Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's a Good Feeling

Today is Tuesday, the first day of the work week for me, since I work all weekend in a church music ministry, and take Mondays off. Monday has become a day to recover from the physical stresses-- hurting feet, cracked hands from clapping, sore arms and legs, and the weekly headaches-- and to do the basic domestic tasks-- cut the grass, fix the stopper in the sink, and this week put in a new curb side mail box in compliance with the USPS.

It's a glorious time in Tennessee, with cooler daytime temperatures and pleasant conditions for working outdoors. One project I have been eyeing is a huge downed branch in the alley behind our house. It belongs to a neighbor, but it is gigantically ugly and has even partially blocked the walkway back there. I just need a chain saw for that. So the mail box was the outdoor chore.

But this morning I feel content and actually looking forward to going to work. It's a complex feeling based on randomly alligned factors.

1. The mailbox is installed and looking good

2. My headache is gone

3. I have finished my outline for the 1-day Institute I'm teaching next Wednesday in Miami before the Christian Community Development Association convention.

4. I'm not mad at anybody and, as far as I know, nobody's mad at me

5. Last night was my daughter's birthday celebration so she and her family came over and my grandchildren were in a great mood.

I am responsible for my feelings. Sure, there are factors that govern how I feel, but I cannot blame anybody else for the way I feel. Many times I have negative feelings because I have unresolved relationships, or my feelings are based on powerlessness to change my circumstances.

So many times, I feel bad because I have not done something to support feeling good. Often I feel bad because I have forgotten the promises of God that are mine in Christ, and I am afraid of the forces around me that militate against my happiness.

My feelings are not the ultimate truth of my life. God's word and his sovereign reign over all is the foundation of truth for what is true. My feelings are my reaction to a relative comprehension of how that truth aligns with my shallow perception, and various physical constraints mixed in. Thank God for a good feeling this morning, and the variables that have contributed to it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Brothers and sisters

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:31 - 35)

I have been thinking more and more about the relational part of my job, and how much I need the folks in my church community.

Back when I was travelling a lot, I would leave town on a plane and be met by a stranger or a distant acquaintance. For the next several days, I would eagerly interact with all kinds of people, old friends, young kids, and generally fans.

When I returned home, I had this feeling of escaping from the inordinate attention of adulation, and I re-embraced the close nuclear family that was my own. When I went to New City for church, I was helping out with the music program, and often people would come at me with a barrage of requests for more music, more ideas, more performance. I developed an attitude of defensiveness to others.

Now I am a music drector in that same church, and we are providing many of the services that folks used to clamor for. But we don't do it without people. Lately, some of our leading volunteers have been moving on in their lives to other priorities. I am realizing that new people must be recruited for the key positions of song leader, lead tenor, and text operator. We must get on the phones and recruit.

I have received phone calls from my alma mater or from the local fire and police association, asking me for support and for participation. I receive emails from community organizations looking for my involvement. I am now getting Facebook invitations to come to art openings and wine tastings. Is this what we need to do in the church-- have phone campaigns?

The church is, to some degree, in competition with the rest of society for the energy and talent of our volunteers. On a bad Sunday, I'll think, "what do people think, does worship grow on trees?" Every fall at this time, I can plan on some of my youth choir disappearing until the school play is over in early November, or until soccer season is through.

So the relational aspect of music ministry is as important as the music itself. People need to be valued, to be respected, to be loved. I'm about to go to work now, and may God help me not to resent people but to seek them out. I can spend all week on great music charts, but if the brothers and sisters and mothers aren't in place, I am a clanging cymbal. ( I Corinthians 13:2)

About Me

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I am a person who is perceived as youthful, although I am in my late 50s. I play and sing music, and it tends to keep me in the culture, like a lot of young people do. I am a "high I" on the DISC Behavioral Test, which means I'm optimistic, enthusiastic, a team player, and I motivate others toward goals. I don't like exercise, but I have a high metabolism, so I don't tend to be overweight at this time in my life! I have recently been doing moderate exercise and physical therapy for a shoulder condition.