Skip to main content

The Music that Fights Fear

In the 1940's, Woodie Guthrie painted on his guitar "THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS." Other artists would follow suit, such as Pete Seeger, who put on his banjo "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender."

 Music has no powers to kill coronavirus, but right now, it's doing an admirable job helping us to fight fear and despair. Did you happen to see Andrea Bocelli's concert last Sunday, inside and on the steps of the Duomo cathedral of Milan? Just beautiful.

But it is the ordinary concerts, from people's living rooms or empty clubs, that has me encouraging people to get back on Facebook. I know, I know - there are ethical issues around privacy (and if that's your concern, I will not urge you to go against your conscience), there is an overabundance of anxiety-stoking articles, and some people never had any interest in the darn thing.

But this past week, I've listened to Melissa Etheridge every day, "attended" Dale Watson's Sunday concert, as well as a concert by our own assistant minister and professional musician Kiya Heartwood.

I'm so touched by all of the sharing I see happening. When people go through a crisis together, there is often a bonding that occurs. The whole world is going through this crisis together. Listening to the music, I have hope that something is permanently changing.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Don't Trust Your Instincts, or, "Well-Meaning People Can Exacerbate Big Problems"

My evangelical friends talk about being "convicted." That moment when you hear or read a message and like an arrow, it dives into your heart, and you know that you have been guilty, and you have some growing to do. At the very beginning of my learning about Bowen systems theory, the professor was laying out the basic idea: that we all feel anxiety, and when we do, we act (often in unhealthy ways) in order to lessen our anxiety. And in an unhealthy system with emotionally immature people -- a family, a business, a church -- one person's anxiety can trigger the anxiety of others. Here's a great primer on that. Really great. Like, watch it 20 times in a row. Or every morning as you drink your coffee. (I'm not kidding. I think your life would be better. Consider it a spiritual practice.) So back to my conviction moment. The professor went on to talk about how when we see someone who is "vibrating" with anxiety, our instinct is often to rush over,

The Most Controversial Thing I'll Write All Year

Back when you were a kid, you learned a lesson. It was wrong. And it's time for you to unlearn it. You learned that you were responsible for other people's feelings. Not that you should care about other people's feelings. (You should.) Not just that you should be sensitive to other people's feelings. (You should.) But you were taught that you were actually responsible for other people's feelings. It happens in almost all homes, even the loving ones. In abusive homes, it's more blatant. If Dad is unhappy, you get hit. So you learn that it is actually your responsibility to keep him happy, or there would be consequences. But even in non-abusive homes, it happened. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  You are not responsible for other people's feelings. That's their job. And in fact, you are crossing their boundary if you try to control their feelings. They get to decide how they feel about something, not you. They may decide that you

Me and My Collar

You may run into me on a Friday, in my neighborhood, so it's time I let you know what you might see. When I was doing my required unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), my supervisor suggested that any of us who came from traditions where a clerical collar was an option, take one "collar week," to see how we were treated, as opposed to wearing regular professional clothes. After a couple of days, I joked to the Catholic priest, "How do you manage the power?" In regular clothes, I would walk into a patient's room, and it would take about 5 or so minutes of introductions and pleasantries before we could really get down to talking about their feelings, their fears, the deep stuff. With most people, as soon as that clerical collar walked in the room, with me attached, they began pouring out all the heavy stuff they were carrying. I was riding the bus back and forth every day, and though not quite so dramatic, the collar effect was alive there, to