Enjoy and may it inspire you in some way to have a bright and beautiful day.
As I was realizing that the Festival of San Gennaro was right around the corner and I had done all I could to coordinate things, all I could, to get things moving as quickly and efficiently as possible, but was not getting as far as I should, things not moving as they should suddenly I was taken back in time.
I was reminded of the movie The Sound of Music and when she is walking down the aisle to get married, the nuns start singing “What do you do with a problem like Maria?” The song goes on to say that there’s many a thing you ought to tell her, many of thing she out to know, implied that she just doesn’t get stuff she ought to get. Again it asks what to do with a problem like Maria. The nuns had to acknowledge that you can’t really do much. There are those who will never be focused, never be like a laser beam with their ideas, quick to action when action is what is needed. There are maybe lots like Maria out there, who ought to get it, from how to treat friends and colleagues etc.., to how to be timely in their actions, reactions, have a sense of things, but don’t. Often as a result projects that we may have been really hopeful about, had lots of enthusiasm about in the beginning, that can get crushed when you feel you are dealing with a Maria, male or female, that type of situation, person. This birthday could have been one with a few smiles for me, but frustration from feeling like a lone ranger in getting things off the ground, moving etc.. take away the smiles this birthday. Add on top of that the fibromyalgia acting up, and my frustration with this Pope, the “social justice, PC” confusion he has created, other factors and not feeling very smiley. I realize also that I view Catholicism really more as a culture aspect, an aspect of heritage. My true Christian soul is perhaps more in line, tune with let’s say the Neighborhood Church of the West Village, that Protestant, Congregational type of Christianity, a strong sense of the church being the one to foster the arts. I guess my conflict or so called conflict, which I thought was about Jesus and who he was is more of one within my framework of faith as a Christian, in terms of “Is my soul Catholic or Anglican Conservative. That is really what I need to explore and I intend to, but how?
I think that seeing how I would feel, fit into someplace like the NCGV and still respect my heritage, including the Catholic faith, but really see where I feel truly authentic and myself, where I feel I can fully embrace the theology. The exploration really is about my Christianity, what does that mean to me, how do I identify myself, in terms of being Christian. This is going to be interesting, but necessary. As for my role as Arts Associate at MPB church, let’s see how that goes, if we can get organized for the arts program. Not holding my breath on that, not totally. I hope the church survives and thrives, really do. There has to be a lot more of everyone being proactive, efficient and organized, moving at a solid fast pace to accomplish what is to be accomplished. We shall see, only time can tell. One thing I do know is that the ballon of hope for great collaboration etc…has been somewhat deflated. Who knows it might just turn around right?
As I work with the church, as I realize I am on the right path as an artist and minister, as I connect with these artists I see echoes, the path not taken. Why was that path not taken? As I said in a previous post, this year my birthday has been a somber one and unlike ones in the past three years, I din’t really have any smiles or anything like that, just lots of somber reflection. I guess over 50 will do that to you. Why was the path of artist and minister combined not taken?
Baggage and fear at the root of it. How? I carried baggage from childhood with me into my young adult years and up until a few years ago. It was a heavy load and it created also fear, fear that I wouldn’t be perfect enough, get things perfectly right on the one hand, but so anxious to do that I didn’t really listen to the Holy Spirit as I should have for my own life. My intuitive side was great when it came to other people, dreams of foreknowledge about friends and family, discernment for them, all great, but for me, for my own life, the baggage, thus the fear, and thus not such great decisions were the result. If I had been able to let go of the baggage, the fear from that, and discern, I probably, even without any support from the family for my artistic bent, or from mom, I could have done the following. I could have joined a church choir, stuff like that and with that compensation, since college paid for private voice and acting lessons, since music is also in a way theatre. I could have built a career as an indie artist and songwriter. I had so many negative voices from that baggage and also some negative external ones, which I allowed to interfere. The arts has its’ pitfalls, no doubt, so a strong faith life, a strong boundaries spiritual and faith life, as well as community of like minded people of strong faith etc… are the way to keep you grounded. You also have to really let go of baggage, fears and pre-conceived notions of fame, fortune, success all of that and do it for the love of the arts. You also have to have a life and other interests outside of that, again to keep you grounded.
This birthday, my life has had echoes, echoes of could have, should have, wish I had done. I can’t change what was, but I can change what is and what will be, this is my opportunity to help this parish thrive, and also to put down the echoes. I also need to find ways to earn my daily bread with these gifts and then those echoes will be further put aside and dissolved. Life has been quite a journey and I don’t want anymore echoes unless they are of my having realized my full potential in this area and come into union with my truest soulmate, the man who is my truest soulmate at all levels including creatively. Now, I need to totally trust The Lord, not the voices of a negative nature. Don’t get me wrong if people see a pattern that is not healthy for you, even in terms of the projects you are doing not being right in line with the Lord, or not succeeding and requiring an overhaul of some kind, that’s different. I am talking about those voices that chip away at your confidence, self esteem, that do not value your talents in full or at all, may even mock them. Those voices you need to drown out with the Holy Spirit’s voice and solid scripture, prayer, poetry, music that will uplift etc… May all listen to and fully precisely discern it and our path early on in life, that is my wish for all. I look forward to great work at Most Precious Blood and also in ways that will earn me my daily bread in spades as they say.
The church is often mocked, the Catholic Church in particular, as well as the conservative evangelical. That is quite funny considering.
The church was since Biblical times, as was the King’s court, the main patron and supporter of the arts, the talent that was present in those times with the writing of the psalms, and if you read the Catholic bible additional poetic books, you see how the prophets, and those anointed in the faith were great patrons of the arts, since Saul was the initiator of Patrons, calling on David to do his magical thing with music. As I realize this and as I look at the history of classical music, the beauty of it, seems to me that churches should be patrons of the arts and sciences, but in a way that connects to true and conservative biblical principles. This is what I hope my work with my colleague Bill will achieve, this creation of a church that works with nearby colleges, artists that have connection with foundations for young people and even older people looking to start a second career. The potential is tremendous, but it has to be done with good planning, even obtaining sponsors, has to be done in a way that is well organized, solid proposal. Can the church be a beacon and center for the arts, for true formation of a right mindset in the Word? Yes, it can, it was in the past, and it can be again, but it needs to avoid being Liberal Progressive Social Justice to the hilt, or to any degree. If it does and stays true to conservative Biblical truth, makes the arts a vehicle for that, it can achieve that and celebrate the cultures of its’ members. It can be done.
Some links for your reading on patronage of the arts and the church, Catholic Church:
This is the first of a number of events I hope to coordinate for the church. Maybe if any of you are in NYC, you can register, I will see you there. If you can find it in your heart to donate to this blog, I hope you will and you can do so via paypal: email@example.com
September 22nd we have our Concert at Most Precious Blood and it is in connection with San Gennaro, and as I began taking the information I had found and working it into a poem, it was so easy for me to do, happened immediately. Then from there I started thinking of song, of improvisational song stuff. I thought of the importance of music to share the faith, how important the arts is as a tool to share the faith and culture.
Taking something, turning it into a poem, a song, improvisational performance, coming up with a song on a theme right there and then in the moment with just a single line or phrase given to me, no problem, easy breezy. Give me a bible passage with some basic background on who the intended audience was at that time and right then and there, I can give a lesson on that passage, on the layers of meaning, come up on the spot with a song. A show, spoken word, song, lecture, no problem, give me six weeks, preferably eight and I can put it together, fine a venue to sell tickets, promotion, not a problem. These things feel second nature to me, and when I am doing them, they bring joy to me, true joy, not for me alone, but because I feel I can impact lives for good, not out of some sense of anger, bitterness and all that. That is never a good reason to do anything, not anger that comes from bitterness, not destructive hateful anger. I realize that if that is the case, that if all this brings me joy, and I feel I am impacting etc…, coming from a good place, then that is my path, vocation. As for anger, yes there is righteous anger, but even that you have to be careful how you respond. Creating further division, separation, hate all that is not okay as a response. Forgiveness, educating, working to bring unity in and through Agape Love, mutual respect, also change in one’s own behavior and community behavior is crucial. Even when we use the arts as a way to impact, we need to be careful what we are transmitting to youth, to millennials. Are we teaching hatred, anger, division, violence to others as a way to handle any rejection of sin, or current political activity for example? I realize that my path in the arts and ministry means I have to really be aware of how my artistic work and all I do is presented. It is I think a wonderful calling and I hope I do The Lord proud in my journey. I hope I am blessed soon with a life partner to share in this journey with me, a man of faith, of the arts.
As another year has passed, I look back to my feeling last year at this time and the year before, it’s different. This year, there isn’t the buoyancy of those past birthdays, the heart this year had no expectations, so what’s going on? Is that a good thing for a bad thing? Well…
An old friend had a philosophy “Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst, always” I guess in the past I had set all these high expectations for the new year right before my birthday, not goals, not realistic goals, but a bunch of expectations, that included other people. This year, after learning life’s lessons that I have, I have not done that. I am hoping for the best, praying, meditating on goals I hope to achieve, that the Holy Spirit has set in me and are realistic, even if this year only the initial buds of the flower spring forth, it’s okay. The fibormyalgia is still here, not gone away and it may always be there, but so will my music, poetry, love of the arts and ministry, of the faith, of Christ. That is what matters. What are my goals?
Unlike other years where i tried to force things to happen had a whole bunch of expectation, high expectations about stuff happening, how it should happen, all that, not anymore. Yes I have goals and yes I will day to day work towards them, but I wont have a whole bunch of high to the sky expectations. I will strive to live in the moment, do what needs to be done, still doing long range planning as necessary to succeed, but doing my best to go with the flow as well.