Sunday, August 7

Random Sunday Evening Thoughts #2

Why do my thoughts on a Sunday evening almost always qualify as "random"? But tonight, unlike a lot of nights, I find myself with several blog topics running rampant through my head. Feast or famine, eh?

One of the thoughts that has been running through my mind since this morning was today's sermon topic: Lawnmowers or Motorcycles? Pastor Rick had another good one...some of his messages resonate with me for hours after worship is over. They are thought provoking and I find him remarkably insightful. As someone who has internal conversations on a regular basis (sometimes I let you guys read the voices in my head...) it is not uncommon for me to float in the river and ponder a part of the morning message.

I won't get this all connected properly - and if you want an accurate presentation of the sermon, I hope it will be available on the CUMC website. (We still have boogeymen at the sound desk...hoping the recording is good) As usual - Pastor Rick has no responsibility for MY thoughts and opinions. Understood?

When preachers go shop for motorcycles (and yes, a good number of them do...) they probably get a different sales pitch that your typical bike enthusiast gets. Instead of "when you open her up you can get up to 90 and you feel like you're flying, dude" they probably get "gets really good gas mileage, quiet ride...). But when both types of people shop for lawnmowers - it's pretty much the same pitch. Right? Okay...follow me here...if I can pull this thought together - it is going to be good.

Lawnmowers aren't fast. They aren't exciting. They aren't sexy. They just kind of plod along, doing a monotonous task. Motorcycles are different. They take risk to operate. They ARE fast. They are exciting. When you ride - there are moments where you feel like you are flying. When you are swept up in the experience and leave the concerns of terra firma behind.

Churches are supposed to be more like motorcycles than lawnmowers. We do too much plodding along and not enough risk taking. We need to throw more caution to the wind and step out of the
boat. I'm glad to be a part of a group that at least seems to be shopping for a Vespa. And from the view in the choir loft - I can even see a few burgeoning Hell's Angels out there. And that is a good thing.

Okay...I mentioned that I had a bunch of random thoughts running around in my head. Here are a few more:

Heard on WVTF (NPR) on the way home that some place called the Jefferson Center (in Roanoke) is going to have The Blind Boys of Alabama, Rene Marie and Sinbad as part of a concert series. It was like getting triple punched! I love ALL of those! It was so strange to have three performers listed off and with each name I said to myself - Oh my, I would love to see them, Oh my - Rene Marie, I love her!, and Sinbad? Seriously...all three? What the heck? When is this?

So I came in and Googled (oh mighty Google...
I love Goog...oh, did I drift into that trance again?)

I found that it is part of a series and The Blind Boys of Alabama are performing October 20, Rene Marie November 11 and Sinbad is December 3. I'm so excited...who wants to come with?

I first saw The Blind Boys of Alabama in Banff with my Canadian brothers. I think it was the first time I was out in Alberta. I had never heard of them before - and knowing the Jenkins boys (like I thought I did) I just figured we were going to see some friends of theirs in a bar. And that they would be playing some rock/folk/alternative like John played. Wow, was I in for a change of perspective!

The Blind Boys of Alabama are legends in gospel music. The group formed in 1939 and two of the founding members still perform with the current group. That night in Banff I was astounded by the way they could weave gospel and blues and folk and jazz into this magical combination. And yes, 3 of the lead vocalists and the drummer are blind. I'm listening to their version of Amazing Grace right now - to the tune of House of the Rising Sun. I'm getting chills.

Rene Marie is actually this super talented jazz singer who I have had the pleasure of meeting. She was the sister-in-law of this incredible man that I got to work with during my years in public access television. (amongst the random nuttiness and ego - he had intelligent conversations on interpersonal relationships with interesting people...I wish I had copies of those shows) So, anyway (almost went on a rabbit trail...) I got to meet Rene when she performed at this tiny little jazz club in Lynchburg: The Ellington. (which has a history all its own)

She has the most soulful connection to the music. Some performers sing songs - they sing all the right notes and with lovely tone. They perform them well. Rene is one of those people who put the song ON and wear it. She is the embodiment of the music - it flows out of her...and wraps around you. And you are mesmerized. She sings with honesty - at times her soul is bared...

To be in the presence of that is nothing less than amazing. And she is a wonderful person besides. Not too long ago I happened upon one of her CDs when I was cleaning something in my room. I use Rhapsody so much that I just don't pay any attention to my CD collection any more. I took it to the office and on a rainy day - I played it. And I was stirred. And I just felt like letting her know that. So I googled (oh mighty google...) and found her website (and some nifty press about her doing a controversial performance of the National Anthem...interesting read!) and wrote an email to the contact email. I wasn't even sure if she would get a chance to read might just be headed to a manager or intern.

In my email I conveyed how inspired I was by her performance. And I shared that I had started singing far in the church choir, and a couple of solos and duets. And I shared with her that it had been a struggle (as you know...I still have a sneaking suspicion that I sing like a dying bull moose) to put myself out there. And you know something? She called me! We talked for like 20 minutes and I swear I had tears rolling down my cheeks 18 of those. How incredibly gracious of her to call to encourage me! And what a wonderful time I had talking with ranks up there in the top 100 hours I would like to do again and again.

Well...those are my random thoughts for the evening.


C'mon - he's just brilliant! That is one funny man. I think the the Holy Trio of Comedians would be Bill Cosby, Sinbad and Robin Williams.

When I get to heaven - I'm going to invite them all over for dinner.

Life is good.

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