music http://theresonant.org/ en What is Love? http://theresonant.org/post/2020-03-10/what-is-love <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">What is Love?</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/89" lang="" about="/user/89" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Michael Schutz</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 03/10/2020 - 21:48</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-mt-subheader-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Don't Hurt Me for asking; it's not only a 90s pop artist that's asked the question. It's actually a hugely important question: what is love?</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/40Days___Day12.jpg?itok=3b5u4zg6 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/40Days___Day12.jpg?itok=qDvOED2X 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/40Days___Day12.jpg?itok=oEeXbFG5 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/40Days___Day12.jpg?itok=YU4pa7q3 1920w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/40Days___Day12.jpg?itok=3b5u4zg6" alt="40 Days of Resonance: Day 12" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Now that you've got that Haddaway song in your head (you're welcome - I love the 90s too), this is a truly important question that we need to answer: what is love?</p> <p>Or maybe the song in your head is Tina Turner's. It's a poignant question, really:&nbsp;"What's love, but a sweet- old-fashioned notion?" Sadly, our culture would pat Tina on the head and think&nbsp;<em>she</em>&nbsp;is the sweet old-fashioned one for thinking love could be such a thing.</p> <p>Actually, it's Alannah Myles' 1989 song that best&nbsp;captures what our culture thinks love is: "Love is&nbsp;what you want it to be".</p> <p>Man, they sang about love a lot in the 80s and 90s.</p> <p>What's that, they still do?</p> <p>As&nbsp;much as I'd like to time-trip through old-fashioned love songs (especially if they're coming down in three part harmony), I've got to get to the point of this post, and fast.</p> <p>Maybe one of the most dangerous words in our current culture is this little word&nbsp;<em>love</em>. It's dangerous because Alannah Myles was right: it's become very much what you want it to be. And when we all get to use the same word and mean completely different things, that's a recipe for chaos. (Is anyone surprised by the world getting more chaotic? It's not surprising when one of the most important edicts of our culture is: I get to define everything for myself.)</p> <p>So, we hear all kinds of phrases with the word&nbsp;<em>love</em>&nbsp;in them, and we think they're all actual definitions of love. They're not. Here are just a few:</p> <p>"Love means never having to say you're sorry." Wow, I wish.</p> <p>"Love is blind." It'd be nice if it was. This needs so many qualifiers (and TV producers) that it's essentially meaningless.</p> <p>"All you need is love." It's a brilliant song by the Beatles, especially because of that fantastic mixing of 4/4 and 3/4&nbsp;time&nbsp;signatures. It can be a true statement, but it all depends on what you mean by the word.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Love is love." Yes, that's a <a href="https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tautology">tautology</a>, so&nbsp;theoretically no one can ever disagree with it. The problem is, even within that phrase there are different meanings used for the same word.</p> <p>There are generally two ways people use the word&nbsp;<em>love</em>&nbsp;in our culture: 1. an intense emotion, and 2. an amplified version of&nbsp;<i>like.</i>&nbsp;So, "I love you" means, "I feel really strongly that I'm drawn to you" or "I like chocolate, but I&nbsp;<em>love</em>&nbsp;dark chocolate". In both cases,&nbsp;the foundation of the word is&nbsp;emotion. And that gets us into trouble because our emotions are brutal; they are up and down and all over the place, and we can't rely on them to sustain us in anything. Just like Vader said to Luke, "your feelings betray you". Yes, yes they do. All the time.&nbsp;The better word for this actual emotion is&nbsp;<em>infatuation</em>. That's really what we're describing 98% of the time when we use the word&nbsp;<em>love.</em></p> <p>But this creates a huge problem:&nbsp;it brings us&nbsp;into Orwellian doublespeak (and I'm not just making a general literary reference to try to sound smart; I actually believe this is what it is) which&nbsp;leads us into saying things&nbsp;like an updated&nbsp;wedding "vow" such as "as long we both shall love". That sounds great, and using my definition, it's actually a fine wedding vow. But in that "vow" the word&nbsp;<em>love</em>&nbsp;is doublespeak for&nbsp;<em>infatuation</em>. It's masking the true thing by a nicer sounding word, and thus&nbsp;redefining it in practice. In Orwell's&nbsp;<em>1984</em>, the idea of doublespeak is used by the nefarious Big Brother government to oppress people&nbsp;(and now, as much as there's an app for that, it's also true that&nbsp;"there's a reality-TV show for that"; why on earth do people think that Big Brother is a good name for a show? Is it because 1984 is almost 40 years ago? But, but...that's when Tina Turner released that blockbuster song!), but in our world it's much more difficult to deal with because there's no one entity that creates the doublespeak; it's all of us. (And yes, we're dealing with doublethink too...that is a good post, for another time.)</p> <p>OK, so if you've made it this far in this far-too-parathentically-laced post,&nbsp;what are we to do with all this confusion and chaos? Not that I'm going to give&nbsp;the authoritative word for the world, but let me give a working definition of love that I think describes what it actually is in contrast to the way it's usually used.</p> <blockquote> <p>Love is&nbsp;<strong>goodwill towards the other that leads to self-sacrificial action</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>There is&nbsp;<em>so</em>&nbsp;much to unpack in this phrase, and the post is long enough already (so I'm told; I'm just getting started). Good thing I have a few days left in this project in which to unpack it.&nbsp;</p> <p>For now, to bookend this post, let me leave you with <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ">another song</a> about love that captures the heart of what we all wish love was really all about.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <span class="field__label">Tags</span> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/166" hreflang="en">love</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/47" hreflang="en">music</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/167" hreflang="en">infatuation</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/168" hreflang="en">George Orwell</a></li> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/169" hreflang="en">doublespeak</a></li> </ul> </div><div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/29" hreflang="en">Culture</a></li> </ul> </div><section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=110&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="WllTRRhus_Ol7kog9Kee0uUBh9Vha7Wk411BMVryhsc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 11 Mar 2020 04:48:12 +0000 Michael Schutz 110 at http://theresonant.org Music is not a Spectator Sport http://theresonant.org/post/2018-02-26/music-is-not-a-spectator-sport <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Music is not a Spectator Sport</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/89" lang="" about="/user/89" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">Michael Schutz</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 02/26/2018 - 22:26</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-mt-subheader-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>I often complain that our culture has turned music into a spectator sport. We pay a lot of money to see professional musicians, and we've been brainwashed to&nbsp;think that "the rest of us" aren't&nbsp;good enough to do it.</p> <p>I say "hogwash" to that brainwashing.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="images-container clearfix"> <div class="image-preview clearfix"> <div class="image-wrapper clearfix"> <div class="field__item"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/oscar-keys-58399-unsplash__1920x1080.jpg?itok=urzR8bht 325w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_650x650/public/oscar-keys-58399-unsplash__1920x1080.jpg?itok=dYBtDUqA 650w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/oscar-keys-58399-unsplash__1920x1080.jpg?itok=JL3MZD5o 1300w, /sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/oscar-keys-58399-unsplash__1920x1080.jpg?itok=WzjsWqHv 1920w" sizes="(min-width: 1290px) 1290px, 100vw" src="/sites/default/files/styles/max_325x325/public/oscar-keys-58399-unsplash__1920x1080.jpg?itok=urzR8bht" alt="Spotlight on a microphone" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Music is a dangerous thing. It gives expression to that which is the stuff of stories, dreams, and revolutions. And it sticks with you! It's a scientific fact that words set to music are more easily remembered and retained than words alone. Even poetry, with its lyrical beauty and its&nbsp;musical quality of&nbsp;<em>rhythm</em>, can't quite compete with the marriage of lyrics, rhythm, and pitch (notes). It's dangerous because it allows us to express ourselves in ways that we otherwise couldn't, and because it can now spread so far and wide (and quickly) that it can take hold among more people more strongly than any other form of communication.</p> <p>But we've tamed music in 21st-century North America. At least, &nbsp;we've tamed it in <em>much</em> of 21st-century North America. We've tamed it by turning it into a spectator sport.</p> <p>In my university days&nbsp;I was a huge fan of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmgg7VhBs9Z7iU0bmdrjxFw">Great Big Sea</a>. My now-wife (then friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-fiancée) and I loved going to see them live and did so every chance we got. Yes, they were (are) great musicians. But they were just carrying on the tradition of the Maritimes in Canada with truly "folk" music,&nbsp;that is, truly music of the people. The concerts felt like you were in their living room, and&nbsp;uncle Alan had just been thrown a guitar&nbsp;and&nbsp;cousin Sean had picked up a tub to drum on. It was a big party, full of songs to sing along to and music to dance to. These concerts&nbsp;were participatory, not just in the fact that we could go and see them play, but that we'd be singing along, and dancing, and just generally enjoying.</p> <p>In contract, we have what I would call the "over-the-top production" concerts.&nbsp;I've never really resonated with these kinds of music productions. These are the Super-Bowl half-time shows. These are the arena rock shows where the point isn't to sing and dance along, but simply to appreciate (worship?) the performers who&nbsp;are the ones singing and dancing.&nbsp;Sure, they're fun to watch. Sure,&nbsp;they're a spectacle. Sure, the performers are uber-talented. But these kinds of shows are&nbsp;all about <em>us and them</em>, not <em>we</em>. These are shows meant to remind us that there are a select few worthy of doing music, and all the rest of us can do is watch. Sure, we could sing-along, but that's not the point.</p> <p>And this is leaking into the church. As a long-time church musician, I long to have our churches be places where the music, centred in the Gospel and full of praise of God, is&nbsp;about&nbsp;<em>we</em>, not&nbsp;<em>us and them.</em>&nbsp;Congregations that are joined together in song are participating in a&nbsp;sacred thing. We're connected to one another not just in the sanctuary of the local church in that time and that place, but across the world and with the whole company of heaven. (Read just a bit about it in Revelation 5:6-14!)</p> <p>Yes, church music needs to be led by competent musicians. But they are there to give voice to the <em>congregation's</em> song. They can do that from the front, or the side, or the back. That doesn't matter as much as their servant hearts leading well for the sake of the congregation's musical expression. Where they lead from isn't nearly as important as whom they're leading <em>for</em>.</p> <p>We've turned music into a spectator sport in our culture. Not just in the church.&nbsp;And not just in concerts. We're cutting arts funding in schools and making the making of music ever less-accessible to "regular people". Yes, the <em>consuming</em>&nbsp;of music is becoming more accessible. And technologically-speaking, it's becoming ever easier to make music. But our culture is teaching us that there are a select few who are worthy of music-making, and the rest of us should be happy to bask in their overwhelming talent.</p> <p>Hogwash. We need to reclaim the beautiful idea of&nbsp;"folk" in&nbsp;"folk music". But that's not just a musical genre; it's a worldview.&nbsp;We need to teach our kids the intrinsic&nbsp;value and beauty of music in their lives,&nbsp;not just as a potential career, but as fundamental to the well-being of their culture and&nbsp;their own lives. We need to teach our adults that they are capable of being involved in music - singing, writing, playing, whatever - themselves, not just as patrons of the uber-talented.&nbsp;In the church, we need to help give voice to the people gathered together, not simply to show them how nice it sounds to listen to the leaders'&nbsp;harmonies.</p> <p>Time to get out of the stands, folks, and into the choir.</p> <blockquote> <p>12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.<br /> Colossians 3:12-17</p> </blockquote> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <span class="field__label">Tags</span> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/47" hreflang="en">music</a></li> </ul> </div><div class="field field--name-field-mt-post-categories field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--entity-reference-target-type-taxonomy-term clearfix"> <ul class='links field__items'> <li><a href="/taxonomy/term/29" hreflang="en">Culture</a></li> </ul> </div><section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> <h2 class="title comment-form__title">Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=62&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="af7j6TpeV3MnyIMaRziipbnBGgAN-glM0orFAI2Zpvs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 27 Feb 2018 06:26:04 +0000 Michael Schutz 62 at http://theresonant.org