Sentimentality: My take

I read an article for my Music in Worship class a while ago that I’ve turned back to for my final essay. The assignment was to write about our own theology of music. It’s a rather scary assignment, but maybe not as scary as “Write about anything,” which was an assignment for my creative writing class. As I’ve talked some about my basic theology of music before on here I won’t go into too much detail, but my take is that almost all music can be used for worship. I believe that even songs by the Beatles or whoever can be used as long as the lyrics are “good” and directed at God when one is singing them. You can check out more of my opinion on this in older posts.

Anyway, the article I read was about sentimentality and it’s relation to art and music. The writer was using a slightly different definition of sentimentality than I think a lot of people are used to, so I’ll briefly explain. His (Jeremy Begbie’s) explanation was that sentimentality is essentially emotions without objects or emotions that are self-directed. He explained that the sentimental person loves to feel things such as guilt or pity because they are the correct things to feel in certain situations. They do not actually pity the person they are “grieving” for, but take delight in the fact that they can exhibit the correct emotional response.

Begbie also said that the sentimental person will not take the appropriate action even though they can exhibit this emotional response. For example, a sentimental person will get teary eyed at those commercials about starving children in Africa but will not actually do anything because they do not want the object of their emotion (i.e. the starving children) to be eliminated.

This worries me for a few reasons. I hate those commercials. They make me so depressed. I usually change the channel or turn the TV off altogether if one of them comes on. I don’t know why, but in the past few years I’ve become much more emotional. I never used to cry about sad movies, but now I cry all the time. I cried when Dobby died for Pete’s sake! The obvious solution would be to donate money to one of those organizations. I don’t however and my reasoning for that is because “I don’t have the money.” Hear me out on this. My thinking is that sure it doesn’t cost much, but I don’t have a job and at some point I will run out of money, at which point I will feel ridiculously guilty about stopping my payments. I keep telling myself that as soon as I get a job I’ll do it, but I want to do something now.

I’ve always had a bit of a “gonna save the world” complex, as I’ve probably mentioned before. I worry that my new found emotional tendencies are just sentimentality. As I said I wasn’t always emotional. In fact, when I was younger I tried very hard to suppress my emotions partly, I think because I was too proud to let people know I was upset and partly because I’ve always felt like it was important for me to be strong for other people. I think coming to faith might have had something to do with me becoming more openly emotional because it was okay to cry to God. I still need to get over feeling a little like a Whiney pain in the neck when I do.

The other issue is that there are just so many problems in this world from poverty to hate crimes to slavery that I often feel like there’s nothing I can do anyway. My hope is that I can use my music as a platform to try and work at some of these problems, but I have to get my music going somewhere first and that’s taking a lot longer than I had hoped. I guess I’m just impatient.

Well anyway, thanks for reading. I’ve probably complained about this kind of thing before, so I apologize for the redundancy. Comments would be appreciated. If you’ve read this whole thing you get 8,000 awesome points!

“Don’t Stop The Madness”

I saw Tenth Avenue North on Friday. Their latest album is called “The Struggle.” I’ve been listening to their song “Worn” a lot because I’ve been getting about 2 to 4 hours of sleep during the week for about a month now due to final papers and such. I don’t know the story behind the song, but it’s basically about being tired and really needing God’s help.

Another song on their album that I haven’t listened to much though, is called “Don’t Stop The Madness.” Mike (their lead singer) told us a story about a horrible car crash he was in when he was 17 or 18. He almost died, but he didn’t, and even though he could have got mad at God, he didn’t. Instead, he got incredibly bored because he had to lie on his back to heal for many weeks, so he got a guitar to pass the time and that was how he learned to play

The point of the story is that when things are going wrong for us, or we feel like we’re in a hole we just can’t dig our way out of we pray for God to stop the madness. I know lack of sleep is no comparison to a nearly fatal car crash, but I’ve been in a really bad mood for the past few weeks because I’m rather sick of it and I just want a way out. Well, the only way out is to finish the semester and complaining to everyone I know, including God isn’t going to change anything. So today I’ve decided to just be in a good mood. Good things can come from the messes we get into, so we can gripe and moan, or we can get through it and learn from it and laugh about it later.

Have a super awesome day peeps! 🙂

Album Cover Part 5: Effects On Glass

I’m taking a break from writing an essay about my theology of music. I decided to take one of the pictures I showed y’all in my last post and see what I could do with it. The original pic was a close up of a blue glass. I played around with some effects on Paint.NET, and this is what I came up with. It might not match perfectly with the theme of the album, but it looks pretty cool, I think.

RMES ALBUM COVER GLASS PIC

I also made this one really quickly. I think I like the second one a little better.

RMES ALBUM COVER GLASS PIC V2

“Marching Bands of Manhattan”

I just bought a Death Cab for Cutie album on iTunes. I’ve heard a few of their songs on Pandora and liked them so I figured, “What the heck, I’ll just snag the whole album.” They’re a little more “emo” than I’m normally into, but I just really like their lyrics.

One song that I think has particularly good lyrics is:

Also, I promise I’ll actually talk about stuff soon. I just don’t really have time for the next two weeks or so.

“The Waking”

I don’t have time for a long post now. I don’t think I’m going to get much sleep this week. I have an essay due every single day. Long ones at that. Anyway, I thought I’d share a poem because like music, poetry is AWESOME for spiritual peace and balance.

The Waking
by Theodore Roethke
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

 

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

 

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

 

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

 

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

 

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Enjoy! ❤

Help! I Need Somebody! Not Just Anybody!

A few days ago I took my 3rd and last test in my American Lit class. Quite frankly, his tests are impossible, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. I’m not doing well in that class and it’s been getting me pretty bummed out. At one point I was trying to listen to a worship song to try and get hyped up– or something– I don’t really know how to explain it, and I felt no connection to the lyrics at all, which got me even more bummed out. Then on the day of the test I got “Help” by the Beatles stuck in my head so I just started singing it, and it felt like a prayer. I hadn’t listened to that song in a very long time, possibly years, but singing it felt like the most sincere thing I’d done in a while.

Help me if you can I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you pleas, please help me!

Someone in my MIW class said that the trouble with using secular music in worship is that you think about the artist more than the setting and the lyrics, but why wouldn’t you do that with a Christian band? I like Tenth Avenue North because they’re good musicians and I like their musical style. It’s impossible to separate that stuff entirely from worship, and I don’t think you should. When I was singing “Help,” I wasn’t thinking about how much I love the Beatles (because I love them lots), I was thinking that at this rate it’s going to take a miracle for me to pass this class, and if I don’t do well on this test I’m going to have to get A’s on the next few essays and projects. I know God has been holding my hand through the past four semesters (there’s always been one class that gives me trouble– Grr), and for that reason I’ve survived thus far.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!