Archive for the ‘Music’ category

Don’t Be an Amateur – Be a Pro

October 3, 2010

There are many people who have interests that they call hobbies. They spend time tinkering with these interests, but it sits as a “weekend warrior” type committment. These days you can not have that kind of mentality about your life or your pursuits. In the deep recesses of your mind, you know the ideas you have, the plans you would like to make, the accomplishments you would like to achieve. Whether it is creating a piece of music, painting a masterpiece or leading a village to freedom, you have heard the echoing voice in your mind for years. At times the voice would rise in volume and your heart would race with the thought that “maybe” this could be the time.

Sadly, you shrugged off the feelings because you “had to make a living” or you needed to be “reasonable” in your aspirations. You must shake yourself free from such damning thoughts and thrust out your hand and begin. The greatest resistance and frustration you will face is when you begin your work, that thing that you know you were meant to do. In the genesis of action when the hand touches the plow, that is the moment when the pull from the opposition is at it height. It does not come from some outside place, you know that very well, it comes from within, the center of your individual universe. A cry bellows out from the caverns of your core and screams for you to stop and let things remain as they have always been. Out comes reason after reason for you to quit and go back to the “normal” life you have been living. This is indeed the moment of truth and you must face this moment alone. At this time it is just you fighting with your own ego for supremacy of the control of your Self.

Something happens in the ether when you make contact with your work, when musician touches her instrument and artist picks up the brush. When the writer grasps the pen, a surge of energetic passion envelopes him and suddenly he is no longer alone. The Source has brought to him help and supply. Once you have set you face in the direction of your inner call, all of Heaven is allied with you and your certainty grows. From seemingly nothing the seeds of inspiration begin to germinate and flourish. A once barren mindscape is now fertile with ideas and endeavors.

In the eyes of those around you, you may seem a little off – mad even. What the onlookers do not know is that you have connected with the Muse that will bring sustenance and peace. Not in the form of success or reward, but of accomplished work. To do a thing for the money is to prostitute the Divine. To do a thing for the doings sake is the work of the professional. An amateur does not understand the importance of finishing, staying late or misery; the professional understand that nothing is done without it. The diabolical nature of the Ego is to make you believe that you are all that matters – the individual. It gives you the OK to think that you are separate and what you do bleeds over into no one else’s life. This sinister lie is only emboldened by those around you who want you to maintain the equilibrium of the group by not trying to be who you were made to be. The pack wants to set the rules and punish those who break them.

You look around at your adopted pack, but find no solace as before. Your mind has been awakened and can never return to its previous state. The only way to continue to stay with the pack is to renounce your feelings – your “knowings” about yourself – and submit to the culture of the pack. Submit to the unwritten law that we will all keep the peace as long as no one tries to step out and be their real Self. The reasoning is simple. To be one’s real Self is to succeed and accomplish and achieve, and that is what we most fear. The greatest fear we have is that we will become who we know, deep inside, we are.

But that side-eyed contempt of life will not do for the professional. Perhaps the half-hearted amateur will never write the novel, or the symphony, or the play; but truth be told it was never going to be written or sung anyway. Amateurs abuse the gift, they tarnish the sacred and humiliate the holy. Amateurs are enamored by their own unrealized visions. Professionals know that the work is flowing through them from somewhere else. Professionals honor the work.

Step free from the shadow of the pack and step into your Self. Acknowledge and begin the path to be who you were meant to be. The first step is the hardest, but the result will be the upswell of inspiration and ultimately the completion of the task. Don’t wait, procrastinate, piddle, dwaddle or put off. Step up, step out, move up and press on. Do what you know you must do…now!

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It’s Beginning to Sound like Christmas

November 28, 2008

In our city there is a ritual that takes place the week of Thanksgiving that my kids have found irresistible. A radio station, Z93.7, begins to play Christmas music nonstop. They play every kind of Christmas music, from classic to the tunes being created this year. A couple of years ago, this was cute and, I thought, nice for people to get into the Christmas spirit.

Now, whenever we get into the car, the kids automatically ask for “Z93.7“. Obviously it was a good marketing from the radio guys. The kids aren’t asking for “Christmas music”, just “Z93.7” There is no doubt what time of the year it is – it is most definitely Christmastime!

There are a couple of good new Christmas albums that I’ll review in the next couple of days. Also, a new book has come out to help with the money crunch we feel at this time of the year, and I’ll be looking at that as well.

Night of Worship – Silence

September 3, 2008

This month’s Night of Worship was marked by discussion and practice of Centering Prayer. We sang a then after a time of explanation, practiced five minutes of centering prayer. This is one of the aspects of spiritual disciplines that is sometimes difficult for people to understand. Somehow it seems less “sacred” to practice a discipline. We would rather heed Nike’s theme and “just do it”.

The problem with the “just do it” approach is that we tend to find ourselves quickly in over our heads and overwhelmed. The result of this overload is that we stop the discipline and go forward in our lives with a sense of failure about a particular practice.  I cannot stress how important it is for us to understand that every aspect of our lives is a learning process. This includes those aspects we deem spiritual or not. As we practice we become more familiar and more able to share our experience and knowledge with others.

To become true disciples we must not just focus our attention on aquisition of knowledge and practice, but also on becoming teachers ourselves. To teach out of our experience is to give a part of ourselves to others. My favorite teachers taught from their hearts as well as their minds.

I’m learning how to develop time to be silent and open myself up to God. In that development, my desire is to help others along the way as we all seek to know more about what it means to be a Christ follower.

Kid Rock – Rock and Roll Jesus

September 1, 2008

The most interesting thing happened Sunday. I had heard several people talk about the newest Kid Rock song, “All Summer Long”. Some were saying that they liked it, and others were wondering if we could do it in service. For about a week I had meant to buy it. I even asked Eli, one of our guitarists and my brother-in-law, if they had it and if I could listen to it. Then it happened. When I went up to get ready for the third service, Stephanie had put the CD on my keyboard.

Even more, I had gone to YouTube and listened to a couple of songs that I was floored by. One was from this CD, “Amen”. On the CD she had written to listen to track 2 and 7. Track 2 is “Amen”. So you know what we’ll be playing shortly on Sunday morning! Kid Rock is transparent and authentic in his lyrics and delivery. I know his honesty isn’t for everyone, but I respect his knowledge of himself and his passion for life.

Music is designed to have an emotional response. Some music is put together without thought or reason, but Kid Rock sings and performs like a seasoned rock and roll philosopher. Loved the music! Went and immediately put it on my iPod where it will reside for, what I’m predicting, will be quite a while.

Night of Worship

August 6, 2008

As Billy Joel sang, “Oh what a night!” for those of you not familiar with Night of Worship at Lifepoint, it is an opportunity to enjoy a night of experiences, musical and non-musical, that are created each “First Wednesday” to create an atmosphere conducive to connection with God.

Tonight’s Night of Worship was one that I will remember for a while. The expectation and participation of both the band and the audience was the catalyst for a remarkable time of worship and communion. Again, if you’ve missed it before, put September 3rd on your calendar now, and don’t miss the next Night of Worship.

Viva la Vida

July 17, 2008

Had to make mention of this album by Coldplay. It is a wonderful thing when artists see the need to reach and stretch; it’s even better when they do it with confidence and flair. In their latest album, Coldplay delivers both an experimental approach and a homage back to their distinctive pop money-making formula sound.

This album is thought provoking and entertaining, but on a different level than previous attempts. Chris Martin told Billboard in April that the band “wasn’t afraid to do anything.” From African beats and hand-clapping to a nearly instrumental on track one, they succeeded in the “anything” department.

Loved the title track and “Lost”. “Violent Hill” also has to be a favorite. This is a great marker to let all of us know the Coldplay will be around for a long time.

Viva la Coldplay!

Rich Mullins

June 12, 2008

Do you ever find things on your iPod that surprise you? Apparently I had put Rich Mullins’ album A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Bandin my playlist. So I decided to take a listen. Now the album is a number of years old and has a decidedly early 90’s Christian music folk sound, but…it floored me.

There I am sitting in the car and my eyes are welling up and emotions are bombarding me and the freshness of Rich’s delivery and lyrics has taken over. I heard “Hold Me Jesus” like it was the first time I had ever heard it.

Perhaps it was the first time I really heard what Rich was trying to say in those words. Whatever the case I had to pull into Barnes & Nobles and get out of the car to pull myself together. Emotions are such powerful things. They can be allies or adversaries.

I am thankful that my day was invaded by the late Rich Mullins. A liturgy is a path to God’s presence; a legacy is something that lives on after we are gone. I’d say Rich’s album title was prophetic and true – at least today, long after Rich’s too early passing, it brought me to God’s presence, and let me know Him just a little more.