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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Get the "Led" Out

The other night I found myself in a small crowded bar in Midtown Omaha to hear a band called "The Firm" Go ahead and check the link. I'll wait.

(Waiting.)

(Waiting.)

(Waiting.)

Done? No, not that "Firm." Now, I knew that going in because I know one of the guitarists of the band I went to hear. Sadly, he is not Jimmy Page.

I remember as a kid being fascinated by the guitar of Jimmy Page in a band he was cruising around with called "Led Zeppelin." You may have heard of them back in the day. They are kind of famous...

As a kid learning to play the guitar, I never tried to style myself after Page, in part because I never really understood what he was doing (to be honest, I still don't). But those sounds were fascinating to hear. There is something that he can make a guitar do that sounds, to borrow a phrase from Bob Dylan, like "a fire crying in the sun." (Someday I'll write about Bob Dylan too, as he's also kind of famous.) It's a pretty distinctive sound, and most guitar players I've met over the years know when they hear Jimmy Page. Here's a song I've always liked called "When the Levee Breaks." It was great being a kid in the 1970s.

As I was listening to The Firm in Omaha the other night there were lots of kids from the 1970s (and the 1960s too.) We were all there to hear some songs from our childhood and to forget for awhile the adulthood we seemed to have attained with no effort at all, and no skill other than to survive. But I still remember the kid who listened to Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and all the others who provided the soundtrack of my life. And I wondered what title or label would be on my life?

You can't copyright titles and such, and every city probably has a band named "The Firm." (I hope they all know the irony, however.) They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but you can't also judge it on its initial response. Life is most acutely judged in the fullness of time. As I was sitting there listening to Beatles' covers, who knew "Strawberry Fields" would last?

I am writing this post on the day after Robin Williams died. I remember watching him on "Happy Days" helping Fonzie set Milwaukee right. I was probably 15 years old. I saw him live in concert in 2002 where he was 30 feet away from me at the old Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. I laughed a lot that night. To judge someone like him on just one or two years of his career, or one or two events out of his life does a huge injustice to the world we all live in. A person's life is more than just moments strung together, but rather a series of ups, downs, and plateaus that roll on until our last hour is strutted on the stage.

Jesus of Nazareth was a guy whose life, in total, meant more than just the moments he spent. Although many people seemed to appreciate those moments (especially the ones he reportedly healed), 2000 years after his death it's the whole scope of his life that brings reality to bear. How do you appreciate the moments in your life? How do the more worse moments of your life get "forgotten?" How are the better ones "remembered?" No matter how long our lives, no matter how many good or bad moments we squeeze into that life, the labels, the titles, the signs do not define us. What defines us is the lives we've lived, the people we've loved, and the memories we share. That's life. (Thanks Frank. Oh, and he's pretty famous too.)

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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