Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Yeah, but what does this have to do with anything?" Umm...

During lent, I tried to take a bit of a step back from the internet. Some reasons for this were in line with my great friend David's decision to drop social networking for a season; others were not nearly so conceptual (i.e., I'm was either working a lot or watching the NBA playoffs or just being lazy). So if you're one of the dedicated souls who follow this blog, please accept my humble apology. It's not you, it's me.

I've been thinking a lot about the Church, about how sometimes in the body of Christ I can be the "ass," and how I don't normally use such words on my blog. I've been thinking of the imperfect nature of being human, of how two people with hearts inhabited by Jesus can still hurt one another, and of how such hurt doesn't disappear with the stroke of a magic wand. We're all spinning gears in some respect, and when the gears don't mesh, things can get pretty nasty.

It seems that in realizing still more how deeply flawed I am there is a simultaneous realization of just how remarkable this Jesus is. That with every failure, every flaw, every bitter word that comes out of my mouth (not to mention the ones I only mutter in my heart), even moreso have I been made clean by the sacrifice of the Creator of the Universe. That when he thinks of me, he only sees the umblemished me. My head explodes when I think of that, and maybe being "successful" means coming to grips with this reality.

I've been thinking of how "prayer" is probably supposed to be my life's work (while hoping upon hope that setting business cards and invitations is not) and of how the Atlanta Hawks are always - and I mean always - a game of chance. There are no sure bets, save a few.

During these last few weeks, I've also been trying to articulate this thought that's been on the edge of my mind about the value of smallness. We have two existences these days - our actual selves and our constructed selves that we create online - and while one is limited by the constraints of geography and time and responsibilities, the constructed us is this ethereal, "anywhere" us. And I imagine our constructed selves to be a drop of ink in a big glass of water, that we dissipate and spread with the current inside the glass; that we have so little control over it. We think we do - after all, we created it - but do we, really? It is, after all, weightless. And if it carries no weight, then what strength does it possess? What does it matter?

So in music I keep wondering if there's much more weight in not trying to change the world at large, for it's always been a difficult proposition that's recently been made much, much more difficult in scope. How can you possibly reach everyone, everywhere? Is there room for an artist to write songs that are designed to impact the few rather than the masses? Should we, as Christians, be hell-bent on achieving a large audience for our art? Is there equal value in small audiences? What does God think? Does he care how many people heard a song I wrote or is he just happy that I was doing my best to be obedient to the gifts and talents he has given me, according the grace given me?

The constructed me can be anywhere, anytime. I can put my music online, and like ink in a glass pitcher, it can potentially go anywhere, anytime. I think that's great (especially now that I'm not really trying to sell any of it). But that's not the real me. The real me is going to go to one of my part-time jobs here in a couple of hours, and I'm going to set business cards and invitations and type people's resumes and things like that. But while I'm doing this, I will interact with this strange collection of interesting, ecclectic group of co-workers who are very much different from me. Does my online self matter there? Not really. This blog absolutely does not matter there. All my self-satisfying ruminations and attempts at being clever do not translate into the real world around me. They carry no weight. So how can I use the gifts and talents I have been given (and by now, I'm fairly certain the only things I've got are music and visual art. I can also still remember the code to Mike Tyson in Punch-Out, but I don't think that's a spiritual gift) in the real lives of the real people that I'm living my life with?

What the heck am I talking about?  I don't know!

I'm trying to figure that out. I guess I hope that there is a place for music in my life because I'm drifting farther and farther away from the stage lights but am finding that I am more and more inspired to create.

But what, and for whom?  And does it matter?

What do you think?




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