Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Ephraim Factor

On Sunday Lynda and I drove to Tulsa, met Sara and Richard, ate a meal, and brought 3 year old Ephraim back to Bella Vista to spend a week with us. Lynda's cousin Trish Jackson was with us too.

He is a joy to have around. Lots of energy, lots of chatter, lots of questions. He sings often, normally unintelligible gibberish, known only to the mind of a small boy. He doesn't eat very well, though that will change naturally, I think, as he gets older. He loves when we read books together. We've read books the last two nights that require us to push buttons for a song to play. He loves those.

So, I don't think I'll get much writing done this week. I arrived home late last night due to BNC Writers meeting. Ephraim went to be late, about 10 PM. I went to The Dungeon, with him still making noise in his room. He got up a few times while I was downstairs. But I did not have the brainpower required to really tackle any writing projects. Nor did I have the brainpower required to work on family finances. Hopefully getting home on time tonight, and getting him to bed earlier, will result in more computer time and more brainpower to get some things done.

So how does that explain my lack of production last week? On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday we attended the Country Gospel Music Association central division convention in nearby Springdale, Arkansas. Several of Lynda's relatives are in the CGMA: Trish Jackson, Leonard & Marina Pohl, and Faye Pohl. We saw them perform several times, as well as many others perform. On the nights we attended we generally did not get home till midnight.

The CGMA was started fifteen years ago as a ministry to those who themselves were in full time gospel music ministry, those who tour the land and sing itinerantly at churches, camp meetings, revivals. Eventually it attracted more than just the full timers. They started having conventions that were competitions. The categories seem endless: best band, best vocal group, best a Capella group, best new group, best male vocalist, best male full time vocalist, best lyricist, best whistler, best reciter, etc. etc. This provides for a wide variety of performances, and lots of opportunities to win something.

County music is not my preferred style, so many of the songs I listened to and found enjoyment in the performer's spirit if not in the actual music. Some of it wasn't really country, though very little would be considered contemporary.

I tried to draw parallels for the writing profession. Except for readings of our work, we are not really performers. Our work is not in front of people in a way that involves the combination of written art and joining of vocal or instrumental art. I guess I drew a parallel between those who didn't win the award they wanted and the writer's accumulation of rejections. I can think of two older teen girls in one family, who sang contemporary, not country music. One song wasn't even Christian; it would be considered secular. She was an excellent performer who has lots of talent and lots of "stage savvy". She didn't win in her categories, however, nor did her sister. They are new to CGMA, and were perhaps enough off the core of the "genre" that winning was unlikely. Possibly another group would be better suited to what they want to do: reach the non-Christian world with secular music that is underpinned by a Christian worldview.

I applaud them for that. That's basically what I want to do with my writing. Writing overtly Christian books is preaching to the choir. Now, the choir needs to be spiritually fed, so preaching to them is necessary and valuable. That preaching might keep some of the choir from falling away. But it ignores a much bigger need, the vast unreached majority of the world, including in the USA. That's where I want the majority of my writing ministry to go, and I'll stick mostly to that until led elsewhere.

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