Archive for the ‘the sublime’ Category

Say it ain’t So.

May 6, 2020

These are perilous times in many ways:

Perilous pandemic

Perilous politics

Perilous protests

Perilous proclamations

Perilous pandemonium

Perilous publications

Perilous panic

Perilous parlance

Perilous pathogens

Perilous politicians

Perilous partisans

Perilous Powers

I heard a perilous report this morning. I found myself wishing some wise person would or could refute the perilous parlance I heard.

I was thinking: Say it ain’t so!

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP are out to get us.

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP unleashed the perilous pandemic with intentions of debilitating the US.

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP place no value in human life.

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP leaders are willing to sacrifice large swathes of their own people to the Covid just for the sake of having an alibi.

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP want to dispose of many of their own old people because they’ve got too many of them due to their past one-child policy.

~Say it ain’t so: that Xi’s heroes are Hitler and Stalin.

Say it ain’t so!

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP are willing to make a deal with Perilous Putin to debilitate North America with Covid and then divvy it up so that Ruskies can have Alaska back and CCP can grab USA to repopulate it with their presently overpopulated people.

Say it ain’t so!

~Say it ain’t so: that we actually have Americans who claim that our nuclear arsenal is obsolete and needs to be upgraded.

Say it ain’t so!

~Say it ain’t so: that any leader would even think about firing one of those damned warheads.

~Say it ain’t so: that we are headed for another world war.

Somebody please say it ain’t so.

Tiananmen talk

Somebody please prove to me that all the above Perilous Reports are not true and they  could never happen.

More likely, however, than someone actually proving that to me is:

that I would do better to put aside this perilous rant and resort instead to a different “P” plea to hang my hopes on:   

Pray!

Pray it ain’t so.

Perhaps you’ll join me. Pause for a word of Prayer for all People everywhere and for the imperiled Planet we inhabit.

P.S. If you are Chinese, and reading this . . . Please don’t take this wrong way.

Have a nice day.

Glass half-Full

Spring in my Step

May 3, 2020

Spring rolled down into the blue ridge today

blastin all our covid cares away;

she rolled in like a queen

with corona crown of royal green.

Spring

I be strollin’ now out in the sunshine

glad to leave them Febs ’n March behind

out walkin on the greenway trail

these bloomin’ good vibes cannot fail

cuz aint no covid ’strictions now gonna crimp my gait

no not today my April blues were worth the wait.

With my pocket miracle transistor radio

I be striding in sunshine and sayin’ hello.

 

But lemme tell you ‘bout this tune that really makes me lose

them covid crimps and those wintry blues:

the wonder of wonders is that Motown sound

bustin outa deep dark Detroit as I walk around

keepin’ perfect time with my springtime stride;

Yea! now it’s time to take a ride!

down memory lane with my lifeline bride

cuz she was surely My Girl back in the day;

yet she’s my lifetime woman still today,

and though she be now in ICU as a nurse

her love strolls beside me just like at first.

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCcNcHx2DpY

 

Glass half-Full

I’m Convinced

April 12, 2020

There’s a lot be said, and much to be written, about how we got here, where we are headed, what we will endure, what we will enjoy, and why it all happens.

Of all the sages and great men and great women throughout the ages, I do  not know of one whose claim to truth—whose claim to know what he is talking about, and what our purpose is here— I do not know of one whose accomplishment can be more convincing than the prophet  who rose from the dead. There is not one man nor woman whose wisdom or feats can match  this one miraculous labor of love:

Being tortured to death, rising from death back into life, and then living to tell about it.

There is no treatise on truth, no explanation of existence nor spoken lecture on the meaning (or absence thereof) of life. There is no heroic feat, no dramatic rescue, no profound work of art—that can match or exceed personal victory over death itself.

So I’m going with the one who survived death: Jesus.

I’m not the only one. Take a look at history and you will see how many men, women and children have, over two thousand years, cast their lot in his direction.

Believe it, or not.

If you can’t agree with me now, just recall this testimony when you are, let’s say, one hour or one minute from your death. At that moment, consider carefully whether you will truly want to  reject the rescuing hand that is extended to you just after crossing . . .

Better yet: believe me now, that. . . that hand is gesturing for you now, because the gift of eternal life through faith is even more precious–and more lovingly beneficial to others– when it comes into full use during this present life of trouble, trial, and triumph.

EmptyTomb

King of Soul  

zombie time

April 11, 2020

About 2700 years ago, some obscure blogger posted this, although my translation is a little bit off:

DeadSeaC

He was despised and forsaken, a man of sorrows, living with the worst of all human feelings–he was, like, the guy you look away from while passing in the street.

We didn’t like him.

But somehow he carried the terrible weight of our pathetic existence; this God-forsaken wanderer was afflicted with the worst fate that any humans have ever inflicted on their-fellow-man.

As it turned out, we discriminated against him, pushed him down as if he were the lowest of the low. Even so, he didn’t raise a big stink about the maltreatment that was inflicted on him. He didn’t whine about the injustice that he ended up getting.

He got screwed-over like the worst of the worst, even though he had done nothing to deserve such a judgement.

I mean, he never hurt anybody, never raised his hand against any person; he was no bully. In fact, he told the truth about everything everywhere he went. He was known for it. In fact, that’s what got him into such deep shit. He was a truth-teller . . . didn’t sugarcoat anything.

He was, like, a good guy. Looking back on the whole damn torrent of events, it doesn’t make any sense. The events of that terrible time just escalated far beyond any reasonable justification for what they did to him.

I mean, if there’s a God in this universe, he just, like, didn’t care at all about the devolution of events that, like, seemed to conspired against this man.

His fate was cast with the common criminals, but some rich guy showed up to deal with the corpse.

Tomb

Go figure. I mean, it doesn’t make any sense to me. Sometime I wonder if anybody in this life ever gets what they deserve. The one-percenters get to set themselves up all high and mighty, while homeless folk just get shoved into the dead-end corners underneath freeways, and dumpster-diving and hitting people up for handouts on the street.

But this guy didn’t do any of that. I don’t think he even had a place to crash at night, although he was one of the smartest people I ever heard railing on the street about this God-forsaken planet that we’re trashing worser and worser every day that goes by.

Now that they’ve disposed of him, no tellin’ what’s gonna happen next.

Slab

I mean, it’s like zombie time, but we can’t even go see a dam movie any more. No more Saturday night at the movies for us. Who’d’ve thought you couldn’t even catch a flick on a Saturday night? What the hell is the world coming to? All the worst stuff is going viral, while the best are clueless. Who knew?

King of Soul

Get Satisfaction

April 6, 2020

In 1964, I turned 13 years old.

Like most kids in those days, I was listening to a lot of popular music on a transistor radio.

My first hearing of the Beatles happened  one night while laying sleepily in the dark, in bed.

I’ll never forget that moment. Perhaps you have had one like it.

Their sound was absolutely unique, new, and fresh. Paul and John’s two-voiced harmony rang so clearly through my juvenile brain:

 

Well, she was just seventeen;

You know what I mean,

and the way she looked

was way beyond compare.

Now I’ll never dance with another

since I saw her standing there. . .

My heart went boom

when I crossed that room

and held her hand in mine!

 

Along about that time, there were some other groups knocking out their raucous vibes over the airwaves. I remember one joker came along ranting:

 

I can’t get no I can’t get no I can’t get no satisfaction!

When I’m traveling ‘round the world

and I’’m trying to make some girl . . .

who tells me baby you better come back next week

cuz cant you see I’m on a losing streak.

I can’t get no I can’t get no I can’t no satisfaction!

 

Yeah, yeah, whatever, man.

Not my cup of tea.

Years later, I began wondering just what kind of trip the music industry was trying to put on me and my g-g-generation. Well, that’s a profound question, and it goes much deeper than just “the music industry.”

As years passed by, I had a lot of great experiences, and  of course a few bad ones.

Now it’s 2020 and I’m sitting around the house wondering where the Covid is going to take us before it plays out its invisible death scenario among us. And I have some time to reflect on the meaning of life and all that . . .

Today, while strolling in the sunshine on a park trail, social distancing,  I realized that—looking back on it all— I have discovered, thank God, what satisfaction truly is. I’m not kidding.

Forty years ago, I met the love of my life, married her; she gave birth to our three children who are now grown and living productive, happy lives.

And we have managed to get through that very long “gotta make a living” phase of life—forty years of it. Well, she’s still working . . . ICU Nurse in this time of Covid, while I have made it to that classic, gold-tinted “retirement” state of mythical bliss.

And it will not be so very long before I pass on . . . into that eternal life with the Lord who created us and guided us through these paths of fulfillment.

So I’m approaching that great, big open door that will be like nothing else this life has shown me so far.

They say . . . as one approaches that final  stage, one may become feeble, losing a few neurons along the way and finding some of those ole dependable body parts unable to do what they used to do.

And . . . and yet . . .

this person who is beside me as we approach this unfamiliar juncture . . . this person who has been with me since . . . forty years . . . this woman who has made my house a home, guided my children through better paths than I could have done alone . . . this woman who is still with me as we draw near to that last sunset, whenever it comes . . .

LifeSunset

I have found it! The Satisfaction! . . . the meaning of life:

To have one person who does this long journey with you all the way through, and is there—so familiar and comfortable and caring— all the way to the end, when the sparks start to fall short.

That’s what it’s all about! Whoever thought up this plan—my hat’s off to Him!

Now I realize this personal revelation that I have described may not be your cup of tea. I get that. It takes all kinds to make a world. But I do want to leave you with this little piece of advice.

If you have one person to love—and who loves you—stay with that person. The sacrifice of loving one mate all the way through the journey is definitely worth all the .  . . whatever it takes.

Chances are,  you don’t fully appreciate the full significance of faithful love until you approach the final stages. That’s when the deepest reward is realized. Today is the day I have understood this most clearly.

Glass half-Full  

The Big Questions

March 3, 2020

The big questions are:

1. How did I get here?

2. How did we get here?

3. What is the purpose of being here?

4. What should I do while I am here?

At the age of 27 years, about 43 years ago, I had made a big mess of my life. So I turned my life over to Jesus.

I am happy about how life has turned out for me and the family that God has given me.

Prior to salvation, I was quite undecided about those big questions listed above. Now, after walking with the Lord for 41 years, I have managed to answer those questions to my satisfaction. There are, however, a few questions hovering somewhat unresolved in my mind.

For instance, as pertaining to the big question #2 above—how did we get here?—I do subscribe to the biblical explanation, although I do not understand it. I cannot comprehend all that is being described in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis.

GutnBible

I do understand, and accept as true, that very first sentence of the biblical revelation:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The verses that follow confuse me every time I try to impose order in my mind about the sequence through which our Creator did his creative work. This confusion does not really bother me. But it does fascinate me to ponder that subject.

Cutting to the chase—that is to say—the end of the book or the end of my life, the big truth that has been shown to me is that I will live eternally after passing through this life’s death.

How do I know this?

As the old song sings. . . the Bible tells me so.

The Word tells me what I really need to know: there is one man in the history of the world who survived death itself, and lived to tell about it:

Jesus.

This is a matter of belief, and I do believe it, thank God. I have been given the faith to believe in my resurrection from death, because Jesus himself has already shone the way—has been there and done that— and has passed that privilege of overcoming death along to me and to anyone else who believes what he has said about it, and demonstrated by his Resurrection.

Now, getting to the point of why I write on this particular day, year of our Lord 2020, March 3. . . while I have been fortunate enough to answer those big questions, there are still a few curiosity points that bounce around in my mind and my soul as I live and breathe in this earthly life.

For Instance, what about that creation sequence that is is described in Genesis?

People have been wondering about it, talking about it for thousands of years. In the last two centuries, speculations about question #2 above—how did we get here?—have taken a wider swath of variation than ever before. As far as I can see, this widening of theories and enquiries is prompted by two main developments in our collective human database—

1.) the discovery of geologic time, which scientifically explains how our earth was continuously rearranged by huge tectonic and geologic forces over millions of years.

2.) Darwin’s discovery of natural selection in the biological developments of life in nature.

As a believer in Jesus, I have no problem with either of these scientific discoveries. I believe these discoveries are merely a human way of classifying the universal and life principles that God set in motion millions of years ago.

For example: Genesis reports, in verse 1:24:

Then God said, ‘ Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind.’

This is just an old-fashioned way of saying: God designed into his creation a written code for ordering the development of life: DNA.

DNAdubhelx

So I hope you’re tracking with me on this. I realize that some of my believing brethren do not subscribe to this interpretation. But that’s okay; we’re not going to agree on everything. By ’n by, we’ll still celebrate our eternal life together with Jesus because of what he endured in sacrificing his perfect life at Calvary.

But the reason I am writing this today is: an amazing thing happened this morning. I had a funny little revelation while reading in Genesis.

In Genesis 2, we learn the truth that:

“. . . the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.,  The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there he placed the man whom He had formed.”

So we learn that Adam—and later Eve, were a special creation, placed in a special place, for a special, divinely determined destiny. But Adam and Eve screwed that arrangement up when they opted for knowledge instead of truth.

So our Creator had to suspend their special status. Consequently, he ejected them from the Garden; they had to  go out and make their way by the sweat of their brow like  all those other humans who had evolved out there in the wild wild world.

A little further down in the scripture we learn more about historical human developments. From Genesis 6:

“Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves . . .”

Who were those “sons of God”? They were the offspring of the Creator’s special creation in Paradise, the children of Adam and Eve.

We are told the names of the created couple’s first three sons: Cain, Abel and Seth.

These boys were, categorically, the “sons of God,” because their parents did not carry the same genetic imprint as those other men and women who originated “east of Eden,” outside the gates of Paradise.

Now just because they were “sons of God” does not mean they necessarily acted like it. You may remember that Cain killed Abel, and that God had a serious discussion with him about what was to happen next. But then God had mercy on Cain, even though he had committed such a heinous deed by killing his own brother, who had not deserved such a fate.

God gave Cain a second chance anyway, by releasing him out into mankind to get a new start.

In Genesis 4, the story continues:

  “Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain had relations with his wife, and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch, and he built a city. . .”

For a very long time, I had wondered about . . .

a.) these “sons of God”—who they were and where they came from? Answer: They came from Adam and Eve.

and b.) the land of Nod, and the people who populated that land? Answer: They were humans who evolved through God’s natural selection process.

Now I understand more about reconciling the revealed Truth of our Creator with what we ourselves have scientifically understood  about life on this amazing planet.

RockStory1

Glass half-Full

what the Original artist did

July 28, 2019

While universe was expanding in all directions, Creator chose one lump and began working with it, rearranging its underneath mass so that water could rise to the surface. The hydrogen/oxygen element would move in a purposeful way instead of just sloshing around.

Creator spun that world into motion so that the sunlight which struck its surface would brighten half of world for a day while allowing the other half to return to darkness during the same interval.

Thus did this division between the lightened side of world and the darkened side establish a cycle which would become known to us as day and night.

Then Creator used the interaction of sunlight and water to introduce an earthly cycle by which water could morph between two different states: liquid and vapor. The liquid would generally flow on, and within, the surface, while the vapor would rise to celestial functions.

This was a heavenly arrangement, although it was happening on crude earth—pretty cool, definitely an improvement over the old lump. Let us just call it day and night. Makes sense to me. You?

Creator was inspired, and so, kept going with it, stirring the flowing waters, gathering them together and thus separating the water from a new thing that was emerging—dry land.

Formless

Thus did we have earth and seas. Once again. . . pretty cool, and btw, cooling; by this stage, progressive processes had definitely been set into motion to produce something worthy of a good narrative.

RockStory

But Creator didn’t stop there. Next thing you know, from out of this developing earth—this interplay between light and dark, active and passive, wet and dry—here comes a new kind of stuff having the coding wherewithal to sprout new stuff never before seen or heard of. Long story short—plant life that could and would regenerate itself on a regular purpose so that Creator could go on to bigger and better things. Awesome!

Jungle1

Through the veggies and their seeds, it was obvious that things were getting better on earth, through the continuing interplay of this very predictable, dependable alternating cycle between light and dark, day and night, active and passive, living and dying.

All in all, not bad for a day’s work, as we say out here in flyover country.

But, hey, that was just the beginning. . .

SSetBrite

Glass half-Full

Life~Trouble~Tragedy~Music!

April 13, 2019

In chapter 18 of King of Soul, we encounter one exploration of how music arises from human life.

In the year 1969, Professor Victor Komienko explains to his Music Appreciation class how a certain kind of music may arise:

“The University is the Defender of  high standards in all of the arts; music is no exception. In the slings and arrows of outrageous  intrusion, the best standards of the ages are maintained at the Conservatory, or as we have here, the University. This is a college where the fundamentals of performance are passed on to the next generation of musicians, and where time-tested principles of effective composition are taught. At the same time, the Conservatory—or  University—retains and extends those foundations, so that appropriately innovative works can be brought forth.” Dr. Komienko looked up to the top row of the auditorium; he surveyed his class purposefully from the top row down. The baton in his hand tapped out a quick little rhythm on the podium.

“Do you have any questions so far?”

Teddy, halfway up the center aisle, raised his hand.

“Mr. Scher, of course you would have a question.”

“How do you feel about electrified instruments?”

“You are asking about electric guitars?”

“Yes, sir.”

“As you know, electric guitars have a high profile in contemporary popular music. As for their use in the classical legacy, we have not yet seen it. I will say, however, there is an indirect influence insofar as some of the big jazz bands of the 1930’s, such as Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway.  The electric guitar, used primarily as a rhythm instrument, has become a standard part of their jazz arrangements.

“George Gershwin has included in some of his compositions rhythms and melodic figures that originate with the Negro music, which has been brought over, as we know, from Africa. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is the most notable example of this influence. The sound of the electric guitar itself, as an instrument, has not yet been heard to any extent that I know of.

“Traditionally, the guitar, unamplified as an acoustic instrument, has found an honorable place in the classical repertoire, most notably in the works of Spanish composers such as Segovia, and  Rodrigo.”

Teddy Scher raised his hand again.

“Yes?” Dr. Komienko responded, with a slightly disconcerted tone.

“Have you heard that the London Symphony has performed with the Moody Blues?”

“I have heard that they have done that. I have not heard any of the recordings. Thank you, Mr. Scher, for bringing that to my attention. We must, however, move forward with our syllabus now. Today, we will listen to a selection from the Italian Baroque period, Vivaldi’s Summer movement of the Four Seasons.

“The composer wrote notes to communicate to the orchestra the character of the music. In this case, Vivaldi had written a poem, which included the image of a shepherd boy being frightened by the fury of a thunderstorm. Vivaldi evokes, in the music, the fearsome effect of that storm. Additionally, he wrote at the top of this score—the piece you are about to hear—this musical instruction: Tempo Impetuoso. What does that tell you? Let’s listen to it, and perhaps  we will comprehend just what the composer was indicating by the use of that descriptor, Impetuoso. I do believe, Mr. Scher, that you will agree with me after hearing it, that, in some ways, Antonio Vivaldi was a forerunner of the rock music genre, which is driven, in its 20-th century heart, by that”—the professor raised his hands, indicating quotation marks with his fingers—’electric guitar you mention.’

“Of course, there were no electric guitars in Vivaldi’s day. However, in this case—the piece you are about to hear—I believe that same impetuous spirit of a present-day  lead guitarist was resident in a virtuoso  solo violinist of that day, whoever he might have been at the time.

“The violin concerto—commonly  called  Le Quattro Stagioni, or the Four Seasons—was originally named by Vivaldi, in 1725, as Il Cimento dell’ Armonia e dell’ Invenzione , or translated, The Contest of Harmony and Invention. Perhaps, as you listen to this selection from it, you can surmise why the composer considered this work to represent a contest—or a sort of dual—between conventional notions of what music should be, as opposed to what music is as it is created and performed by the impetuous innovator—in this case, the soloist. Such  is the perennial contest, from age to age, between art that is generally acknowledged as appropriate and new art that is thought to be too disruptive.

“Now listen, and hear if you can, , the composer’s prescient gleaning of what music might become two and a half centuries later.  Arnold, please roll the tape. . .”

You will find one demonstration of this phenomenon here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaoqCARilbA 

 

King of Soul

Shifting Sands Sublime

November 3, 2018

Beneath the appearance of things

behind the wonder that contemplation brings

there lies a universe of joy and pain

entrained upon whatever relics still remain

of a world colored by some eternal stain;

and wherever that stain remains

things are not and will never be the same

provoking some to surmise it’s just a game

that they can play and then refrain

from any effort to name

or explain.

And yet,

so many live for what they can get;

they allow no time to pause and let

life just happen along the way

so they can soon look back and say

what a joy it is to pause and stay

in the lingering light of a well-lived day

while the world just turns on come what may.

Oh, history breaks on sands far away

while here we enter into the fray;

we laugh or cry along the way

tomorrow and today,

I say, I say:

If I could comprehend this troubled world

so creative, yet destructively unfurled

I’d grasp the mystery, so sublime

that slaps between the sands of time

on this ever-shifting, long shoreline—

this consciousness of mine,

maybe it’s in or out of line

and maybe with a little sip of wine,

yes, I’d dream up some silly little rhyme,

and whether it be sublime and fine

or not worth a dime,

it nevertheless is mine,

and yet it can be thine

if you take the time.

 

King of Soul