I like to think of myself as a sociologists of sorts. In fact, my major – Christianity and Culture – is exactly that. So in order to see what is going on in the world and to do some major “people watching”, you have to go to that special place where the interesting people are. Most would say the mall, and at one time I would have agreed, but I have found two places where you can see and meet some cool people.
1. Public Transportation- There is a Drama Professor at Western Washington University who said that he doesn’t own a car just so that he can meet people on the bus. I agree. Though I love my car, there was a time that I wanted to “do my part” and keep the world from the dangers of pollution and so I took the bus. I wish I would have met the people on the bus, but listening to conversations and watching the “regulars” they all eventually gained nicknames and jobs or interests from me. My best friend on teh bus, though he didn’t know it, was “little Joe”, who was a “little person” who in my mind was a photographer/artist that would take pictures of his dog in funny clothes and try to sell them to Hallmark with sayings around them like “I’m howling mad when I’m not with you”.
2. The Public Library- I only discovered this little gem recently. I started going here, because I wanted to see if I could get movies for free (which you can!). What is it that brings this vast array of people here? My theory is that there is such a variety of subjects within the library that you are only bound to attract a wide variety of people. I had a copy of the “lost books of Rastafaria” from the library, but checked out a different book instead because I thought that a hippie may be able to use it more than I could.
I like to watch the behaviors of people too. In the library all of the stereotypes that we’ve come to know are true. People really do shush you if you are talking too loud and also there is always that man or woman who has something caught in their throat and can’t get it out and the library is filled with coughing and the sound of AAAHHHHEMMMMHEM…MMMMM…cough, cough……MMMHHMMMM…MMM. If you’ve ever seen “Along Came Polly” there is a scene where the funny friend is giving a presentation and does this for two minutes: typical library protocol.
So anyways, forget the mall, public places is the place to be when it comes to people watching!
In My CD Player right now: I am listening to an Erwin McManus set of sermons right now. He talks a lot about how “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s Will”, and how it’s a bunch of Crap. I like it.
I was given this book a while ago by a good friend of mine, and it is one of the things that changed a lot of my perspectives in music. I come from a life of Rockin’, and by rockin’ I mean listening and playing songs by groups such as: Metallica, Pantera, AC/DC, Lynrd Skynrd – all of your necessities for rockin and camaro cruisin’. I mainly relied on distorted guitars and gut busting bass parts and double kick riffs on the drums that would drive you to an early heart attack. (The nice thing is that these would all cover up bad vocals coming from me)
After reading the book, “What to listen for in Music”, my perspective changed. I’ve always had a heart and knowledge for dynamics within music, but through this book I learned to look at creating music in a different way.
I like to look at a music piece as an empty canvas waiting to be painted on. The rhythm section is supposed to lay down the foundation of colors for the painting, while the main instruments should be the ones who will show the main picture of what the artist is trying to portray. These main instruments (i.e. guitar and vocals) will be accented by the harmonies and will in effect help push the main instruments even more to the forefront. Though all of these instruments are important, my favorite is the “color instruments” (i.e. accordian, violin, trumpet, etc.) who give the long brush strokes. I usually like to use the example of Miles Davis and how though he played really busy parts during his solos, there were times that he would get so much out of holding one note, stretching it, and only strengthening what was going on in front of him. David Gilmore from Pink Floyd was also a master at adding just the right amount of one note or feedback to compliment the rest of what was going on around him.
Yeah I’m a nerd, but this concept does help us right brainers understand the concept of dynamics and placement of instrumentation just a little bit more.
Music I dig right now: Still digging Musicology – the song musicology is a shout out to the songs that brought funk music to where it is today: “Let’s Groove, September/ Earth Wind and Fire/ Hot Pants by James/ Sly’s gonna take you higher
Today I’ve been thinking alot about the concept of Contextualization. This is basically making something understandable for other cultures to understand. It’s kind of like when an music artist does a cover of a song, it shows the song in a whole new text to a different group of people. The thought of contextualization is very prominent within the Christian Culture where we must be able to share the Gospel of Jesus with others by meeting them where they are. My friend Monkey told me a quote from Karl Barth saying, “the best way to share the Gospel is with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other”. We need to know our audience and where they are coming from. Though some argue this thought saying that it waters down the Bible, contextualization is found in the Gospels themselves as they were written for different people from different cultures. For example, Matthew was written with Pious Jews in mind or Luke was with poor and oppressed people in mind.
I work at a video venue church serving in one of the poorest areas here in Whatcom County, Washington. I also live in this neighborhood, where I get to meet and see the people whom I serve. One day as I drove down the road, I saw children and their parents waiting for the bus to take them to school. Most of the parents were aged 20-30 and were either Latino or African American. This is where I found myself beginning to think about contextualization within my church community.
Music is one of the biggest draws at our Venue church right now as it is one of the few live factors that come with a Video Venue. If we are going to reach these people and share who Jesus with them we need to meet them where they are. My neighborhood does not listen to adult contemporary music (i.e. Josh Groban, Celine Dion, Maroon 5), they listen to urban/hip hop music (usher, g-unit, mariah carey). Slowly but surely we are moving into this direction with music at the Video Venue.
I explained my thoughts to my boss and he agrees that people in this neighborhood will relate more to a song by Israel Houghton that has a latin/gospel feel than a song by Paul Baloche with a straight ahead adult contemporary feel. At the same time, a major thing to realize is that we have to balance with the adult contemporary as people who are from this kind of music can begin to get used to hearing a song that sounds like Santana’s “Oye Como Va” instead of “In the Secret”.
I’ll try to keep you posted on how this pans out.
Music I dig right now: Prince’s “Musicology”- Since he became a Jehovah’s Witness, Prince has cleaned up his act, and brought back the nastiness of his funk.
I like listening to Bob Marley, but I’ve really been thinking about the term prophet that some use when describing him. I have to admit, I have fallen into this trap and referred to him as a prophet, but after completing finals at Trinity and writing a billion essays on Prophets in the Old Testiment, I think like to think of Bob as a more of a Philosophizer than a Prophet.
Think of it this way, the Prophets didn’t even want to be prophets. God was telling them (pretty much forcing them) to take the message that He had and give it to the people he had in mind…Israel: “oops I did it again”. These guys would go town to town telling them that God’s had it up to here with their shitake and that they are going to pay for it and eventually face the wrath of God. Some prophets ran away(jonah), Some walked around naked (so cool!), and some just married a prostitute (that’s when the whores started to come into town, hosea).
Bob Marley did ask the question, “how long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look”. I want to know who these prophets were. I myself think that A.W. Tozer may have been a prophet. I truly believe that God spoke through him and his writings. I enjoy his books, but they are way over my head sometimes. I also think that maybe the “Post Modern” authors, (that term has now become like the term grunge-I’ll explain later) may be prophets. People like Brian McLaren, Erwin McManus, Dan Kimball all are anointed writers, but people seem to hate some of them.
So, let’s wrap this burrito up. Bob Marley: Prophet-No Philosoher-Yes! I still love his songs and messages withing them though, how could somebody not? Songs about love, faith, resistance to the “norm” and standing up for your rights. His songs have a strong Christian message in theory: One Love-People Get Ready “let’s get together and feel alright”…wait, is he talking about smoking weed?
Music I dig right now: Toots and the Maytals, John Legend
I feel like I am about to let everybody read my diary… I feel kind of dirty. Not really though. I think that I am going to use this as more of an artistic release of some kind, but if you are reading this then I probably gave you the address, or you are floating around the blogging world and just happen to come upon this. Hmmm…okay, now I have to start remembering things to write about.