Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The gifts of the spirit

The board of the church for whom I'm currently a bass soloist and informally "composer in residence" asked all of its music staff to write self-evaluation letters, based on a half-dozen questions.

Now, without going in to too much detail about my "faith journey" as some would call it, when you've been in the church-music business for nearly forty years, involved with every major denomination, several small but more interesting ones, walked out of a Doctor of Church Music program because the theological component was intellectually empty, and have spent as much time with people trained in Shinto and Shingon Buddhism as I have... well, you don't tend to hold to the usual cuddly/accessible doctrinal dogma. Fortunately, the Congregationalists (my current church) aren't doctrinal or dogmatic, they're very live-and-let-live, as far as individual differences go.

But the sixth question was, "Did the Holy Spirit surprise you?"

Here's my answer.

MS is the tool, and the manifestation, of the Holy Spirit. Its gifts are similar to, but not the same as, what have always traditionally been thought of as "the gifts of the spirit."

It has given me new clarity in both perception and expression.

It has given me new appreciation for simple things, like a smile.

It wants me to open my consciousness to new truths about "limitation." Some limitations, I argue for (and shouldn't). Some limitations aren't denials, but are signs pointing in another direction: "This road is not for you; open your eyes and you'll see the one that is, reaching towards you." And some limitations, just don't matter.

The gift it really wants me to receive... is enlightenment.

MS is the Word made flesh. Very, very oddly functioning flesh. Perhaps because that was the only way it could get my attention.

But, as Marcus said to Neroon in an episode of Babylon 5, "The next time... could you maybe choose a way... that isn't so uncomfortable?"

If MS isn't tough love, I don't know what is.

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