Sunday, July 18, 2010

Don't Stop the Music

My first introduction to "Contemporary Christian Music" came in 1982 by way of two duos, "Farrell and Farrell" and "DeGarmo and Key." I liked the Farrells, and I liked D&K too, but I didn't love them. D&K did have some cutting edge, blatantly Jesus-centered music. It wasn't until 1988 at Heritage USA that I saw what all the fuss was about. When DeGarmo and Key took the stage, they rocked, and I mean the totally rocked. Then Dana Key showed that he was clearly the brains and balls of this duo. He spoke and I hung on every word. I was hooked on D&K after that.

That summer, my pal Jay and I followed D&K like a couple of groupies. We followed them from SC to Atlanta Fest 88, where they rocked the house big time. Then to Augusta, GA, and even though it was a smaller crowd, they held nothing back.

What I really loved about DeGarmo and Key wasn't just their Memphis style blues and rock & roll sound. They were genuine ambassadors of Christ. Not like the CCM artists of today. They offered Bible studies and free tapes and they interacted with the audience after each show. That is, AFTER they took time to counsel those who came forward during the invitation. Going to a D&K concert was like going to a church with the coolest pastor and the best music.

When I ventured out in 1988-89 with my own music evangelism ministry, I so totally tried to model myself after Dana Key. If I were going to be a rocker/preacher type, he embodied how it would look in my mind. I actually got to meet him once, only for a few seconds. I hugged him and thanked him for showing me the rock of the Rock. He laughed. That was cool.

I found out early this morning that Dana Key died from a ruptured blood clot at the age of 56. The article on the CCM Website didn't do him justice. I probably haven't either.

One thing I know for sure, Dana Key loved Jesus, and he loved to rock hard. There will never be another like him.

It is strange that while I was working yesterday I was humming an old D&K song, "Competition," and thinking how cool it would be for a D&K reunion tour to take place. I guess we will have to wait for that until Heaven.

But be warned, it will rock the cosmos and shake the stars right out of the sky!

Friday, July 02, 2010

There Is No Spoon

You may remember that line from The Matrix. These words are also carved into the wall above the urinal at the "satellite office." I do not know why. It is an eye-opening moment for Neo when the young lad teaches him a lesson in reality. In order for Neo to be able to bend the spoon with his mind, he had to first accept the reality that there is no spoon.

I had an eye-opening moment yesterday. For years I have been living in  disappointment because I had this image of what life and family should be like, and, twice now, that image has failed to be lived up to. I have always looked for the magic in life. For example, I have wondered if I have ever been "in love" before. In my mind, there was no "magic" in my relationships. There was love, but it had to be worked at; it didn't just happen magically.

Growing up in a broken family, I used to daydream about having a "normal" family like all of my friends had. A father AND a mother. Not just mother, like I had. My parents fought all the time. There was no magic. After my father abandoned us, I used to daydream about him coming home and resuming his place as man of the house. At 10 years old, I was the "man of the house." Mom supported 3 of us on less than five bucks an hour. Money was always tight. Where was the magic?

I surrendered to the ministry and did youth ministry, prison ministry, music ministry, preaching, teaching, and missions. I had the minister's dream. I had a wife, children, a house, and a great church. After 13 years, my marriage to the mother of my three children ended. How could this be? God would NEVER let this happen! I once vowed that my children would never have to live as I did, and now I was faced with the reality that their home was about to be broken. Surely not! I prayed. I fasted. I begged and pleaded with God to save my marriage. I knew He could, and I believed He would. He didn't. Where was the magic?

I remarried a few years ago to a great woman. We combined our children into a blended family. I had high hopes that we would all mesh and be happy. Instead, there were problems. Money problems. Child problems. Ex-spouse problems. Pet problems. In-law problems. It seemed that every time we took 2 steps forward, we'd get knocked back 5 more. Where was the magic?

I have been looking at my life lately. I often compare myself to others and realize how I fail to match up to their successes. I feel like a misfit sometimes, and that I don't really fit in anywhere. I am 21 years old for the second time, and where is the magic?

Reality check.

There is no magic.

Magic only happens in the movies or sitcoms. Life is hard. Real life. There is no magic; we are just to do the best we can with what we have. This realization actually caused a huge weight to lift from my shoulders. My life doesn't have to be perfect, or even magical. I just have to do the best I can to love the people I love and work hard at my passions. The magic may or may not ever be there, but the joy of just living life seems to bring with it a "magic" all its own.

Besides, who really needs to bend a spoon with their mind anyway?