Wednesday, August 13, 2014

For Bill O'Reilly and the Fisher King

It boils down to “say what you mean, mean what you say,” doesn’t it? On O’Reilly’s show, the Factor, upon delivering the “news” of Robin William’s death, O’Reilly prefaced his remarks by saying “We won’t speculate at this point upon the circumstances of William’s death.” But not five minutes later, O’Reilly couldn’t help himself and muttered “When I first heard of it I immediately thought ‘overdose or suicide.’” The spin didn’t stop there, Bill. But I’m not here to bury O’Reilly, I like him and think he’s an overall fair and square celebrity talking head. I’m here to pray and praise the Fisher King. (I knew if I titled this “For the Fisher King,” I’d lose any readership from the start.)
“The Fisher King” was one of Robin William’s finest films, if also one of the strangest.

Directed by the eccentric American/British artist, Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame), it tells of the clash of cultures in the late last century represented by the downfall of two high achieving careerists. The primary character, played by the equally genius Jeff Bridges is a shock jock in the mold of Howard Stern who inadvertently compels one of his legion of unstable listeners to “act out” his rage against the machine by shooting up yuppies in a fashionable Manhattan restaurant. One of those killed is the wife of the loving literature college professor, played by Robin Williams. When the media makes the connection, the raging shock jock’s character and career, which was about to go national on TV, careens into despair and degradation. Hitting rock bottom, the shock jock goes to the harbor intending to commit suicide, whereupon he’s set upon by a couple of young, rich punks whose entertainment is setting fire to vagrant homeless people. But Bridges is saved by a band of homeless, crazed Merry Men warriors led by Parry, Robin William’s alter ego from post-traumatic event syndrome mode after his wife’s senseless murder.
Suddenly Bridges is confronted,  face-down in the big muddy so to speak, with the sort of people he really hated more than the pretentious yuppies he mocked on his show. He is nursed and comforted by the obviously deranged Parry, learns of Parry’s heroic quest to find the Fisher King of medieval yore. The Fisher King’s destiny is to recover the Holy Grail used at the Last Supper, and Parry’s convinced it is housed in a modern castle on Fifth Avenue. I have to leave the rest of this most redemptive, if quirky and certainly emotionally and intellectually compelling story for you to rent or view for yourself.
Bill O’Reilly’s first thought of William’s death, “overdose or suicide,” was not my first thought. My first thought, no less or more important than O’Reilly’s, was “As sad as this is, the news cycle covering Williams will displace that which ever so briefly and finally got the world’s attention on the genocide of Christians and other non-Muslims in Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria when the media was forced to look upon thousands of refugees on a barren, rocky plateau in Kurdistan called Mount Sinjar. Who will mourn with the fathers holding the bodies of their children beheaded by the corporate evil that tramples thousands of souls into desert ditches?
The intersection at which these thoughts collide is that alone we cannot exorcize all the demonic forces that affect us as individuals, communities, societies, nations and as the only species endowed with the foreknowledge of our own impending deaths. We have to cope with that reality, if only at the moment it is imminent and unavoidable.
The loss of life of most people, none of them sinless if you are of a Judeo-Christian persuasion,  is not an occasion for rejoicing or mirth, glee or self-righteous gloating (“At least I’m not like that guy, Williams, roasting in hell in Dante’s suicide suite.”) Neither is it an occasion for excruciating, relentless despair that wails “Woe is me, all is lost.” What folks like O’Reilly and Williams and countless other celebrities of good will remind us is that redemption will always remain an option for any of us who have fallen. And who hasn’t fallen? Redemption is not a state of being for religious believers only. Redemption befalls both the beggar about to take his last breath in a gutter in Calcutta, and Blessed Mother Theresa who stopped and realized all she could do for the beggar was to be with him in that last moment. And then our souls move on, hopefully in a more resolved and purposeful direction to “make someone happy, make just one someone happy.”
The poet Emerson’s famed homily, “to know that one person has breathed easier because you lived” is only one of hundreds of such truthful admonitions. But the one I like is “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know!” This is what I know- the quest for whatever amounts to each of our Holy Grails cannot and will not ever be a journey of solitude or individual perseverance. The cup of living life must be shared in order that its destiny is fulfilled. Even if Stephen Hawking, whose story and life is a testament to perseverance through monumental adversity, goes to his grave without having “found” his grail of the unified field theory in physics; even if the grail of a lasting and true peace in the Holy Land and all over the globe remains ever at bay, even if you give up hope, love, prayers and support for both your beloved and your “enemies” because  you alone despair that grail is unattainable,  remember that Robin Williams, whether as the deranged errant knight Parry, or Mrs. Doubtfire, as the hapless banker in “The Best of Times” or the simple standup comedian whose picture is next to the term ROTFLMAO in the modern lexicon, lived life as fully as he could, and gave much more value to humanity than politicians, church folk, and certainly merchants of death like ISIS and other evil forces masquerading as true believers and God’s chosen people. Williams said what he meant, meant what he said. You can quote me on that.

Friday, August 08, 2014

"God IS Not Dead." "Chant is NOT dead" either.

Over at MSF I've reported that our parish quietly heard its first EF (Low) Mass via a funeral request. That was effected by a former vicar who's now the pastor of a parish in a neighboring town who offers the EF every Thursday evening. I went to join a friend in the loft for the chanted hymns for the second time last evening. I'll revist how this figures into the article in a while. After returning from Mass and having dinner, we decided to "rent" a movie from UVerse and this week's releases included "Divergent" and "God is Not Dead." Having tried to view the first "Hunger Games" installment years ago, I realize I don't really do dystopia in this era. Once you've survived "Blade Runner" and "Twelve Monkeys" you've pretty much seen the best of that genre of film making. But the other night's choice, "God is Not Dead," is clearly from the "faith-based" production school that is slowly upping its game. Earlier this summer we took in a film about a young Christian teen breaking away from the plans her Contemporary Christian Music star father had laid out for her, and that film was, predictably, so two dimensional it almost qualified for a Flat Earth Society award. So, watching another film of that genre is a bit of a gamble, not so much with budget, but with time. I'm happy to report that "God is Not Dead," though certainly flawed here and there, is a very worthwhile endeavor. It's not "The Passion" or "Babette's Feast" but it had just as much content and interest as did the blockbuster "Noah." Set in a bucolic elite college, it weaves the stories of a young Christian student at the beginning of semester having to decide to enroll in a philosophy course so as not to get off-track with his accumulation of credits for graduation. He's warned by a fellow student that this particular course is instructed by a professor somewhere to the right of Nero and will likely become Christian fodder with the negative grade as the bow on the top. The Christian commits to sticking it out. At the first class the professor (Kevin Sorbo, a former TV "Hercules") somewhat startles his 80 students by demanding they expedite the process of acquiring the wisdom of Nietzche and Hume et al by writing a simple contract stating "God is dead" and signing it. Anyone unwilling to do so, he warns, will be the object of some ugly academic sausage making. Well, you can figure the rest. The Christian kid cannot and will not betray his convictions, and the professor lays out for him the consequences. Woven into the fabric of the story line are characters like the student's Christian girl-friend who abandons him because his decision contradicts her "plans" for both of them, a student from China fascinated with his first encounter with the conflict of faith at odds with reason, a Muslim student who struggles with her father's strict adherence to orthodox Islam, and the professor's live-in girl friend, who is a repressed Christian resigned to leaving her faith at the front door. Long story short, the student's exegetical response to the professor's suppression is compelling stuff, but not stiffly delivered or didactic at all. As the Cafe is about both chant and life, I offer these reflections: 1. We are dismissed from each Mass with the admonition to "serve" God in the interim between that moment and the next we gather for Mass; 2. If there was a movie titled "Chant is Not Dead," how would that story line best be told? Yesterday before leaving the office, I scoured the MS website for pre-conciliar daily Missals without finding a usable source to prepare for the EF Mass. But before leaving I also searched my library and found a 1951 St. Joseph's Missal. I felt so "Eureka!" and stuck it in my bag with the GS and PBC. As I said over at MSF, most of my EF experiences have been of the Missa Solemnis or Requiem rites. So, last evening, going through the Low Mass with the old Missal I realized the experience was yet another unveiling to my almost child-like visceral response to each EF Mass I hear and sing. I am God's child, I am learning the faith of all time in a manner not unlike children in the First Grade with "My Little Red Book" of stories ("See Jane run. See Spot run after Jane.") To wrap up this little soliloquy- from reflecting upon both "events" last night it occurs to me that we all could probably risk a lot more in the public square to witness to Christ, His Gospel and Kingship over our lives. That shouldn't be news to any readers here, nor am I suggesting any deficiencies in doing so among us. But yesterday's gospel in the EF (from Matthew, I think) mentions that if we're more concerned about our "rainment," we need to consider the lilies, not even Solomon in all his glory was so adorned." And as regards "Chant is Not Dead," I'm mulling over (I'm an idea guy, and a bit of an anarchist) about how we locally could do things like "chant flash mobs?" Maybe at the next season of the symphony in the theatre during admission. Maybe at the St. Paddy's Parade. Or like a few of us did at Indy before dinner at Buca de Beppo's (fabulous) restaurant, chanting the blessing before the meal. Pope Saint John Paul II almost hammered this scripture into the collective catholic conscience in so many addresses- "Be not afraid." In these troubled times perhaps we should amplify that by capitalizing the "e" as well, BE not afraid. It is an awesome joy to chant our praise and prayer to God. We should share it not only in our parishes but, just maybe, in our daily lives....somehow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dear Charlie, Sacred Music Advice Column for the Love Lorn Masses

I thought I'd share portions of an ongoing series of liturgical catechesis articles that I contribute to the  parish monthly newspaper. I asked staffers and musicians alike to ask one particular question about sacred/liturgical music via email, and then like Dear Abby ®
, I could answer them with a particular emphasis on local considerations. Enjoy.


Why do the violinists at both St, Mary's and Holy Family not have any microphones to amplify those beautiful instruments?  They should!


Interesting question, in that one has to consider is the issue about hearing the instruments or about the necessity of microphones and sound systems at use in our churches? TCCoV’s four worship buildings have vastly different acoustical properties, and three of the churches have recently renovated their public address technology. But in the 21st century, people experience audibility primarily that is amplified for live spoken or music events. 60 years ago at the LJ Williams Theater, not one Redwood High or COS musical used a single microphone on stage or in the orchestra pit. But now, not only are there huge PA systems there, but also at tiny venues like the Rotary, El Diamante or Main Street Theatre, and every performer has a personal “Britney Spears” facial microphone.
At worship, our documents actually comment upon the reality that, save for the celebrant’s orations and homily, and the reading of scriptures, “natural” acoustical sound is the ideal, especially as regards music. Now we know that ideal cannot be upheld as hearing the sacred texts of Mass, whether spoken or sung, is a necessary aspect to comprehensibility and understanding. That reality enables us to participate in many ways. But we need to ask all who address our congregations to not regard the microphone and its volume levels to solve all audio needs. Lectors, deacons, priests, singers need to learn that projection and pronunciation is a better solution than merely talking at a conversational level to hundreds of people.
With instruments like the violin, or the flute, the audio range they perform in is in the treble, or upper frequencies of musical pitches. In normal practice at Mass, if they are not heard, the likely cause is there is some unbalance between those instruments and the piano, organ or guitars. But if you amplify the violins, you alter the natural tone, or timbre of that instrument, just like a singer can whisper and croon into a microphone, which is inappropriate for singing at worship.
So my short solution for those who are more attracted to the subtle nuances of flutes, horns, clarinets and violins, sit in various different sections of each church and discover where the natural sound is easily appreciated. Microphones do not solve all audio issues, nor should we expect them to.
Is it possible to have the song during communion be quietly instrumental rather than sung?
The short answer is a qualified “No.” The reason being is that every single Vatican (universal) document from the Council of Trent, through councils Vatican I and II, and particularly those of the twentieth century from S.Pius X, Pius XII, and S. John XXIII, S. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and their curial associates have reaffirmed that the singing of certain and particular scriptural texts (primarily from Psalms) is an integral, non-dispensable aspect that must attend the “hearing” of Mass.
However, we also know that tradition and history have provided different degrees of Mass forms, from the highest-Solemn High Mass, the Missa Cantata (not completely sung), and of course, the Low Mass with or without the so-called four hymn sandwich that became normative in the 20th century. And in previous centuries the only music heard in many western churches was that of the pipe organ with no singing whatsoever. So that’s the long answer. Quiet organ music is not prohibited during the processions, but it is not normative nor the ideal. Organs cannot sing the Word, only human voices can offer that back to God.
And a three for the price of one!
Should there be music at ALL masses? Is vocal music participation any different liturgically than instrumental?

Is listening any less full and active participation than actually singing?

Is not understanding the words being sung ie: any other language than ones own still full and active participation?
I think my answer to the quiet instrumental question above more or less addresses the last portion of the first questions. Regarding the first portion, it is not legislated that every Mass have any musical component whatsoever. Whether or not the notion of the “quiet Mass” springs from the British/Orange suppression of Catholicism in the Tudor era and since in Ireland, and was simply customarily transferred to Maryland and the rest of the colonies afterwards is a matter of history and interpretation. Where we get into difficulties is in reconciling the sanctioned Low Mass, or Missa Lecta of the Pius V/John XXIII Missal, with the reformed Mass of Paul VI. The clear intent of the council (VII) and its pro-genitors Pius X/XII, was that the Mass be engaged more fully by the sung participation of the faithful in the pews, according to the prescribed offices of who sang what when?
Second question: “No” if the heart of the listener is pre-disposed to listen actively and fully. Turning the tables on the question, a person who is singing whatever hymn, chant or song during the Mass without an equally pre-disposed heart meant for worship of God, is not de facto “actively participating” by the mere physical act of singing. One can perfunctorily sing “Happy Birthday” to someone in a massive office environment without really meaning it quite easily. Singing “On Eagles’ Wings” because it’s so darn purdy is hardly a faithful act of honest praise to God.
Third question answered by another question: You’re in Vatican City. You’re in St. Peter’s. Pope Francis is the celebrant for Mass. He, the lectors, the deacons, the choir and the ubiquitous “ALL” have and are following on ordo of an Italian language Missal. But, during the penitential rite the schola chants (with congregational responses) the “Kyrie” in Greek and the “Gloria” in Latin (de Angelis, most likely.) Do you, as an interested, pre-disposed Catholic there to partake in all of worship, feel less than involved because your primary language is English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Tagolog or Hmong? Of course not.
But somehow, here in the plurality of the US of A, and sanctioned by the sensibilities of bishops and celebrants for decades, we think that comprehension of every slight detail as well as the whole picture of the ritual has a profound effect upon our having “actively, fully participated” in the post-conciliar Mass. Nothing could be further from the truth. The language is incidental to the ritual; we need it because it’s all we have in this “veil of tears” to offer fit praise to the Creator of language.
If we use the canard of the vernacular to be the betterment of the ritual because of comprehensibility, we’re putting all our sensory and metaphysical marbles into one basket. That’s not real ritual. That’s hedging one’s bets.
Can you tell me how the music is coordinated, by hymn, chant or song that is in sync with the liturgy? 
What the sung music of the liturgy, whether the Ordinary or the Propers (the assigned texts to be sung for the day, just like there are reading assigned to each day’s Mass), must do is be is some sort of concerted effort to understand the Liturgical Calendar of Sundays and Feasts, and the two year cycle for Daily Masses in the Lectionary, and then acknowledge that effort by choosing music that is as close to those assigned scripture passages as possible. This is the big secret just now starting to be understood by more and more priests and musicians after 50 years of wandering through suggestion pamphlets and digests.
Some progressive folk still argue that songs for the Entrance, Offertory (Presentation! Or Hymn of the Day) and Communion should reflect the liturgical action being enacted at those times. Nope! Not that such thinking is wrong, it’s just at a lower priority of discernment than the Church Herself has handed us. We’ve been given extraordinarily apt texts for primarily (as I see it) the Introit/Entrance and the Communio/Communion singing. And they exist in the three styles and others (choral polyphony/homophony) as well: chant, hymn and song.
If one wants to examine this up close and personal, look at the Entrance and Communion antiphons in the Missalette from Easter Sunday to Sixth Sunday Easter. They are in bold print without music. For 6th Sunday of Easter, you will find a reference to the apostle Phillip which only occurs in the Gospel for thay Sunday in the “A” cycle of the three years. It doesn’t get any more specific than that, and ties, unifies and strengthens the bond between the two liturgies, that of the Word and Eucharist.
So, in counseling music directors, cantors and choir leaders, I have for years now brought this reference to the foreground. We may find that our parishes will gravitate towards consolidation of this most Catholic of liturgical expressions even further in the near future.
What can the music ministry, or we, do to improve in devoting yourself/ourselves to the Lord when we sing at church?
Well, like they answer the question “How do we get to Carnegie Hall?” the answer is always “Practice.” And by practice, I mean try to improve your skills in the choir, or in the pews, intentionally and with love and patience with yourself. God doesn’t care actually what words or songs we choose and use to praise and pray to Him, but He sure cares (I believe) that we try to show Him that love, affection and trust that we would risk singing in public His majesty. Even if you’re tone-deaf, to God you just sing in harmony!


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Another Gaudete Sunday, in a Yellow Submarine?

Music. God's. Greatest. Gift. Someone of my disposition could never have imagined that a transformative event fifty years ago, same day, same date save for the half-century, would elicit the earily identical existential feelings, thoughts and cosmic synchronicity a SECOND TIME in one's life, propelled by the congealed charisms and talent of four of God's greatest evangelists in all of history. The Celebration of the debut of the Beatles to America on the Ed Sullivan show has been long chronicled, clarioned, critiqued and crowned as almost a cosmic singularity in the cultural life of humanity's unfolding story. Tonight's event proves none of that amounts to hyperbole. It can't be talked about tonight, right after taking it all in, albeit appropriately again in front of a two dimensional visual mechanism. As a musician, a Roman Catholic and a Roman Catholic musician, I won't dishonor or do disservice by some immediate, contrived commentary linking the worlds I've inhabited since my adolescence with total devotion to each, both and as might be projected, one in a unified field theory of music's genesis and essence. So, that's enough of that, for NOW. Suffice it to say, let it be said that all the smug doubters of yesteryear to the last few day's buildup touting the Stones or the Who or Zeppelin, tonight's concert with the two remaining members of those beautiful boys of February 9, 1964 not only upright and breathing, proved that the Beatles were always, at heart, a bona fide ROCK AND ROLL band besides the most evolutionary musical enterprise in popular music ever. Un-freaking-believable, b'lieve in dat.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Almost Christmas, dear stalker/perp

I know you're like the gift that keeps on giving.
I know that you think and will still think that your little love notes left on the chairs to me must be having an effect, otherwise why would I be composing this brief response?
I know you must believe in your heart, such as it is, that you're accomplishing something by your behaviors and tactics such as the above.
And I wish I could make your dreams come true. But I'm not God. And, as I hope you know, neither are you. But if your prayers, what e'er they be, are truth in spirit, then God may grant you exactly what you want, as only you and He know what exactly they may be.

From my vantage point, I cannot grant you whatever you want to happen. Who knows, if you'd ever,  over the last 21 years or the last five when you got actively involved in your chicanery, let anyone know what it actually you want to occur, redress, undo, whatever...no matter if it's based in righteousness, truth and justice, it might evoke some sympathy if nothing else.

But, as it is, you're only evidencing some very good and clever skills as a prankster and a stalker. This, of course, makes you also a perpetrator. And if you are who I think (know) you are, being a  perpetrator is not foreign territory in the map of your life.

We all have made tens of thousands of mistakes in each of our lives, for which God will provide the opportunity for refinement and purification to those souls whom He knows yet longs for Him. I pray for you to receive a sense of the innocence, vulnerability, poverty and promise this Christmas that we celebrate in the birth of God incarnate, as a baby.

And, if you're the Christian I hope you are, you'll extend that prayer my ways as befits those of us who profess Him Lord.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Now that we're "sharing"....forgive the fast forward.

I thought I might illuminate a few instances of my youthful memories, out of sequence as is my perogative as bloghost, in order to point out that most of us have some fairly unpleasant and extremely formative events that shape who we become, whether from childhood or from our adult experiences.
As I might or not have made clear, my dad, after having a vessel sunk underneath him and surviving, was altered forever. He had some local help, but from anecdotal stories from his youngest brother, when he was sixteen he was a comic of the first order, having frustrated his father from some indiscretion by climbing a tree. But not like Zaccheus, he was up there to avoid a whupping. My uncle's recollection doesn't say whether my grandfather was amused or not. My grandfather was definitely not amused when, after a drunken brawl that my dad and his virtual twin brother (his next oldest sibling), both swabs, helped instigate at an Army bar outside of Fayetteville that first engaged the MP's and local deputies, but then had the outcome of the Sheriff calling upon my grandfather, a locally respected figure, informing him that my dad, the youngest, was to be banished from the whole of Cumberland County. He left on a train to Texas immediately.
Here are the two unpleasant realities of the cumulative fates my father endured:
When we (my sister and I) were approaching bed time one night when we were not even adolescents) Dad came home snockered as usual, got mad at Mom (as usual), escalated the  fulcrum of the dispute (which us kids had no idea was, other than his arriving drunk as usual), compelled us kids to both come to the door of the kitchen only to see our father pull the longest, fattest steak knife out of the cupboard and advance towards Mom. What to do? I grabbed my sister (an act of self-preservation that I've regretted nonetheless the outcome ever since) and bolted out the front door past the convent and down the front lawn of St. Leo's School to the driveway of the rectory.

Like a miracle our Mom pulls up in her car, sweeps us up and assuringly takes us to her and our best friend's house for the night. Survival at the primal level. But as we now know is normal, Mom relented and we were back at home within a day or two.

Two: my sister and I are both teen-aged. Dad's somehow survived his alcoholism and a head on collision on the Nimitz (now I-80) immediately after a stomach-ectomy from acute ulceritis. He recuperates.

But the demon is relentless. So one evening, it was still light in California, he shows up early, drunk. That is now a given. As I recall there are some loud and contentious words exchanged in dispute, but that also was standard operating procedure. But their argument is taken upstairs and becomes more audiobly violent. I choose to go upstairs and burst through their bedroom door. Dad is at once both violent and embarrassed. Mom is, if I recall correctly, clothed and on their bed sideways. My dad is compelled to explain to me that he was violent only because his wife refused his entrities of affection. I'm old enough to do the math.
Unexpectedly, he moves toward my mother as if that declaration to all was sufficient to rectify his behavior. But I, maybe fourteen/fifteen, stand in his way and make it verbally clear that whatever he wanted was not going to eventuate. He sobs.]
I don't recall the rest of the evening.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

WHAT SWEETER MUSIC, what bitter irony

Our Schola performed Mark Hayes' WHAT SWEETER MUSIC for our annual Nativity Concert this afternoon. We also added some single pieces prior. This has been a quite taxing year and fall/winter. Happily, this cantata, as all of Mark Haye's work is demanding but not esoterically demanding.
The audience that came was beyond expectation, even after 21 years of concertizing for both paschal and nativity seasons. We printed 200 programs and they were virtually all taken up. Thank you, people of TCCoV. The concert came in at about an hour ten.
For my part, I was so proud of my basses, the two of them, who so kept in sync and never missed some very exposed entrances on David Basden's amazing AVE MARIA. And so enamoured of my wife (and daughter), but when my wife of soon forty years sailed up to high G's, I couldn't have been more humbled to be her husband. The remainder of the concert, not recorded by any of us, will be told by those in attendance. It's spirit was so ALIVE.
The irony. As soon as the concert was over I had to leave to do music ministry for our mission church out in Goshen. Why is that ironic? The two people who, by deliberate action of their own volition precipitated the dismissal of two incredible Christians and musicians from our team, and who ultimately desire the implosion and destruction of 21 years of music ministry of which one of them was invited to rejoin after a self-imposed resignation, had the hubris to attend the concert. What did they expect to encounter? Disarray? Open wounds from their assault upon the parish integrity? Well, look, listen and behold. Weave your false web of deceptions and falsehoods and self-righteous condemnation, we are NOT GOING AWAY. We are of Christ. I cannot say to whom you've sworn allegiance. We sing for Christ, the Living Son of God, the founder of our Church and the path to the Father Almighty. That's it. Either you get that or you don't. But, in ironic parody of the civil rights anthem, "You sha'n't overcome."
Do well. Seek forgiveness and repentence as all of us have. The injury you so lament was self-inflicted and whatever salve you seek in civil society cannot, therefore, be expected from the Lord of Life. I have turned cheek after cheek and will proceed to continue thus. But you will not prevail. Because the power of Christ will compel you to cease your infestation. Repent now, while you can. Because I will still go to Goshen because of you, I will not renounce nor relent from what I know, in my heart, is right and of God.
I hope you enjoyed what part of the concert you stayed to hear. It truly was sweeter music than the discord you have played for years, if not decades. For my part, I truly wish peace upon your souls. I can do no further.