|He looks scary. Is he?|
I'll never forget the first time I heard an Ozzy Osborne song. I was in my late teens.
I could not believe my ears.
I was flabbergasted.
Completely blown away.
BY HOW HARMLESS IT WAS.
My whole life my parents had warned me about the great and terrible Oz. The Christian books and magazines my parents got in the mail warned about this dangerous rock star who bit the heads off of bats, killed puppies and worshipped Satan. (At least at his better concerts.) "Ozzy" was the name that came to every good Christian's mind when they thought of how Satanic secular music was getting. Ozzy was the hood ornament on the Devil-Mobile that was headed over the cliff at Demon's Point.
And I bought into all of it without ever hearing ONE NOTE of an Ozzy song.
So when the first note of "Over the Mountain" started, I expected to hear a really angry, thrashing guitar, and a really angry, screaming man and instead what I got was a catchy melodic riff and lyrics that went like this:
Over the mountain, take me across the skySomething in my vision, something deep insideWhere did I wander? Where did you think I wandered to?I see life's magic astral plane. I travel through.What?! Where is the "I love Satan"? The "666"? Where is the anger? The God hating? I listened to the next few lines...I heard them tell me that this land of dreams was nowI told them I had ridden shooting stars and I would show them how...Riding shooting stars? What's next UNICORNS?!? And why is he singing like he's in a musical and not screaming? I expected to hear rage instead I get this sing-songy guy? What is going on?This is no exaggeration. This was really what went through my head. I listened to many more Ozzy songs. (I still think the "Crazy Train" has one of the best rock guitar riffs EVER.) I listened and listened, but couldn't find any lyrics that had anything to do with devil worship. I could find plenty of lyrics that made no sense at all to me, some that I think Ozzy probably wrote when he was high (Was he ever not high?), but nothing as offensive as his supposed concert behavior.Was that even true I wondered?Evidently, those stories about his bat biting and puppy squashing were really just a bunch of urban legends that Ozzy let run rampant because it helped build up his concert audiences. Nothing sells tickets to angry teens like rumors of mass violence and mayhem.
Bottom line - I didn't know what I didn't know. I believed what I had heard about Ozzy without ever examining him or his music for myself. I have since outgrown his music a bit, but I haven't outgrown the lesson.I learned it again the other day. I got Tweet'ed a warning about the "A Beka" books that some Christian and home school teachers use. The textbooks cover the usual topics - history, science, etc. but are written from a conservative Christian perspective.In other words...The earth is about 8,000 years old. At most.Dinosaurs and man lived together. (Cool! Land of the Lost was a reality show!)The KKK was kind of misunderstood. They actually had some good points despite all the lynchings, cross burnings, beatings and other stuff.I am generalizing above, but you get the point. Here is a link to the blog that talked about the PBS article: (Keep in mind this is an anti-Christian blog, so don't expect it to be kind. But still...)I Can't Believe What's In These Textbooks!When I read the blog, I stopped when I got to the part where the author mentions Bob Jones University Press and A Beca Textbooks. My mouth dropped open slightly. My Mom went to Bob Jones.My Dad home-schooled me using these Beka Textbooks.Holy cow, I'm a spawn child of some kind of crazy cult! I have been brainwashed! No wonder I though Ozzy was Lucifer himself! No wonder I no nothing about evolution! This explains why I have no real concept of history or science or psychology except that everything happened because God wanted it to! I have DOWNED THE CHRISTIAN KOOL AID! Why don't I just crawl into a bunk bed with my Nikes on with the rest of the crazies and off myself so I can get to comet Hale-Bopp??!?Ok, so maybe I over-reacted a bit. I'm not going to off myself. I got a great education growing up. My parents are top notch, respected teachers. True, my Dad did home-school me (and my brother and sister) from pre-school through 3rd grade using the Beka books. From 4th grade on I went to private Christian - mainly Baptist - schools and I can't remember if they used Beka textbooks -- I don't think so, but we definitely used textbooks approved by the American Christian Schools International and Bible believing Baptists everywhere.And my Mom did go to Bob Jones University. I remember her describing what dating was like at this South Carolina Christian college. I was an teen and couldn't wait to hear about my Mom dating. Did she go to a drive in? A sock-hop? Maybe a Sadie-Hawkins dance?Nope.You and your chaperoned date got to sit on chairs in a room with other chaperoned couples and talk. This was after you walked across campus, not together, INDIVIDUALLY following the appropriate colored stripe that had been marked on the sidewalks to tell boys and girls where they could and could not walk. Really.I remember my Dad teasing my Mom about going to Bob Jones, because even he recognized that Bob Jones makes most conservative Christian colleges look like Chico State. But Dad, you still used Beka! I grew up reading from books that say the Great Depression probably wasn't as bad as the liberals made it sound.OK, to be fair, I am sure most of what is in Beka books is just basic stuff that everyone can agree on. After all, a proton is a proton and the Pilgrims landed in America in 1620 no matter what you believe. (Please note however that God created every single proton that has ever or will ever exist and the Pilgrims may have battled the Jamestown T-Rex.)But still, I realized both when I read this blog entry and when I heard Ozzy's music for the first time:I don't know what I don't know.So I need to do some thinking for myself. I need to discover, study, read, ponder, question, struggle, understand FOR MYSELF.It hasn't been easy. I drank the Baptist flavored Kool Aid for a long time. (It has a lingering after-taste.) And as all children do (until they become teenagers), I took what my parents said as Gospel. I believed what I read in every Christian book, what I was taught in every Christian class, what I heard in every Sunday School lesson. I decided I need to find out for myself what this Gospel is all about. Not what Bob Jones, or Beka or any one else says it is, but what it REALLY is. It all started with "Over the Mountain."Thanks Ozzy for opening my ears and my eyes.Just go easy on the puppies, please.
-Hope A. Horner, 2012www.hopehorner.comTwitter: @HopeNote
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