Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thank you for teaching me to love life.

Most of my interests are directly inherited from my dad.  I've been realizing that recently. Thanks Dad, for teaching me to love life. You were passionate about what you did and about enjoying life, and that's why I am following in your footsteps. You taught me to love


-self education, research, and obsessive buying of books and videos on any topic that I feel the need to know about

-children's and adult choirs

-a good bass line in the above

-The Pilgrim Academy

-spending more time with the fam than probably any other family on the East Coast


-my mom's marinara sauce

-Egg Harbor City

-adopting liturgical or ethnic traditions that are not necessarily ours and in a somewhat sloppy fashion, just because it makes us feel more connected to history.  I will spare you anecdotes but someday I will dress up on St. Lucia's day.



-the Egg Harbor lake and Batsto

-the field of education

-the history of last names


-smart men (now let me just pause here to say my dad did NOT like men, but I do; and I have definitely crushed on a 50 year old balding gay man before, thanks to the fact that my dad made me think smart was hot)

-visiting historic sites on vacation

-Renaissance/ancient music

-landscapes and the colors blue and green

-Calvinists ("ists" not "ism") My dad liked Machen, Rushdoony, Witherspoon, and Kuyper to name a few; and though I still have to read those guys I know I can partly blame my Calvinist-love on my dad.  By the way don't ask because I don't know.

-self-help (yes, my mom is not rid of diet books lying around and health food sitting in the refrigerator anytime soon)

-Leadbelly and a little bit of opera (yeah just throwing those in to make ya'll think, remember the days of Goodnight Irene, or the days of listening to Jose Carreras on the way back from swimming?)

-Francis Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Arthur Custance, and I'll just stick Garrison Keillor into this list for fun even though he doesn't go with the apologist theme.

-this is not a passion for me now, but I hope to follow in his footsteps and someday garden

This list may come across as being somewhat nerdy, but I want to add the disclaimer that I am in no way defining Robert A. Peterson Jr.  My brothers could each come up with their own lists of the passions that were handed down to them.  But I think that this list, though not all-inclusive, is long enough that I can safely say I am my father's daughter.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Songs about world peace and let me boast about God for a minute here

I am thinking about writing a book (being creative!) called "God has the corner on pretty much everything cool in the world" and writing little meditations on how God doesn't just give us a primarily sacred book, but that the Bible is the first to use certain folk tale literary devices or the first to record a party with music and food... 

But for now here's an example to show that "God has the corner on pretty much everything cool in the world."  

Song lyrics.

I was listening to a choir concert today and on one of the tracks the artist was talking about the vision of world peace.  I am all for world peace (which by the way will not happen until the earth is filled with the knowing of God, see here), but I think I am just a little bit spoiled and I will tell you how.  

I am privileged to sing about the multi-faceted aspects of God's glory and the meaningful ways in which God has chosen to connect with man.  This is huge and examples would not do it justice. Being in music education I am constantly reminded of how hard it would be to pick good choir music while leaving God out of the mix.  

I have to say that there are thousands of great songs on secular subjects.  In fact, my school spring concerts are mostly secular this year because I am trying to educate Christian school kids in art and folk music.  But in general for those with the more existential personality, a personality that is constantly looking for purpose and wants to sing about that, abandoning God means you are left composing songs about two subjects: world peace and recycling.  

Here is an example.  At a music educator's workshop recently someone shared a song with lyrics as follows:

1. I don't know your name, we speak different languages; We may not be the same, but I reach out my hand to you and I say... (then sing chorus line one)
2. ...we have different points of view... (then sing chorus line 2)
3. ...we cut different kinds of food... (then sing chorus line 3)
4. ...we have different holidays... (then sing chorus, all 3 lines together
Chorus: "Hello" in English, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese-Mandarin, Italian, Swahili etc.

After being raised singing about God, singing about diversity just doesn't cut it for me.  

And it doesn't cut it for others, either.  Composers used to be forced to write for church, but there are plenty of non-Christian composers that choose Biblical texts for the mere fact that those texts are the best ones. And I haven't met a single public school teacher that likes the fact that they aren't allowed to sing sacred music.  (Well actually now that I think of it I did meet one last month. She was explaining why it was ok to use a certain song about children singing to Muhammad. That song was historical narrative whereas she warned us never to use songs of worship in school. For some reason "songs to Jesus" was the example she used of what not to do.  Makes sense. Great workshop on eastern music, seriously.)  At any rate I know it is often hard for my friends that are under certain politically correct regulations to find good choir music and I hope it is not presumptuous for me to say so in this article.

It's bad writing to finish off by saying: "well... you know what I mean, right?" But I'm going to do it anyway.  

If you are a Christian, and you don't know what I mean, you need to pick up a hymnal AND you need to bone up a little on your music history because it is part of your Christian heritage.  If you are not a Christian, you may not know what I mean.  I want you to know that I care a lot about world peace, and I'm a big fan of diversity. Maybe we should talk sometime so I can explain myself further because I am not going to make this post any longer.