scene have been mainstream for a long time already. Want to see dozens of bizarre body piercings? Weird hairdos? Purple mohawks? Dudes with nail polish? Strange tattoos? Easy. Just go onto any university campus, or any public high school without a dress code. With headphones wedged firmly in their ear canals, they can pump the cleverly commercialized “counterculture” straight into their skulls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More than that, some of these courageous rebels have actually sued their employers to ensure that they can let their establishment-smashing freak flag fly at work, too. An Edmonton woman with 22 visible body piercings complained that her employer was unfair because apparently she was being discriminated against “based on body modifications.” Yeah! The Man must be told, after all. And if he doesn’t agree, we will lawyer up. I wonder what the shrieking rebels of the early days would think about the snivelling children of the current grievance culture.

So these days, the media’s eulogizing about aging culture warriors who went mainstream a long time ago rings a bit hollow. After all, most rock n’ roll stars these days look tame compared to what shows up in the children’s section at Pride Week. Freaky is normal now. Normal is radical. Welcome to 2016.

When Christians are posting nostalgic tributes to the rebels who helped inoculate their children against the radical views of Christianity in the first place, you know that the victories of the counterculture are complete and Stockholm syndrome has set in.



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Target boycott climbs to over 1 million

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1 million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms. 

The American Family Association’s Boycott Target petition gained traction immediately, reaching the one million mark in only nine days.

“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans.  Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy.  Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable.  And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree.”

Target defended its policy in a statement saying that it believes everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally” and earlier this week, a Target spokeswoman defended the policy as “inclusive.” 

The AFA said that unisex bathrooms are a common-sense alternative to allowing men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.

“Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided,” the petition says. 

The AFA warned that Target’s new policy benefits sexual predators and poses a danger to women and children. 

“With Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the petition asked. 

There have been numerous instances of predatory men accessing women’s bathrooms and intimate facilities in the wake of “transgender” bathroom policies allowing them to do so. 

“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” said Wildmon. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”



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Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins

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CHICAGO, April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Life begins with a spark – literally.

Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.

At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.

“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”

The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.

“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O'Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.

“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it's quiet.”

“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O'Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”

Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.

But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.

The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.

Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.

“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”

Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:

The paper, which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.



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