My Latest Adventure: Using What I Learned in College

It only took two years but I am finally going to be putting my college education to good use in a more direct way. Since I graduated from Indiana University I have been more than grateful for all of the skills I learned during my years on campus.  I learned and developed skills such as critical thinking, how to create a usable work out plan, paper writing and argument building.  Most of these things were developed as I was withstood a four year barrage of facts and trends in the music industry and non-profit management. Even as a student I just assumed that the particular major I picked was mostly a matter of peace of mind for the prospect of finding a job and preference of interest in the subject matter. Upon graduation I assumed that I would fall into the large group of people who do not directly apply their college education to their day job.  For the first two years of my post college life I was mostly correct. Then like a lightening bolt or an Old Testament style revelation, inspiration struck.

The interesting part though was that it didn’t strike me.  A few months ago my friend and fellow pastor at Fx Church, Jason, began his sick day off work by trying to play his guitar. After having it serviced by a repair shop, it was in a strange tuning that was pretty unfamiliar to him.  So like any curious musician he decided to play around on the guitar to see how it sounded.  The short version of the story is that the tuning was so novel and yet intriguing that it led Jason to begin writing a song to play.  I can’t really tell you the specifics of the timeline following that day, but the seed was planted and the idea began to grow. Since the church was currently beginning a 12 week study of the Old Testament book Jeremiah, Jason decided to write a new song each week to go along with the sermon series.  In the end the song writing process didn’t quite fit into that 12 week frame, but it the process did result in 12 new songs inspired by the story and narrative of Jeremiah. And what do 12 original songs make?

An album.

As excited as Jason was about the prospect of recording an album, he confessed he needed someone to push him to take the appropriate steps to make this idea a reality. With a degree in Arts Management with a concentration in music, I was excited at the prospect of helping contribute to the process of recording a concept album based on the book of Jeremiah.  Both Jason and I sort of assumed that we would be the counterpart to the other. He would create and perform and I would arrange the details of recording and promoting.  The most honest reality of the situation was that I was really excited to hear about the idea and wanted to a part of it in any way possible.

The album is far from recorded, but the songs are written and the equipment has been purchased to record.  I cannot begin to claim any sort of creative contribution to this project, but I can say that because of Jason and his dream I am currently getting to employ some of the bits of information that I absorbed during my undergraduate education. I imagine stories like these are the things that will make God one day say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”  More than just two people working together to have some fun, but many of His people coming together to offer what they have in abilities and resources to contribute to a piece of creative work that is intended make much of what God has done and is still doing. What the future of this project holds is in God’s hands, but Jason and I have a few plans for what might come, the first of which is only an album.

 

Be on the lookout at fxchurch.com for songs from The Jeremiah Record this summer.

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you, Jeremiah.”  Jeremiah 30:2

 

 

Advertisements

The Moldau by Smetana

One of my favorite classical music pieces is The Moldau (or Vltava) by Bedrich Smetana.  I would not consider myself to be a classical music connoisseur, but I do know that of all that I have heard, The Moldau is certainly one of my favorites.  Smetana’s ability to convey visual images through music is astounding to me. The fact that I can actually visualize what he is conveying makes this piece one of my favorites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdtLuyWuPDs  Take a listen and hear for yourself.

Smetana wrote the Moldau as a symphonic poem about the river Moldau that runs through his homeland.  The music itself is composed in a way that describes the shape and movement of the river.  In it’s beginning you can hear the winds moving rapidly back and forth like a couple of small streams do.  As instruments are layered in, the pieces because slower and more expressive as the streams merge and grow into the mighty river.  The music continues as if you were travelling down the river and viewing a wedding on the banks, watching mermaids dance in the moonlight, seeing castles and palaces, and then watching the river vanish in the distance.

It is truly a remarkable piece of music when you understand what the composer was trying to portray in the score.  To be fair, I did not determine all of this knowledge by pure observation, but rather in a classroom dedicated to studying classical music.

One of the reasons that I love Smetana’s work so much is because I can really see how God crafts our lives and stories much like the Moldau River.
Just as the beginning of the great Moldau River starts with two small streams, small of the greatest stories God crafts in our lives start out as small and simple acts of faith.  If you were to stand at the start of the stream and observe just what you can see you would not be able to take in all of beauty and grandeur that the river has to offer over it’s 270 mile length.  Many times we do not understand that our small acts of faith are only the beginnings of grand stories that God is writing in our lives.

The Moldau in the Czech Republic

Recently I have been blessed enough to see how small acts of faith result in much larger outcomes. I did not know that taking an extra trip into campus would result in boxes worth of donations being collected and given to the local Crisis Pregnancy Center, as well as giving me an opportunity to share my faith with a crowd of people that were eager to hear a defense of the Gospel.  I could not have imagine these outcomes when I made an unnecessary extra trip into campus one day (I can’t even remember why I went now).

I think that is just the point though.

I think that God uses people that are content and pleased just to participate in His plan in the smallest of ways more often than He uses people that turn down opportunities that seem too insignificant to matter.  There is greater temptation to take glory and credit for something great that happens than there is for stepping out in faith in a seemingly unobserved and insignificant way.  When that seemingly insignificant act leads to progressively bigger and more significant outcomes, the person that stepped out in faith can then worship God knowing the full story of how the insignificant was made into something of the eternal significance.

I believe that our lives are filled with these moments that seem insignificant, but later turn out to be the tiny stream that turns into a mighty river. We would often be repaid with awe and joy if we were willing to take small steps of faith without expectation. Then when we arrive at those great and memorable moments in our lives we can be awed at how God crafted our lives in such a way that the small step of faith led to this monumental occasion.

To view the events of your life as small streams leading into larger rivers is a pleasing activity, but I think the true joy and worship of God can happen when we view our entire lives as the Moldau.  We all begin as the smallest beings who are dependent of others for every need.  As time passes God allows us to grow and develop into self sustaining being, that not only maintain ourselves, but also give life to others over and over until we vanish into the distance of eternity.