Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chapter 8a: I’m the One

She wants an answer
She’s needs a man (who)’s her equal, but no sequel
To the last sir she turned away
Some think her moody
But, think…y’know she’s got her duty
To her heart and to those inside—SID March 4th, 1991

I have to admit, this one is among the favorites of my own lyric compositions. The answer/and sir rhyming scheme shows up every fifteen to twenty years—as evident in chapter 13’s “Cancer”. The light-hearted seemingly Pop-syrupy sentiment and melodic flow belies the staid “benevolent ultimatum” contained in inference in its text—ever gently conveying that at some point in time a choice must be made. Still, I imagine some may dismiss it as secular commerciality—perhaps superficially based on this song’s Pop style aspects. There is a definite structure reminiscent of The Corporation™ (Motown™ songwriting team) for early Jackson 5ive recordings.

In part, I am a musician today because of my friend Marlon Weathersby’s devoted appreciation of James Jamerson’s bass playing on the classic J5 recordings. To this day, listening through the “Maybe Tomorrow” LP always puts me in a good place. It takes me back to those pleasant summer days where he, William Brown (big bro of Weather Channel’s Vivian Brown), and I would hang out at Marlon’s—waiting for him to finish his chores. While we’d wait patiently, J5 jams reverberated off the shiny linoleum floors and bachelor-bare painted cinderblock walls. Over the months, I witnessed Marlons’s bass-playing acumen soar—from those seminal moments of his plucking out lines on a pink plastic toy customized bass guitar to the day he bought his first electric bass and amp, to the day he got his first pro ax: a black Fender™ Precision™. Marlon’s growth showed me that the musicians in popular music came from mortal human stock; if one man could do it, so could another. Five summers later—then, at the end of our freshman year at university, Marlon declared music as his major. Having seen how he had advanced as a musician, I could only assume his success and fame was imminent—as much a given in my mind as my ultimately being left behind were I not to follow him.

That said… My composing and arranging very free of the Motown™ influence is more a task than was my having done so on “I’m the One”. We all do speak with respective accents that convey our diverse cultural and geographical origins and influences. I am one who was born in Little Rock and had a childhood sweetheart, was raised in the storied Bluesy Mississippi Delta birthplace of B.B. King, awakened to the force of Funk culture by Sly and the Family Stone, classically trained on piano at the behest of my Jazz aficionado father, majored in Jazz and Commercial Music at university, graduated and moved to the Mo-town to join in with George Clinton’s Thang, Inc® label to subsequently work with Motown™ alums Sylvia Moy, Barrett Strong, and Johnny Bristol, Mμne-Pi® is my musical accent.

That said…

I submit that products produced by any created-beings are but distorted projected facsimiles emanating from the perfect Creator of all things. As such, any noises we things make only echo our source. We are at our best blessed gloves adorning the master’s hands. Sometimes those distortions compliment the source; but so often the distortions are abominations serving to destroy good and promote evil.

This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

In a parable, Jesus tells of a man of incredible means who sends out wedding invitations to those close to him. While text says nothing literally about praising God, getting saved, or repentance, its' meaning is quite clear. Perhaps for some cynics, the era of parables expired with the Lord’s ascendance—in much the same way that some maintain that the time of miraculous dispensations died with the last of the first thirteen apostles.

Built upon the Jesus’ wedding premise, “I’m the One” is one of many Mμne-Pi parables. It portrays a long-suffering suitor allowing his beloved to thoroughly consider every aspect of the full commitment to Him that He will require from her if she is to take on His holy name. He understands her maternally protective stance fuels her reticence to let down her guard.

That eternal awareness, integral in our very design, to allow our effective function as God-imaged children can be manipulated by the deceiver to convince us that we are all gods in our own right. Though we are created beings—having been nonexistent then all at once existing, we have an awareness of having always been. This awareness leads to a ferocious protection of rights to privacy. [see chapter 2 “An Atheist and a Theist…”] The children in this analogy are symbolic of our cherished right to make our own choice in what we do and/or don’t believe. For many, this right extends to their assumed right to not to be approached with any differing opinions challenging those they have adopted. Whenever their children are attacked, they transform into mama bears; and debate then becomes a dangerous game. As Christians, the cross itself serves as a warning label. Fortunately, the Lord is lovingly longsuffering.

Unwilling to surrender any of His beloved, He is understanding and gracious in allowing the uncommitted the time to decide whether or not to surrender their hearts to Him. This flies in the face of those cynical gainsayers who summarily characterize true-believing disciples as mind-numbed religious zombies, guided by closed-minded superstition and vain ritualistic liturgical legacies. As a believer who had at the time of salvation lived twenty-two years and a third believing not, I had to be convinced to change—and convinced again and again to remain changed. In prayer, I requested of God that He not let me be fake. The world of unbelievers finds corroborative fodder in any show of what they so readily will condemn as hypocrisy. They will accept any moral failure by those purporting morality as evidence that nobody’s perfect. And eagerly plant their flag to waive anyone’s rights to judge.

The central argument is specious on two accounts:
  1. Hypocrisy is wearing the mask of perfection while indulging in a secret lifestyle of selective moral compromise. Moral failure is most often mistaken for hypocrisy; it is something that we all experience. It neither disqualifies the pursuit of righteousness, nor does it excuse not pursuing it. The decision to submit to Jesus is surrender. What we surrender is feckless autonomy. Some decide not to decide; that is a decision that at some point can become the locked-in final answer.
  2. Judging involves authoritatively passing judgment and enacting punishment. More often than not, what is labeled judgment is usually a matter of opinion or discernment. We’re all supposed to have that right, right?

No comments: