It’s a well-known saying; “Youth is wasted on the young”. I don’t know about you all, but at the age of 29 I’d rather waste a little more youth!
See, I’m a musician. There’s nothing as flighty as the music scene. Whatever current trend that’s happening will be quickly replaced in 3 or 4 years. Usually I’ve tended to “roll with the tide of popular trend” so to speak. But I think my days are running a little short with that trip.
I starkly realized this last night. I’m playing at what we’re calling a “Carol Sing”- kind of a post-rock get together to sing Christmas songs and hymns. The guys leading the band are younger than me, and way cooler. The youngest in particular- a great kat named Trey- is playing accordion, mini-synth, a glockenspiel, a mandolin/banjo like instrument, and an electric guitar complete with effects.
I come from a generation where we thought that playing electric guitar complete with butt loads of delay effects and gritty distortions was “edgy”. But I realize that the style Trey portrays, sort of an amalgamation of many influences of the ages, is now on the cutting edge.
So I could do three things in reaction to this…
- I could adapt. I’ve always done this well… at least I think maybe I have. Heck man, I’ve officially grown a beard. Maybe I could trim a few more off the waist and buy skinny jeans? But wait a minute. Would I look like a faker?
- I could assert my identity more. This would be easy. I could act like my understanding of style is better and more mature. I could make fun of things I don’t understand. I could fight to the end to prove I’m the “experienced musician”.
- I could get behind him, support him, encourage him, and give him space to shine. I could care less about getting attention for myself, and more about letting people who are on the cutting edge have their season, and then maybe each generation will empower the generation after it.
I’m gonna go with the 3rd option.
The last thing I would want to do is be one of those old dudes trying to be cool. John Lennon pulled it off his whole life. But I’m not as cool as Lennon. I don’t want to be one of those old guys that are still trying to take attention for himself. I want to be the kind of person that gets out of the way and allows others to grow, and potentially become better leaders and artists than me. All the while I get to learn on the way, and be influenced by different styles.
This is what Jesus meant when He told two of His followers who wanted seats next to Him on His throne: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. (Mark 10:42-44)
Normally, even us in the church, are trying so hard to be “hip” or assert our identity, that we forget what Jesus was saying. If all of us actually followed what He’s doing we’d see many generations of folks following Him, and feeling free to express worship, style and culture in the way they feel comfortable.
I’m privileged to be a part of a church that encourages this. Our lead “worship guy” Jim exemplifies this well and gives all of us space to be who we are without forcing his thing on us, or constantly criticizing us. I only hope that I’ll be the same for generations below me, and that in turn they’ll do the same for generations below them.