Tag Archives: Heavy Metal

The Burrito is Second

The Burrito is Second

Maybe you’ve figured this out by now, but I’m a metal-head.  From birth I’ve loved metal. My mom rocked me to sleep to Iron Maiden as a baby, I came home from pre-school and watched Metallica’s “One” Video and Motley Crue videos. I have ALWAYS loved it. Picked up a guitar and started playing at 13, started my first real band at 14. Of course, at age 14 in1998 the biggest band in metal was KoRn. All of my friends and I thought their sound was unique, fresh, and very identifiable  I can’t tell you how many times I saw KoRn in concert. I traveled to see them, watched webcasts of concerts. I went to every metal concert I could, local or national acts. I plugged myself into the local scene and helped with booking, promoting, and running shows. I formed a band that found a level of success and a following, my musical tastes had more or less outgrown KoRn, and through their own evolution of sound, I didn’t identify with them or follow them.

I was the vocalist in the band, and in my mind, believing I was a Christian, I wrote lyrics that espoused my conservative christian viewpoint.  Meanwhile, through moderate success and quite a few connections, my band was getting the chance to play at least once a week, as well as some light touring. In all of that, drinking and running around like an immoral jackwagon ensued. It didn’t matter, I was living my life for me, and it was awesome. People were filling up clubs to hear my band play, our MySpace had ridiculous numbers of followers, we were opening for really cool national acts that were huge influences of ours, people knew my name and sang my lyrics in chorus with me to almost every song. How awesome was I, right?

Moving forward, I had met a girl that just drove me crazy with good feelings, and I was climbing the ladder fast at my day job in big box retail. Next thing I know, I’m a dad. My band is over. WHOA…where’d all this come from? I sat down and began looking at my life. I had absolutely “KNOWN” that I was put on this earth to make music. I was positive that God was going to bring me to a point in my life where I was going to be making metal music that allowed me to spread His message. I formed another band with my drummer from the previous band and some other friends, wrote another album’s worth of material, recorded it all, and played some shows. I was gonna do it all over again, but before this band even hit a year, it was all over again. What was I missing here?

Well, of course, as so often does, life happened. I left the big box retail career, married the girl, and really jumped on the Dad thing. Of course, having both grown up in church, myself and my wife decided that we were going to raise our daughter in church. We shopped around a few, even walking out of mid-service a couple times. Our niece invited us to her church and we started going. It just fit. We did the baptism thing, and of course, me being the nerd that I am, I studied the Bible and christian history relentlessly. Then one day, the guy who was teaching the youth at the time called me and asked me to teach his class for him while he was going to be out of town one Sunday. I remember the lesson well, I taught about Solomon. I basically sat down one Friday and absolutely devoured 2Samuel and 1Kings, boiled it all down into what was basically an interactive narrative style story, and walked in that Sunday and just had an awesome time.

From there I was asked to be the assistant in the class. I hung out with the youth and was the “information guy” for the lessons each week as it all moved along. One day, the guy that was teaching the youth, wasn’t going to be teaching the youth anymore. In chatting with our pastor, my wife volluntold me for the Youth Director job and I jumped right at it. Wait, I’m a youth minister now? The dude that sang in a death metal band, drank like fish while doing it, and cussed like a sailor every other moment was now a youth minister? I  was thoroughly convinced that I was certifiably insane. I started looking around and then one day I saw a link to a video. It was Brian “Head” Welch, the former guitarist for KoRn talking about how he had found Jesus and completely changed his life. At the end of the video, he said something that stuck with me, and was apparently the key to the whole ministry he was doing this interview for. He said “I am Brian ‘Head’ Welch, and I Am Second.” I’d found it, I was second too, and it all made sense.

Flash forward about 4 years or so, and here I sit, writing the blog that  has become quite the adventure, and I am honored to say that I have been asked to be a launch partner for the new I Am Second book called Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First . What you will be seeing on here, as well as the I Am Second website (, is me reading 4 days worth of this awesome new devotional and blogging through it from my perspective. I hope you come back to check it out.

My name is Zach Emerson, I’m a Holy Burrito brother, and I Am Second.


Posted by on October 26, 2012 in I Am Second


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Musical Burrito

The Musical Burrito

Maybe you don’t know this yet, but I’m a huge fan of Metal and Hard Rock music. Grew up listening to it, its almost the only genre I’ve ever played in the bands I’ve been in through my musical career, and I’ve even preached and written lessons for my youth based on metal songs. You can find a lot of Bible stuff in metal. I mean, come on, even the song “Creeping Death” by Metallica re-tells the passover story. Regardless, I love Metal music because it very easily invokes emotion and response from it’s listeners, and in my experience of being in the music biz, the metal community is a great example for what we in the Christian community should aspire to be as far as how we take care of each other and support each other.

In my past experience it’s pretty easy to see where Metal gets a bad rap, especially in Christian circles. In high school especially I know I was called every name in the book that refers to someone on their way to hell, and in some cases, I probably was, but in no way because of the music I was playing and listening to. It was pretty tough growing up as a metal kid in my generation. My ninth grade year brought the added tragedy of Columbine thanks to the perverse minds of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Of course, the second people heard they listened to metal, a scapegoat was found and controversy began. Of course, the fallout flew all the way here to Roanoke, and me and my friends were examined, poked, prodded, and again called all kinds of names.

Just in recent news, we’ve heard of yet another school shooting tragedy in Ohio. My heart aches for those families, all of them, but I have to admit, after mourning the situation one of my first thoughts to pop in to my head was “Please let this kid’s taste in music suck!”. I know that it’s easy to tag blame onto anything other than the human race’s depravity itself these days, but we have to remember that it’s not an inherent trait among all people that listen to extreme forms of music, and instead of criticising those who fall under these human imposed labels, why aren’t we using this as an opportunity to draw them closer to the Kingdom? Why don’t we look at the qualities of it that are healing and resourceful and take advantage of those to better spread the Gospel? Take all that positive and wrap it up in a tasty burrito for the world to experience?

Just as an example, I was spending some time unwinding and watching Netflix the other night and watched Classic Albums on Queen’s “A Night At The Opera” and I couldn’t help but think as I watched, it is amazing the amount of encompassing emotion and imagery they can bring to their songs. They put you IN places and IN times. I mean, if you grew up in my generation (that being the end of Gen X and beginning of the millenials) you can’t help but be transported to the “mirthmobile” with Wayne & Garth headbanging and singing along every time you hear “Bohemian Rhapsody”. In the show they mention the power of how certain songs can easily transport you to very specific times of your life.

I know that when I hear certain songs I am very quickly placed in a certain vivid memory based on the song. Anything off of “The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails makes me 13 in Washington DC on my 8th grade field trip. Aerosmith’s self titled album makes me 9 and exploring Williamsburg, and their song “Deuces Are Wild” sticks me very aptly in the first dance with my wife at our wedding. There are sad tunes as well. “Hollow” by Pantera and “In This River” by Black Label Society put me in mourning at the EXACT moment I heard from friends who were at the Ala Roosa Villa is Ohio that one of my musical heroes, Dimebag Darrel had been murdered on stage. Music very easily invokes emotion and response in us.

My question though, is why doesn’t scripture do the same thing to us? There is just as much emotion and imagery in place. When you hear the words ” I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Where does that put you? Anywhere? Anything? In most cases, I’m guessing not many places other than Sunday School, Sunday Service, or perhaps Bible Study. I think that’s a tragedy too, honestly.

So many things can achieve the goal of escape or temporary flashback moments: Movies, Music, even telling old stories with friends and family, yet we aren’t invested enough in scripture to allow it to do the same. I’m just as guilty. I have to say though, and maybe you can join with me, I plan on allowing the Holy Spirit to place a lot more scripture in my heart to guard and stand on. Hey, maybe even the next time I hear “Bohemian Rhapsody”, I will start reciting the 23rd Psalm?


Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic traditon, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Karis


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: