Can beauty transcend banality?

What would happen if one of the world’s greatest violinists, whose playing has been said to do “nothing less than tell human beings why they bother to live”, playing a 1713 Stradivari violin worth about $3.5 million, stood in the middle of a metro station in D.C. and played for 43 minutes while 1,097 people passed by?

He would be ignored.

Click here to read more about this performance by Joshua Bell, “arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities — as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?”

Don Miller on Staying Faithful

Because a lot of the work I do in music preparation has me working on my computer for 10-15 hours a day (like this week), I listen to a lot of podcasts, lectures, and sermons. I recently stumbled across a veritable treasure trove of lectures at The Veritas Forum, where the speakers range from Madeleine L’Engle to Don Miller to N.T. Wright to Dallas Willard.

The one I’ve enjoyed the most so far is by Don Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and To Own a Dragon, on “Staying Faithful.” I heard Don speak in Chattanooga two weeks ago, and he touched on several of the themes he talks about here. I especially enjoyed his opening:

Well, I was asked to speak on the topic of staying faithful at home, and this is really kind of a “how do we stay faithful to Christian theology”, and I put together a talk. This talk is only about two minutes, so I’m going to do that, and then we’ll take some questions. Because it’s very easy to stay faithful at home; this is not a complicated mystery, and here’s kinda how it works:

The first thing you do as a Christian to stay faithful at home theologically is you read the Bible, right, and then you reduce it to either systematic theology, creeds, or bullet points that also spell out acronyms. (laughter) I’m not kidding. And then, you defend those bullet points with arrogance or hatred, and you condemn people who don’t agree with you. That’s how you stay faithful at home.

I really appreciate you having me. I wish you the best in your attacking other people. Be creative, be loud (because they’re going to be loud, these people who don’t agree with you).

You know, as ridiculous as that sounds, that’s where we are, right? I mean, we memorize these creeds, we subscribe to these specific theological positions, we believe that they’re right, we defend them, we get upset with people who don’t agree, we call them heretics, this sort of thing. That’s how we stay faithful at home. And as silly as that sounds, that is what your culture wants you to do, that is what it is asking you to do. I find that odd, in light of scripture and the sort of methods God that uses to communicate truth, that our culture would have done this.

Download the full lecture here.

One Year Later…

As of today, this blog is 365 days old. So, I thought I’d repost what I wrote in my second post here, explaining the name of my new blog.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why did I name this blog “Rebelling Against Indifference”? Because it is one of the maxims by which I try to live my life.

When I first heard the phrase “rebel against your own indifference” being tossed around about two years ago, it caught my attention. When www.relevantmagazine.com created a t-shirt with that phrase on the front, I immediately bought one.

I did some research to find out where it came from and found it originated (at least in recent memory) with Bono, the lead singer of U2 and a prophet for our generation, who uttered it during the 2001 Commencement address of Harvard University. Here is the relevant part of his speech:

Music was like an alarm clock for me as a teenager and still keeps me from falling asleep in the comfort of my freedom.

Rock music to me is rebel music. But rebelling against what? In the Fifties it was sexual mores and double standards. In the Sixties it was the Vietnam War and racial and social inequality. What are we rebelling against now?

If I am honest, I’m rebelling against my own indifference. I am rebelling against the idea that the world is the way the world is and there’s not a damned thing I can do about it. So I’m trying to do a damned thing.

So why did I name my blog “Rebelling Against Indifference”? Because I want to be someone who gives a damn. I want to live every day remembering I can change things, I don’t have to sit back and watch the world go by. I can help address social concerns, such as hunger and disease and lack of clean water. I can continue to grow in every area of my life; I don’t have to grow complacent. I don’t have to let my spiritual life become stagnant but can continue to seek the truth, can “hunger and thirst after righteousness”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for reading. I’m planning on posting more often this year, so be sure to keep checking back.