The Mystery of Music

There’s an interesting story behind the hit movie series, “Star Wars”. George Lucas wanted to bring a scifi adventure tale to the screen in a way that no one had done before. One of the ways “Star Wars” was to be unique was that it would have it’s own masterpiece of a musical score.

Previously, Stanley Kubrick had used some classical pieces in his scifi, “2001, A Space Oddesey”. Classical music is probably the epitome of disciplined and refined musical genres. Lucas uses classical orchestration to his own means as a background to telling his tale. It’s a very effective way to give an otherwise comic book story much more dignity and grandiuer.

Music has a profound effect on us. As a Christian, and a musician of sorts, my goal is to make my music become subject to Christ and His teaching. Like the fictional war that Lucas’ character, Luke Skywalker was fighting with the “dark side of the force”, there is a dark side to music.

Music effects us in profound and subtle ways that we don’t fully understand. Our sense of hearing is designed to give us an awareness of our surroundings, to enable verbal communication and to enjoy certain complex, rythmic patterns of sounds we call, “music”.

I doubt that music was ever intended to become the obsession that it has become to the western world. Many people spend thousands of bucks each year on their musical cravings. CD’s, concert tickets, iPods, boom boxes, mp3’s, music videos, etc.

I play guitar and bass for a youth choir at my church. Kenny, the director also plays for them and we work on lots of familiar pop and rock tunes from our younger days. We take songs and add our own words and make them songs of praise and worship for the kids. It’s a way for them to lead the mostly adult congregation into a closer relationship with Christ.

But, it’s a challenge to extricate the irreverence and attitude of arrogance and pride from many of the original recordings. One way is to poke a little fun at the original lyrics and another is to soften the hard edge of the instrumentals. The difficulty i find over and over is my tendency to let the music dictate how i play rather than the opposite.

It’s just one of the ways that God has challenged me to gain mastery over my own selfishness and pride and learn how to offer Him service, devotion and humility.

Wayne Hollyoak

What Happened to the Dinosaurs?

Many years ago, a child asked me this question. I didn’t know quite what to say and maybe i was right. Except for crocs and Komodo dragons, they have all dissapeared as far as we can tell for sure.

We do have a fragmentary record of their existence on this planet. Much of the earth is covered in deep layers of sedimentary rock and soil. Great reservoirs of oil, methane and natural gas exist deep below the planet’s surface. Perhaps the residue of a once lush landscape that was suddenly buried under enormous amounts of earth and rock.

The pressures of all that sediment and earth upon these remains has turned vegatation into vast layers of coal. Our economy today is dependent on these, “fossil fuels”. If it has any truth to the suggestions that dinosaurs died out “10’s and 100’s of millions of years ago, then all the remains of these creatures should have completely dissolved by now.

None of us can imagine the length of time just one “million” years represents. Living material, even bone and teeth were all formed by the most precise processes imaginable. They seem quite durable to us, but i have seen personally what can happen to them in only a few thousand years.

One summer i volunteered to help with an archeological excavation in Jerusalem. I handled many bones that were over a thousand years old and the were extremely fragile. If i even squeezed these bones just a slight amount, they would crumble in my hand. Even as big as many dinosaurs bones may be, there is no reasonable way to support that they could be even 1 million years in age.

After a million years, it would be impossible for any original bone or soft tissues to remain intact. Yet, dinosaur bones are often found with the original tissues, even soft tissues.

I don’t know what happened to the dinosaurs, but i am quite sure that they walked the planet in a not too distant past. Many died suddenly so that fossil remains could be preserved. Most likely by floods and landslides and other natural disasters.

Keeping Perspective

Watched “Winged Migration” last night. It was wonderful to see so many different birds close up and in detail in flight. Geese, ducks, sea gulls, storks and a bunch of others flying in formations. Fantastic animals, powerful, graceful, determined, traveling thousands of miles nonstop.

I wonder how they could have been engineered so perfectly and efficient.  Wood ducks, pelicans, designed with wind tunnel exactness and precision. These are no half-baked ultralite aircraft with wire and tubing and nylon cloth sewn together. No primative and awkward F16’s or fuel guzzling 747’s that are so delicate that they can only land on level paved runways thousands of feet in length.

Birds are the real deal! Snow geese pumping their ultra efficient wings with massive muscles for hours on end fueled with only a couple pounds of food and muscle fat! The narrator suggests they may be homing in on the sun, stars and the earth’s magnetic field in order to return to the exact place of their birth each year. Do they fly in “v” patterns in order to help fine tune their course by drawing from the recollected sight map from each member of the team? Who can say for sure?

How much time did it take to design each one? A day, a week,  a year? What tools were employed and how were the designs tested? Was it a solo effort, or were there “design teams” employed to work on a species, a genera perhaps? Each having their own approach to feather form and balance, food gathering behavior, balancing flight speed and manuevering capabilities. Vocalization patterns and voicing, land mobility and coordination, colors, style and visual appeal. Some like the magnificent macaws, seem to be painted just so in order to put a smile on the faces of men and women.

 How did i ever swallow the lies about hoakie “evolution”  and lame “natural selection”? I’m embarrassed to admit that i did and for a very long time. I did though, but never again!! Movies like “Winged Migration” really help me see things more clearly. Like the incredible treasures of love that our Creator has poured upon us.

Will we ever REALLY appreciate all the work that went into designing and sustaining all these wonderful and amazing creatures? I suppose thanking our Heavenly Father and Creator and Savior for them is a start, at least.

 Wayne Hollyoak