what i’ve been up to… and thoughts about MJ.

This page has been silent of late, leaving my hopes for a once-a-month update unfounded.  Nonetheless, I thought I’d give an update of what I’ve been up to, as well as some random thoughts.

– Summer stuff gets in gear at New Life.  Mostly that’s code for: everyone’s going on vacation so the offices are awfully quiet.

Sproul Fountain @ Cal Berkeley

Sproul Fountain @ Cal Berkeley

– Went on a sweet trip to the Bay Area.  Tina and I blitzed around Berkeley to find my favorite college meals.   We accomplished very much in 24 hours.  Also, got to see Chais, Karen C, Olivia and Jono, Jean, Tina, Wangs, and Sid in the South Bay.  Had a fabulous time with the Haas-Koshland folks.  These people are so generous and loving.  We were beyond humbled… and blessed.  Delightful.

– Officiated Raquel and Ian’s wedding.  They were both weeping when the got to the altar.  To clarify, they were tears of gladness.

– I’ve been more active on twitter, although I still don’t update much.  By active, I mean checking the twitter feed.  I’m curious how long twitter will last, and if it will last.

– I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago.  NYC is a difficult place to be limping around.  I grieve for older folks and those with disabilities – this must be such an unfriendly city.

– Are people at New Life really transformed?  How do we help facilitate God’s working in people?

– Excited about Journey through the New Testament.  Very excited.

– Is the divide between MySpace and Facebook revealing of social/racial divisions?  See link here.  From Pete Scazzero via Christy Scazzero.

– Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about race/power/Christianity issues, mostly spurred on by this man, Soong-Chan Rah.  His book is about freeing the church from white, western, cultural captivity.  I’ve been having conversations with people left and right about the topic. You should pick up a copy if you have a chance.

– The MJ coverage has been unreal.  It goes without saying that his life had a profound impact on many people.  Just thinking about all the money that was spent for the memorial, as well as the droves of people who came to celebrate his life, has made me reflect on the importance of art.

I once had a discussion with someone about the “importance” of art and recreation.  Okay, it was really a debate about the importance of sports, but I lumped art and recreation in the same category.  🙂

The gist of the debate was this – how important is sports in light of hunger, famine, and disease that is ravaging the world?

I think it’s a good question to ask, and I know people immediately see the disproportion of passion related to MJ’s death and what’s happening in ethnic clashes in China.  Even the media seems to focus on one more than the other, much to my dismay.

At the same time, I think there’s something profound about how music can touch so many people.  No, it’s not at the top of the list of Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, but it’s still profoundly impactful to the human experience.

Even people in impoverished countries find ways to play ball, tell stories, and sing songs.  It’s difficult to weigh the relative importance of arts vs. physical needs because they’re BOTH uniquely important.

Do people get overly fanatical about sports?  Certainly.

Is the amount of devotion and capital invested in sports and MJ a bit ridiculous and over-the-top in light of the physical suffering around the world?  I think it’d be foolish to suggest otherwise.

But that doesn’t mean arts and recreation are unimportant.

Okay, this turned into another blog post so I’ll stop.

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5 responses to “what i’ve been up to… and thoughts about MJ.

  1. It is interesting how the debate has intensified over MJ’s life and death. Certainly the man was an enigma. Does that make his life any more or less valuable or to be valued than another. I think not. In the end, and it is MJ’s end here, only One can judge a person’s heart and life, and yet we are so quick to make value and moral judgments. Judgments based on incomplete, and often, misleading information.

    To make a comparison between art and sport is a difficult one at best. You correctly point out that in life, all of life, both are needed. It really does not matter if you live in a multi-mullion dollar mansion, trying to insulate yourself and family against the “outside world” or in a grass hut trying to insulate yourself and family against a torrential storm, man (and woman’s) desire is to be active; active physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our beings (all three parts) respond to all types of sensory excitement. God has truly made us unique beings in a world of art, sport, and intellect. He has asked us to be good stewards of all and master all.

    You and others have once again touched the mystery of wealth and poverty, health and famine, and good and evil all, existing in a world created by the Almighty.

    Rejoice with those who are joyful, cry with the broken, grant mercy to the lost…

    Thank you for your thoughts and feelings Drew. God bless you and the work of your hands.

  2. Rich Villodas

    Great post Drew. I actually like the format you wrote the blog in. I think I might do the same (giving updates on what’s going on). I too have abandoned my new blog resolution to update it monthly. Ah well.

    With regard to MJ, you read my mind. I think I might post something on theology and the arts. I read too many times where people said he was “just” an entertainer, or “just” an artist. Once again we see this two-tiered dichotomy of what is recognized as “eternally valuable” and what is of “temporal value.” I think Christianity provides a paradigm whereby we can recognize the arts/artists (in this case MJ) as expressions of the imago dei we all possess, which is by virtue, of eternal value. I agree with you that the media frenzy and money that went into his memorial was over the top (especially in light of CA budget deficit). I also think you’re on to something when you mentioned what music/art do to us. I think the yearning and grief that has been shown towards MJ is just a prime example of what our beings yearn for. Well, that’s all for now. I’m gonna try moonwalking in my kitchen again.

  3. Thanks for these thoughts. You always make me reflect a whole lot! (and I’m already reflective!) I’ve debated with myself about the value of art also. That might sound funny coming from an “artist” but I have thought about it on many occasions. When I make music and share it with the world, is that significant in the eternal sense? Am I doing something that matters in the hearts of people or just dabbling in a temporary exercise just to get my entertainment fix? I flip-flop on my conclusion – in one sense it MUST matter because it is an expression of my true self as God has created. In another sense, I’m not sure that it really impacts a world in the midst of hunger, brokenness and pain. I don’t know. But I think it’s worth the dialogue.

    Then I always question my undying devotion to Roger Federer. But only on the inside, because I don’t want my adversaries to hone in on my weakness. 😉

  4. cate, I can totally understand where you’re coming from, but take heart and keep making good music!

    Have you seen the movie “God Grew Tired of Us”? It’s a great film, and it doesn’t necessarily touch on the theme of art, but if you watch the community it follows (ie the Lost Boys of Sudan), you’ll notice that there are still storytellers and dancing and singing going on in the midst of a refugee camp. At one point, one of the refugees who comes to America and is now “safer” and “well-fed”, reminisces about how much he loved the celebrations going on at this refugee camp.

    In other words – food, clothing and shelter are not the only essentials. Even when those are satisfied we realize we yearn for so much more.

    Now, those things become the most pressing when those needs are unmet, but it doesn’t discount the eternal value of music, art, etc. that makes us fully alive and fully human.

    As my friend commented on my facebook, the one abundantly clear thing we’ll be doing in heaven is singing.

  5. It has always puzzled me that we praise, worship, enjoy, admire, and desire the gifts God has placed in another and almost discount that with which He has blessed us…

    I look at the three individuals in this stream…Drew, Rich, Cate, and see some of the most extraordinary eternal gifts God has placed in each of you and what a Kingdom impact it has on untold numbers of people…

    Drew, has a compassion that is enviable, along with a wonderful way in telling his story…Rich has a athletic skill and a sense of family…Cate, your interpretation of words and music is captivating…

    I have not even begun to touch what God has blessed you all with, but the impact on my life, and I am sure others, is tremendous and eternal.

    I look at MJ’s life and the impact on those around him and it is no less a blessing to those who knew him than you are to those who know you…

    And now the puzzle…I am touched by all of you, what is my offering to those who know me? Am I making an impact? Do I contribute to the Kingdom with what I’ve been blessed? How? Do I feed and clothe the hungry and naked? I pray that I do…

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