Friday, August 28, 2015

The Nick - March 21, 2015

We had a blast playing with Pyrite Parachute at the Nick back on March 21st. Here are a few pics (thanks to Rodney Calfee and Debbie Pike).

Friday, February 27, 2015

"Break" - new song available for free!

Click Download, and enter 0.00 as your purchase price. (But if you want to give us money, we won't complain.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Nineveh EP: Justice and Mercy in Jonah

NOTE: This post catalogs the thought process behind our Nineveh EP. The following represents my own thoughts on Jonah. For a brief overview of major scholarly interpretations on Jonah, see this page.

Jonah was right to believe that the citizens of Nineveh deserved destruction because they disregarded the commands of God and acted with total lack of respect for human life. He knew it was possible, however, that if he prophesied God’s imminent destruction of their city, the Ninevites would repent. And, as Jonah noted, God had repeatedly shown himself to be merciful to repentant sinners. Jonah knew, therefore, that his mission might very well end in the pardon of a bloodthirsty people who were notorious for oppressing the smaller people groups around them, including his own. 

Rather than becoming an instrument of salvation for the wicked Ninevites, Jonah chose to run from God by boarding a ship headed into the Mediterranean Sea. In doing so, Jonah brought upon himself the same divine judgment that, in his estimation, should have been visited upon Nineveh. He made himself a vessel of wrath in order that the Ninevites might also be destroyed. To put it more succinctly, he sacrificed himself in order that others might die, demonstrating the antithesis of God’s love.

But God would not allow his plan to be co-opted. He sent a storm to intercept Jonah’s flight. The Gentile crew members rightly assumed that an angry deity had ordered the storm to pursue them, but they didn’t know which god to appease. Jonah told them that Yahweh, the God of Israel, had sent the storm to prevent Jonah’s flight. To prevent the Gentile crew members from perishing in the storm, Jonah ordered them to cast him into the sea. God calmed the storm, and the crew members feared God. 

Ironically, while Jonah refused to facilitate the salvation of Gentiles in Nineveh, he became the facilitator of salvation for the Gentiles aboard the ship. God’s plan of salvation for all peoples could not be thwarted, and was indeed aided, by Jonah’s actions.

Still, God would not let Jonah escape his path. Instead of allowing Jonah to drown, God sent a giant fish to swallow Jonah and keep him alive. The language indicates that God “had appointed” this fish for such a task, giving another indication of divine control over the entire saga.

Nineveh EP: Background on Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire

NOTE: This post catalogs the thought process behind our Nineveh EP. The following represents my own thoughts on Jonah. For a brief overview of major scholarly interpretations on Jonah, see this page.

Nineveh was one of the largest and most important cities in the Assyrian Empire, which dominated the Middle East during the time of Israel’s greatest power. The spread of Assyria’s influence and military presence was alarming to the Jewish people, as is indicated by the prophets’ fixation with Assyria. (See, for example, Isaiah 10).

History records the brutality and cruelty of Assyrian military conquest. For example, a record found in the city of Nineveh depicts the impaling of victims in Judah (the Southern Kingdom of Israel) about 100 years after Jonah’s lifetime. The Assyrian kings were known to display victim’s severed heads and appendages as ornaments and reminders of their conquests. Additionally, the prophets of Israel and Judah, including one of Jonah’s contemporaries, Amos, foretold the Assyrian captivity of Israel long before it actually occurred. Amos wrote, “the days are coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks” (Amos 4:2). Consider that passage’s similarity to the practice of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal: “When Ashurbanipal didn’t kill his captives he ‘pierced the lips (and) took them to Assyria as a spectacle…’” Nahum described Nineveh as “the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims!” (3:1).

During his life, Jonah watched, certainly with horror, the growing terror of Assyria’s reign. He must’ve taken to heart the words of contemporary prophets. He would’ve witnessed the terror of the nations around Israel being decimated by Assyria, being led away from their homes in blood and tears. He would’ve anticipated this same fate for his family and friends in Israel.

In short, he must’ve felt great hatred for Assyria.

But what did God call him to do? To preach God’s judgment against Nineveh. At first glance, this would seem to be exactly what Jonah wanted: preemptory vengeance. Before the Assyrians could destroy Israel, God would destroy them. Perhaps this was God showing mercy to Israel by destroying their enemies.

But Jonah also knew Yahweh as “a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster” (Jonah 5:2). These words echo a common refrain of God’s merciful character throughout Scripture (Ex: 34:7, Num. 14:18, Ps. 145:8, etc.). Jonah knew Scripture, and he knew that God would have mercy on Nineveh if its inhabitants humbled themselves.

When God asked Jonah to preach to Nineveh, perhaps, to Jonah, the message sounded something like this: “Go to the city of hatred and lies, to those who will carry your children away. Through you I will show mercy and love to those who will make your people slaves.” (These are the opening lyrics to the Nineveh EP.)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Introducing Jay Johnson, UTR Bassist!

We're excited that Jay Johnson (J.J.) is now the bassist for Under the Rose!

J.J. has actually known Jason since their college days, and he played with Bad Charism for a few years during the early 2000s. In Under the Rose, he contributes a solid foundation that was lacking before his arrival. Aaron played bass on the first two UTR releases, and the bass essentially blended in as another electric guitar. In contrast, J.J. fills up the low frequencies, providing a much thicker sound. In addition, he contributes strong songwriting skills and brings some serious vocal chops that provide the opportunity to add complex harmonies into our live show.

J.J. listens to a wide variety of music with a focus on hard rock, metal, and pop-punk. His favorite bands include Killswitch Engage, Alter Bridge, Jimmy Eat World, and Green Day.

Soon, we'll be releasing some new music featuring J.J. Stay tuned.