Showing posts from May, 2019

The Lovesong of Humanity

Throughout my life, I have been blessed with jobs that required a lot of travel. Soon after I graduated from the University of Utah, I was a b-list touring musician regularly working with “classics” groups like the Drifters/Coasters/Platters (always on the same bill), the Classics IV, the Marvelettes, and even Herman’s Hermits, once, in Hong Kong, entirely coincidentally (as things tend to happen in Hong Kong, for better or worse). Now, you have to understand that at this time—somewhere in the 90s, I guess—there were no longer any original members in groups like the Coasters/Drifters/Platters. Sometimes, there was a loosely associated cousin or something singing tenor, but usually, the tribute acts were comprised of talented musicians who could faithfully recreate not just the songs, but the dance moves and the whole vibe of the acts they were memorializing. Watching them effortlessly interact with the audience was a master class in performance. To maximize revenues, the agenc

The Lotus Blossom Revisited

Bhagavad Gita 5.10: Those who dedicate their actions to God, abandoning all attachment, remain untouched by sin, just as a lotus leaf is untouched by water. Psalm 131 (LEB) My heart is not haughty nor my eyes arrogant, and I do not concern myself with things too great and difficult for me. Rather, I have soothed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like the weaned child  is   my soul with me. O Israel, hope in Yahweh from now until forever. One day long ago, when life was less distracting, and we all spent more time outdoors, a little Hindu boy named Arujani was playing outside, seeing what he could see. He danced along the trails outside his village, which was nestled by a lake in the crook of the Himalayas.  He giddily stopped every now and then to poke a bug with a stick or watch it do its thing. He chased flying insects until they were just out of reach and finally, exhausted, he fell on his back into the wheat fields, surrounded by a colorful patchwork of b

Living Our Religion

I’ve been reading about the remarkable history of Islam in the book,  Islam, by Karen Armstrong. It’s a terrific, concise narrative about the formation of a community based not on borders but beliefs. It is a story strikingly similar to that of early Judaism, with its revelation of divine law as a blueprint for the way we, made in God’s image, are to behave in this world. Almost in passing, Armstrong remarks that while Christianity is based on dogmas, creeds, and things  you must believe, both Judaism and Islam are  ways of life. Judaism and Islam ask us to entirely submit ourselves—mind, body, and soul—to God. In so doing, we are naturally compelled to work for the good of the entire community. On first reading, I agreed with Armstrong. Yes, Christianity does seem to be obsessed with Jesus as the repayment for the debt we could never repay. Yes, the majority of Christian denominations, both Catholic and Protestant, ask congregants to recite some sort of creed that testifies in som