July 6, 2017
Something dawned on me just lately.
Congratulations, right? I might add, what dawns hasn’t been the sun much so far this Alaskan summer. At least not for public viewing. But that’s digression.
Here’s the revelation (profound – you probably already thought of this):
- Certain people have narrow song preferences.
- Certain people have narrow beauty preferences.
- These two things are the same.
There are people who think only certain songs should be used in the worship of God, and sometimes these sanctified songs are from a specific range of time. That range is usually approximately equivalent to their days growing up, or when God became more than a name to them. Nostalgia slides into these considerations.
Personal preference seems, usually, the deciding element. For example, I grew into adulthood with soundtracks like these feeding my heart and life with God:
Songs from this era stir my spirit still, and quicken my being. They are favorites. I still play them.
Would I lift these as best, for current use for most Christ-believers or God-seekers, for expression to God? That would self-oriented and presumptuous. No, they have personal preference connections to my history.
Now, how about visual beauty?
Some people believe that only a certain kind of terrain counts as beautiful. Everything else is ugly, or at least non-interesting. Bleh. 89% of the world, bleh.
I was in a quartet during college days – four singers and a great pianist. Two mics and two clunky speakers. We travelled all over the Midwest.
I regret to this moment our merciless teasing of our pianist, the lone Midwest boy, from Eastern Kansas (seated). The rest of us were from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Anyone knows the Pacific Northwest is beautiful. Right? So, we had jokes abounding about the relative zeroness of Kansas.
How uproarious we esteemed ourselves one day as we pushed through Kansas toward another concert. One of us pointed to a single tree, the only one for miles in wheat country, and proclaimed: “Look, Kansas State Forest”.
Har. Har. De Har.
When you hear people arguing about which is the best state, which place is the most beautiful, it’s essentially the same thing: personal preference. Usually you like what is familiar and resides in your background. Somehow that gets baptized into a quantifiable best thing.
I have come to see and appreciate a spacious spectrum of beauties in locations scattered. If the Holy One is Creator, then it’s all from His mind. Did He goof up somewhere?
I happen to have doubts about that.
The Midwest now holds a serene, relaxed, slowed-down, finally-at-home appeal to me. I can see beauty just about everywhere we go, at least places that humankind has not marred.
The palette of color, texture and immeasurable variety in our world is not appreciated much by people with a white-knuckled grip on settled judgment of what’s best and for whom nothing else measures up.
- Some people like a wide range of music styles and enjoy them.
- Some people like a wide range of beauty and terrain and enjoy them.
- Some folks are self-limited to enjoy a narrow range of music.
- Others are self-limited to enjoy a narrow range of created beauty.
Do you see any difference between these two preferential issues? I do not. Certainly our preferences affect far more than these two examples, but they rise to the top most often in my circles.
All beauty in music and in visuals comes from the hand of the Almighty.
Maybe even things you think are not beautiful.
Preferences are valid. Everyone has them. I suggest, though, it might be enriching to live more broadly, without blinders, and with wide appreciation.
You love apple pie, I am sure. But only apple pie? Every day? For a year?