An InspireSong Blessing Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

The InspireSong conference in Aspen CO provided blessings from opening night through the final Sunday worship service: testimonies, praise, performance, teaching and insights from successful writers, opportunity to share our own songs with each other and at open mic. The mood was always upbeat and positive.

Afterwards blessing continued when I got together with two other songwriters for some help with a song. That Sunday afternoon I saw fellow attendees Tony and David talking together in the breakfast area of our hotel, the Annabel Inn. When I asked for some help with a song they agreed.

The song was my "Moby Dick," a whale-sized song I had been pursuing since 2003. I was beginning to wonder if it was worth the effort. Skeptics, Scholars and Mystics, is a Christian apologetic song. Books on Christian apologetics can run hundreds of pages. Reducing that complexity for a song is a bit of a challenge. Various versions have run from 5.5 to over 8 minutes. I wondered was it too long? Was it too wordy? Was the melody any good?

We moved to an area with couches around a stone fireplace. The first thing I wanted to know was if the song was fixable. David had to take off for a bit to get some business taken care of. Tony listened to a verse or two and then had some specific suggestions about melody and said I should rephrase some lines more like natural speech.

David returned with pizza and asked to hear the song through. He interrupted during the last verse on Islam's view of Jesus and wanted to know why I was qualified to write an apologetics song. We discussed that, then he made some general suggestions about melody and phrasing.

Tony made some technical musical suggestions. David and he got into a discussion about if music theory was what I really needed. I said that I wanted both of their perspectives. I was getting good ideas from each of them, which was what I'd hoped for when I asked for their help. They are both smart guys, with contrasting styles which I felt were complementary and provided me with good help.

One useful suggestion was that I go back to my original chorus . It was simpler and had a more enthusiastic lift than the current chorus. It stressed the accomplished fact of the resurrection rather than giving specific evidences thereof.

So, I decided that the song was fixable, and that the length was not a problem with melody improvements.
Afterwards we passed around the guitar and sang some of our songs. I got blessed having fun while getting useful help. After the other blessings I received during my time at InspireSong, this was icing on the cake.

posted by J Lee Bennett on 06/15/2018

Memorial Day Reflection Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Memorial Day: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Baker City OR.

The day is bright and sunny as Gina and I sit in the truck looking down across the gentle slope descending toward the road. A sea of American flags furl, snap and roll in the breeze. One's the size of lap blankets or large shawls line both sides of the single lane paved and unpaved roads that divide the sections of graves. They are not cheap, printed flags, but are heavy quality banners. Each individual stripe stitched to its neighbor, stars individually embroidered on the blue field. Smaller, neckerchief-sized flags mark the individual graves of veterans, placed by solemn Boy Scouts who, as they planted each one, stood at attention and saluted. All the flags, both large and small, are clean and bright, not a faded, tattered or soiled one is to be found- courtesy of the Veterans and the Elks. Many graves, both veteran and civilian, are marked with bright bouquets of flowers.

While there is a section of white veteran's markers in ranks across the well-watered green lawn, the profusion of small flags amidst the tall family monuments and polished markers around them on other sections of the grounds drives home the fact that there are few families in this town untouched by war and service to country. As newcomers to Baker City, we have no relatives here, but we think of our own departed.

Watching individuals and families slowly moving among the stones, stopping to stand with bowed heads or placing flowers, we feel a great sadness in our spirits. Tears come to our eyes as the Spirit allows us to feel the sense of grief and loss being felt by some those we watch. We pray for the Lord's comfort and peace for each one who will come this day. Jesus is our hope and stay.

Leaving, we voice random thoughts: We wonder if this is the place we want to be when we pass. Neither of us has family here, and we assume that when we are with Jesus, it will make no difference at all where our remains remain. Is cremation or burial better? Does God even need the old body to create a resurrection body like Christ has? No matter, we are comfortable in our beings because of the Lord. We know that He will guide us aright 'til He takes us home and will take care of family and friends who are left behind.

posted by J Lee on 06/02/2018