Tag Archive | music

Beyond “cheap” and “easy”

When I first bought my house (which is a fixer-upper), someone told me the golden rule of hiring remodeling help:

There are only three criteria that count for any kind of service professionals (or amateurs, for that matter): good, fast, and cheap. You will never find anyone who meets all three categories. The best you can hope for is 2 out of 3. Which two, is up to you.

That has, so far, proven true.

The electricians were wonderful to work with, did quality work and were reasonably priced.

The roofers were very quick at their work … but my roof is still leaking.

I recently organized a Lenten study on food ethics for the congregation I serve. As part of my research, I listened to a lecture by Eric Schlosser (author of Fast Food Nation) who pointed out that the selling point of the fast food industry is that they are fast, cheap and easy.

I occurs to me, in both cases, that fast and cheap are thought to be desirable characteristics in everything from hamburgers to handymen.

I don’t have more hours in the day than anyone else, and I have less money at my disposal than many … and so I am often seduced by the wiles of the quick and inexpensive.

But this is the season that challenges us to consider that, perhaps, we were not made to embrace the easiest, fastest or least expensive. We were made for so much more.

The staggering beauty of trees in bloom, the grandeur of fields of purple, the lushness of soft, moist grass, the majesty and ferocity of thunderstorms … nature in springtime forces us to concede that God does not settle for quick and cheap.

I suspect that God doesn’t expects us to settle for that either. What if, instead of fast and cheap, we sought to surround ourselves with things of another quality:


My grandfather (who passed away before I was born and, of whom, I only know the legends of family) was famous for often saying: “It only costs a dollar more to go first class.”

Spring (and, of course, Easter) challenge us to a “first class” way of thinking, challenging us to embrace what is Beautiful, Interesting, Rare, Mysterious, Delicious, Melodic, Abundant, Important.

This Easter, may the risen Christ transform our lives … and our choices.

La Vie en Rose

After a long day of working on three different worship services and stealing away from the computer for a bit to dig in the dirt before the rain began, it was dusk and the thunderstorms had begun by the time I curled up on my bed with my laptop.

Opposite my bed are two windows that look out over the front lawn, which I opened to enjoy the sound of the storm. After much flashing and crashing, the storm finally eased out of town.

In its wake, it left the most extraordinary sky.

It was pink. Not the fierce pink that you find in a sunset. This was a subtler pink, a dusty rose.

With a backdrop of pink sky, the dogwood blossoms framed in my window were such a sight! It was a moment of pure bliss and I couldn’t find the will to look away.

The pink sky is gone now and the dogwood is little more than a silhouette against the night. But I am left remembering that pink sky and (not surprisingly) thinking of Paris, where the light is pink.

Lost in these thoughts, this quote from the remake of Sabrina (1995) came to mind:

Gertrude Stein said America is my country and Paris is my hometown. I’ll always feel that way about Paris. Across the street someone is playing La Vie En Rose. They do it for the tourists but I’m always surprised at how much it moves me. It means seeing life through rose-colored glasses. Only in Paris, where the light is pink, does that song make sense, but I’ll have it in my pocket when I get home, and carry it with me where ever I go.

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