Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Strawberry Swing

I saw the Chicago Symphony perform Brahms' Eine Deutsche Requiem tonight with Riccardo Muti in Chicago. It was really a very beautiful and thoughtful performance. It made me think a lot. I could tell the musicians were thinking a lot, had thought a lot. I did feel that the CSO suffered a little bit from the same thing many American orchestras seem to have trouble with, which is ... thinking too much. It seems American orchestras tend to aim for, and achieve, technically perfect concerts. Every note is placed precisely where it ought to be, with exactly the correct emphasis. Everything is right. But they seem to sacrifice a certain amount of passion and humanity. And the Brahms' Requiem. I mean, come on, it's a Requiem. It's about dead people. About death. Humanity is essential. But the point of this post is not to talk about the faults of the Chicago Symphony. As if I could even dream of doing that.
As everything in this world should be, this post is about me. (Please, note my sarcasm.) But seriously. During the first movement of the Requiem, what kept going through my mind was 1 Corinthians 13. If I am the best musician on stage, but I have not Love ... I am nothing. I am worthless. I am an out-of-tune piano. (That just reminded me of Rob Bell's Nooma video called "Rhythm." Check it out if you can.)
I want to play in an orchestra. I want to play in the Chicago Symphony. But I would choose an orchestra that plays with passion, that remembers they love music, that puts themselves on the line for their audience members over one that is known and well-respected and technically perfect. I want to take risks musically ... even though I don't in my own practice. But I want to start. I would rather be in a passionate ensemble than a perfect one. Maybe I would join an ensemble who has forgotten the music, in order to help them remember. Maybe this is precisely why I'm in the Halo Ensemble (which is what I'm doing in Chicago in the first place, right now.)
I also thought that there is no reason on Earth why I shouldn't be in an orchestra. A Good one even. Maybe more on that later. For now. A song. By Coldplay. And bedtime. Finally.

Strawberry Swing

They were sitting, they were sitting in the strawberry swing
And every moment was so precious

They were sitting, they were talking in the strawberry swing
And everybody was for fighting
Wouldn't wanna waste a thing

Cold, cold water bring me 'round
Now my feet won't touch the ground
Cold, cold water
What you say?
It's such, it's such a perfect day
It's such a perfect day

I remember we were walking up to strawberry swing
I can't wait 'til the morning
Wouldn't wanna change a thing
People moving all the time
Inside a perfect straight line
Don't you wanna curve away
It's such it's such a perfect day
It's such a perfect day


Now the sky could be blue
I don't mind
Without you its a waste of time
...could be blue I don't mind, without you it's a waste of time
The sky could be blue, could be gray without you I just slide away
The sky could be blue, I don't mind, without you it's a waste of time

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Funny Valentine

Okay, I just have to say this, because it's really bothered me all day.

I was at work today and a regular customer came in. He was on his phone and made me wait to take his order, but that's not really a problem, because I should remember his order anyway ... it just adds to his character. So we get his latte ready and he makes sure that all three of the women on the floor are paying attention to what he's about to tell us, which is this:
There is apparently a new coffee shop chain in Seattle (and Vegas as well) where the baristas are in bikinis and the drive-thru offers a "full-view." Apparently the tips went from $70/day at an average coffee shop to $700/day. My favorite part was when he told us some of the women were "really falling out of their tops. You know, like when the underneath part starts to show." Yes, sir, I'm aware. And not surprised. My poor, like-minded, conservative Christian co-worker tried to have a rational conversation with him and said "well, I'm sure they're much more ..." looking for the word "particular," and the man pipes in with "voluptuous." Thank you, sir. Thank you very much. I thought I was priceless, but apparently not, apparently my body is worth $700/day, or maybe mine is only worth $70 because I don't work at that coffee shop. Because I wear long sleeves instead. Dear goodness. I see your lips moving, sir, but
what I'm hearing is "I'm a dirty old man."

Yes, it's true. This particular man was pretty scummy today. But he's only a symptom of a very very VERY big problem. Pornography, this whole mindset of lust, and the flesh ... this is a big deal. I wanted to say to this man "Sir, no woman wants to be paid for her body. She wants to be loved and desired, yes. But she doesn't want this job. That is not fulfilling. But, people pay to see them. That's why they do it. Because people like you will pay them. And they need money, and it gets attention. When you stop buying, they will stop selling themselves and find real Life. If you want to see a woman's body, get married." But at the same time, there is something terribly wrong to make this man think this way, that it's okay to look at a woman - a woman not his wife - that way, that it's fulfilling and acceptable.

I have heard so many sermons about pornography, and I've heard important people in my life talk about their own struggles with it. And I have my suspicions of how close to home it has also struck, but until today, something about it seemed very distant. We have a few creepy customers, and I've dealt with unsavory characters every now and again. That's nothing new, but something about the way this man spoke about this coffee shop, and these women. Like we were all going to drop out pitchers right that second and move to Seattle so we could show off our bodies and make $700/ he was doing us a service telling us about this shop ... and he was so proud of the founders of it, the women who worked there and himself for having heard of it. And all those truths I've heard over and over again ... they became a little more real.

On a happier note, I've decided what my approach for my novel that I'm writing in November is going to be. If you have any suggestions for paintings I should look into, any that you think might have really great stories hiding in them, please let me know. And if you want to write a novel ... ... hnwible ... be my writing buddy? Okay, awesome!

My Funny Valentine
Joshua Bell & Kristin Chenoweth

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet youre my favourite work of art

Is your figure less than greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But dont change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentines day

Is your figure less than greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But dont you change one hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentines day

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sibelius Symphony No. 5

Jesus brought me boy scouts.

Let me explain. This weekend, I was driving to work and I saw a boy and his dad loading up a red wagon with stuff, clearly from a school sale, for the neighbors. And I said "God, why don't the boy scouts ever come to MY house? I want to support them." Because I've come to realize that adults aren't actually scary. And that they actually really want to buy the stuff from the kids, to support them and encourage them, because they themselves still see themselves as kids a bit. I did not think this when I was a child. I thought adults were scary and definitely my enemies; they didn't want to buy my peanuts or popcorn, they didn't care about the cookies. But that's wrong! So I wanted these kids to come to my door, so I could let them know adults are okay, buy purchasing some popcorn.
Yesterday evening, I was writing an email to a friend and say a pack of people running up the walk to the door. And I did say to myself at first "ho, boy. I don't want anything from these kids. Can't they just leave me alone?" Then I thought ... "Wait! I wanted this to happen. I asked God for these kids. Alright. I'll buy something cheap." So this cute little boy, whose dad goes to my parent's church, or my Starbucks or something, came to the door and said. "HI. MY NAME IS TREVOR. I'M A BOY SCOUT IN TROOP 70 (at this point his older brother joined in unison). WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUY SOME POPCORN?" And I said "I would LOVE to buy some popcorn, Trevor!"

Listen to the fourth movement of Sibelius' Symphony No. 5

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nothing But The Blood

While preparing for communion today and reflecting on the meaning of world communion Sunday, I thought of all the saints around the world gathering at one table. I remembered the dinner at the mökki on Pauliina's birthday. Heaven will be like that. But the table will be longer, the laughter will be louder, and the tears will be more. Today, that day, were just previews.

Worship was particularly unifying this morning. It was marvelous. Words can't really grasp it. We sang this hymn today and Cliff had so much fun singing it, pausing in some places, speeding up in others, etc. etc. And we went all right along with him. It really felt like we were all being worship leaders, the people on the stage part of the circle just happened to have instruments and microphones. As it should be, I think. Community was good today.

Nothing but the Blood

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! Precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my cleansing, this my plea
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Naught of good that I have done
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I'll overcome
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Now by this I'll reach my home
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
All my praise for this I bring,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Love You 'Till The End

It's true, wherever I've recently been is where I want to live. I wonder why that is. The world has so much magic in it. It's true, I believe in magic. My friend Andrew used to call computers magic because he didn't understand them. Andrew is a very smart person. VERY smart, but I somehow have always admired that he didn't put forth the effort to learn about computers. He just accepted them as magic. When he pushed a button, they turned on. Like magic.

I'm watching P.S. I Love You right now. I don't have the strength to turn it on. Or to not cry. This movie is so good. I don't care what you say. I don't have to justify it. It's good. Sorry 'bout you. You're probably not even arguing with me. But whatever.

Wherever I am, I just want to be home. And the footage of Ireland just came up. I miss it.
I don't really know why I miss it. I remember being really ready to come home when it was time to. I remember not liking being alone. But right now, I'd give almost anything to be back there again. Something about it just fits in my heart. Maybe because it was my first adventure on my own. Completely. On. My. Own. Me. And God. Just us. And I suppose, thus will my life be until I'm thirty.

Love You 'Till The End
The Pogues

I just want to see you
When youre all alone
I just want to catch you if I can
I just want to be there
When the morning light explodes
On your face it radiates
I cant escape
I love you till the end

I just want to tell you nothing
You dont want to hear
All I want is for you to say
Why dont you just take me
Where Ive never been before
I know you want to hear me
Catch my breath
I love you till the end

I just want to be there
When were caught in the rain
I just want to see you laugh not cry
I just want to feel you
When the night puts on its cloak
Im lost for words dont tell me
All I can say
I love you till the end