Statues are coming down all over America, some in a raging mob amidst political pandering, and others with government-directed construction crews. Few memorials are coming down after calm debates and reasoned decisions. Why do we have such statues in the first place? Which ones is it appropriate to remove? Which not?
The mass killing of Jews and other “undesirables” by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust (1939-1945) was one of the worst crimes in modern history. The Holocaust spilled oceans of blood, and its cruelty was beyond imagination. Concentration camps like Auschwitz in Poland and memorials and museums in places like Berlin and Washington DC educate current and future generations on what happened in the hopes that such an atrocity will never occur again.
Continue reading “Smashing Statues”
A medical musical tale of love and survival between an American man and a Chinese woman in the world of the new corona virus.
The Ballad of the Corona Virus (tune “Open Arms”, Journey)
Lying beside you, here in the dark
Feeling your fever so high
Weakly you touch me, pain so severe
Why did I stay for the night?
I thought it was true love, I wanted some fun
But now, I just want to run
Cause it’s Corona virus, twelve thousand cases
It has got you, will it get to me too?
Oh why, did I, visit China?
Can I catch a plane, or a boat or a train, outta here?
In California, hospital bed
Aching and coughing up blood
In isolation – gloves, gowns, and masks
Chills come on me like a flood
Nurses and doctors, don’t know what to do
There’s no vaccination for me.
Cause it’s Corona virus, often fatal
Waiting for doctors, insurance won’t cover
But soon my lady will arrive from Wuhan
I’m fading away, but we’ll beat you someday, Corona
Choruses in church are great, but let’s not lose our powerful legacy of hymns in Christian ministry.
Last night I led a Hymn Sing and Soup Supper in the Fellowship Hall at our church. Between bowls of vegetable soup, chicken soup, tortilla soup, bean soup, and a host of others, we sang To God Be the Glory, I’ll Fly Away, Victory in Jesus, and more favorites. Elderly women in the back, members of the choir when we had one, harmonized to tunes they had known as children, while teenagers in the middle sat in silence. We had no slides with words on a screen as we do in our sanctuary, but used white hymnals with gold embossing, small letters, and cryptic little symbols called notes along with the lyrics on each line. The piano was a little out of tune, but we all carried on, singing at the top of our lungs. There was no sound of strumming, drumming, or picking. Having grown up in church singing hymns, I appreciated the change.
Continue reading “In Praise of Hymns”
High school marching band shows reflect our priorities and our insanities. How can they help make us better?
Ours is a marching band family – three of our five children have been in marching bands at the high school and/our college level. Of the other two, one was in orchestra and one will be in marching band when she gets to high school. Our kids have been at Hayfield and Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High Schools in northern Virginia, Collierville High School in Tennessee, Shady Spring High School in West Virginia, and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. We have enjoyed parades, pep bands, and shows at football halftimes and band competitions. Dance teams, color guards, drum majors, and lines of marching and playing students entertain us every week in every autumn.
High school marching band shows have themes, ranging from the musical (the Music of Queen), the cinematic (Illusion, including Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), and the historical (the Transcontinental Railway). Bands compete before judges, who score them on such measures as musicality, marching/dance, visuals, guard, pit, and drumline. At the end of every competition, the band with the highest score in their division wins a trophy. But what do judges find worthy of acclaim? Continue reading “Message Bearing Marching Bands”
A look at beauty denied, misunderstood, reviled, and ignored, in the modern world.
The other day I was driving to the Mine Academy in Beckley for a strategic planning session. Nancy called and bade me to look to the southeast, where I beheld a particularly stunning sunrise. On arriving a few minutes early at the meeting, I mentioned the sunrise to several people, but only a few bothered to look out of the window. On a hike last summer, Nancy found a tiny deep purple flower amidst dying grasses. On a different occasion, she spotted a set of intricate ice crystals astride a fallen log and a pile of snow. As with the Mine Academy example, others in the area didn’t notice, or didn’t care. Life is composed of little moments of beauty such as these – to miss the beauty is to miss life itself. Why do so few people seem to notice?
Continue reading “Whatever Happened to Beauty?”
Songs and dances for fathers to dance at their daughter’s weddings and other important occasions.
My daughter Anna is getting married, and I have been taking dance lessons. The following list is an attempt to match the right dance with the right song, knowing that many dance styles can be used for many different songs. It is also a memory aid, as it can be hard to remember every dance move, especially when you don’t practice every day.
Principles of dancing
- Women dance because women like to dance. Men dance because women like to dance.
- The man’s purpose in dancing is to make the woman look good.
Continue reading “Ballroom Dancing”
We use music to influence ourselves, and ourselves, and create the emotions that we need to do what we want to do.
Our father could never understand our taste in music. It was the 1980s, and my younger brother and I were teens. Dad was a singer and loved music, but preferred the Bobby Vinton style to the Axl Rose style. More than once he asked, “why do you listen to that trash?”, a question that every generation asks their children and grandchildren. We were both involved in the youth group at church, and my favorite artist at the time was Keith Green. He was a talented Christian singer who was sincere about his faith, but tragically died in 1982 from a plane crash, as so many other musicians have. My brother found Ozzy Osbourne more to his taste.
Continue reading “Music and Emotion”