Thursday, May 24, 2007

Friendship Makes Strange Bedfellows?

As the book of James says, “God shows no favoritism.” So we don’t either.
Oftentimes the Christian community has sent the message that we love people and build relationships in order to convert them to the Christian faith. So there is an agenda. And when there is an agenda, it isn’t really love, is it? It’s something else. We have to rediscover love, period. Love that loves because it is what Jesus teaches us to do. We have to surrender our agendas. Because some people aren’t going to become Christians like us no matter how hard we push. They just aren’t. And at some point we have to commit them to God, trusting that God loves them more than we ever could. (Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, p. 167)

In the Fall of 2006 I was asked to join Bob Link, Randy Randall, and Danny Verdin to form the backup quartet for the Laurens Community Theater production of “Always Patsy Cline.” I knew Bob Link and Randy Randall already, and I really enjoyed getting to know Danny. All three men are fine musicians and we got a big kick out of doing the play.

Out of that performance, there came several invitations for us to come and sing … and it was kind of difficult to explain to people that we weren’t an established quartet with a ready repertoire. The only thing that we sang that would stand on its own in the Patsy Cline performance was “How Great Thou Art.” Everything else was just backing vocals. To sing for something else would mean that we had to find music, learn it, and rehearse it … and none of us really had the time … particularly at that time of year. It was hard to explain why we couldn’t just come and ‘wing it.’

We did succeed in getting together for one gig around Christmas time for the Laurens Rotary Club. I happened to have access to some good 4-part men’s Christmas music and we chose 2 or 3 pieces from those. To that we added a solo piece or two and came up with a short program that we enjoyed doing. We met at the church and spent about 45 minutes (or less) actually learning the music and deciding what to do and in what order. We also came up with a funny way to begin the “act” and had a great time.

At the party following the Laurens County Chorale concert last night, the Rotary program came up as I was talking with Danny Verdin (his mother, his brother, and both of his teenage children sing in the LCC). Bob said that even a couple of months afterward he still would encounter someone who was there who commented on how enjoyable it was. Danny remarked that he noticed that even people who didn’t like him seemed to be enjoying it. As I reflected on that remark later on, I think I’ve figured out that in order to serve in public office and keep one’s sanity, one must develop the ability to live with the fact that some people just may not like you.

I don’t know much about Verdin’s politics (I just don’t follow state politics that closely), but I have a feeling that we might not see eye to eye on everything. I might even strongly disagree with him on some issues. But agreement on political issues is not the basis of our friendship … friendship is. I find him interesting and quite likeable … and I am happy to call him my friend.
That’s enough to think about for now.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home