Joy has had a love relationship with Jesus since she was 14, and has taught Christian religious classes to various ages since she was 16.
A Man Who Loves His Family
Metallica and My Salvation--2008
As I was praying about how best to present this story, my Lord Jesus Christ said, “Write as if Lars Ulrich were reading it. He needs My love too.” But this is for you, my reader, too--because I think you deserve to know my hard-won perspective on God and His ingenuity.
This is the love of God in action.
God tends to teach me using themes--one subject at a time, to make sure I get it and never forget it. He takes as long as necessary, throwing the same things in my path until I trip over them enough to understand them. The theme for the last two years has been: “The Creator God can use whatever He wants to accomplish His eternal (and day-to-day) purposes.” To bring someone to Him, He can use Buddhism, sorcery, demons, Christians, a copy of His Word, pretenders, or a duck.
For me, He used James Hetfield and Metallica, by means of a song for which James is largely responsible: “The God That Failed.”
Lars (yes, you), I hope you choose to understand this story--especially the concept of being “used of God”--because He’ll employ you whether you want to be involved or not. He made you. It’s His right and your privilege.
Metallica and My Damnation
The age of eleven was a full year for me. I had aimed at being a writer since pre-school, and finally had two stories published in a small local paper. I also wound up attending the Sunday school class of a woman who considered me capable of understanding God's Word--the true Scriptures not watered down, nor packaged in cutesy stories and songs to prop up my understanding. Being allowed this way to take the Scriptures at face value caused me to gain spiritual momentum, and, in accordance with my new interests, I was baptized in front of the congregation of my home church. Finally, that summer, my best-friend pony died, leaving me in an agony of spirit. At the same time, I came in contact with Metallica. They were my first taste of Heavy Metal music, and my first exposure to songs that overtly glorified death. I was fascinated, like a snake with a piper.
I liked Metallica's skillful sound.
Their lyrics were often unclear to me, but the music produced a creativity and a depth of thought I had rarely felt before. Truly, the music took over my senses. I loved it--the images, the colors of sound, the rainbow of emotions. James’ voice dug at the core of my humanity. The music, even without the lyrics, spoke of a desolation of soul culminating in an emptiness the size of an eternal Universe. It exposed some part of my soul that I had known about, but felt was dangerous to let out. Words like: curses, love, anger, force, tyranny, hope, and damnation came to mind, like the whole experience of Man was being split open incrementally by the blood-encrusted blade of Truth.
Through the Never
Fascination and Danger
Listening to this music was like playing games with a candle, passing my hand through the flames to produce black streaks on my palm.
I listened to it off and on over the next few months--mainly when my sister, who owned the album which I first heard, visited home from her summer’s job. One night I found myself alone, examining Metallica’s “Black” album, as it poured through the household stereo speakers. Curiosity had finally made me open the lyrics booklet, and I read each song as it played.
Some of them dealt with topics my family had only danced around, like what seemed to be demon possession or influence related to substance abuse.
Substance Abuse and Spirit Problems--Sad But True
A Song of Grief
One struggled with loneliness, and left me aching for the hurt in my father's life. He had been adopted as an infant, and often dealt with a similar type of anger as I heard now.
An Incompetent God
And then, one song struck like a blow to the belly.
“The healing hand held back by the deepened nail . . . ”
“Decide just what you believe (you must!)” . . .
“Betrayal, The healing hand held back by the deepened nail . . . follow the God that failed.”
The song “The God That Failed” caused an emotional concussion. It left me dizzy and disoriented, feeling as if my mind had gone into a tailspin.
The God That Failed
A Quiet Hell
This song couldn’t be right!
It didn't match up with anything I had ever been told.
All my life, I had been told that God had sent His one and only Son to be born of a virgin, and that this beloved Son had willingly died in my place, so that I could spend eternity with Him. I had been told that He was all-powerful, that He had things under control--that He had, in short, victory over everything, because He had gotten back up from the grave.
The writer of “The God That Failed” had left Him up there on the cross, alone, and powerless . . . and no matter how carefully I listened, He never came back down.
The story of this god ended in the grave.
Immediately, I was angry. How dare this fool of a man suggest my God had failed! Didn’t he know that He can’t fail?--that He knows everything, and can do anything?
Hadn’t this fellow read the rest of the story?
Too shocked for tears, I realized that . . . I couldn’t tell him the proper ending for the story, because I didn’t know it myself. I had been living on my parents’ faith.
Could the Failure Be Real?
I was faced with the question: So how does God become real to a person? Worse yet, a doubt whispered, “Could it all be a fraud?”
No! The Bible was no fraud. God was no fraud. Somewhere, somehow, this man had missed the Living Truth, and I set out to find it for him--for me. I couldn’t find it for him; he would have to do that for himself.
I spent the next three years with that question hanging over me--the question about God’s eternal presence, which obviously was not part of my life. The void in me grew--the void that I knew must be filled by something, but which refused everything I dumped into it. Life got very lonely, and my spirit turned grey with unrest. Increasingly, my heart seemed ugly to me, and I wanted God. He seemed somehow responsible for this mess of my life, and I wanted Him to fix it. I had a ceaseless anger which burned in my gut, and guilty thoughts that clouded my judgment and attacked my sense of self-worth.
It seemed to me that God was hiding from me. Didn’t He know how hopeless I felt; how sleep forsook me, and how I hated my life? Didn’t He know I couldn’t keep going under this burden of self-loathing?
My Young Self, Age 11
Friends With Light
As usual, I went to summer camp in July, this time in my fourteenth year, and there I met people who showcased God more vividly than I had ever seen before. They were kind. They were gentle. They cared for one another’s thoughts and preferences. Their eyes had an unexplainable, joyful light, which poured out on all in their presence. They loved their neighbors, and they loved themselves. They loved their families--their parents and siblings--and they seemed content. They had what I wanted. Now, how had they gotten this strange joy?
At some point in those five days of camp, my wonderment turned to understanding, and I became full of Light, just like my friends. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God really had done everything He said He’d done. Upon my return home, my family noticed the difference. I felt for the first time God’s working in my heart, renewing and strengthening, correcting, and giving me the will and the ability to do right. I began the long journey through forgiveness.
Hatred and Hope
I had a long list of people who had wronged me, and somewhere on that list was James Hetfield, the instigator of the song “The God That Failed.” It was his ideas which had jerked my life all out of control . . . shot it down like a World War One bi-plane, and angered me to the point of provoking damnation to my soul. His words were responsible for my first angry violations to my conscience, resulting in definite sin. (Romans 14:23 -“. . . for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”)
I had wanted revenge on all on this list. Now that Light had entered, I wanted to let James go, and even to share with him the very Light that I had found.
But he was part of Metallica, and how could someone like me gain audience with someone like him? Unless God arranged it.
James Hetfield, Age 30
My Convictions Condemned
At eighteen, I became a student at a small Bible college, and married a year after that. I had built a foundation for my life on the solid Rock, and was determined to keep an impeccable record before God.
Almost immediately, I found this was not the same as keeping an impeccable record before His people. I found the college to be very legalistic, and had many clashes with the faculty because of my convictions.
For one thing, they found my tastes in music offensive. I found their hypocrisy in use of music equally offensive, and carried on many rants within myself about their views. If a song had "too much drum" or--according to the college handbook--"a backbeat"--it was deemed "of the Devil". If a band dared step off soil deemed holy by the faculty, they were immediately and eternally condemned.
I knew this was not God's way.
Seeds of Prayer for Metallica
So I held harder than ever to my convictions, and began praying casually for the Metallica band members to find the Truth of God’s goodness, and that He yet lived. I still found many of their songs uncomfortable, like an ill-fitting jacket, but couldn’t seem to abandon them. There was a truth and a spirit within many of the songs that outstripped the inspiration of much "acceptable" music, as if God Himself had ordered the notes, and worked His purposes through the band member's unholy thoughts and hands.
I knew that no mere man could have created the depth of images, which repeated themselves for listener after listener, and that no mortal Son of Adam could have arranged the play of emotions that was a staple of Metallica's music, album after album. Without fail, the music reached to my core and yanked at creative possibilities until it seemed my whole being was unleashed.
Music Works Miracles
My Convictions Grow
After I left the college, I did a thorough housecleaning, removing everything I was sure would not glorify God--and my Metallica music stayed.
I was convinced God was somehow okay over this decision; that, indeed, He would have been unhappy had I chosen to rid myself of the music.
That year, with my new baby in my arms, I began teaching a local Sunday School class at a new Southern Baptist church, full of hurting neighborhood children.
I maintained my Metallica habit, but in secret this time. I had learned my lesson about the meaninglessness of most religious conflicts, and determined not to leave a trail of crippled relationships on account of small differences. I saw that God did not teach all His children the same things at the same times--that indeed some never proved ready for certain lessons--and strove therefore to be no stumbling block to my brothers and sisters.
As the years passed, I prayed more fervently for the band members, and especially James. I could somehow feel his hurt, like a never-healing bruise in my soul, and craved an opportunity to let him know what he had done in my life, and what God could do in his.
What My God Does
My God, who had not failed. My God, who heals the broken-hearted, and binds up every wound.
My God, who knows how to cry along with the hurting.
My God . . . who wants to be James' God.
Co-Teaching for Christ
My Sunday School class grew up, and many of the faces changed. As they neared and then passed the age at which I had become Christ’s, I hungered to give them some part of my soul that would convince them of God’s faithfulness. So far, I had felt stunted in my efforts to model Christ for them, because we had connected only infrequently through common experiences. After all, how much of Real Life could I expect to cram into each twenty-minute classroom session, interrupted by the students' insistence on text messaging, and our collective inability to keep to a topic?
After four years, I changed my tactics, and teamed up with a young man who loved God with his whole soul. I thought, if anyone can get through to these kids, he can. He had a livelier testimony to share than I, one to which the kids more readily related. Drugs, illicit sex, and juvenile court and detention had tied knots in his reputation, but these things made his redemption in Christ stand out all the more clearly. He was so clean of soul that at first I mistook him for a mama's boy, and a virgin. Then he began telling us what God had done in his life. Our classroom size grew, and soon we had students ranging in age from 12 to nearly 30 years old. They all were looking desperately for something to rescue them from the damage inflicted on their souls.
Still, try as we might, we could not make God big enough to them, in those twenty minutes per week, to cause their hearts to turn. They stumbled blind, and my co-teacher and I agonized over each of them in one-on-one prayer meetings, with God in our midst.
Reaching a Breaking Point
Over the next year, throughout these meetings, I felt God nudging me toward a path I was loath to trod. It was the path of resistance to the conservative religious standard, which I felt was held like a limbo bar for us teachers to bend beneath. Not that I hadn't longed to stand up and knock that bar flying, or jump over it and never give it a second glance--but wouldn't that be rebellion against the authorities whom God had set in place?
The more my co-teacher and I talked about how to reach our students' hearts, the more I realized God was speaking similarly to both of us. Neither of us was eager to wear more labels, but . . . it was insanity to pretend that a code of holiness was ever going to win hearts. Only the freedom and bigness of the nature of Christ could do that.
Reminded by a Riff
My hesitations were stamped out one Sunday during youth group, when the students were playing around on the stage after we had made praise to our Maker. One of the young men, a guest, picked up a guitar and played a riff that shook me to my very morrow. I remained outwardly still, but drank in and stored up the beauty which this Metallica copycat had produced. Something pulled at my gut, and while I couldn't match the feelings with specific memories, something whispered, "Isn't this the same mystery which forced you into God's arms?"
That afternoon, I made up my mind to delve into my student's lives, to find the triggers that would send them shooting off in God's direction. It was a dangerous business, and risky to the health of my reputation--a deliberate seeking of taboos. But it had to be done.
The Topics List
Carefully I prepared a list of questions on many topics which I sensed were crucial to the lives of our students. Things like:
- God's view of divorce and His plan for holy marriage
- Role playing games and the creatures that tend to go along with them
- What a demon can and cannot do to a person in Christ
- The truth about clairvoyance and similar powers
- Music genres in light of Good and Evil.
I presented my list to the pastor, and asked for his opinions on the topics, explaining that I wanted to broaden my teaching platform. We talked at some length on my views and experiences with these subjects, and I sought to make it clear why our children needed an education in these matters. That, in fact, they were getting one anyway--from the world. This man had a 13-year-old daughter in the class; I knew he would be adamant on these questions one way or the other.
It turned out that he was unable to embrace my vision, and without further discussion, I was dismissed from teaching, and from all other public positions within the church.
Meanwhile, my co-teacher had brought up his own questions--deep doctrinal concerns--and had likewise been dismissed when he refused to concede the pastor's point of view. They had debated whether God can "force" someone to submit to His love. My co-teacher said Yes--God had with him, chasing him down like a wild creature until he stopped running--and the pastor said, No--Man's free will cannot be thus manipulated.
What God Did Next
Heart-broken, I banished myself from that church group. What was left there? In one fell swoop, I had lost an irreplaceable friend and coworker, a church family, and six years' worth of work with my students.
My co-teacher had immediately left the area, seeking God's best for his life.
Of course, the work had not really been lost, and I knew that somewhere in it all, God was still working. But I longed to see where.
The Riff Again
Over the next few months, as I tried to find my place in His plans, He brought me repeatedly back to the scene of that young man, the guest student, up on the stage playing the Metallica riff.
One afternoon, in something like spite toward organized religion, I got on the internet and let some of my favorite Metallica songs play. "The Unforgivens", all three versions, ripped at my conscience until I realized: they were a message from a soul whom I had almost trodden under the carpet rather than risk losing my reputation among God's people. Over and over again I played the songs, and others, until I was sure of the message I had received.
Making the Most of a Prayer Request
"Pray for me. Are you praying for me?" came the question like a cold breeze through my soul. "Yes, and I have been," I answered, knowing that somehow, God was communicating this to the man who had so long ago woken me up to the Gospel of the Living God, through the message of his god, who had failed.
Over the next several days, I nearly sprained my soul in prayer for James Hetfield. Weary, I was reminded of him at waking, before retiring for the night, and often in between times. I fed my mind on his music, trying to understand more fully what, exactly, he needed from me. As the ideas came, at first in a trickle, then torrentially, I brought them before the throne of God, and begged for James' soul.
I began praying for his fellow band members in the same intense way, and did research into their lives to find out their needs.
A More Renewed James
Results in 2010
I don't yet see the full fruit of my prayers in the band's behavior while on tour. I know only that these men and their families are already providing to my children a similar ministry which they provided to me. My little children are happy when they hear Metallica, because I have told them how God is working in James' life, and in those of his friends. Sometimes, we pray for them together, not forgetting their wives and children.
I long still, as on that childhood evening, to tell James he was wrong--that my God had endured and then conquered the cross, and had shot up from the grave with the keys of Death and Hades in His hands; that now He holds out peace and hope and healing with both arms. How the nail prints stay, but only because they are proof of His victory over death. I long to tell James what God set in motion these 16 years ago when, through his music, He righted my soul.
I wish, too, that the Sunday school class had been allowed to be a little less "holy" and a lot more practical, allowing my co-teacher and I to meet the students on their own grounds, and lead them toward repentance. Maybe then the students would have learned firsthand about God's intense, passionate love, with which He longs to meet each one on their own dark roads, bringing His unfailing Light for their deliverance.
But I am a realist. I know that I may never get the opportunity my heart craves to tell James face to face how a compassionate God has included him. So I’ve written it here instead.
Maybe it will get back to him.
Anyway . . .if James and I ever do come face to face, I’ll have some apologies to make. Out of the own ugliness of my heart, I called him a fool of the worst kind.
Matthew 5:22 – “But I say to you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Now I know better than to stand in judgment over things about which I know too little . . . like James' growing up.
Lars, James, Robert, Kirk--God's best to you all.
Wherever You May Roam
Lars, James, Robert, Kirk--the Creator's best to you all.
A Man Who Values His Music Family
"For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written,
He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
- I Corinthians 1:22-31
© 2009 Joilene Rasmussen
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on January 01, 2020:
Josh, thanks! I had not heard that. I will have a look.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on November 21, 2019:
This is the most beautiful comment and the best description of the Creator that I've seen in ages. And oh yes, still praying! Have seen changes over the years, so who knows . . . and this goes for the other band members as well.
"Far less demanding than people"--yes indeed.
Thanks for stopping by. This was a gift to wake up to.
The Bible Unchained from Above The Sun on November 21, 2019:
You keep praying for him sugar. I actually finally came to Christ because of a Christian who prayed openly and unselfconsciously about what he clearly felt was sinful behavior. I had the clear impression of the presence of two friends, more like a Father and son, really, with the son saying he was sorry and the Father gathering him in love.
This was the kind of God I needed and wanted, One that would stick by me in bad times, not just sit looking down His nose at me as He nitpicked my best poor efforts.
I've actually found Him to be far less demanding than people, and the best friend on the planet.
I wish more people got a relationship and not just religion.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on August 19, 2018:
Eds, thank you for your opinion. You suit yourself, and if there comes a time when I need to not listen to Metallica, I am sure my Creator is capable of telling me that, just as He has influenced me to change in other things over the years. I am responsible to God and no one else for my listening habits, as long as I don't unduly influence others to follow my example.
BTW, the band doesn't always - or mostly - sing about death as such...nor always wear black. They wear what they feel like wearing (always have), and sing about what moves them. I used one of their songs as the recessional at my wedding. Can you guess which one?
Eds on August 18, 2018:
Master of Puppets is a direct message to it's listeners from satan not drugs, Until it sleeps is not a song about pain it's about the bands demonic possession. Metallica always sings about death because they are evil. The always wear black because they are satanists.
If you truly are a Christian and follow Jesus - God's Son (not the fake jesus who is really the devil parading as an angel of light), it awesome that you have a heart for their Salvation. But it's well past time to stop listening to their's and other bands demonic and worldy music which pushes ppl away from Jesus - God's Son.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on June 19, 2014:
I love how He never stops surprising me with the new things he allows in my life, and in others', to glorify Him. I love how He never stops inviting me to work with Him. Michelle, thanks for glorifying him through what you do, and seek to do.
Michelle Ascani from Deep in the Heart of Texas on June 19, 2014:
What an awesome testimony. I love how God uses all things to glorify Him.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on January 30, 2014:
Thank you for the neat info. I, too, believe James has worked hard to keep/stay sober. Let's keep praying, shall we? No one ever outgrows the need. :)
Matt on January 23, 2014:
James HEtfield's Instagram page, papa_het, has a few photos of statues of Jesus where James hashtags them #savior, and #theboss, adn such. I was greatly moved to see that as I have been a longtime Metallica fan as well as longtime Christ follower. Many times I have prayed for Mr. Hetfield. He has taken steps to get sober and I believe he has remained so for several years.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on May 31, 2013:
Agreed, you've just scratched the surface. Thanks for reading, and keep holding onto God's gifts in your life. They're precious. God bless Metallica.
ListenWhenJames HetfieldSpeaks on May 31, 2013:
I love Metallica so much this band has helped me though so many tears and sadness, through school, college you named it would takes weeks to explain it all to them what they have done for me and for their fan its gift that i will always love and always appreciate everyday of my life this band is a gift from god.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on May 10, 2012:
Your comment was most timely, as well as being the most encouraging, hopeful comment I've ever received on this article.
I know well that the psalms pick through the entire variety of human emotions, as well as detailing many kinds of thoughts and experiences. I, too, see the resemblance between some of them and Metallica songs, and guess I've been thinking the same thought in different words, saying that many of their songs are prayers, of sorts.
Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts here, as they were exactly what I needed to hear today. Your comment was a gift from God.
Do you pray for Metallica regularly? If so, what do you pray?
Anne on May 08, 2012:
The lines you quote from "The God that Failed" remind me of the book of Psalms - the songs in that book run the gamut of emotions towards God and I think Metallica fits right in with it. As a Christian, I had "The Outlaw Torn" playing on a loop after a major spiritual growth (it was actually after being filled with light as you described). Thank you for sharing this, it is great confirmation to me that God wrote the music since your experience is similar to mine.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on November 05, 2011:
I tried answering your comment last week, and, due possibly to a faulty internet connection, my reply never posted. So -
Thanks for the info. I wrote this article a few years ago, and have since found out quite a bit about James's background stuggles. I still pray for him daily, and believe he has come closer to seeing God as an ever-caring, never-failing Father, who will never abandon him or ignore him.
Rakan Qatarneh on October 24, 2011:
I am quite religious , and a huge Metallica fan , the God that failed is a song about James' mother and how did she depend on God , and died with cancer , I am not offending her , but God gave her the brains to think about going to a clinic or something , so James deals with the problem of his parents ignorance about that you should depend on God , but you should also do something , not just stand still and wish for success ... so James shows his anger in this song , you should love God , and you can be a fan of Metallica , as it is not atheist or offends religions , it is just James' anger , you can be a huge fan of James , he said that God failed , but God is perfect and cannot fail , but it is still his point of view which is false in my opinion.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on September 30, 2010:
Thank you for your encouragement! I take every opportunity to teach whomever God gives me what I see in the Bible, and help them connect it to their everyday life, whatever that is.
Since "quitting" the Sunday school, the Lord has given me almost more than I can handle, in the way of communicating and teaching those around me. So all was far from lost, and I praise Him for it.
Regan Clem from Ohio on September 27, 2010:
Great post. And I am so sorry that you were not allowed to teach the teens what they really needed to learn. You are right in that the world is teaching them. I am sure that you will stand up and always teach what needs to be taught despite that situation. Preachers and teachers need to proclaim the truth no matter what. Thanks for sharing.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on July 01, 2010:
Thank you for the information. I have become aware of James' Christian Science background, though I wasn't when I was 11. I agree with you about the Gospel of Luke being a death knell for Christian Science. I myself have a bias against the modern medical community, but that is primarily due to some bad experiences on my part. I nonetheless believe that doctors have their place, and while I am inclined to turn to herbal or other self-healing methods first, do not believe that doctors should be utterly avoided.
I can understand James being angry with God for allowing his parents and Cliff, too, to go so early. (I was not aware that his father also was stricken with cancer. Thanks for that information.) However, he shouldn't stay angry, and I don't know that he has. Hurt, maybe, but that's differnet.
Thanks so much for your comment.
Jonathan on June 27, 2010:
According to online sources, James was raised in a Christian Science family. Due to their beliefs in not using medicine, his dying mother's cancer was left untreated, leading to her passing away. His father also died of cancer later in life. Both parents supposedly could still be alive had they been treated.
Many songs seem to reference to that experience, such as "Until It Sleeps", "Fixxer", possibly "Mama Said" and "The Struggle Within", and to me, "The God That Failed" seems to reference to his anger to God for not healing his mother in time, thus not wanting to believe in Christian Science after that.
James may also have been mad at God for taking Cliff Burton away so early in his life, though that's my personal opinion.
My main argument against Christian Science is the Gospel of Luke. The name says it all. Luke was a physician as well as one of Jesus's 12 chosen disciples. Physicians, even that far back in time, practiced medicine, and Luke even used medical terms when writing his Gospel. That to me should be the deathblow to Christian Science, there's no way you can get around that one.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on April 29, 2010:
I have prayed for your son, though I am unclear whether he still has anger issues.
God does indeed work through every circumstance, the mundane and the horrible as well as the good, and He hears your prayers.
Just for the record, I still enjoy Metallica on a regular basis, and feel they are old friends.
God's Peace to you.
slock62 on April 26, 2010:
Thank you for sharing this hub. My son had been into Metallica for a long time. He is now 45 and is still an avid listener. It has caused me great concern through the years, the music seemed to fuel his anger. His anger needed no help.
After reading your hub I remember that "God works in mysterious ways" and I am comforted.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on March 16, 2010:
I have been considering that. But the thoughts haven't gelled into an article yet. Have patience. :-)
De Greek from UK on March 14, 2010:
I have read this very carefully and there is so much depth to you and you appear to have so much love for your fellow man. Impressive.
I am particularly enamoured of the phrase ".....trail of crippled relationships on account of small differences".
With respect, I would suggest that you write something on that theme.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on December 09, 2009:
Disappointed, your username says it all. It's obvious what you've found in life.
Anyway, if you'd bothered to read the rest of the article, you'd have the answer to your question, "What do you have left without someone to tell you what to believe?" Try again.
Disappointed on December 09, 2009:
I couldn't even get through the entirety of this nonsense. I stopped somewhere around your breakdown with 'God that Failed'
I see faith in your eyes
Never you hear the discouraging lies
Broken is the promise - Betrayal
He's speaking about the blind faith that you sheep give into, without so much as attempting an independent thought.
I'm not saying I'm anti-God, far from it. I'm saying that you perceive God based on what others tell you...
...Yet, what do you have left without someone to tell you what to believe
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on November 16, 2009:
Sure will. See you 'round.
Willow Mattox from Northern California on November 16, 2009:
No not really. I have prayed for them in passing as an afterthought, but not seriously. I am glad to know you too, Joy. I'm sure we will bump into each other again soon, take care and keep up the "good work".
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on November 12, 2009:
Mrs. Obvious, your comment is like honey to my soul. The more I read of your articles and comments, the more I think, you and I have a good shot at getting along on more than a surface level. The world needs more Christians like you.
Have you been praying for Metallica, too?
Willow Mattox from Northern California on November 11, 2009:
Love it! I grew up loving Metallica too. So deep and full of soul searching. I am a christian, have been since I was 5yrs. old. Their music is haunting and really brings out the need for a saviour in all the pain and lonliness they sing of. I am so thankful that I know the Savior. I am also thankful for bands like this who don't let you skim the surface of life, but put eternal questions in your thoughts. I do believe that heavy metal had a great influence on the cemeting of my faith during my teenage years. I am a solution based person. The problems and issues they present as food for thought in their music definitly pushed me into the arms of my loving God as my solution to the distress of life. Good for you Joy at Home. If you and a few others weren't praying for them, then who would?
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on October 18, 2009:
Febriedethan, your comment this morning was so encouraging! It is nice to see another Christian who is willing to accept God and His work at face value.
febriedethan from Indonesia on October 18, 2009:
I did not know what to find when I read your hub title and I never heard metallica songs,(I seldom listened to rock and western music) but your hub is amazing and I believe that our God (I believe in Jesus too) is soooo creative, He absolutely could use any body, everything, anything, for His purpose. God Bless your service and your family :)
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on October 12, 2009:
Ronald, yes, I am Christian. And not in name only. I cannot speak for the other commenters, except Christa Dovel. I do not personally know most of them...only their claims and confessions of faith, or lack thereof.
Ronald Vincenzo on October 12, 2009:
So... Are you all christian?
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on July 11, 2009:
Ghost32, thanks so much for coming by. I'm glad you liked the portrayal of this piece of my life.
I agree so much about the necessity of giving young people the opportunity to see different religions and people of various backgrounds, openly. At some point, every child is going to make a decision about their spirituality and convictions, and I'd just as soon know that mine understand what they're up against. I'd like to be reasonably sure, by the time they desire to fly the nest, that they don't spend half their lives searching for the perfect group or congregation or set of ideas or religion, but that they see how God has worked in various cultures and timeframes around the world, and that He's not done yet; that it's not about drawing lines, it's about the everlasting Creator, and His relationship to His creation.
Rules and lines are only good as long as they point directly to God's heart.
I'm still waiting to run into James H. somewhere, face-to-face....
Ghost32 on July 11, 2009:
Joy, this Hub riveted me to the page like very few can do. I'm neither Christian nor seeking, yet I agree to the core with our Metallica (and related) insights. Lady, you can WRITE!!
I also completely agree with your broader approach to spiritual education than we often find "out there". A close friend, a fellow employee at a former job, once invited me to speak (about my non-Christian faith) to his 7th grade Episcopalian Sunday School class. I did...on Easter Sunday, no less. One week earlier, he'd had a hardcore Fundamentalist believer do the same.
One young student, a bright young man some 13 years of age with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, asked his teacher, "Could we get ------ (the Fundamentalist gentleman) and Fred (I wasn't Ghost then) in here at the same time? THAT ought to be a lively discussion!!"
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on February 26, 2009:
Lgali, glad you liked the hub.
Christa, when you get that family portrait taken, leave a link to it somewhere for me, okay? I want to see if you can top the smiles in the original.
Christa Dovel from The Rocky Mountains, North America on February 26, 2009:
BTW I love the picture at the top!
I think we will have to have our next family portrait taken with an automotive background. It would so suit my men. :D
Lgali on February 26, 2009:
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on January 27, 2009:
Wow, Christa, thanks for sharing. It would be interesting to know how many others out there have been spiritually helped or provoked toward the Living God because of Metallica.
And hey - if anyone else reading this is praying for the band members regularly, let me know! Leave a comment. If I were one of them, and saw this, I would no doubt find it encouraging. (Disappointment in God is a lot different than atheism, after all.) Uplift them!
Christa Dovel from The Rocky Mountains, North America on January 26, 2009:
Interesting. I am not alone, and Joy at Home, neither are you.
While I do not hold Metallica responsible for my salvation (my ex-boyfriend gets that credit, so to speak), I do credit them with sending me to Bible College and setting me on the path my life has taken.
It was the same song, "The God that Failed", which opened my eyes to the world around me, and made me want to know God and His Word completely. At 16, I wrote Metallica a letter, to let them know the rest of the story... wondering how they had missed the end... not having a clue of the background. Despite my ignorance, I know that God's Word does not return void.
I too am praying for James, Kirk, Robert and Lars' salvation.
lego table from colorado on January 25, 2009:
ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm yea iagree
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on January 25, 2009:
Jesus_saves_us_7, thank you much for your kind remarks, and your prayers. I thought the title might catch people off guard, and that is part of the reason I wrote it as I did. I figured there would be two major types who would be interested in this hub - those who call themselves Christians, and those who consider the Metallica band members practically on a par with the gods, so to speak. (In spite of the flippancy of this remark, I hope it has come through in the hub that I have a great deal of respect for the band members, on account of their willingness to say what they believe without cringing or apologizing for their views. Whether they are right or wrong, that is a rare skill.) My main target audience for this hub is "God-boxers" - those who insist God should work through their rules, and that if anyone rocks the boat, he/she is in sore need of correction, and can't possibly be on God's wavelength. I thank God that He is a little bigger than that. :-)
Jesus_saves_us_7 from Seeking Salvation on January 24, 2009:
I too have to admit that my fist impression of your hub title made me think this guy is in need of some sort of spiritual help, and my intent was to read your story in hope of finding a way to reach the lost sole of some disillusioned young head banger. Heavy metal had a strong influence in my life growing up. though in my case I was moved farther from God by its influences and yes Metallica was in my collection as well. I have to admit that your hub was very different than I expected, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. I also believe that God is not bound by our understanding, nor is He limited to using only things that the church deems holy to reach sinners. God can use anything in His creation to do His will. A point that He made through you. I agree that to reach our lost youth's today we need to first conect with them and find what it is for them that will make them seek God for themselves because we can't force anything on them. It is things like that that cause most people young and old alike to run away from salvation. You will be in my prayers and I hope as well that you get a chance to meat James. excellent hub!
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on January 24, 2009:
Lady Guinevere, dear, if you believe I am mixed up about Satan and his minions having been already conquered, you need to read the above hub more carefully. Concerning that crew, those of us who are Christ's are dealing with a headless dragon - his head has been crushed under Christ's heel, and all the danger is gone for us. He can continue to spatter blood, but that's about it. (Ever picked up a headless snake? It can still strike and make a mess, but obviously the fangs and intelligence center are out of comission.)
Regarding your quote: "Sad But True is about the use of Drigs I beleive and how it affects the user." Knowing some of the background of the band, and some of the things that are important to them, I find this perfectly plausible. I haven't researched their intent for this song, so am taking it at face value - how it strikes me in and of itself. After consideration, I have to conclude that it fits both scenarios - drugs and demons. Maybe you've never had this experience, but I've had opportunities to observe both severe druggies and those who are either heavily oppressed or actually possessed by demons. (Sunday School students occassionally showed up higher than kites, and some of them had obvious, scary spiritual issues, as well. Unfortunately, demonic influence was not one of the topics I was allowed to deal with openly.) The behavior of a severely oppressed or possessed person and that of some druggies isn't that different, as they both have their lives and systems taken over by something that is bent on destruction, and that they most likely cannot free themselves from. Much of the time, there is a double stranglehold, as drug use tends to open the way for demonic influence (not necessarily possession). Something to think about.
Debra Allen from West By God on January 24, 2009:
I am glad that you do find out what is in the songs and don't make a blanket statement that all songs are geared to teens and making them unholy. That simply is not true. I know all bout the ones that you have referenced except the one "The God That Failed". Sad But True is about the use of Drigs I beleive and how it affects the user. The Unforgiven, now I like that one because I don't liked t be labeled either and I don't think many of us do. All in all I like most of wat Metallica has to say. They are forhtirhgt and they tell the stories most songs are) about what it is that does affect teens and most adults. Knowledge is for each and everyone of us to gain and learn as much as we can. Fear is the lack of knowledge. Truth is subjective to each individual's life and what it is that they are here for. One cannot tell another what their truth is because it may not be the other persons truth. Everyone has a bit of the truth.
Do take those Bible Verses to heart because Jesus is non descrimanatory as to who he choses to work through. Don't give Satan all the power over God because Jesus has already put him where he needs to be and do read the whole Bible because in the Young's Translation Satan is never mentioned in the New Testament........so get that information too. I do hope that you read the Book of Song of Soloman with the youth as well--very lovely book of the most beautiful words to another.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on January 24, 2009:
Lady Guinevere, thank you for the history behind the song "One". I am quite familiar with the music video, but had not researched what was behind that.
As for which song lyrics, I was referring mainly to "The God That Failed", from the Black album (as specified in the hub). I have varying degrees of familiarity with much of what Metallica has done, and don't make permanent value judgments on songs without knowing what they say. When possible, I take the time to find out the stories behind songs, and their intent.
Other songs I referenced in my hub were: Through the Never, The Unforgiven, and Sad But True.
Joilene Rasmussen (author) from United States on January 24, 2009:
SirDent, I thank you for your vote of confidence and your prayers. I am not currently involved with the neighborhood kids nearly as much as I desire to be. This is due to a need to invest more energy in my family than I had been used to, and due to the fact that I have no organized way to continue meeting with "my" kids. Several of those I worked with were from neighboring towns, and though needy, attended the youth group and Sunday School only sporadically, or as the whims of their parents dictated. However, a few other adults and I are in the process of forming a home Bible study group for these and other kids...perhaps adults too, as the need for Christ does not cease just because one turns eighteen. (As I noted in the hub, my co-teacher and I sometimes taught people older than ourselves, who were somehow not yet comfortable "out there" with the "adults".)
My main request for prayer is that those who need this Bible study, and who wish to be involved in it (there are several families we know of) would be able to make way in their schedules for it, and that it would be a time devoted to the Truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unpopular that gets. The scheduling has been the greatest difficulty so far, and the fact that most of the homes in the community are tiny, and therefore unsuitable for such meetings. One suitably large house is owned by a man who doesn't object to the meetings per se...but has a tendancy to interrupt and ridicule everything and everyone. This makes it hard for people to feel free to ask their questions and to offer opinions, or even discuss Scripture openly.
I have many soaring dreams for spiritual reformation of this area, which has proved particularly troublesome for most of the pastors and missionaries who have ever tried to work here. Many of the people's hearts are locked shut, by experiences with one form of legalism or another, and hardcore Paganism has been popular for decades.
Still, we press on.
Debra Allen from West By God on January 24, 2009:
Facts about the song "ONE"
This song is about a soldier fighting in a war and a mortar blows off in his face. He can't hear, see, smell, taste and he doesn't have arms or legs. He comes out of a coma in a hospital. During the time he is in the hospital he reflects on his life and things his father told him. Eventually the doctors get worried because he's having spasms all the time, but he doesn't seem to be dying. They call in the general and he can't figure it out either but the soldier with the general recognizes it. "Its Morse code," he says. The general asks what he is saying and the soldier looks for a minute and then says, "He is saying K-I-L-L- M-E over and over again. (thanks, paul - Anacortes, WA)
The lyrics are based on the novel Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo, which is about World War I. A specific passage that inspired the song is: "How could a man lose as much of himself as I have and still live? When a man buys a lottery ticket you never expect him to win because it's a million to one shot. But if he does win, you'll believe it because one in a million still leaves one. If I'd read about a guy like me in the paper I wouldn't believe it, cos it's a million to one. But a million to ONE always leaves one. I'd never expect it to happen to me because the odds of it happening are a million to one. But a million to one always leaves one. One." (thanks Vesa - Tampere, Finland and Bertrand - Paris, France)
In 1971, Johnny Got His Gun was made into a movie which was directed by Trumbo. The video for the song uses images and monologues from that movie.
I can't remember anything can't tell if this is true or dream deep down inside I feel to scream this terrible silence stops me now that the war is through with me I'm waking up, I cannot see that there's not much left of me nothing is real but pain now hold my breath as I wish for death oh please God, wake me back in the womb it's much too real in pumps life that I must feel but can't look forward to reveal look to the time when I'll live fed through the tube that sticks in me just like a wartime novelty tied to machines that make me be cut this life off from me hold my breath as I wish for death oh please God, wake me now the world is gone I'm just one oh God, help me hold my breath as I wish for death darkness imprisoning me all that I see absolute horror I cannot live I cannot die trapped in myself body my holding cell landmine has taken my sight taken my speech taken my hearing taken my arms taken my legs taken my soul left me with life in hell
Debra Allen from West By God on January 24, 2009:
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (Young's Literal Translation)
9What [is] that which hath been? it [is] that which is, and what [is] that which hath been done? it [is] that which is done, and there is not an entirely new thing under the sun.
Just what song lyrics were you listening too? Old Metallica or new Metallica? Have you heard the actual words?
SirDent on January 24, 2009:
When I saw the title of this hub my thoughts were, "Here comes another nut-case who thinks he/she knows everything." I am glad I read this hub. Now I know better. Although your style of teaching and reaching out to teenagers is different, from what I read here, it seems to be an affective way to reach them. Unless we identify with them, we cannot help them. This is what God did when he sent Jesus to us for our redemption.
Teenagers are unstable and easily influenced, and you seem to grasp that very firmly. The music of today and yesterday are aimed toward these teens. It will either overtake them or someone like you will help them to overcome the influences that music today tries to instill in them.
I will pray for your continued efforts to reach young people.