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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Universal Language

I love music.  Even though I don't identify as a musician,  I enjoy all kinds of music, even music that many don't recognize as music.

Music has been called the universal language. It has been said to bridge the bounds of culture. It can ignite anxiety or sooth the soul. Music stirs our imaginations as well as calms a racing mind. Music communicates in ways that words fall short. Even words themselves are musical.

I looked up online the elements of music and found numerous lists claiming anywhere from 5 to 12 basic elements. Music is not as simple as it sounds. So, tapping into my thoughts last week on "complex simplicity," I've come up with my own simple list.  To me, in order for music to be music, it needs three things: sound and/or silence, combined with pace.  I think all other elements are derived from these three.

This week our church is hosting the the Florida Vocal Association assessments of all the Pinellas County, Florida middle and high school choral groups. What this means is about 2500 teenagers cycling through our building, pouring from buses in the parking lot, warming up in the music room over my study, sight reading in our chapel, and performing in the sanctuary.

There is literally music everywhere in the building, all week long! It's not just in the rooms already mentioned, but on sidewalks, in hallways, and lobbies.  Anxious silence sings as a group files into the sight reading room. Nervous sounds come from the warm up space. Excitement exudes as rapid chatter fills the lobby when all is done.

Our lives are also made up of music. Everything we experience has a sense of sound, silence, and pace, generated from without and within. Our hearts beat. Lungs breath. Minds imagine. Ears hear. Eyes see. Voices speak. Music abounds.

Ancient philosophers, sensing and observing the sounds, silence, and pace of creation itself, described them as "music of the spheres."

Take time to enjoy the music of life. It may not be as dramatic and obvious as a building filled with teenage choirs, but it is always with us, waiting for us to stop and listen - even better to sing, play, or dance with it.

Music really is the universal language!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Complex Simplicity

The amazing complexity of the most simple things reveals the miracle of life. As I write this blog, impulses in my brain fueled by chemicals generated in my gut go to my brain and produce thoughts that generate other impulses into the muscles of of my hand causing my fingers to push particular buttons that send signals throughout my computer resulting in characters on a screen arranged in a particular way and sent through a web of electronic beats and waves so that someone who happens to be motivated through their own impulses to see the characters, understands their arrangement and comprehends meaning. I type in my living room and you read wherever you are.

Similar complexity exists in everything we see, touch, smell, hear, taste, think, imagine, as well as the processes of seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, tasting, thinking, and imagining. Yet it all seems so straight forward that we rarely stop to contemplate the wonder of it all and simply enjoy it.

The wonder of the universe hides in plain sight around us.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019


For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  ~Jesus, Matthew 6:21-23

You probably know by now what the acronym SOTU represents. Did you watch it or listen to it last night? I chose not to because on one level I can sense what the state, not only of the Union but the World, is today - FUBAR (look it up).  However, this is looking with eyes that desperately need new vision to see God-given goodness within apparent chaos, to see within FUBAR the seeds of A-OK.

When we do this we begin to see from inside, from who we really are, from our created goodness. In other words, from our hearts. So the real question for us in not "What is the SOTU?" but "What is our SOTH (State Of The Heart )?

The SOTU is in our soul.

The SOTU is actually the SOTH!

It really is this simple, but not always easy.