Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Whats "Good" Mean Anyway?

What makes a "good" musician?  Some say it is the talent or skill they possess.  They say the more complicated the piece the better musician they are.  Some add the criteria of how fast one can play to measure of what makes a good musician.  Time and again I've heard statements like, "They're an ok musician... but all they play is the basic stuff so they're not very good."  So is that the measuring stick?  The ability to play a complicated piece means you're a good musician and if you don't play that complicated piece you're "ok" at best a.k.a. you suck?  I personally don't believe in that measuring stick.

$300 million.  That is probably more money than I will ever make in my lifetime (Though I can hope right!?)  That's the estimated net worth of one musician.  He was the drummer of one of the most successful bands ever.  They're known world wide and even though their last album was released over 40 years ago they are still beloved by millions today.  The band I'm speaking of is The Beatles and their drummer, that $300 million dollar drummer, is Ringo Starr.  Like them or not you cannot deny that they were a huge band.  Record sales don't lie.  So why do I bring him up?  If you listen to the drums on any Beatles tune you won't hear this complicated drum piece.  You won't hear a double bass pedal that's so fast it sounds inhuman.  What you'll hear is a steady beat provided by Mr. Starr.  Some would say you'll hear a "simple" beat.  I've heard people say that he isn't a very good drummer.  To them I'd say he has 300 million reasons proving them wrong but whatever...

I love complicated arrangements in music.  I also love simple songs.  I don't think one is better than the other at all.  To me it's all about the individual songs and even what band is playing them.  I think you're a good musician when you play your music well.  Whatever voice, story, lyric, or lick you bring to the table just be yourself.  Complicated and fast doesn't mean you're good.  Simple and basic doesn't mean you're bad.  Being true to who you are and excelling at that... To me that means you're a good musician.

Play well.  Be well.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dinner with the Pigs

One of the hardest things I've learned in life is sometimes you have to let people eat dinner with the pigs and not call them out on how nonsensical that is.  To some that entire sentence is nonsensical.  Let me explain what I mean by eating dinner with the pigs.

A long time ago there was this guy named Jesus.  He liked to tell people stories about God and heaven.  People call these stories parables.  On one such occasion Jesus told a story about a son who wanted to leave his family and go experience life or what he thought life was.  So this son goes to his father and demands his inheritance.  Now if one of my children asked me for their inheritance before I had keeled over and died I'd probably laugh at them and make them go to their room and think about how stupid they just were but that's just me.  In the story this sons father does the opposite of what I would do: he gives the son the inheritance.

So now rich with money the son goes off on his journey to experience life and to (I'm not really going to say this.... yes I am... I'm sorry) turn up...  Those of you who get that are probably shaking your head.  Those of you who don't get that be glad you grew up on actual good music instead of the random noises that come out of teenagers iTunes libraries these days!  Anyway...  The son (surprise, surprise) wastes all of his new riches on wild, crazy, party-like-its-1999 living.  Now completely broke, the son gets a job feeding pigs (Jesus telling a crowd of Jews about a guy getting a job feeding pigs probably had more impact on them than it does us.  Just picture the worst job you could possibly ever have).  Eventually he gets so hungry that the food he's feeding the pigs starts to look good.  In a sense he wanted to have dinner with the pigs.

Finally the son comes to his senses and goes back home with the intention of becoming one of his fathers servants because even they were eating better than he was.  When the son got close to home the father ran out to meet him, embraced him, clothed him, put the family ring on him, and threw a freaking epic bar-b-que!  The fathers other son got jealous because he was being a tool but lets talk about that another time.

There are many things you can take from this story Jesus told.  The one thing that I feel is rarely talked about is the fact that this awesome, merciful, loving father let his son... well... make stupid choices!  He let his son waste his money.  He let his son throw stupid pointless parties.  He let his son waste part of his life.  He let his son go eat dinner with the pigs.  What I'm trying to say is sometimes you just need to let people go make that terrible mistake.  Sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can say to that person that will change their mind so why even argue?  Are they walking down a path that is going to lead them straight to the pig farm?  Probably... But maybe that's where they need to go to finally get "it"

It's not fun when you see someone you love start down that path.  It can even physically hurt to hear them talk with their terrible, poorly thought out life choices.  I'm not saying you should never say something.  I'm not saying you should absolutely never try to intervene.  But there are times when you just need to take a step back and say, "Ok.  Go make that mistake if that's what you truly want right now."  What I am saying is sometimes people need to have dinner with the pigs to finally realize what's true, good, and acceptable.  Pray for those people.  Be there for those people.  Don't write them off or judge them from afar.  Be the best friend that you can be.  And when they finally see the light, throw the biggest, most epically epic bar-b-que they've ever seen!

If you'd like to read this story Jesus told you can find it in Luke 15:11-32