Thursday, September 18, 2014


          In chorale the other day, my instructor gave us a rather different sort of closing speech than he would normally have given.  I suppose I should just speak for myself when I say we were all shocked and a little shaken, but I believe we all were.
          At first I was embarrassed.  He explained how he felt as though he was pouring everything he had into working with us and we were not holding up our side of the deal. We were seemingly unprepared and uninterested.  As he scanned the room, I felt as though he were speaking directly to me.  I was one of the unprepared after all, without the certain piece of music for the second day in a row.  When you miss a day of chorale, you ask what you missed, just as you would any other class.  My face was hot, probably red, and my hands were shaky.  Of course, we all have our bad days, but when your attitude is "I don't care," that is a sin. Indifference is a sin!  My italics indicate the point at which he was led by emotion, where he no longer resembled the humorous and wacky, yet cool and collected music instructor we see every day.  Just for that moment, we saw the raw, hidden side of our emotional music instructor.
          Then I was shocked.  I was frozen in my seat with my arms crossed and my teeth clenched, both actions with a desire to keep my hands from shaking or my eyes from tearing up.  This speech, or rather lecture, was completely unexpected.
          Then I was angry.  I had not missed any classes, yet I was missing music.  The previous class, we started a piece I didn't have, so I raised my hand, and he passed it out again.  This class, we started the second piece I didn't have, so I raised my hand, along with many others, and he told us, with a hint of frustration in his voice, that the music was in his office and that he'd already passed it out three times (which he had not, minor confusion there).  I was at a loss for how I could have missed the music.  I was angry that he was directly correlating indifference as a sin with us not having our music, or so I perceived.  I love chorale.  I love the instructor.  I bring all I've got to chorale and try my best in every song, every day.  I couldn't believe he would just lump us all into one disgraceful lot.
          This scene wouldn't leave my head the whole day.  It was like an awkward conversation in that you later rack your brain for ways you could have handled it better.  I kept trying to think of loopholes, something I missed that would make it less appalling.  And then I did (with help from an apologetically clarifying email* from my music instructor, in response to my apologetically clarifying email to him).
         It was a teachable moment.  We go through life just trying to check things off our list. Get in, get what you need, get out.  Put in your headphones and turn up the volume.  Memorize the steps needed and nothing more.  God forbid you run into someone or something that changes that schedule. God forbid we feel uncomfortable.  The thing is, we were not created to be lonely beings, to be selfish and live our lives only for our own comfort.  We were not created to not care.  Our God is a jealous God.  And that doesn't mean he's insecure.  It means he is passionately pursuing us.  When he sees us straying from his path, he is not just going to stand by and let us go.  He is not indifferent.  Isn't that so much better than worshiping someone who doesn't care?           We needed a wake up call.  While this may have been more specifically about being unprepared for class, my music instructor's strong comments at the end of class were what we needed to hear, in regard to our whole lives, and not just in the chorale room.  I don't know if my classmates feel the same way, if they are bitter towards our instructor for his sudden outburst, or if they are simply indifferent despite his urgency.  But I hope we can learn from this teachable moment.
          *"My hope is that each of you know my deep love for you as students, for the chorale art, and for our work together as God’s children.  If I did not communicate this clearly I would need your forgiveness. I want so much for us to “be awake, attentive, and alert” to what God is willing to do in our midst as we walk by faith rather than by feelings." 
         Be loving, be frustrated, be kind, be angry, be thrilled, be bitter. But whatever you do, do not be indifferent.

David and Goliath and Derek Webb

 So this morning I heard someone talking about Derek Webb and his divorce.  I thought he must have been talking about a wife before Sandra McCracken.  But when I looked it up this morning there it was, sure enough, he and Sandra are getting a divorce.  I write like I know them, like I have invested something in their lives, like I raised my hand when the preacher asked me to validate their marriage, their membership in the church.  But I don't know them; obviously if I didn't even know their marriage was in trouble.  Truth is there are people in my own church that I've raised my hand for, that I've taken vows to help them as they study the purity and peace of the church, that I've found out AFTER the fact that their marriage was in trouble. 

But that doesn't really bother me.  I doubt it bothers you very much.  OK, it bothers me a little - but only because there are people like the guy this morning who was telling me about Derek Webb.  I don't remember why it even came up but his comment was derogatory. He was saying something about the divorce and his opinion of Derek was now negative somehow because of that.  So why does that bother me?  Maybe you can see it a little in my response to his comment.  I just said, simply, that perhaps he, Derek, was also a man after God's own heart.  Our preacher has been preaching on David for the better part of a year now.  The first part of the series was awesome - David was awesome.  What an incredible guy, what amazing character, what love for the Father! Our preacher recently started preaching on his affair, his murder, his conspiracy. 

So here's my question: Is David really a great guy? an example to follow? a man after God's own heart? If you're a Bible thumper you have to say yes.  And once you say he was, you have to say he was even though he fell like a rock. Because David didn't become a sinner once he killed Uriah, or even when he slept with Bathsheba.  He didn't become a sinner the night he watched her from his roof.  He was born a sinner, born into iniquity as he himself wrote about.  No one can hide from that, not you, not me, not David.  So why don't we stop pretending and let the gospel be as big as it really is.   

Nov 23
It rains outside and it sounds strange.  Strange for rain to sound strange.  I must have heard it a thousand times, maybe ten thousand.  Yet when it started up just now it sent a bit of a chill through me.  Something out there is powerful and I am powerless.  Maybe that's what's happening inside me subconsciously.  Maybe i'm just aware of God on a level I'm not aware of the awareness.

It rained really hard this morning while we were having SUnday school in the gym.