Friday, July 27, 2012

Like yeast - The Dark Knight Rises

The other night I watched "The Dark Knight Rises".  It was a great wrap up to the trilogy.  I saw it then watched a review from Thomas McKenzie who is very insightful. 

 Now some deeper thoughts (spoilers will follow):

Monday, July 9, 2012

Why do good?

I heard the same message 3x now which might amount to more than coincidence.  Why do "good" things?

I was reading some Old Testament and hit this in Zechariah 7:4-10 (bold added):
4 Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: 5 “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? 6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? 7 Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”

8 And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: 9 “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

Two days prior Troy Polamalu posted this quote on facebook:
"There are many human activities that are good by nature, but cease to be good when done for ulterior motives. Works such as fasting, vigil, prayer, psalmody, almsgiving and hospitality are good by nature; but not good when done out of vainglory." - St. Maximos the Confessor

And then sometime prior to that (but I was re-hit recently) GK Chesterton struck me with this:
Many people have wondered why it is that children's stories are so full of moralizing.  The reason is perfectly simple:  it is that children like moralizing more than anything else, and eat it up as if it were so much jam.  The reason why we, who are grown up, dislike moralizing is equally clear: it is that we have discovered how much perversion and hypocrisy can be mixed with it; we have grown to dislike morality not because morality is moral, but because morality is so often immoral.  But the child has never seen the virtues twisted into vices; the child does not know that men are not only bad from good motives, but also often good from bad motives.  The child does not know that whereas the Jesuit may do evil that good may come, the man of the world often does good that evil may come.  Therefore, the child has a hearty, healthy, unspoiled, and insatiable appetite for mere morality; for the mere difference between a good little girl and a bad little girl.  And it can be proved by innumerable examples that when we are quite young we do like the moralizing story.  Grown-up people like the "Comic Sandford and Merton," but children like the real "Sandford and Merton."  -'Daily News'

Sandford & Merton was a very popular children's book that has Tommy Merton growing from a spoiled six year old into a virtuous man.  (thank you wikipedia).  GKC's last point was regarding adults looking upon the silliness of the children's book, while children enjoyed it straight forward.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mum's the word - Mumford & Sons

I'm late to the party - I just discovered Mumford & Sons.  Okay, I vaguely knew about them but just bought the album (a $5 well spent).  I'm 2 days into it so here are some raw quick thoughts.

Some quick thoughts:
1. Moving music moves every man.
I had this playing in the background at work when one of our assembly guys came in.  Tommy is a "salt of the earth" kind of guy.  I've seen him bring people to tears with heartfelt actions and then bring tears with terrible gas.  Tommy lived the hard life for a while and is now doing what he can to get bye and have laughs along the way.

Tommy comes in with a question regarding a drawing and simply says "Mumford & Sons".  I thought it was a question regarding a youtube video title but he was identifying the music.  It is the first time anyone has known any of my work background music short of a briefly playing "Don't Worry Be Happy".

I had it playing while driving to an ultimate frisbee game.  I was giving a fellow player a ride and I've tried many times to strike up a conversation and nothing has stuck yet.  He pounced on M&S which he first heard 3 years ago (again I'm late to the party).

2.  Music can tell the truth with out being "christian" and "christian music" doesn't always tell the truth.

On first listen I was wrapped up in the level of emotion that was being drawn out of me.  I listened to this while driving and found myself speeding quite a bit.  These songs are digging out some deeper thoughts and feelings that are true. 
-the journey is part of the adventure.
-I screw things up and feel sad.
-the joy of a WAKE-UP moment.

I think they are tapping some deep truths in an honest way (not formula for radio play).  It is their own songs that they want to play.  They also aren't just dwelling angst or brooding, it has some element that seems to say "get moving and fix it".

3.  My music snobbery would likely have robbed me of this.
Confession - I am a music snob.  I don't want to be, but I am.  I am getting better.  Something in me rises up and wants to hate popular music.  I generally don't join the bandwagon, I throw rocks at it.  I've gotten better in that I no longer cast stones or dispersions at it.  I do ignore it though.  Had I known they played at the Grammies I may have skipped out.

There is something about earning your credibility as a fan of anything.  The Pittsburgh Pirates have a great crowd this year now that they are winning.  The true fans (the people that love the team) were with them through the years (decades) in the basement and know the joy of being in the glory after dwelling in the dark.  I am more ambivalent as a baseball fan and am happy for the die-hard fans and the new fans.

In highschool a close friend was working at the mall and I ran an errand for him of going to a t-shirt shop and getting a Nirvana shirt.  Adam had credibility as a Nirvana fan, he just wanted another shirt.  I enjoyed them vicariously through him but I had my own bands to follow.  Some typical teenage lads were hanging out and started heckling me as a bandwagon jumper since Nirvana had recently caught some popularity.  I can still hear them saying "Oh, maybe you should get a Pearl Jam shirt too!".  Pearl Jam was long considered, rightly or wrongly, as the music industry's formula push into the grunge genre.  I remember making the same jokes about Pearl Jam.  Bandwagons and credibility.

Oddly I will gladly help people hop onto any bandwagon when I have credibility.  I have long been an Andrew Peterson fan;  I rejoice for any new fans.

I don't know if I have some desire to not follow the crowd, to find my own thing, to be the first (or an early) discoverer.  Sports (playing), books, music, tv-shows - I seem to innately migrate towards a niche which isn't the popular crowd.

Somewhere I started learning the lesson, and I still continue to learn, that I can passionately enjoy what I enjoy and let others do the same without casting the stones.  Maybe I'm older and just don't care, maybe I'm maturing.  Nah, Pearl Jam still sucks.