Friday, November 11, 2011

Part 5: Values & Practices Unpacked

A metaphor from Awake From Atrophy explaining Growth Through Practice:

[After demonstrating three chord formations on his guitar...]

Jacob strummed through a few chord transitions and stopped.

“Have I been clear with all of this? Would you say you understand these principles about playing the guitar?”

“Um, I guess so,” Randall obliged.

“Now you can say you know how to play the guitar,” Jacob said proudly. He put the guitar down.

“Well…I don’t know about that,” Randall muttered.

“You wouldn’t say that?” Jacob asked Randall. “Why not? Didn’t you understand the principles? Should I show you them again?”

“No, I saw what you did,” Randall replied. “But that doesn’t mean I know how to do it.”

“But I just showed you how,” Jacob said. He was using a very gentle tone to offset otherwise combative words—sounding curious, not frustrated. “You said you saw and understood. What’s wrong?”

“There’s more to playing the guitar than just knowing about it,” Randall asserted.

“Yeah,” Randall's wife, Laura, jumped in. “Playing the guitar isn’t just about knowing concepts. You have to train your fingers to do it. I understand the concepts. They’re not that different from piano chords. But, well, when you play the piano you have to train your fingers to move how your mind imagines. Playing the piano is fairly easy to explain,” Laura continued. “Each key matches a note on the written page. You push each key for the length of time the page says. An uncultured person I know, whom I won’t name at this time,” she shot a look at her husband, “has called piano playing musical typing.”

Everyone chucked.

“But knowing what the page of music says still leaves you a long way from being able to actually play that music. Understanding the ideas written on a page of music still leaves you a long way from being able to call yourself a musician,” Laura finished the longest speech Drew had heard her deliver all morning.

“Exactly!” Jacob exclaimed. “And I believe it’s the same for being a Christian. That’s why one of our core values is Growth Through Practice. We believe becoming a mature Christian requires more than intellectual understanding. ”

--Awake From Atrophy

The typical church design produces educated people who can barely play their instrument, so to speak. We need a design that's more like a live jam session with expert players explaining what they're doing, where we all try out new principles and get feedback.

Instead, most churches today provide a professor to lecture on music theory and history while members take notes, their instruments safely locked up in their cases. No musical mistakes allowed.

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