Monday, May 24, 2010

"New/Modern" Praise/Worship Music

So, I'm taking this college course, "History of Folk Music", and I'm in the chapter (from "The American Dream" Margaret M. Mayer), about African-American folk-music and I come upon this section:

Alan Lomax, on a collecting trip for the Library of Congress in the 1940s, was shocked to hear church music which he felt to be so dramatically different. Having heard the music of the black church on earlier collecting trips, he responded to the sound of this "new" music as follows:

Instead of the sound rolling like sweet thunder through the church, the congregation tried and moslty failed to join the refrains. I couldn't believe I was in a Southern black Baptist church. Their second song was worse, if possible. "What is this?" I whispered. "It's the latest thing. They call it gospel," Lewis told me, grinning at my disomfiture.

On the last quavering chord I switched off the recorder and we went outside for a breath of fresh air. At a little street fair in front of the church, Lewis introduced me to a Reverend Martin in the booth offering gospel songbooks and sheet music for sale. Martin was eager to explain.

"You see, in the modern Baptist church we are trying to move on past the wonderful old con-bread spirituals and sermons, as they say, with gravy on them. We want to bring our people forward with a new and more progressive type of music, created especially for modern worship by our leading composers. The old sister leading songs from the back row is being replaced by an educated musical director. His job is to spread our new, more intelligently composed songs."

Couldn't help relating this to where we've been in the Christian church for the past 15-20 years, struggling between the beautiful hymns and gospel songs we've known and loved for years and the "modern" praise and worship style music. (for the record, I resent the implication that the old songs are any less praise and worship than the new, but that's an argument for another blog).

How can MUSIC, a God-given gift, I believe given by Him primarily but not exclusively for us to give back to Him, become such a bone of contention among His people? I have a million thoughts and opinions on the whole issue, but I'm going to let this quote from Alan Lomax stand for now. Feel free to comment.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Loss, revisited

Was watching a DIY show about organizing/cleaning house, which involves getting rid of things. Saw a woman cry when she sold at a yard sale a piece of furniture that had been her mother's. She admitted it wasn't the furniture, but the memory and feeling like she was letting go of a piece of her mom all over again...

I lost my daddy on April 21, 1999. A few years ago, I watched his pickup pull out of our driveway for the last time, going to my big brother's in Nebraska. As the tears ran down my cheeks, I put my logical brain in gear and said, "It's not my daddy. It's just a THING." And I got through that.

Almost two years ago, while in Yellowstone with my mom and my son, I somehow lost Daddy's 20-year service medallion that I had worn on a chain around my neck since he died. I felt like someone had reached in my chest, squeezed all the blood out of my heart and then ripped it slowly from my body. I have not yet stopped reaching to move the medallion when I'm showering, nor have I stopped reaching for it during the course of normal days. It was just a "thing". My memories of my daddy are many and strong. But there is something about having something solid and physical that is always present and TOUCHable.

I still cry when I think of losing that medallion. It took me a year to even be able to talk about it enough to tell Richard about it. Sometimes a physical "thing" is a great comfort.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My layman's interp of future of Boardman Coal Plant

So the generation VP came out to the plant on Thursday to give us the scuttle (get it; coal..scuttle...ok, it amused me!) on the future of the plant.

NOTE: These are my "lay person" interpretations of what we were told. The DEQ and several other entities identified by letters...have not accepted the proposal made by PGE to add environmental protections to the plant over an extended period. At this point, it's do it all now (at a cost of $600M) or close the plant. PGE is asking for a slight extension to make a new proposal, but basically, the choice is: Spend $600million on a coal plant that will have outlived its expected production life in 30-40 more years anyway...or spend the same $600million to build a new plant that does not use fossil fuel. Hmmm... Not hard to guess what the answer will be. PGE already has an approval to build a gas powered plant on our same site, but this plant will NOT produce enough power to replace that currently provided by the coal plant, nor will it require the same number of employees. Long and short of it: in my view, the coal plant is soon to be put to rest, a gas plant will be erected at Carty Reservoir and another gas plant or hydro will be built on some other site.

Do the environmentalists, who use big companies like PGE as examples to make a point, ever consider the bigger picture? I'm all for protecting and taking care of the world God entrusted to us. But the fossil fuel exhaust fumes from the millions of cars on the road certainly have a bigger impact than a coal plant. And..Power rates will go so high if we rely on currently available renewables (wind mills, hydro), average families will be unable to heat their homes. Additionally, what happens to all the folks put out of work...and I'm not just talking about the Boardman Coal Plant employees, but the railroad employees who run the train that brings the coal, the coal mine employees that provide millions of tons of coal to the plant. And Boardman is not the only plant on the current government's hit list....

Just saying - it is my opinion that we are throwing the baby out with the bath-water.

My First Blog

Mostly, I wanted to be able to reply to someone else's blog and it wouldn't let me unless I signed up, so here I am with a blog of my own! I'll be able to hold forth on many various and sundry topics to my heart's content! Look out blog world, here I come!