Advent simplicity that we don’t know.
The advent season reminds, restarts, and renews. As we remember and celebrate the arrival of Jesus Christ, the light of the world, everything literally stops and holds. The focus is on the star, the child, the light.
All of our worldly “lights” dim in comparison in respect and deference to the source. Don’t get me wrong, I love the candles, and the bells, with choirs and songs and stunning experiences envisioned and executed by men old and new but the simplicity of the child is unparalleled in its message and personal connection to my heart mind and soul.
For too long, I’ve focused on the buildings, the smells, sounds, and the singing. What matters is the smiles and the eyes of the hearts as they open and understand. The advent of the true king is a spectacle beyond the imagination of men. The best we can do is focus on a child and fall on our knees. We humble ourselves at the manger with its ugly, loud, decidedly unchurchy vision. The ox and the ass bow along with the sheep. The angels and the shepherds give honor and praise.
The king is here in this moment. He was, is, and will always be. Emmanuel, God with us, reminds us of HIS amazing love. He reminds us that OUR work is only just beginning. Advent is indeed the end of the beginning. The story we find ourselves in is not written nor is it complete even as it is fully known. It just isn’t known by you and me and that is alright.
It is the very simplest idea of living that fuels the grandest, most transformational system. It is in the day to day step by step that I see why.
To create or to consume. The balance is the razors edge.
The cut is epic in its ability to change. Nothing is so simple as the choice to cut or not to cut, to separate or combine. The consequences of the choice are not simple and so the systems are born.
I remember the first time I sang the Messiah solos of Comfort ye and Every Valley. It was in the chapel at Princeton Seminary for a wedding. I wonder how good I was as a 19 year old. Today, I heard my son sing his first pass at the Messiah solos at Ardmore Baptist in Winston Salem. He was so much better than I was at his age. Style, composure, artistic message, command, and fine, elegant singing. Tenors are a funny stressed bunch of souls. Singing comfort ye is not comforting normally. Today, I was calm and comforted for lots of reasons.
The artistry of the the PrillaKids is well known to most but today it feels like the first time I’m comfortable that the coming valleys will indeed be straight. I’ve sung that line hundreds of times, but clearly I need to listen more than talk more often. They have got this.
First time I’m comfortable saying that I’ve turned the page. Every day is a chance to step back and see that all we like sheep have gone astray and yet Hallelujah and amens still happen in spite of us. Our masks are ripped off and the face is there for all to see.
A brilliant light has left this world. The world remains blessed because of his execution and legacy.
“Having just the vision's no solution, everything depends on execution.”
- Stephen Sondheim
“Bit by bit, putting it together...
Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art.
Every moment makes a contribution,
Every little detail plays a part.
Having just the vision's no solution,
Everything depends on execution,
Putting it together, that's what counts.”
- Stephen Sondheim
“It's not so much do what you like as it is that you like what you do.”
- Stephen Sondheim
“Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new. Give us more to see...”
- Stephen Sondheim
“I chose and my world was shaken, so what? The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not.”
- Stephen Sondheim
All from Sunday in the Park with George
Mixing virtual and in person. Reducing in person Increasing online components- flipping the classroom. Maybe 3 days in 2 out?? Education not a daycare function but has to solve for parents timing needs.
Shorter classes and face time. More motion and movement though modules/classes.
Must be willing to test and learn. Identify 10-20% of failing or under producing practices and change them up annually.
Teachers. Tech savvy. Willing to embrace new way. Capable of change and outcome thinking over incremental thinking.
Solid Stable metrics to evaluate student progress.
Pedagogy is important but it is only piece. The teacher mindset and enablement is the critical enabler.
Using arts to enforce a “creator” based framework. As teach them to create art, (music, art, drama) barriers to learning fall away.
Athletics and competition are attractive and exciting. Choose a lane to start. Use a publicized mix/ratio.
Parent empowerment and choice. Offer parents solutions to teach and be involved… but don’t require.
Multi generational perspectives focused on today. Not yesterday.
Incentivize acceleration and achievement beyond standards. For teachers, parents, and students.
School is equally about the teaching teacher community as it is the student community.
Art (for me music) does not need a reason to exist. It is born of a divine spark. The artist is simply a conductor for the energy. Singing in church, on a stage, in any venue is a blessing but it isn’t required.
I was able to attend the DaCapo Inspire closing ceremony last night. It was excellent indeed.
I am convinced that fully integrated education using the arts is a fantastic path to accelerating and transforming lives. Truly. Our traditional public school models may or may not be succeeding depending on many variables at scale. Asking the parents is the only measure that has credibility.
The single inescapable truth is that inspiring and including kids and parents to achieve is the way forward and it has always been the way. The larger public delivery models are challenged and parents needs choices as students need opportunities to thrive and excel.
One size doesn’t fit all. Accepting that changes everything. I watched a groups of students showcase their excellence. This same group is simply not being served effectively by other channels. Seeing the eyes 👀 on fire 🔥 for learning was a special blessing for them and for us.
Bravi Tutti to Tracee Aiello Prillaman and her entire faculty for making a difference. Truly.
The establishment empire is too often viewed as the enemy in the scripts we read. The change agents’ motives are not so pure as they pretend. That is reality. Each of us has a role in the epics we find ourselves in.
What stage are we playing?
Minimizing TV news and mass opinion commentary maximizes clarity of individual thought and perspective.
Reading enough but not too much.
Talking less, smiling more.
Thinking and praying in a private time and space is powerful. Physically creating is far more critical than consuming, competing, comparing and judging. Focusing on personal and local actions maximize the value and immediate results.
It is difficult if not impossible to find oxygen to breathe elegance, beauty, integrity, excellence and love in a room filled with the fires of hatred, discord, disgust, and demagoguery. As artists, we have a role to play. We must use emotions to influence but not inflame. Fire burns and consumes. It destroys its creator and becomes a living but dead thing. We must extinguish the flames, and then we can begin the process to build. We can make our world great. Will we?
Virtue flows from a focus on higher things. We must stand and be counted but we must stand on a foundation that is solid rather than molten. We as a society have elevated virtue signaling above virtue, and as a result, everything is burning. That is a real challenge that burns in my mind over and over. #Inspiredbyfriend
Listen. -- needs to be clarified.
Listen... to the voice which tells you what you can be, what you can do. Listen to the voice which explains how and when and why. Listen most of all to the voice which shows you the way in action, sacrifices, and accomplishments.
Do not listen to the voice which highlights your failures. Do not listen to the voice which applauds itself for its greatness. Do not listen to the voice which speaks the same tired semantics in the same scenarios, oblivious to its own demise.
Listening is harder when talking. Consider to whom you listen carefully. Consider the impact of your actions and inactions even more carefully.
Distrust leads to disregard.
Disregard leads to disgust.
Disgust leads to demagoguery.
Demagoguery drives division.
Division codifies distrust.
Diversity complicates but it is the life blood of humanity and progress. Unity does not require uniformity.
Men, all men have many dreams and many failings.
Some rise and some fall. Many settle and stop seeking the highest places and examples because of their failures, real and perceived. Honor and authority flow to those who stand in the gap between rage and lunacy. The men of men lead and seek to avoid the weak place of cowards and fools.
Men of men no longer seek renown. Instead, men of men seek repose and respect.
Men have regrets. Men of men have many regrets. Repose and respect flow from regrets.
How we make decisions is in crisis. My version of the US culture has become dependent on the national media and its anecdotal, limited context, ratings driven sensationalism. We hear about isolated instances of tragedies and emotional, gut wrenching stories and we the people begin to extrapolate and apply those outliers to the entire population, to our local world. This WRONG.
One size does not fit all. It never has. It never will. The divisions and natural biases of our world views is bubbling up and exploding. The guidance and governance for large populations is radically different from families and households and neighborhoods in a free country. We as Americans are allied to do things differently, succeeding and failing, even moving from region to region when necessary to find better decisions makers and conditions for living. We are connected but separate.
Reopening America is a state by state, locality by locality decision at this point. We will see good stories, and we will see tragic examples of outliers. When we gravitate towards the Covid19 anecdotal deaths and hot spot stories, and the appropriate grief we are missing that overall, the risk and mortality rates are low.
When we ignore the inconvenient truths that millions are in devastating home situations now because of our collective shutdown choices. Jobs gone. Lives in chaos. Families struggling with depression, hunger, and the basics of life.
When we ignore the overwhelming evidence that our medical system is safe and instead looks to politicians and bureaucrats and MEDIA for medical and health guidance we FAIL . Our doctors and nurses are amazing, and our system is built on individual, local responsibility, and day to day decisions. Doctors get their expertise from their expert organizations. They are trained to discern between anecdotal data and true guiding medical science.
When we ignore the experts in front of us for the personas and stories on the TV and internet we fail. Good decisions are hard. One size does not fit all. Americans must stand and be counted. We must succeed and fail. We can help one another by connecting to those around us. Doctors. Pastors. Teachers. Farmers. Neighbors. Our individual experience is not automatically relevant to the world. It IS relevant to US. Here. And Now.
We all wear masks these days. Online and in person we mumble, and shout and hide our fear with outrage. We condemn and judge one another to show how right we are. The mask does virtually nothing to protect others. It is for us. It makes us feel safe in our hiding and in our isolation.
Removing the mask is liberating. We freely admit that we are not in control of the world as we breathe deeply, showing our smiles, frustrations and fears to all.
God sees through the mask and loves us regardless. We must live in the world that He makes, without the mask.
I’m convinced that Pastors often preach to themselves and the rest of us just listen. On that, do they listen to their own sermons? I wonder as I wander... from service to service, denomination to denomination... day to day.
We all hear what we choose regardless.
Listening is the key. Talking less helps. It isn’t a coincidence that Silent Night and Holy Night are so impactful. Holiness is most often associated with stillness and listening to God and for God in the still small voices. Do you hear what I hear? ... and bells.
I love bells and candles. The fire and the piercing nature sing into the silence.
I’m looking for Christian musician(s) in MHC to work with me, teach me, and learn with me as we design/build transformative music performances for worship.
Heart of artist is critical... skills for arranging and exploring excellence in ALL styles... must be willing to blend classical liturgical traditions with contemporary/pop/jazz/rap —- to create a dynamic “flow”... guitar, bass, percussion, piano, organ, brass, winds.... all play parts... and Singing is the key. #JustSing
We will rehearse and plan and work at Rolling Ridges and around... schedule TBD
Bonus: familiar with concepts and expectations outlined in this important text by Rory Noland.
Intersection of principles and practices...