Hello, it’s the Real Me

As one being particularly enamored with music as long as I can remember, occasionally, out of the blue, I’ll recall a particular song, record, etc.  Todd Rundgren’s 1973 hit “Hello It’s me” just flashed through my brain again this morning, bringing fond remembrance.  This then reminded me of the album from which the song is taken titled Something/Anything?, which includes two other singles, both released prior to “Hello It’s Me”: “I Saw the Light” (an homage to both Laura Nyro and Carole King, with Rundgren’s voice sounding much like the latter) and “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” (credited with founding the “power-pop” genre).  The three songs are fairly basic love songs, very catchy and memorable.

In 1975, Rundgren released the single “Real Man”, which didn’t interest me at all, and it was only recently that I found out that Rundgren was the artist.  Back then, I recall seeing the album containing the single, titled Initiation, though it never captured my interest.  It’s this album which brings me to the reason I’m carrying you along with me down memory lane.

As I recently saw again the title to his ’75 album release, given my recent studies into the occult for apologetics purposes, I decided to check out what Rundgren meant by Initiation.  Ooh boy.  Looking at the Wikipedia entry, the entire second side of the original LP is an instrumental suite titled “A Treatise on Cosmic Fire”, taken from a book of the same name by Theosophist Alice Bailey (I have a copy of the book and have referenced it on CrossWise).  Checking out the lyrics to the title track, offered no surprise.  The single “Real Man” is more of the same, though not as overt.

The point of this post is to illustrate the prevalence of the occult in pop culture, perhaps in places one might not expect.  Who would have thought that the guy who would pen such simple love songs would go on to be a strong advocate for the occult, basing an entire album around the concept, to include a (vinyl) side-long suite named after an Alice Bailey book?  Rundgren would explore more esoteric teachings, as evidenced by his 1981 album Healing.

For those not old enough and/or not familiar with Rundgren’s pop-oriented material, most would be aware of his ’83 hit “Bang on the Drum” (I don’t want to work / I want to bang on the drum all day), which has become an anti-work anthem and has been featured in commercials, etc.  Now try to get that song out of your head today!

This theme of New Age / occult in popular culture was mentioned in more detail in the CrossWise article Misplaced Trust, part II, (see New Age / New Spirituality in Contemporary Culture section).

20 Responses to Hello, it’s the Real Me

  1. Craig says:

    The title of this piece is a fusion of “Hello It’s Me” and “Real Man” with the idea that the overt occult material is the “real” Rundgren.

  2. Arwen4CJ says:

    I wanted to say that I’ve been doing a lot of editing on a lyric wiki site, and I’m editing some Jesus Culture pages now — mostly for my own reference so that I can know what their music sounds like, so they can use discernment. Part of the editing on that site involves finding audio versions of the songs and posting a link to them, so that’s what I’m doing now.

    I’m noticing a lot of laughing and just stupid sounds in some of their recordings, and it really hit me. Sometimes it sounds like they are “drunk in the spirit” with some of the silliness that I’m hearing.

    Some of the songs that they do are covers of other singers and bands, but there is definitely a difference in mood — their irreverence for God comes out in these covers, even though the songs by the original artists are good. There is definitely a difference in how they perform these songs. 😦

    So people need to also need to be informed when we listen to Christian songs, too. People covering a song may mean something entirely different from what the original artist meant.

    So some songs that are perfectly fine in their lyrics can be done badly.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Arwen…sounds like a worthy engagement of your time. Ya, there is a difference.

    Craig…I listened to “Hello, It’s Me” on Bing. Luck would have it that the first one I listened to was 2007-02-28. And of course I pictured myself in the audience chanting “Put a shirt on, Todd!” “Put a shirt on, Todd!” Man those guys were skinny! Anyhow, that aside…

    I also read the words of Todd Rundgren’s “Initiation”. Stunning!

  4. IWTT says:

    Recently I watched a concert on TV and pointed out to my wife to look at the contridiction that the artist was showing. He wore all black, had a very nice silver cross around his neck and on his fingers were huge silver rings, one being a skull and I couldn’t tell what the other ring was, but it was a belnding of the occult with the cross.

  5. Aw shucks, I thought this was going to be a reveal all article about the ‘real’ Craig. Lol, g’night all.

  6. Arwen4CJ says:

    There is a group of Christians who are blatantly being New Age, and I believe they are just as dangerous as hyper-charismatics — https://progressivechristianity.org/resource-types/affirmations/

    Like the hyper-charismatic movement — this “progressive Christianity” is trying to sneak occult ideas into Christianity, but from the other end. These are the type of people I have brought up before on here — people like John Shelby Spong.

  7. Craig says:

    Alice Bailey stated 80 years ago:

    “Christianity will not be superseded. It will be transcended, its work of preparation being triumphantly accomplished, and Christ [ED: Satan/antichrist] will again give us the next revelation of divinity….”

    Constance Cumbey recognizes two different threats, terming them “termites from within” and “wrecking balls from without”.

  8. Arwen4CJ says:

    And both Bill Johnson and this so-called Progressive Christianity are from within, at least from self-identified Christian groups. The Progressive Christianity website said that they are actively trying to change the face of Christianity, and they, like the NAR, ask for money.

    For only $500, your church can be listed as a Progressive Christianity partner, and you get your church featured….so if your church raises $500 to donate to this “cause,” then you get a nice poster to hang in your church.

    So there are those who appeal to the more evangelical/conservative Christians (NAR), and there are those who appeal to those who are liberal (which tend to be more mainline churches).

  9. IWTT, the signs sure are all there for Christians to see, aren’t they? Yet how blind and desensitized people are. I was!

    Your comment reminded me that I was recently reading how Justin Bieber is a professing Christian, and how there is a Bible (??? the Message, perhaps) study created to go with his movie. So, I wonder how those churches who will be offering that study to young people will square that up with the photo I have of him wearing a hooded sweat shirt that says ‘Smoke Meth and Hail Satan’. Quite frankly, I have traversed the world of rebellion and still I wouldn’t even know where to buy a shirt like that. Except I just googled it. I don’t recommend you do the same. Apparently, it would seem his choice was the least offensive of those made by the same company.

    Arwen4CJ – progressive christianity. Um, is that like progressive house music? I like that. I don’t like progressive christianity. Or reimagining, revisioning, rethinking or reanythinging Christianity. I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I am!

    I’ve missed you all. 🙂

  10. Arwen4CJ says:

    Unfortunately “Progressive Christianity” is seeking to change the face of Christianity by getting rid of doctrine they consider to be outdated. They want to replace it with new — one of the points that they are fighting to change within the church is the idea that there is a boundary between us and God. They advocate that we are all god.

    Of course they want to get rid of the blood atonement, too — portraying Jesus as just a victim who died like many other martyrs.

    They also are trying to get people connected to the god within through meditation. And they are very blatant about what they’re doing. And people still eat it up, and pay money for this new anti-evangelism (my term for spreading anti-Christ filth), as they spread their evil, and think up more ways of spreading their poison into churches.

    Instead of giving money to have the real gospel advanced, people are paying money to have the anti-gospel advanced.

  11. Craig says:


    Based on the tenets and goals of “Progressive Christianity”, I see them as a “wrecking ball from without” rather than a “termite within”. Scripturally, wolves in sheep’s clothing are pretenders who look much like the real deal (Christians) yet are actually subverting the faith. “Progressive Christianity” makes no pretense of being in any part of Christian orthodoxy.

    But, they do have some ideas that are evident in the NAR, what I term hyper-charismaticism. I note that Mike Bickle of IHOP claims that God told him that the “face of Christianity” was going to change. This was back in the mid-’80s.

  12. just1ofhis says:

    When Bickle says the “face of Christianity” is going to change, do you think he stops long enough to consider that the face belongs to the Head who is Jesus Christ?

  13. Craig says:

    No I don’t. He believes he really heard from God in Cairo, Egypt in a hotel room. Here’s a paragraph from an article in which I mention this quote:

    Back in late 1982[3] a young pastor named Mike Bickle moved to Kansas City, MO to found Kansas City Fellowship. On May 7 of ‘83, Bickle and his growing congregation began a 21-day fast which he claims was brought about by prophetic revelation.[4] On the eve of May 28 “prophet” Bob Jones gave a “word from the Lord”[5] which, if it were to come to pass, would 1) be a further sign that Bob Jones was a true prophet of God; and, 2) serve as confirmation that God was beginning a new movement in Christianity[6] which would “change the understanding and expression of Christianity in the earth in one generation”.[7] This new ‘expression’ would be a “great outpouring of the Spirit that will cross all kinds of national, social, ethnic and cultural barriers”.[8] This “change” in “the understanding and expression of Christianity” Bickle believes to be referring to our current generation.[9]

    from here: https://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/the-sandy-foundation-of-the-international-house-of-prayer-ihop/

  14. Arwen4CJ says:

    Well — that is why I said that they call themselves Christian. I don’t think that they theologically are Christian. So, technically, yes, they are on the outside.

    However, I think they can also be considered wrecking Christianity from the inside. Why? Because they still identify as Christian, and people in mainline denominational churches can get deceived by them. For instance, these Christians may be attracted to these people because they claim to be doing great acts of service for Christ. They may hear that these are biblical scholars, etc., and get drawn in that way.

    We have to remember that evangelical Christianity isn’t what most people in mainline churches hold to 😦 Many in mainline churches just go to church, but do not necessarily agree with all orthodox doctrine. 😦 They may really be into the social aspect, and may never have heard the gospel at all. So, they think that Christian means following Jesus in a different way from how evangelical Christians generally think of it. There are some evangelical Christians within mainline churches, but most probably would not identify with it. 😦

    This stuff subtly sneaks into mainline churches. For example, I just got a mentoring conversation booklet from the church I grew up in. I’m going to be mentoring someone going through confirmation.

    I looked through the booklet yesterday, and I was disappointed with what I saw. This particular booklet is printed by my church denomination’s publisher. The Scripture in it is from the Common English Bible, which seems to water down the meaning of Scripture. But, far more serious, the booklet never calls Jesus Savior. It calls Jesus “helper and guide” or “leader and guide” or “Lord and teacher.” It does identify Him as Lord, but it defines Lord as teacher and leader. Which, okay — I get that, but it doesn’t go far enough for me. It’s a weak definition of what it means to call Jesus Lord. It falls short.

    There is nothing in this book about the gospel at all. There’s no mention of it. There is a question about Jesus’ death and resurrection, and whether or not the person believes it happened, but that is it.

    To call Jesus “Lord and teacher” or “teacher and guide” over and over and over again, but never call Him Savior says to me that they are doing this on purpose. I don’t think it’s just a poorly done dumbing down of Christian beliefs.

    There are whole sessions that are devoted to topics like human friendship and social issues — but nothing really solid. Nothing about our sins or what Jesus’ death on the cross means for us.

    So…why the missing content? There are only three answers that I can think of.

    1.) They didn’t want to offend anyone, so they presented it this way so that both those who are theologically liberal and those who are theologically conservative will be happy, although it’s not likely to make either group happy. Those who are conservative hopefully will notice what I noticed. Those who are theologically liberal would probably want it to say that it’s okay to disagree with the historic teachings of the church, and they’d probably want alternative ways of explaining what it means to be a Christian.

    2.) They don’t think that teens have the intellectual ability to grasp the gospel, so they leave it out, as they assume it would just go over their heads anyway. They have simply done a poor job of dumbing the material down.

    3.) They purposely did not include “Savior,” because they do not want to teach children that they are in need of a Savior. The writers of this question guide were theologically liberal, and possibly supportive of Progressive Christianity. They have wormed their way into writing confirmation material for kids, in the hopes that this is one way they can change the face of Christianity.

    But how many will notice that the whole gospel is missing from this booklet? How many will care? How many will just accept that this is the way that it should be because it was put out by the denominational publisher?

    I don’t think that things like this would be as likely to deceive those who are in theologically conservative churches — people who claim to care about Jesus’ deity. Rather, this is more of an issue with those who are in middle of the road to liberal churches.

    For some people, this looks like the Christianity they have grown up with. Because this stuff portrays Jesus positively — as someone we should follow and look up to, many Christians will think nothing of what is missing.

    In other words, people define Christianity differently, and these people are wolves in sheep’s clothing to those who do not know any better. These people wouldn’t deceive those in hyper-charismaticism because they are from the conservative end of things, even though they are not orthodox. They would know that Progressive Christianity is false.

    Many in mainline denominations are unable to identify Progressive Christianity as false.

    Does that make sense?

  15. Craig says:

    Many in mainline denominations are unable to identify Progressive Christianity as false.

    And many pew sitters only go to church to appease their own consciences. These are part of the make-up of the tares (along with wolves). These folks have never been part of true faith. Any true Holy Spirit indwelt individual would have no trouble discerning that “Progressive Christianity” (“PC”) is false on its face in virtue of their tenets and claims, to include the desire of ‘changing Christianity’ (and yes, I know the Emergents do the same thing as the latter; however, they’re much closer to truth than “PC”).

    As another example, the late John Hick called himself a Christian. Yet, obviously, he’s not a Christian by the definitions of Christian orthodoxy. His book The Metaphor of God Incarnate, which is a follow-up to his The Myth of God Incarnate pretty much gives him away just by the titles alone. There are quite a few who are outside the true Christian faith, by any reasonable definition of the term from an orthodox standard, who claim to be Christian. They do so by their own false understanding/claim of who Christ is. Blatant New Agers call themselves Christians for this same reason. I’d hardly call any of these Christians, contrary to their self-claims.

    So, by my definition of “wrecking balls from without”, I’d term Hick and “Progressive Christianity”, along with Secular Humanists, and all others who directly oppose Christianity a part of this group. On the other hand, those who make claims consistent with Christian orthodoxy alongside claims to the contrary (consistently) are the “termites from within”. The latter is much worse in my book, as we certainly expect secular society to challenge us. Wolves are much harder to spot.

    If you are still unconvinced, we’ll have to agree to disagree. No hard feelings on my end.

  16. Arwen4CJ says:

    I have no problem agreeing to disagree either 🙂

    I agree that New Agers are attacking from without, even if they claim to be Christian. However, with these Progressive Christians — I see them doing the same thing as Johnson, but from a different end.

    There also are a lot of people who go to church, and believe in Jesus as much as they know how — but are ignorant of doctrine. I think these are the ones that are in danger of falling prey to Progressive Christianity. And sometimes things aren’t always as blatant…like with this confirmation question mentor guide. It doesn’t say things that are contrary — it just leaves very important things out. I don’t know that it is connected to Progressive Christianity, but it may be a fruit of their movement, as they use their influence to worm their way into mainline churches more and more.

    Many of them are pastors or scholars — and some people are more susceptible to false things than others. People aren’t usually deceived all at once, but it is a gradual process. So people deceived by them might not accept this doctrine if they heard it the way it is presented on that website….but they might believe one little thing. Then another, and pretty soon they are caught in this web, and then when they see the stuff that these people are claiming, they accept it.

    Now were these people who get deceived like this ever part of the true church? Maybe and maybe not. It’s not really for us to say. I do know of people who started out believing, but then abandoned the faith as they were taken in by liberal theology.

    My sister’s best friend grew up in a church. Several years ago she told me that this friend was one of her strongest Christian friends. The girl seemed to be a genuine believer. Again, as we can’t really see people’s hearts, all we have to go on is appearance. My sister and this girl would talk about their faith, they would encourage one another, read their Bibles together, and pray together.

    Over the last few years, this friend of hers has fallen away from the faith. She has embraced theologically liberal “Christianity,” and has decided that she wants to combine Christianity with Buddhism. She calls herself a Christian Buddhist. She no longer believes Jesus is the only way, and she denies most of Christian orthodoxy.

    So was she ever saved? Or was she saved once, and then fell away from the faith entirely because she was deceived, and she is no longer saved? These are questions I don’t think that we can answer.

    However, what we can say is that she is not really a Christian now, even though she thinks she is. She has abandoned the historic faith. However, she attends a “church” that supports her current beliefs.

    We can also say that she was deceived. It’s not so important whether or not she was deceived from the outside or from the inside — the point is that she became deceived. And she is still deceived. She thinks she is a Christian when she isn’t.

  17. Craig says:

    Well, since this thread pertains to music, I’ll add a light, humorous touch. In the following, watch the lead singer:

    Tell me this guy doesn’t look like Joel Osteen! Not just the looks, but the mannerisms and the voice resemble him!

    This is actually a video of the rock band Syndicate of Sound from 1966. The lead singer is Don Baskin – no relation to Osteen as far as I know.

  18. Craig says:


    Please, when posting a link, add either specific quotes from the link or a paraphrase of some sort so that we can see how it relates to the topic at hand.

    Having said that, while “progressive Christianity” is used as a general label in the Berean Call link, the url Arwen4CJ posted was to a specific group named “Progressive Christianity”. Some of the goals definitely overlap, but they’re not the same group per se.

    One of the differences is that Jim Wallis purports to be a true Christian, while the other group, as pointed out earlier does not.

  19. Arwen4CJ says:

    My sister recently sent my parents her Christmas list for this year, and on it is a book by Jan Johnson (I’m pretty sure there is no relation to Bill Johnson, but who knows). Anyway, it was a book about contemplative spirituality, contemplative prayer, and spiritual formation.

    I googled her, and I found that she is a spiritual director, trained at some center in California. I then looked up the center, and it is an interfaith training center.

    I don’t think that Jan is into the stuff that the spiritual director that worked with my graduate school was into (shamanism and outright New Age practices), and I think she’s trying to write from a Christian perspective. I’m just concerned that she encourages non-biblical practices, such as guided imagery and imaging what Jesus would say.

    This book is popular among my sister’s friends, all of whom go to a Presbyterian church.

    Has anyone heard of Jan Johnson or read any of her books?

    I’m thinking of sending a warning e-mail to my sister about this stuff, but I would like more information. Thanks.

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