The pastor plays the five-string bass, which his wife gave him. (She said, 'I'm the giver of the gift'.) I like a melodic bass--not just CCCCFFGGCCC. High Church hymns often have a melodic bass (in fact, early harmonies were four melodies sung in harmony--difficult to write and sing, but OH so beautiful to hear). When I write a melody, I then write the bass part second, also a melody, and then write the alto and tenor parts to harmonize with the soprano and bass and complete the four-part harmony. Even this is much more beautiful than having a chanting bass (eg, 'Jericho Road' and some other Low Church hymns). Get a hymn book that covers a broad range of songs--for instance, Hymns of Praise, from the Springfield, MO, publishing house--and look at some older hymns--say, from the 1100s to mid-1800s. See how the bass is written. Play some of those and see how beautiful they are. 'When I Survey', 'Fairest Lord Jesus', 'Mighty Fortress', 'Joyful, Joyful', 'Down From His Glory', 'Be Still My Soul', 'He The Pearly Gates Will Open', 'Day by Day', 'We Gather Together', 'O Sacred Head', 'O For a Thousand Tongues', 'Whispering Hope', 'Be Thou My Vision', 'Battle Hymn', 'Amazing Grace'. There were 20th Century composers who could write intricate harmony, too--Ralph Carmichael's 'New Twenty-third' is an example. Let's reach for excellence, as have people before us, and write truly great music.
I don't mind new songs--the Bible says, 'Sing a New Song'. I just want them to have quality meaning, not a lot of repetition, and to have musical excellence--same standards as for the old songs. Every era produces much music--some of it reaches the other artists, is assessed, is determined to be of superior quality, and lasts. Some of it never gets exposure, and needs to in order to go through the same process. Much of it goes through the process, is popular to varying degrees, and then dies. Previous era had songs that deservedly died--we no longer sing 'Do, Lord, oh, do, Lord, oh, do remember me way beyond the blue' and some other choruses of considerable repetition. Also, not all repetition in modern worship choruses is the songwriter's fault--some songs AS WRITTEN don't have nearly as much repetition in them as local church 'worship' leaders create by 'vain repletion, as due the heathen' of one PART of a song. In such cases, it's the song leaders' fault, not the songwriters'.
Some of the things on your 'bucket list' might advance you closer to 'kicking the bucket'--like visiting Angor Wat and Angor Thom in fierce heat. Yes, it is fascinating. It is also very tiring, and the danger of dehydrating lurks if you're sensitive to heat, as I have been ever since I had heat stroke at age 22. (For my friends for whom English is not your first language: 'kick the bucket' is slang for 'die'; 'bucket list' is slang for 'things to do before you die'.)
A friend says that ever she at age 11 saw a photo of a car driving through the carved "tunnel" Sequoia tree in CA she wanted to do the same. Then as an adult she arrived in California and found out that famous tree was ruined in a storm the next morning! She says the moral is ‘don’t put off til tomorrow what you can do today!’ I think the guy who carved the tunnel ruined it by weakening the base.
At a hotel in Siem Reap, I told one front desk person, 'I see a lot of Asian tourists here, and you look like some of the Japanese'. She said, 'I'm Japanese.' The hotel hired her so as to be able to communicate with Japanese business. I told her I'm studied a Japan unit in elementary school geography, in which I learned to sit on the floor with legs tucked under me and eat with chopsticks. And in college studied a course taught by professors in Japanese history, religion and literature. And I'm intrigued by Japan. I've read some books--Silence, for instance, about the persecution of Christians in medieval Japan. And Miss One Thousand Spring Blossoms, about an American businessman who marries a geisha. And I have some more on the list. Fascinating culture and people.
Also at Cambodia, I tremendously enjoyed being with a Danish couple. I told one of the Australian young ladies she looked like she could be from Denmark, too, and she said her ancestry is Swedish. I told her that the Swedes consider the Danes to be the party hardys of Scandinavia, and the Danish man said, yes, Sweden is so boring, they need to come to Denmark to have fun. I've heard that Danes have outstanding Christmas celebrations, so if Danes invite me to their home to share Christmas with their family, I'll accept. And I told the Danish couple an all-Scandinavian joke that he thought was pretty good and will try to remember. And when I was in Denmark, I LOVED the bread and the smoked trout. They have this dark-colored, dense, heavy bread with seeds and many other ingredients, and they have smoked trout and those two things alone make a fantastic lunch. Wow.
I love whitewater rafting. John Crawford introduced me to this in Stehekin, WA, for which see Stehekin Heritage, where John C Wilsey and Patty Wilsey pastor now. Later, I went in Nepal with various friends three times, and went in Colorado with Phil Day. Tremendously enjoyable.
At a church in Tennessee, after service, among the people I met were two college students, best friends, one studying to be a zoologist, the other to be a surgeon. Happy when people have vision, ambition, dedication to be all they can be.
That same church taught me to, when traveling, do your laundry at a daycare--there might be strawberry cake in it for you! All I know is they gave me some. A friend says, ‘There is something to be said for not feeding the animals, they keep coming back then..’
One friend suggests that I have a Devious Mind, but the next day I came back to the daycare and brought them doughnuts. You reap what you sow. They gave me strawberry cake, so I gave them doughnuts. They reaped what they sowed, roo.
As another friend says, and Solomon very nearly said, ‘Cast your donuts upon the water..’ I told the daycare people about 'cast your donuts on the water' and told them I'd fetch them more donuts or brownies while I'm out of town, and that I would not be adverse to cake. They assured me that none of them are diabetic and that the donuts/brownies would be welcome, but when I brought them more doughnuts, and I got home-made banana bread. As the ‘cast your donuts’ friend said, ‘Our God is a good God.’
A friend is trying to rope me into Saturday Sabbath observance. ‘Sabbath’ means ‘rest.’ In Psalm 95, God says that, because Israel hardened their hearts in the wilderness, God promised they would never enter His place of rest, and the David (identified as this psalmist in Hebrews 3) warns the people that still at that date, centuries later, they shouldn't do the same. IF we are faithful to the end, trust in God as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to the Messiah. Because of unbelief, they didn't enter the rest under Moses or Joshua--that's why the promise still stands--it did them no good because, though they heard God's Word, they didn't mix it with faith. This rest has been available since God Himself ceased His work. So God set another time for entering God's rest, and that time is today. The rest is our faith AND our Spirit infilling--as Isaiah prophesied, God would speak to his people through stammering lips and another language, that this would be the rest. And as Isaiah also said, the people who rejected this Spiritual transformation would be left to plod along, 'here a little, there a little'.
Wrapping up this blog by mentioning meeting in Tennessee a friend--we went to the same ELEMENTARY school (some of my younger friends probably didn't know elementary schools existed back then!).
Dr Watson: What detective school did you graduate from?
Sherlock Holmes: Elementary, my dear Watson.