Last week the students in my Writing Close to the Earth online class read George Orwell's classic essay, "Politics and the English Language." In it ... Read More
It’s a little sad, but I’ve had to learn to selectively muffle my enthusiasm with family and friends when it comes to music and movies that move me. Sometimes I fear I’m pushing too hard. Sometimes I wonder, am I sharing from a pure heart or from some latent competitive intention bubbling beneath the surface like a volcano ready to erupt?
Sometimes I expect my audience to get it–see what I see–without prompting. More than once, I’ve felt quietly and maybe self-righteously indignant when they don’t. Sometimes I fear I push the art with what might seem like a salesman offering faux Rolexes from the lining of his coat. The harder he pushes, the more human nature wonders, “What’s wrong with him?,” or “What’s wrong with his message?”
I have a friend that reacted a little too casually to the music of Andrew Peterson when I first introduced it to him. So I none-too-subtly sent him each new Andrew Peterson CD after Carried Along as it was released. Fast forward to years later as I played Love and Thunder on our drive from Chicago to Milwaukee last summer: I silently celebrated as he sang–word for word–every song on the CD. I won! Indeed, it felt like victory, yet there was this annoying little itch that I sensed the urge to scratch, that felt something like–conviction.
As I reach to insert my latest and greatest CD purchase into the slot, how many times have my wife or son said, “How bout’ let’s talk? Do you mind leaving the music off for awhile?”
The movie Saved features a scene in which Hilary Faye throws a Bible at Mary, saying, “I am FILLED with Christ’s love! You’re just jealous of my success in the Lord!” Mary, picking up and holding the Bible, replies, “This is not a weapon! You idiot.”
As I proofread music or movie reviews I’ve written, I sometimes sense an insistent tone, as if the reader must capitulate to my wonderful words. “If you don’t love this CD, you must be an idiot,” or so I might as well say.
Eric Peters has a revealing slice of wisdom in a line from the song “Bus 152”: But demands don’t bring penance like I thought they would. Of course, I’m too smooth to make any of this overt, to say it out loud, but I am not the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will move in His time, not at the beck and call of this silver tongued devil. If somebody needs to be convicted of a thing, or follow a particular path, it’s not my place to find just the right track that will put them in their place, the right movie that will bring them to their knees, a song that will make them cry tears of contrition.
The above thoughts occurred to me (once again) after reading wise words from Ron Block and Andrew Peterson in the thread, “A Stream Across the Path.”
The relationship that you have with Jesus, the intimate nature of your connection with him, is not exactly the same as mine. You have things to teach me about the mind of Christ, insights into his Word that I cannot see on my own. There are things about him that may be very clear to you that have never crossed my mind. His Spirit lives in you, and it lives in me, and we are not the same.
Ron Block wrote:
If I could change one thing about my past it would be that I would much earlier have realized that I can learn something from nearly everybody if I have the right mindset – a humble one.
Pride is the most insidious of sins. It stealthily wraps itself up in the midst of good intentions and honorable work. The same God who inspires us to share beauty and truth with another soul is the same God that stands waiting to temper our words and intentions with love–and extinguish any residue of selfish gain.
In The Big Kahuna, Danny DeVito’s character Phil Cooper says, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling Jesus or Buddha or civil rights or ‘How to Make Money in Real Estate With No Money Down.’ That doesn’t make you a human being; it makes you a marketing rep. If you want to talk to somebody honestly, as a human being, ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are – just to find out, for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it’s not a conversation anymore; it’s a pitch. And you’re not a human being; you’re a marketing rep.”