Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lenny and Jesus

Dennis and I can become centrally focused on something. Obsessed would be another word you could use, but I don’t think that’s completely accurate. Fortunately, we usually become fixated on the same topic at the same time, so it’s fun and we don’t drive the other one crazy with our preoccupation. For instance, when we traveled to Oregon in 2007, we listened to bluegrass music throughout our travels.  Never before had either of us listened to bluegrass, but driving down highway 5 in a rental headed to hike down to Crater Lake, our radio(one of those kind that picks up stations for you without commercials-I don’t know, I’m not really smart about what these things are called or how they work) picked up a blue grass station. It made
perfect sense to both of us to listen to bluegrass as we traveled throughout the state. We didn’t change the channel; we didn’t discuss why we were listening to bluegrass except for the occasional, “So, this is oddly normal, right?” comment. For that trip, we were bluegrass.

Our latest fixation is Lenny Kravitz. I have always liked Lenny.  He’s good looking, talented, and he came onto the scene particularly strong when I was younger, had more time, and frequently watched VH1.  When he was cast as Cinna in The Hunger Games, I was elated! When I actually saw him in the movie I realized many things: he is still a very nice looking man; he can act; I wanted to know more about Lenny.

Dennis felt the same way(maybe he didn’t describe him as yummy, but he was interested in more things Lenny related). Besides one Greatest Hits album, we were limited in our Lenny music, so we started listening to more of his music on Itunes and picked up some CDs at Half-Price Books. Dennis also did a little research, because when Dennis is interested in something, he is totally focused. That’s why he can tell you almost everything about movies or bands he likes. He knows who directs, plays what instrument, produces, writes. His brain has more storage space than mine or most anybody I know.

One piece of information we learned is that Lenny is a Christian and is very up front about this in his life. I was surprised I didn’t know this, but besides the VH1 videos, I didn’t know much. So we started listening to Lenny’s lyrics, and sure enough I’d say-and this is a very non-mathematical guess on my part-that at least 50% of Lenny’s songs are about Christ and spiritual issues.

One song is called “I Belong to You”. I liked the song before I paid much attention to the lyrics, but then Dennis came in one day and asked if I thought this song could be about Christ. My immediate response: uh, no. This song has a basic boom-chicka-waa-waa sound. How could it be about Christ? It sounded more like a I-belong-to-you-naked song to me. But I listened to the lyrics after Dennis brought it up, and knowing what I know about Lenny, I came to the conclusion that he’s right; I can’t see it being about much anything but God.

This obviously led to a long discussion about a boom-chicka beat while singing about or to God. Lenny, from what Dennis’ research tells me, plays all the instruments on the album when he records; he uses a band only for tours. He completely controls where every beat and sound goes, and he writes or co-writes most of his own lyrics. So why this sound?

Dennis brought up the point that our most intimate relationship should be with Christ, and intimacy is not limited to boom-chicka-waa-waa, which is totally true. Boom-chica-waa-waa sounds are also only considered that because that's how we classify them, much as organs are considered for use in church(Lenny actually uses an organ, I believe, in the song "Believe").  If you feel like using certain beats and sounds to convey a message, why not? It’s our perception of appropriate or not appropriate in this particular case that makes it so.

With this in mind, I listened to “I Belong to You” again in the car when I was alone. I started singing. Oddly, it started to feel a bit like praise and worship in the Honda. I could see myself saying these things; I felt these things; the beat added to the praise feeling, it didn’t work against. I fell a little more in love with Jesus and Lenny Kravitz.

I needed this, as I have been forgetting God in the everyday. Lyrics from this song include, “I always loved you from the start, but I could not figure out that I had to do it every day.” Yeah, make an effort every day whether it is the effort to see God in everything because He made everything, or going to the extra effort to let my husband know I love him at the end of a 15 hour stretch where we haven’t seen each other, or make the effort to not lose patience with my three-year-old for chronic whining and my one-year-old for tossing
about 100 almonds from the grocery cart into the floor at the checkout counter at the grocery store. Every day. I have to do it every day, and I have to keep my eyes open and stop limiting where God can exist.
He’s everywhere, even in this messed up place we live. He’s in awesome Lenny Kravitz songs. He’s in bluegrass and spilled almonds and whiny voices.  I am the one who limts, and I don't want to be anymore.

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