Tag Archives: iraq

Take 5 with Adam McInnis

17 Sep

By Alyssa Bjornstad Adam McInnis’s debut album, Wherever You Are, (DPR) fuses atypical sounds to create a unique flavor of rock/gospel/funk.

On the eve of his album’s release, Adam agreed to a “Take 5.”

How did you get your musical start?
I guess everyone has different views on when music started for them. For some it’s a big break or for others it’s the first time they picked up an instrument. But for me, I guess it happened once I was saved. I was in college and praying for a sign on what I should do in my life. I started having lucid dreams/visions, and I saw myself on stage with a guitar singing in front of a large crowd of people. But at this time in my life I couldn’t sing or play instruments, but shortly after that dream a guy I knew was signed to Transcontinental Records (*NSYNC, Backstreet Boys) and he had heard from my friends that I was good at writing lyrics. So he approached me about it. He had a deadline for a couple of songs, but he was stumped with the writing side. I gave him a book of lyrics and, needless to say, I didn’t hear from him in months. After numerous attempts at trying to get my book back, the guy kept dodging me. We later found out that he was using my lyrics and claiming he wrote them. So I figured if someone was willing to steal my lyrics, they must be pretty darn good and maybe I could write a song.

Who or what has most influenced your career journey?
I don’t think I’ve had one thing or one person other than God who has kept me pushing forward in music. But I can say that I’ve been blessed with being around many talented musicians and singers since I started. My first year out of college, I lived in a house where almost everyone had record deals except me. But I learned a lot from them, and I was only 18, so I was like a sponge.

As an artist, what do you struggle with most?
I struggle the most right now with juggling many roles. I also co-own DPR, which is my record label, and there are a lot of duties that I attend to on an everyday basis. If it was up to me I’d be in the studio writing more, but there are a lot of responsibilities that I have to take care of.

What is the message of your new record, Wherever You Are?
Hope. Everything I have done in my life and in my career, has been birthed by hope and faith. I come from a place where I saw at lot of things that you wish kids just didn’t have to see…drugs, gangs, that sort of thing. By faith, I followed God’s message and His calling in my life, and  hoped for something better. Anything can be achieved by faith. There is no limit on earth to what you can achieve. Only you put a cap on what is possible.

“Say a Little Prayer”—what can you tell me about that song?
I wrote that song when I was visiting some friends back home in New Jersey. One of the guys had recently come back from Iraq where he had received a purple heart after he was survived being shot in the face during an attack. I was talking to him about what he had been through and asked him how he was able to hold up and have strength over there. And he replied, “I would just say little prayers throughout the day.” That line sparked the chorus, and I put myself in the position of a soldier and wrote the song from that viewpoint.

Texan  Adam McInnis reaches beyond the constructs of culture to deliver an album that is both lyrically moving and musically diverse.

Print copy of Take 5.

Alyssa Bjornstad Alyssa’s greatest accomplishment to date was picking one major in graduate school. Her undergraduate career was filled with indecisiveness—namely, English, Communication, Journalism, and Psychology. When not reading textbooks, doing research, or writing papers, she can be found drinking coffee, painting, philosophizing, blogging, listening to music, drawing, or playing an immovable stringed instrument. After graduation, Alyssa hopes her dream of working for Passion Conferences comes true! Until then, she stays busy editing and contributing to the field of sanity. You can contact her by e-mail plansforhopeATgmailDOTcom.


1 in 5 Come Home Mentally Ill

18 Apr

“A war is like when it rains in New York and everybody crowds into doorways, ya know? And they all get chummy together. Perfect strangers. The only difference, of course, is in a war it’s also raining on the other side of the street and the people who are chummy over there are trying to kill the people who are over here who are chums.”–Hawkeye Pierce, “M*A*S*H”

When it comes to electronics, I’m pretty lame. I mean, I just got an iPod in March (thanks Sarah!) So it should come as no surprise that I own a Playstation 1 with a variety of outdated games including Spyro the Dragon, Tomb Raider (1 & 2), and Crash Bandicoot Racing. The last one is my favorite because cartoon characters drive little cars around and lob bombs, rockets, and other weapons at one another. I get a certain feeling of satisfaction running one of my opponents off the road with one of the weapons in my arsenal. I feel even better when I win. However, if it wasn’t a game (and didn’t involve cartoon characters), destroying others wouldn’t be so…fun. It would be devastating, heartbreaking, and just plain mean. But it’s just a game, right?

Sadly, every single stinkin’ day there’s a suicide bomber somewhere blowing up something. There are militants slaughtering the innocent. There are troops out in the desert being shot are by snipers. In reality, war is hell, and people are living it every day. Plus the technology developed to kill is far more sophisticated than my Playstation 1. With a press of a button, a missile can wipe out a village, like the people never existed.

Is it any wonder that one in five soldiers who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan now suffers from major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder? (Full story) Maybe the sickest “deaths” can’t even be measured in a body count. Perhaps the sickest death isn’t just a dead son or daughter in a body bag, but a man or woman suffering from mental illness. Despite how noble our military is, you can’t go to a place and kill people for six months and be OK. I believe it changes a human because it’s dehumanizing. We were never created to kill. It’s not part of the original design that God had for us. But because we are fallen, we are at war with ourselves, our world, and each other (Rob Bell points this out in Sex God).

Major depression and PTSD can be treated effectively. They can be medicated, get counseling, and go on to lead great lives. I’m not condemning our men and women in uniform to life in an asylum. I am merely saying that the cost of war isn’t just in dollars and death, but in the quality of life that exists for our soldiers once they do come home. I don’t know how I feel about the war in Iraq. I don’t know whether we should have gone in the first place. I don’t know what to do now and if immediate withdraw is the right option. I just don’t know. But I do know that once the troops do come home, we need to support them, love them, and help heal them however we can.

The other thing I know is this–I hate war. Yet I know that war will continue to be part of this present reality, as Jesus said, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matt. 24:6-7).

You know what I hate most about war? The fact that no one really wins. In the end our side has casualties and so does their side. And really, when you think about it, you have a 19 year-old American soldier fighting against a 19 year-old Iraqi or whoever. They’re shooting at each other and but they really have no beef with each other…just that the other one is the “enemy” because they’ve been told the other side is the enemy. Given another situation, and if they could communicate well enough, they’d probably go get a beer and pick up girls together. But war makes them enemies and they shoot to kill.

I hate war and I have what it does to the minds of the people who are fight in it.

Led Like Lambs to Slaughter Others

2 Feb

The flowers in the picture to the left are indigenous to Iraq. They’re called Fox’s Grape and begin to bloom in February. I post them here in memory of the two women who died in the suicide bombings, as well as for the others who lost their lives.

Digital media puts “hot news” at my fingertips every time I open a web browser or check my e-mail. Sometimes a tantalizing headline catches my attention, so I click on it to read the story. Other times I am interested in the issue being discussed. Finally, I check out a story because I need to know more, but I wish I hadn’t. I wish I played games on the “Psych” website or had a goofy IM conversation.

That’s how I feel right now. A sick, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if everything I’ve ever eaten will come out of my mouth any moment. It won’t. It’ll just sit there in liquidy bile and acid churning away.

The article was about how terrorists strapped bombs to two women suffering from Down Syndrome and sent them into two crowded marketplaces (one pet market and the other was a bird market) to kill and injure. Both women’s bombs were detonated via remote control. Most likely unwilling or unaware participants in this deadly game. Altogether at least 73 people were killed and another 150 were injured in these coordinated attacks (full story).

Having interacted with those who have Down Syndrome and similar disabilities, I have been amazed at the love of these individuals. My one friend’s sister is especially amazing in this respect quick to offer a hug to those she likes and very fond of animals. I can imagine my friend’s sister being tricked into walking into an outdoor pet market with a bomb strapped to her pack to “see the puppies”. It makes me sick that her innocence would be so exploited.

When I think about these two woman, I see the face of this woman, who sings terribly, yet more loudly and worshipfully than anyone else in the contemporary service at church. Her clapping is off-tempo and her wild swaying is close to dancing. Her face is beautifully lit up with joy, a joy that cannot be easily explained or taken from her. I look at this woman with awe thinking that many famous worship leaders could learn a thing or two from her.

She is one of my heroines, one of the the special individuals God brings to mind when my faith is so weak. Perhaps it is her “limited mind” that makes her so lovable. Or maybe it’s just that she isn’t as damaged as the rest of us and sees life a little bit differently. Whatever the reason, the thought of anyone exploiting her or anyone like her makes me angry. I feel like this isn’t a word strong enough for this feelings–perhaps it would be a loud earth-shattering scream that would break the windows of my apartment.

These terrorists, who make Internet videos about how they are so proud to die for their god, instead strap a bomb to two innocent women who are murdered along with those around them. What a proud day for the cowards who sat behind and detonated the bombs with a remote control! They can make the horrible choice to strap bombs to their bodies and blow up crowds of people, but to make someone else do it is even worse. I mean, honestly, just when you think suicide bombers can’t be any more evil, a story like this comes out.

And it makes me think…maybe the war isn’t over.

Maybe we do need to finish the fight.

Because if we don’t…I’ll be reading more stories like this. But then again, the bloodshed will never end. We’ll just think of newer and more atrocious ways to kill our enemies, won’t we?

On days like this, I can see God weeping for humanity and the mess we put this world in when we choose to allow sin to enter this world. What a mess we’ve made, what a mess we’ve made.

It also reminds me that Jesus was led like a lamb to the slaughter…and He is the hope for the mess we’ve made.

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