Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Can I Get an Amen?

...meaning, respond if you "hear me!" Say something back to me, because I don't want to be out here on my own. I've heard this saying in churches for many years...been on both ends of it, though I was less inclined to ask for an 'amen.' Amen, by the way, simply means: let it be so, or in plain English a confirmation or agreement. From the perspective of a preacher or minister, declaring 'truths' and often in a position to speak in "God's stead," we have to say what sounds like words of condemnation. "Truth" is like a full length, well lit mirror; it's purpose often shines light on all of us. That includes both the parts we like and those we don't. Truth is like that and depending on one's self image, you may not like what you see! But one's personal feelings won't matter when 'truth' hits.

From the perspective of a minister of the Gospel, it's a lonely place. Those words, these 'truths' are as convicting to us as they are to our audience. The issue is, when we are saying it, "are we in this together?" Can we help one another go get renewed, revived and change as the words of conviction indicate we should?

I rarely asked for an amen...mostly felt like I was "up there" alone; as if the audience, when silent, didn't identify with me. But that prevent me from saying what I said. And it didn't change what had to be said. So I said it, regardless.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Liner Notes and Streets and Sanitation

I miss both of them. Back in the day, while the music was great and the album had to be flipped mid-way through to hear the remainder, there was liner notes. I didn't read every line and certainly not every artist's musings, but the music that stirred me, rustled the dusty corners of my soul, those I read line for line. I read the gratitude for ____ _____ appearing on song: "_________." I read how they were inspired and read the list of personnel who helped to bring this project together. Everyone from the sound engineer and studio, to the various musicians who sat in. Details...

Drive nearly any street, in any city these days; take note of the grass and plants growing through cracks in the street. Here in Chicago, we have learned to 'tip' down the street and dodge potholes and resurfaced potholes and streets where no new street work will ever happen! But there was a time in this same city where the running joke was we had two seasons: Winter and Construction season! There was a time when "No Parking" signs were taped to a light pole telling you street cleaning was happening on Tuesday between 10:00 and 2:00. There was a time when streets were not only repaved, but many streets you drive now, you aren't sure if there is one or two lanes! Details...

Life, for all it's simplicity, is full of details. The dash between the year you were born and the year you die, can't possibly capture the time you heard your child playing in their room, mimicking you and your spouse, tone and word-for-word! Even after the 'fact' of the memory fades, your child's 'sense' of you never fades from your mind. Or the time you danced with your first love, kissed for the first time or get the picture. Details