I feel moved to make this. I just want to say that if you're out there trying to spread the word, and you're not seeming to get results, and you're feeling down, don't. You never know what kind of impact you're going to have. I myself have been feeling like that for awhile. And I can only trust that God is using me in some way. However, a lot of people have helped me along in my faith journey, and most of them don't know it. I want to thank some of them here - as many as I can think, given how tired I am right now. I don't write this to "glorify" them, but rather as encouragement for them and all those who have been feeling like I've been.
- http://shieldoffaith62.blogspot.com - I've emailed you before. That one single post you wrote [HERE for anyone interested!] made me reconsider so many things that were wrong in my life. I never explained most of them to you. A few of them have been mentioned here, in various posts. I don't know if you still read this blog, but if you do, I just want to say that the impact of that post was even greater than I probably let on at the time. Also, I have a few more CDs that I've since decided to get rid of. Right now I don't feel like putting out the money for postage to have them recycled, but they will be disposed of eventually and I don't listen to them anymore. Hopefully this will be the last batch!
- Demon Hunter - It was awesome having Christian metal to listen to. Like most things, it wasn't enough to fully hold back my ignorance at the time, but it was always there, in my subconscious and in my CD collection. (I still like your music, but recently gave both CDs to someone, just to be nice, you understand - let's pray for that person; I think they could use it, just like I did.) And your music helped around the time I was starting to recover. I don't want to go into specifics, but I'll say that your music helped me be more resolved with God's will at a time when I really didn't want to face facts.
- Mortal Treason - I know almost nothing about your music, to be honest. I don't really listen to it anymore. It's nothing personal, and now that I'm writing this, maybe I'll check it out again sometime. You guys were my introduction to the really heavy Christian stuff. I mentioned the idea of such Christian music to a friend, and you guys were the band he recommended. He sent me one song ("Khampa Nomads", I think it's called?) and that was just awesome to me, and it was the only Mortal Treason song I ever listened to (I should really give you guys another chance, wow) but even that one song managed to have an impact.
- Becoming the Archetype - similar to Mortal Treason. I only ever listened to a couple songs by you guys, but it still had an impact. "End of the Age" was stunning to me. I deluded myself a lot back then and said that I was still a Christian when I really clearly wasn't, and "End of the Age" really spoke to me in a way that almost no other music could.
- Antestor - If I'm not mistaken, you guys were the first unblack metal band I ever heard. The very idea of that had such an impact, I can't even explain it. The first song I listened to was "Betrayed". I was really depressed at the time, so of course that song spoke to me a lot. The lines "But if the Christians that I've seen / represent the true God of Heaven / then it's not a place that I want to be" actually made me stop and think a few times about the kind of person I was being. I also really liked the song "Mitt hjerte". That song was absolutely stunning to me.
- Elgibbor - Your album "War" spoke to me a lot. I really like the music on that album. I have to listen to that again soon. All of it coming from a former satanist yet. That last part may sound a bit silly now, but it was really meaningful to me. I also have that (out-of-print) long-sleeve shirt from Metal Helm for "War", with the flames on the sleeves, and that guy riding a horse on the front. That shirt is seriously awesome, and somehow made me feel a lot better about things.
- Emperador - You guys are crazy. My introduction to you guys was a live video on YouTube where you played "Gloria en la oscuridad". That was terrifying. I'd heard all kinds of extreme music, but nothing like that. The guitar intro was absolutely infernal; Pastor Vampire's shrieks were genuinely off-putting; and Pastora Rosa Negra's vocals were creepy. I loved it! And then I found out that you guys started a metal church? That idea was so awesome to me. That was just amazing, the idea of fellowship with a metal theme. I did more research on Iglesia Caverna, and I was just so inspired. I won't say where I live, but I don't live near you, but even though I can't visit Iglesia Caverna right now, know that it has had an impact on me regardless.
- Dani - I don't know your full name, but I know you're a member of Iglesia Caverna. I've talked to you before - only a few times, but still - and found that beneficial, too. It's hard to explain what our conversations have done for me, but they had a positive impact nonetheless.
- Divine Symphony - Your album "The History" has this distinctly "liturgical" feel to it, and I really appreciate that. It's like the music at my church - except, you know, with symphonic unblack metal thrown in. Anyway, it all started with "Frustrered Dreams", and looking back, it's actually a rather silly place to begin. Because it starts back when I was practicing meditation, and I used to use music a lot. Other bands had these long, extended interludes that were conducive to meditation. I tried a few times with the short interlude in "Frustrered Dreams", but generally failed to achieve anything. See: the song was primarily about God, not occultism, so naturally it didn't yield the results I expected when I tried to meditate to it! It's a silly thing to say now, but back then, that one simple little thing, had a huge impact on how I perceived meditation. The song made me rethink it a lot, and made me want to put more importance on God in my life. But it didn't even stop there. "Reform" is a great song, too. Those clean vocals were amazing. Now, "Unfinished Era". That song is definitely worth mentioning here. That has made me think so much, I can't even describe it here. Overall, that song has just made me think a lot about things. I could point out the specific line, "Lies and false promises deceive God's people and make them do things that God hasn't asked them to do". I was doing a lot of things back then that God wasn't asking me to do, for a number of reasons. That one line made me reconsider some of the things I was doing.
O Majestic Winter - I've talked to one of you personally before. I loved the weird, raw style you guys did on "Defiling the Serpent's Temple". Your faith/conviction came through really clearly on that album and it spoke to me.
Comunidad Pantokrator - Another metal church! I've spoken to one or two of you before (under a different name, like almost everyone here). I also saw a YouTube video about you and found it really inspiring. Again, even though I'm not in a position to go visit you right now, know that you have still helped me.
Edit: I also want to thank this one company. I don't know the name of the company, but they make these daily calendars with Bible trivia questions on them. I get a daily calendar for Christmas every year, and given all that had taken place over the past few months in 2014, I certainly welcomed receiving that one instead of the ones I got previous years that tended to have rather vulgar messages (which last year I specifically asked not to get, hence the Bible trivia one instead.) I thought it would be rather easy since I knew the traditional Bible stories (Noah, Jonah, etc) and had been reading the Gospels fairly extensively, along with a few psalms and a bit of Revelation. But I realized pretty quickly that I knew almost nothing on this calendar. And the questions are taken from the KJV (note: the KJV, like all English translations, still isn't a 100% perfect translation, but hey, it's really close) so it's not like they're taking these questions from some really weird text, just canonical scripture. Finally around... April, I think? I decided to I needed to know more of the Bible. I decided read the Bible from beginning to end. I usually read a chapter a day, which isn't much, but it's more than I was reading before! Right now I'm up to 1 Kings. You know, I've heard skeptics say that if you read God's word in its entirety, you'll allegedly doubt your faith. On the contrary, I've learned more about God - truths which admittedly some people don't like to admit, such as that God has indeed gotten angry at people before, and has struck people down before. Of course, to the best of my knowledge, this doesn't happen today, since forgiveness now comes through faith (which leads to repentance) through Jesus, not OT law, but it has happened in the past. Of course it all may not seem like it makes sense if you cherry pick out-of-context verses as skeptics like to do, but in the wider context of scripture it does indeed make sense. Also, since reading the Bible more, I've learned about how there are translation errors in modern translations (see "like all English translations" link above) which is where most skeptics derive these alleged "contradictions", which didn't actually exist in older Hebrew translations. A lot to happen as a result of a daily calendar!
Here are other bands/people I want to thank, for the impact you've had:
Nephesh, Winter's Dawn, Wintersoul, Herr Darkpriest (Verdelger, Ancient Uncreated Incarnation), Doctor D (Armageddon Holocaust, Bealiah), Unblack Star, Diamoth, Requiem Eternam, Flock of Crows, Nattesorg (Demodus Rotundus, Frostnoise), Azmaveth (the band from Puerto Rico), Betheos Abshalom, Forgotten Sorrow, Reobote, Edificador, the people from White Funeral (and Antivenom and Lunar Invasion), Hazeroth, Boanerges (Poland), Surmount Darkness, Holy Blood, Blood Covenant, Destroyer of Lie, Dying Blaze, Hawthorn, HB, Timōrātus, God Enthroned, Slechtvalk, Kissing the Crown of Thorns, Hazael (band from Brazil), Dustt, Santuario (band from Costa Rica), Sorrowstorm, Christageddon, Comunidade Golgota, Mental Destruction, Blackhouse, Veni Domine, Nocturnal Freeze, K Megiddo (Torches in the Void, Thy Fiery Haze), La Chambre Ardente, Tsidkenu (band from Mexico), Broken Flesh, Obliteration (band from USA), Disencumbrance, Truth Remains, Nehyam, Soteria, Arch of Thorns, my pastor, my one teacher from back in school (I don't want to name people I know personally so I have to be vague; I was the kid who laughed at all your jokes), Belzidum, Orationem, Palvonta, Kirche Gothika, Flyleaf, KJ-52, Falling Up, William McDowell, Cold Embrace (band from India), Neohadth, Worshiper (Brazil) ...
There are even more I could put, too. All of the above (and more) have had an impact on me somehow. Most of these people probably don't even know I exist. Most of them aren't famous, and so I'm sure some of you understand the struggle I've been facing lately. So this post has two purposes. To thank those who have helped me, and to encourage others who feel their impact isn't important. It is.
God bless and guide you (including readers) according to His perfect will! In Jesus' name. Amen.