The only writing competition I’ve ever done well in, and I’ve tried a couple, was in the sixth grade. I wrote this story about a kid on the brink of death who starts having visions of angels – which he calls “White Outs.” Because… You know. Angels.
Guys that’s the kind of deep stuff that wins blue ribbons.
Now I don’t want to rag on 11-Year-Old-Tommy, he couldn’t help himself he was doing the best he could with the stuff that he had. I grew up in a convservative Assemblies of God church, where an appropriate evangelising tactic was The Casual Death Threat:
Do you know where you’re going to go when you die? Like if you got hit by a bus right now, like right now, what would happen to you?
Of course, my little mind was a bit preoccupied with deathbed conversions.
In highschool my friends and I discovered Monty Python’s The Flying Circus. Fourteen is the perfect age to discover Monty Python’s The Flying Circus.
(What do you think of that?)
Around the same time I began writing short stories. And, you’d never guess, they were mostly absurdities filled with non-sequiturs. My favorite was the adventure of Hobo Joe who was recruited by Adam West to join the Academy of Motion Pictures.
Guys, this is the kind of stuff that will make fourteen year old boys laugh.
Anyways everybody who has played on the Inland Hills worship band has heard me say:
I preach this because we can’t help but wear our influences on our sleeves.
It would be unfair of me to ask a drummer who loves ProgRock to play a Hip-Hop groove (a sin of which I am guilty of), or to ask a classically trained pianist to play free form jazz (I repent!).
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t expand our aesthetic borders – for that matter our borders socially, experientially, emotionally… You get the idea.
A few years back a pastor asked me what a usual musical worship experience at my church was like. My response:
Elton John playing Hillsong covers.
Even though I don’t believe in the sacred/secular divide* these songs would fall under the “secular” umbrella. And because I like to feel special I’m just gonna go ahead and say this is a pretty ecclectic list of tunes but there are some obvious threads running through it:
- Mostly piano and percusion driven.
- It’s predominatly pop, jazz, americana, and singer-songwriters.
- Apparently I believe the best tunes were written in ’73-’85 and ’98-’05.
Oh! And I got you a flower, well a picture of a flower. It’s a tulip not a rose because roses are so cliché.
* Wendell Berry writes: “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places.” God is above our genres, and categories. Something can only be Christian if it sins and can be redeemed by the blood of the cross. As YouTubers BlimeyCow ask: “Did DC Talk go to Heaven when it died?” As Derek Webb points out when a song, or a book, or a bumper sticker, or a company is labled “Christian” it’s just a marketing term and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good, beautiful, or true. And Christianity is always good, beautiful and true. I’ll need more space to discuss this.
You’re welcome. Go check out the artist’s Facebook page, there’s a lot of neat photo manipulations of animal that are cheeky and delightful.