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A cry for help:

I have read this through three times. I think it is the best article that I have ever read on this subject, and yet it still leaves me longing for something more concrete. This is the case of every other piece I’ve ever read concerning the good, true, and beautiful. It warms my heart to read and realize there are others in the world who understand. The problem that always remains for me is how to relate all of this to the glassy eyed?

I understand the concept of relativism and individualism, largely brought about by the influence of the enlightenment, but how do you relate that to a music director, whose eyes just glaze over because he has never even heard of these metaphysical concepts?

Let’s say you begin by explaining that his personal preference for Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, and Bethel music - or even 19th century revivalistic hymns - is individualistic enlightenment thinking? As soon as he discovers that the objective corrective of classical/historical hymnody just happens to be YOUR personal preference , he cries “hypocrisy”. I do so wish that the concept of beauty were not so much a metaphysical concept. I cannot think of a way to make it concrete enough that most people can relate.

It kind of reminds me of the quote by Lewis on children making mud pies in the slums because they cannot imagine what is meant by a holiday at the sea, except the quote is about a different topic.

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Thank you for the reply! I wish I could offer a quick, concrete response to adequately address this all-to-common frustration. I don't think music ministers will be swayed by mere words about relativism, individualism, etc. Our hearts and affections have to be changed. I love your reference to C.S. Lewis and the slum mud pies. It makes me think too of Lewis' words in "Abolition of Man" about "men without chests" who don't understand head, chests, and belly (passions) distinctions. This is what we must recover. We must recover hearts that want something more than just passion responses. We have to show that there is something more glorious so that others will see there is something more beneficial. Otherwise, musically, we will wander around in the dark, thinking our eyesight be just fine until we actually see what a lit-up room can look like. I am also reminded of Lewis' "irrigate desserts rather than chop down jungles" comment. We have to find ways to expose folks to the truly beautiful and then be able to explain what they have tasted and seen. That seems more likely to have success than merely pointing out the sad state of music in many churches.

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Also, if you haven't read "More Than Feelings", I talk a little bit more about these things from the perspective of "subjective" and "objective" beauty. https://jarrodrichey.substack.com/p/more-than-feelings - Maybe you've already seen that post from February 2023.

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I have been following just long enough to have read that article also. Thank you very much. I am sure that my issue is that I want a magic pill, instant results with just a few sentences. What you are doing in your classical school and in Moscow is the correct solution, and it is unfortunately - for the here and now - the long view. Again, thank you for what you do.

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