Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday Thinking—Fear, Faith, Faultfinding

I finally read The State of Fear by Michael Crichton. The book read like a movie, a movie someone forgot to edit. Though the setting was global warming—er, climate change—the premise was that panic created by media hype causes the masses to form opinions which may or may not be based on fact. I thought of “the state of fear” on the large scale, how political leaders through the ages have used it to promote their agendas and control people; but I also thought about it on the small scale, how I have allowed the state of fear to control some of my actions and decisions.

Walter Isaacson wrote in Einstein: His Life and Universe, “For some people, miracles serve as evidence of God’s existence. For Einstein it was the absence of miracles that reflected Divine Providence. ‘The fact that the cosmos is comprehensible, that it follows laws is worthy of awe. This is the defining quality of a God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists.’”

I loved this thought. Miracles work for me because I do not yet understand the laws (I dropped my Physics class the day I saw the feather and penny fall at the same speed), but the laws work for Einstein because he understands them. The beauty of it all is there is room for both our expressions of faith. Amen.

Last week Calvin and I went on a fun date. We thought we were just going to dinner, but when we arrived at the restaurant we saw a poster announcing that a live band would perform. We were seated at the table next to where the band was eating. They seemed like ordinary men. Their language was clean and their conversation, albeit much louder, was on topics as normal as ours. I would guess all of the band members were in their mid to late 60’s.

When they got stage ready, their appearance and personality changed somewhat. The drummer turned up the collar on his shirt, Elvis style and put on his sunglasses in the dimly lit room. The lead guitarist, who looked like he could have been Willie Nelson’s brother (complete with hair color and length which he loved to fiddle with) wore a sleeveless t-shirt with large armholes and virgin emblazoned across the front of it. He didn’t have many teeth and it was no wonder the way he banged his head back and forth. At one point Calvin shouted above the music, “He’s giving me a headache.” The second guitarist stood stiff as a board with a coon tail swinging from his guitar. Every now and then he’d make a lame joke. They were an odd crew and I had a hard time taking them seriously; their singing had some sharp twangs with some off notes.

The next day I woke up still critiquing the band. Soon this thought replaced my criticism, “Hey. And what makes you think you are qualified to evaluate their performance? Do you sing? Do you play? Do you even have an ear that’s in tune? Do you perform so that someone else can sit and listen . . . and tear your efforts apart? At least they had talent and used it for others enjoyment.”

And that shut me up.

I believe one of the downfalls of having competitive reality shows on TV like So You Think You Can Dance or American Idol is that it makes me think I’m a judge and can critique others’ performances. It’s my job to see their flaws. Rather than sitting and enjoying, or not enjoying, I’m free to rip the performers apart. I know better—“put up or shut up.” I’m going to do better about not finding fault in people's performances. . . or start singing in public.


Lucy said...

Interesting thoughts. We really aren't supposed to judge. I forget that. Got some work to do.

michelle said...

Interesting thoughts, Jane! I try hard not to judge, but sometimes it is so difficult... especially when watching SYTYCD or American Idol.