Monday, June 30, 2008

"Mind" -> The Scale Of Music Part III

We are going to return to our friend Pythagoras, and therefore I thought that I would start off this post with a nice photo of his bust.

You probably know him for a² + b² = c² , but we learned in the last post, he is also credited with the unique way of subdividing a string to give us an musical scale, or what is called Pythagorean Tuning.

However, if we are to trust the archaeologists, we will find out that although he was credited with the scale, there were many before him that had actually developed it. While this may be strictly true, we will use the common vernacular to allow Pythagorean Tuning to be a particular type of tuning.

In the last post, I spent a lot of time talking about how your could grab a guitar, and recreate some experiments to figure out how to find notes that are pretty close to our notes. However, once you get into the math of music, you will find out that saying things like "divide the string down by 1/3" is fine for the first step. In the second step, we want to understand what it means from a mathematical standpoint what the dividing of the string does.

So imagine that you have a string and it is going up and down 100 times per second. This note would be below middle C on the piano, since you should be able to remember middle C is 261.626 beats per second (or hertz). Now, if you cut this string in half at the same tension, you will get a string that vibrates at 200 hertz, or twice as fast. As we stated, twice as fast means an octave higher. From a mathematical standpoint, we look at these two notes as a series of ratios. The lower note is at 100 and the top note is at 200. Thus the ratio of the vibrations are at 2:1, or you get 2 vibrations on the top note for every vibration on the bottom note. Since the bottom note is the base (or fundamental or tonic note), we write this as 2:1 or as 2/1. If you Google scales, you will see this in many descriptions.

What happens if we cut down the string by 1/3? I never took you through the math of why a string vibrates twice as fast when it was cut in half, as this probably was obvious. What happens when we cut a string by a different amount? Well it obviously won't vibrate twice as fast, so you will intuitively grasp that the range of the vibration is between 1 and 2. What we will find out, with all the right instrumentation, is that the vibration of the string is proportional with the length of the string. If you want to make the string vibrate twice as fast, cut it in half. If you want to make the string vibrate three times as fast, cut it by three, and let only a third vibrate.

As long as we are here in our post, we are going to take a bit of a side division. We've been talking a lot about "dividing down" a string. However, let's talk about this a bit more. There are three ways to influence how fast a string vibrates.

1. It's length
2. It's tension
3. It's width

Given two strings of equal length and tension, the heavier one will sound lower. If you look at a piano or a guitar or other stringed instruments, you'll see that they really use both length and width to change the note. Why do they do this?

The problem with thick strings are that they don't sound very good at short lengths. The problem with thin strings is that they would have to be very, very long to sound good at low notes. The best sounding instruments are those that can vary all three factors to get the best sound. Some instruments like guitars can only vary two factors. Therefore, guitars will never have the same range as a piano.

In the next video, I'll try and demonstrate this on the guitar. In the video, I am playing a G note two ways. I am plucking the G string (3rd string from the bottom) and I am also plucking the E string only made very, very short by holding down the string. They both are the same note. However, the short G string is a bit dull. The nice long G string is quite a bit fuller. (And yes, I did think that the term G-string was funny in this post.) However, when you play the two strings together, you really can't hear the difference.

The last thing I'll leave you with is that the reason that the the short and thick string sounds less interesting than the long string is because of something called "overtones." I don't want you to know about overtones yet. All I want you to remember is that overtones are good stuff and make music sound more interesting.

Now, let's get this post back on track. Instead of talking about cutting down a string for a higher note, we were talking about how we derived our scale from Pythagoras.

What we have done is cut the string by 1/3, which leaves 2/3 of the string left. The math is pretty simple, to find out how much faster the string vibrates, you invert the fraction of the length of the string to make it 3/2, and you get 1.5. So the cut down string vibrates exactly 150% faster than the tonic or base note. However, we normally leave the number in the ratio of 3/2. Trim off 1/3 of the string, and you get a string that vibrates 3/2 faster.

If you remember that the the fourth note came from trimming off 1/4 of the string, you'll realize that you have 3/4 of the string left. As in the example above, the speed of the string is 4/3 or 1.333.... times faster. Now this series of threes never stops, so it is really necessary to keep the fraction of 4/3.

The above is a pretty important point, because from now on in this series of posts, we'll be explaining notes in terms of how much faster it vibrates than the tonic (or root or fundamental) note. However, you can remember that just because we are describing it this way, it still goes back to how you cut the string. So, we are talking about math, but it is all about the length of the string.

So, now we want to go back to our friendly Pythagorean tuning. If you remember from the last post, I said that they trimmed the string down by 1/3 and got another note. This note was exactly a musical fifth above the starting note. In this case, lets pretend he started at Do (or we can call it C). He went up a 5th, which is just another way of saying that he shortened the string by a third. Just a couple of paragraphs ago, we found out that this will vibrate 3/2 faster than the base note. This note is now So (or we can give it the name G).

The next step would be to go up another fifth, and we'd find Re (or D). The problem is that this is out of our current octave. We vibrated 3/2 faster, then another 3/2 faster. This means that we are now vibrating 9/4 faster than our base note, or 2.25 times faster. Remember that an octave is just 2 times faster. So, how do we get it back into the octave?

This is very simple from a mathematical perspective. You take the note, and drop it by an octave. So what we need to do is cut the vibration in half. You can easily do this by dividing the number by 2. 9/4 divided by 2 is 9/8 (to divide, you multiple 9/4 times 1/2). Thus D, in the octave, is 9/8 times faster than the base note. By doing this, we have gotten our note back into the octave.

If you continue to do this procedure, you will come up with all the notes of the scale: Do, Ra, Me, So, La, Ti. This almost gives you your scale.

The one problem is Fa. In our division, we get all the notes except for Fa. The last note we will find is Ti. However, dividing the string again gives you a funny sounding note, which we'll address in a second. So rather than dealing with a bunch of funny sounding notes, we simply make the string 1/3 longer. This makes the string vibrate 1/3 slower, or the vibration speed is 2/3 of the tonic note. By doing this, we find a note below our starting note. Now, to bring it up an octave, we multiply by 2 and we get a note 4/3 faster than our tonic (or C in our case) note.

This then became the basis of western music. All is solved.

Or is it?

Remember to get this scale, we have been going up a fifth, then bringing the note back down to the original music octave. As I stated above, an odd thing happens when you get to Ti. A fifth above Ti leads you to another note. A note that doesn't fit into the scale. We'll talk about the impact of this note later, but for now, we'll just go ahead and plot where this lands.

The note, a fifth above Ti, is a little higher than Fa. It is like a Fa+ note. We would call it today as F# (in our special case). We've been calling things the solfege names. However, solfege couldn't handle this note at first. Here is a new note cropping out of nowhere. Later in life, we did give it a name. If the close to note was Fa, then the slightly higher note was Fi. (A note a little higher than Do is Di, and similar So has Si. Pretty creative, huh?)

If you keep this up, going up fifth, then bringing it back down, you will eventually get to Fa (or F in our case). The next fifth up from Fa is Do (or C). So, we can also find Do this way.

By the way, by doing the 12 division method you will eventually land very close to Do. How many times do you need to do this routine of going up a fifth, then bring it back down before you get back to Do (or C in our case)?

The answer shouldn't surprise you. The answer is the number of keys that we have on on our scale. You need to do it 13 times. In what almost sounds magical, we have simply divided the string by 1/3 until we have gotten back our original note.

Well, almost gotten back our original note.

Remember I said that after doing this 13 times you are very close? Well you are left 23 cents away from perfect. This left over bit is called the Pythagorean comma. In other words, left overs are called commas. There are alternative tunings, and they also made have commas, so you best remember the word.

Now, what is a cent? We'll need to get to this later on, but simply think that the distance between any two notes is like a dollar. How many cents (think century) in a dollar? Obviously 100 of them. Therefore, there are 100 cents in between each note on a piano. 25 cents is enough to be noticed. Normally, a few cents are not. So what is the easiest way to close the circle? Well you could have 1 note that is 25 cents apart on your keyboard. However, the better way is to simply have the 25 cents scattered in all the notes that you just found.

This "mixing in" of a little remainder is called "tempered scale" and was to revolutionize music. However, we have not explored enough of the Pythagorean scale yet.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"Mind" -> The Scale Of Music Part II

As discussed earlier, the roots for Western music derives from the Greeks and specifically the Lyre, which was a four string instrument in its simplest form. However, I doubt if you have a lyre in your house, but if you do have a guitar, I suggest you grab it now.

Guitars are about as close as you can get to a Lyre. If you look at a guitar it will have 6 strings, but for today we are only going to use one of them. The biggest string is called the E string. If you look at the guitar held by the young girl at the right, it is the string to the far left on the fret board. The surface of the guitar neck (or fretboard) has a series of frets or bars on it. These frets make it very easy to nicely subdivided the string. By holding your finger behind a fret, the string is clamped at that point and the vibrating string can be cut to various lengths. If you look at the fret board, you can she it has two dots on it. These dots are special.

If I pick up my guitar, I can measure how long the string is, for the section that vibrates. On my guitar it is 65.4mm long. If you remember in the last section, we said that an octave is when you played a note then played another note that vibrated twice as fast as the first note. So how do you make a note vibrate twice as fast? Well you can do two thing, you can take a string and stretch it harder, but this is difficult to do quickly and accurately. The easier thing is to cut the length of the string in half.

This is what we'll do with our guitar. So we measure out half of the string, and we find it is 32.7mm. Guess where this position is on our fret board? It is at the two dots.

The guitar makers clearly mark the octave point so you can quickly find it when you are learning to play. You want to raise the note by one octave? Just hold down the string at the two dots.

Let go back to the ancient Greeks and Pythagoras, who is credited with popularizing the first scale. Pythagoras found the string just the same same that we did and thought about dividing it to get different notes. However, instead of dividing it by two, which sounded very boring, since this was just an octave, he asked himself what were important numbers.

Pythagoras had actually created a cult of numbers. It might seem strange today, but his followers thought integer numbers as magic. (Another post in the future could be given over to this.) In many senses, we should not be surprised at this because Christianity does the exact thing. Number 7 has a very important meaning. Number 3 has a very important meaning. These number reappear on the Bible on a very consistent basis, and they mean something in and of themselves. Pythagoras and his followers simply made the numbers idols.

Pythagoras thought certain numbers had power. The powerful numbers? These were the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. So, let's go back to our guitar string. We can lop off 1/2 of the guitar string to get our octave. That is very straight forward. If you listen to the string cut in half, the sound is "boring." As we stated before, half a string is just an octave, and an octave brings nothing new to the table.

So, let's do something more interesting. Since 1 over 3 is a magic fraction, let's cut the length of the vibrating string by 1/3, thus leaving two thirds to vibrate, and we'll have a new note.

If you take that guitar that we had and times the length by 2/3 you will get a length of 43.6mm. If you measure out 43.6 on most guitars, you will find that you will land on another dot, which may be marked on the side of the guitar. If you play this note at this fret you will find out that it is what we call in music "a fifth." In other words, when you cut down the string by one third, you get a note that makes up a fifth with the original note.

Let's go back to our other post. Do you remember that I said that the original scale was Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti and Do?

In our case, the open string note is "Do." We have just found out that Pythagoras thought that the "magic fraction" gave us So. To our ear this is a very pleasing sound. It just sounds like the two notes should "go" together. There is a reason for why these notes go together, which are called overtones, which we'll look at later.

These notes so much so blend together, we say in music theory that if the open string (or base of our Ionian or better termed "diatonic" scale) is the tonic note (think of the tonic note as the base note) and the dominant note is So. The dominant name can be a little confusing. However, it is used so much, it would be good to really try and remember this. The base note is call the tonic. The fifth note (or the magic cutting of the string down by one third) is the dominant note. Now, remember that dividing the string length by 1/3 gives us a fifth! This is a little less confusing than it sounds because once you know how to divide the length of the string down by a third, you never think of it that way.

Whew, got it? Then let's go to the next step.

We've cut our string down by the magic third. What would be another good fraction? How about one over four. So, we divide our string by three quarters, and this will come to be 49 cm on our guitar. You will find another dot here. This is a fourth on our musical scale. In our scale, we have found Fa. In our music in the west, we find that this interval is very attractive from an auditory sense. Many songs are drawn toward this note. Not as much as the fifth, however. So what will name this special note in our diatonic scale? It isn't quite dominant, so we'll call it Subdominant. Now, things may get a little confusing. This dividing stuff: it seems to give you a specific note; it seems to give you a ratio. I'm even bringing up names like dominant and subdominant. Once you get into music, you'll find that there is always multiple ways of calling the same thing a different name. My only advice is to get used to it.

Now, we have a bunch of other notes to do. The question is do these fall in line with all the other notes that we created. We've show that it is very easy to find the fourth and fifth, but what about the other notes.

This is where things get quite a bit more sticky. If you grab your guitar and do what I did, it would seem very obvious. You've divided the string down by 1/3, 1/4, so the next division should be 1/5. Once we get into the heart of this, we'll find out that the right interval is 17 over 81. This is very, very close to 1/5 (just .09 away).

Why is it 17/81? We'll go into the finer details later, but the conventional wisdom is Pythagoras created the scale by taking a string and dividing it down by one third. (Remember, we found the dominate note "So" this way.) Then they think that he took this string and divided it down by one third again. Thus the string length was 2/3 times 2/3 or 4/9ths. He kept dividing this string down by 1/3 until he got back to an octave, and if you counted all the times you would need to divide the string to get an octave, you would find it took you 8 times. So you have another note, but this note is very, very high. So high, that it doesn't fit in the scale. So, he decided to lower the note by octaves. This is very simple. He simple divided the vibrations by 4 to slow it down and get it closer to the original note.

Now, this is the theory. However, if you go back to the art from Greece, you will find many pictures of lyres. It is obvious to me that they didn't have any real ability to divide a long string the way that it is supposed to have been accomplished. The Greeks may have eventually gotten to a place were they carefully derived the scale from continuously dividing a string by one third, but my guess is that they found Do, Me, Fa, and So by simply dividing by a fifth, a fourth and a third.

This is obvious to more than just me, because I'm "just" explaining it. This type of fraction based tuning is called "Just Intonation." Just intonation is built off of the idea that all notes are based on common fractions. So we have most of the divisions, but we are missing Ra, La, and Ti. The only fraction that is a bit "odd" is the Ti fraction.

It was only later that somebody came back and built up the continuous dividing of the string by one third. The idea of "Just Intonation" was very popular, and many people played in this scale for many hundreds of years. The problem is that it sounds "wrong" if you modulate out of this scale into another key.

So what was it? Are the classic roots of our music just intonation or Pythagorean tuning? Clearly, from the literature, there were people that understood and played in both.

The root of the problem is that we really don't have the right evidence. There are no MP3 from ancient times, and most instruments don't have enough left on them to determine the pitch. If you are looking at the fossilized lyre from Greece, you will have no idea of the string tension. At the same time, many popular instruments were reed based. Virtually impossible to understand how these were tuned.

We are very fortunately, however, to have a pretty good idea of how these were played. You can see this in the picture that I clipped from the web. In this case, a lyre is being held. The man is hold a plectrum (like a guitar pick), and he uses his other hand to quiet certain notes.

As a side note to this, probably the best way of surmising the tuning would be to get a nice wind instrument that we dig up out of the ground, if it were perfectly preserved. Since there is no stringing, you would guess that it would be much easier to figure out the tuning.

We are fortunate enough to find out that such instruments exist in the Jiahu bone flutes. If you look at the pictures below, you will see the actual flutes that I'm talking about.

In an architecture dig in the China region of Jiahu, a bunch of flutes were found from 9000 years ago. They were in remarkably good shape, and extensive analyzing of the flutes was done. My take away from the research is that you can make an argument that some of these these flute could do a very workable Pentatonic scale (we'll cover this later, but this is the classic Chinese sounding scale that can be tied into the Western Scale), and others of the flutes simply were not able to pass for the normal pentatonic scale. The issue is that we'll never know because we weren't there

Now, Matt, in his comments to my last post, said that he heard that all music world wide has in common octaves, fifths, and fourths. He asked me if I believed this was true. On the face of it, the answer is obviously no. I mentioned the slendro scale, which is used in Indonesian music. If you youtube slendro, you can eventually find some singing in this style. It simply sounds off key. However, there is an argument as to why the western diatonic (Ionian) scale will win out from a sheer aesthetic reason. However, this is quite a few posts away. I think we've crammed enough information into our brains for this post.

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Mind" -> The Scale Of Music Part I

Music and religion make up large parts of my life. Recently, Matt Petersen, friend of the family, made some comments about the trinity and music. He suggested that the trinity could resonant like a perfect chord. Interestingly, Matt is not the first person to think about this, and the fundamentals of music and the Godhead have been related for many years in the Christian faith.

The only problem is that what you might assume is true is not. And what isn't true needs some explanation. Hang onto your hat, we're going on a musical journey.

The fundamental step of music theory is really understanding the scale. I have remarked about this before, but I have never spent a lot of time on this in the blog.

So, what is a scale? A scale is simply a series of notes. Therefore, we must ask, "what is a note?"

A note is nothing more than a sound wave that is periodic. For our examples, we'll take about sound waves that are made by a string. If a string goes up and down that is termed "one cycle." As the string moves up and down, it creates little ridges of pressure that we hear as a sound wave to our ear.

The number of cycles in a second is call Hertz, like in the rental car. 60 Hertz is how fast the electricity in your wall swing from positive to negative. However, we are not concerned about electricity. We want the musical scales.

So, let look at our vibrating string. There are a bunch of instruments with strings, but for me, the easiest thing to describe is the piano, since this is a very straightforward instrument. If you go to a piano player, he or she should quickly point out the "C" note that is in the middle of the instrument. This is called "Middle C" because it is musically in the middle of the treble and bass clefs in musical notation. It is in the middle of the piano keyboard.

Now, when you hit a note, the string will vibrate. The vibration of the common middle C in most tunings is 261626 (2,6,1,6,2,6). Now, I've left out a decimal point to make the point that the number is very interesting. With the decimal point, we get 261.626 cycles per second or 261.626 Hertz. If you go and make the vibrations twice as fast you will get 523.251 Hertz. However, this is a bit difficult to remember, and since musicians want to play music and not memorize numbers, many instruments are tuned against concert A, which is the "A note" above middle C. This has a very nice 440 cycles per second, and no decimal points.

However, let's go back to middle C. If you can get a string vibrating at a nice interval of this vibration, it will "sound in tune." The easiest ratio to get is another vibration running either twice as fast or twice as slow. If it is twice as fast, it is an "octave" above the note. If it twice as slow, it is an octave below the note. So, if you hear a note, you can quickly find the octave above or below simply by knowing that it vibrates twice as fast or twice as slow. And it doesn't stop there, if it vibrates three times as fast, it is two octaves above the middle C.

In Western Modern Music, we simply say that this note that is exactly twice as fast is call "C" just like the note that was originally played. It is the same note, only played 1, 2, 3 or 4 times slower or faster. From a mathematical prospect, this makes a lot of sense. Music and math are very related, and a good mathematician often make good students of music theory.

You don't need to know what an octave sounds like. I am simply trying to get you understand that any note (which is just a vibration at a given frequency) can go a even integer faster or slower, and this new vibration is an octave. (For purposes of this post, "note" "tone" and "pitch" will be used to mean the same thing, although strictly they may not be.)

The octave is a new development in music theory. We use it extensively today to explain the whys and hows of music. However, the fathers of music is not the modern world but the Greeks. Things get a little confusing here, if we go far enough back in time, because the Greeks made all of their music around the "tetrachord."

What was the tetrachord? The musical instrument of choice was the lyre, and it had 4 strings. The top and bottom strings were four (tetra) notes apart. So a perfect fourth divided by two middle notes is a tetrachord. However, it quickly apparent to Western Music that the octave was to be the hero of our music. (Even the Greeks knew about the Octave, but it was simply considered the interval between two tetrachords and a spacer note.)

In the middle ages, the "perfect" scale was considered the Ionian scale, which is often called the major scale. There were 7 notes in this scale, and these notes were named by the monks.

These notes are very familiar to those that have seen "The Sound Of Music."

They are

1 Do
2 Re
3 Me
4 Fa
5 So
6 La
7 Ti

Which will bring us finally back to "Do." As we describe previously, C that is twice as fast as the original C is still called C. Therefore, if you have a Do twice as fast as the original Do, it is still called Do.

It is commonly recognized that Guido of Arezzo invented the modern musical notation around 1000 AD, and he was the father of the these notes as called out as Do, Re, Me. (Commonly thought to be derived from a Latin Hymn.) Before our good friend Guido, it really wasn't possible to know how exactly any song went. However, Arezzo invent the familar musical notes and staves that we use today (or pretty close to it).

The beauty behind a good musical notation is that music that was written 300 years ago and then just discovered can be played exactly as if the author demonstrated it. Although we might not personally know Mozart, by having his written music, we can hear exactly what he wrote. Arezzo was a genious.

So, we have a little background and history of the scale and the Ionian or Major scale of Western Music. Yet, we have hardly scratched the surface.

But this will need to wait for a later post.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"Spirit" -> The Homosexual Agenda

Can we, as Christians, legislate morality?

Recently, my home state's court declared that homosexuals could be recognized in marriage. If you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, inerrant and read at face value, you believe that homosexuality is not right. Most Evangelical Christians fight what they call the homosexual agenda. They believe that by allowing things like homosexual marriage we are allowing sin in our midst and possibly even judgment on ourselves. What we can't do, in their minds, is allow marriage to happen.

In contrast to this viewpoint, I am not for homosexual marriage but I will not fight it. I think that reflection and prayer will lead you to the same conclusion.

Most people don't have any idea of the Biblical message of how to fight homosexuality. If you are a fundamentalist believer in Christ going to a good Bible believing Church, you are probably oppose the homosexual agenda. Therefore, when you read this, you might think me as quite mad or not a real Christian.

"What do you mean?" you'll say. "I fight the homosexual agenda because the Bible said that we should oppose it."

What you are thinking about is the Levitical code that proscribes homosexual relationships. Yet, the Law is dead. We no longer live under the Law. As a matter of fact, not only are we not under the Levitical code, we should never suggest that the code was to be lived outside of the tribes of Israel. (About the best you can do is suggest that Acts 21:25 hits up a narrow list of things from the law that Gentile Christians believers must hold. Even here, of these lists of items for Gentile Christians, "eating meeting sacrificed to idols" is later overturned in Paul's writings. No where is it suggested that Christians should be trying to foist our beliefs on others.)

Punishment by death for a homosexual act was created for a very particular time. This is when Israel was under a Theocracy and "the Law" was in effect. Now, I am not saying that the Law is bad. I am a big advocate that many things in the Old Testament are models and foretastes for the Church. I have written on some of this before, and hopefully I will more in the future. The net is that many things in the Old Testament are made for Christians, and they are not made for "the World."

Yet, we want to place the burden of the Old Testament on the World. Even worse, we Christians seem to pick and chose the ones we want to enforce. There seems to be no clear method for applying the rules. Thus, the world makes fun of the Christian Church when we decry homosexuality over our Sunday dinner ham. They say that the same law that says no homosexual relationships also says no pork.

"Well what about Paul?" you ask. "Didn't he forbid it?" The answer is yes, but if you look at it, he never said to try and get the World to forbid it.

Let's look at I Cor 6:9

Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

If you read his words, he is calling out that their are many sins that are clear signs that will be an evidence against your salvation. He says that homosexuality is in line with being drunk. I know many that would easily live with individuals that get hammered on the weekends would decry somebody that was gay. Yet, to Paul, they both will not be in the Kingdom of Heaven.

If the Church would try and stop the "alcohol agenda" with the same passion as the homosexual agenda I would call them misguided but consistent. However, they are not consistent. They are not because they do not understand the scriptures or the words that spoken therein. Let me repeat, the Old Testament is a model for the Church. It is not a model for the world.

What was physical death in the Old Testament is now understood to be Spiritual death in the New Testament. What was the tribe of Israel is the Church in the new Testament. Once you understand this, the scripture opens up very dramatically and what was foggy becomes clear.

See Paul never once in all the letters he wrote said that "we needed to stop the homosexual agenda." Paul was not one to mince words. There was plenty of homosexual behavior in his day. Paul calls out that it is not right, but he spend little time on it other than a few verses. Our Lord doesn't even address it at all.

So, what do I believe?

Being gay and being a Christians possible. However, you cannot express your homosexuality, and you must be celibate. Fantasies are wrong, and to be fought. You were dealt a deck of cards that is unfortunate. Some people are given a genetic disposition toward alcoholism. Some are given a bad temper. All of this is wrong. Despite our flesh, we are called to ask for help to live beyond our weakness. In as much as I believe there is a genetic component of being gay, this does not give you a license to indulge your weakness.

However, if you are outside the Church, then you are going to be ruled by your human desires. Paul tells us about this in Philippians 3

[19] Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

The world is not going to allow us to stop their god. By coming in and trying to stop them, we are only going to insult their God. If we think that we can stop this by legislative acts, we deceive ourselves.

You may say, "Well, we need to protect them from themselves."

See, this is how the world thinks and not the Christian. It is the nature of our God to allow the tools of our own destruction. Jesus's first miracle in The Gospel of John was the changing of water into wine.I believe that a simple reading of this is that our Lord had made an alcoholic drink. Undoubtedly this would used by some in the party to become drunk. Now, Jesus could of said, "I will not make anything that could lead to sin." However, he did not say this. What he did was make something that some in the party would abuse.

This is the way in which this world was made. We have both good and bad that we can do with many things. It is up to man to make the decision about how we will respond to the opportunity.

Is this to say that Churches should be open to homosexuals?

My answer is absolutely yes. We should embrace them with open arms and love in our hearts. We should feed them and take them in. We should encourage them and give them jobs. Then we must ask them to accept Jesus and turn from their habits. Their habits only become a problem once they call themselves a Christian and engage in this habit. If a Christian brother or sister is okay with being gay, we cannot be.

For me, the biggest thing is what to do about the influence of this world on our children, but even here I doubt that we should fear the gay agenda more than many other things. For us, we did not pull out our Children from the public schools because of the homosexual agenda. We pulled them out because we see many things that are horribly against the will of God. Really, keeping our kids safe from homosexuality is the least of problems in the schools.

In my mind, having exposure to "two Moms" or "two Dads" as an alternative family unit needs to be understood and tolerated in any environment. It should never be formally embraced in the confines of the Christian church, but to be anything but hospital and kind to these families is to appeal to the flesh and not the spirit.

"Well, how can you allow Gay Marriage?" you may ask.

I ask how can you allow divorce? Marriage is about one man and one woman joined forever together to raise a family. Yes, homosexual marriage is a warping of the original purpose of marriage, but so is the many, many divorces and remarriages that happen. Ask yourself why gay people want to get married. It is to limit their sexual explorations. It is to have financial security. It is to raise a family. If you are worried about Children being indoctrinated in homosexuality, I would suggest that you should stop Mormon marriage since it also indoctrinates to a false religion.

Many years ago, my Father somebody gay working for him in one of the side businesses that he owned. Some other employees can to my Dad to ask him to get rid of this person. My Dad is about as fundamentalist as they come. He thought and prayed about it, and finally he said, "What this boy does on his own time is between him and God."

My mother agreed, and she said, "If we don't treat them fair, how will they ever come to know Jesus?"

I can hardly think of more Godly parents.