Morgendämmerung, oder, Wie man mit dem Hammer theologirt.
Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit id es semper esse puerum.
Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
Homo sum humani nihil a me alienum puto.
Semper idem sed non eodem modo.


Verbum domini manet in aeternum. The word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25, quoting Isaiah 40:6,8. Motto of the Lutheran Reformation.

Fayth onely justifieth before God. Robert Barnes, DD The Supplication, fourth essay. London: Daye, 1572.

Lord if Thou straightly mark our iniquity, who is able to abide Thy judgement? Wherefore I trust in no work that I ever did, but only in the death of Jesus Christ. I do not doubt, but through Him to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Robert Barnes, DD, before he was burnt alive for "heresy", 30 July 1540.

What is Luther? The doctrine is not mine, nor have I been crucified for anyone. Martin Luther, Dr. theol. (1522)

For the basics of our faith right here online, or for offline short daily prayer or devotion or study, scroll down to "A Beggar's Daily Portion" on the sidebar. For what that stuff in the banner means, scroll to the bottom of the sidebar.

09 October 2008

Tagged! -- Here Are My "Influences"

Father Hollywood has tagged me to respond to the following question -- What five people, past or present, inspire your spiritual life?? There's an additional rule, which is, being Lutherans, it is assumed that Jesus Christ and Martin Luther would be on the list. Which, in terms of direct influences not just on, but from, what I believe to-day, pretty well sums it up. My reading to-day is about 100% listed on the sidebar element "Book List". So the question really is, What five people, past or present, besides Jesus Christ and Martin Luther inspire your spiritual life? And my answer is not so much who has inspired its content, since they are assumed and not listed, but who got me ready, humanly speaking, to hear it.

1. Archbishop Fulton J Sheen.

Growing up in the pre-conciliar Roman Catholic Church, it was his weekly shows, which I never missed, that brought a greater depth and clarity to what I was taught in school in the Baltimore Catechism series. This was absolutely the foundation of my faith. In later years, I read some of his books, most notably "Life of Christ", which I have seen in Lutheran parish and pastor libraries.

2. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ.

Before the groaning starts, let me mention I first heard of him in one of Bishop Sheen's telecasts, who spoke approvingly of him, surprise, surprise. The Divine Milieu, particularly, was of great influence in seeing redemption and salvation inclusive of all creation, and far from being the jumping off place to heterodoxy that he was for some, to me reinforced the pre-conciliar faith.

3. Godfrey Diekmann, OSB.

The only one of the five I knew personally. He was a peritus at Vatican II and one of the leading lights for "reform", liturgical and otherwise. Though him and those around him I got to see "the changes in the church" from the inside out, to know them as those who advocated them, what I am saying, formed them, knew them. I agreed with him on absolutely nothing, but I can find no better description of him than the one Father Hollywood wrote for Pastor Marquart: "Aristocratic in bearing, devout in faith, articulate in discourse, and yet genuinely humble and ever ready to help anyone in need, he was completely fluent in several languages and was gifted in rhetoric. He brought a kindness and warmth to his teaching, which was always designed to make the material accessible to his students - no matter how difficult the subject matter. He was a true gentleman, churchman, scholar, educator, and above all, a genuine pastor." If, at the Heavenly Table, I have a choice for Communion distributors, I shall be in his line.

4. Rabbi J.H. Hertz.

Joseph Herman Hertz was Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire from 1913 until his death 14 January 1946. His "Pentateuch and Haftorahs" -- the Torah portions for each Sabbath and festival, with each's associated portion from (usually) the Prophets, along with his extensive notes and essays, was the bedrock for my devotional life during most of the time I was a Righteous of the Nations, ie, not a convert to Judaism but a Gentile who acknowledged the God of Israel and lived by the Noahide Law incumbent on all mankind (which, according to the Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts, it still is). His commentary exposed, years before time of the particular proponents I read in theology in college, the utter baselessness of the historical-critical school and method. And, understanding the Scripture from a Hebrew perspective did more than any Christian apologetics to allow me to see Jesus was indeed the Christ.

5. Friedrich Nietzsche/Richard Wagner.

Yeah I know, that's two guys, but as Nietzsche, the only philosopher worth reading, said himself, the two are forever bound to-gether. Though hijacked in support of things grossly at odds with what they had to say, as Nietzsche himself foresaw they would be, the two represent a re-introduction into modernity through new art forms of the Greek classical concept arete, which may be rendered excellence, not at all of the kind meant in "mission statements" littering modernity now. For a completely different stumbling across arete in modernity, try Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".

Honourable Mention, that being the rest of the guys who belong on the list if the number weren't limited to five.

Conrad Diekmann, OSB, brother of the better-known Godfrey, whose World Lit I was the greatest class of my life, as the ancient Greek tragedians and comedians (that's when a comedian was someone who wrote non-tragic plays, not someone who mugs in front of the camera to get you to laugh) and Homer came to life. His course on haiku was great too.

Gerard Farrell, OSB, an Eastman School of Music graduate who taught us music from the venerable Eastman Series, which is part-writing based on the Bach (the "Fifth Evangelist" and I sometimes think the best Lutheran I ever read, so to speak) chorales, which taught me to hear music as a linear event in time, making sense out of pretty much any music, and would lead to the next named person. He was also director of the abbey schola cantorum in which I sang, until he was removed and exiled in the pogroms following the Revolution, er, Vatican II.

Heinrich Schenker, the only real music theorist in centuries -- and who like Nietzsche and Wagner has been hijacked in support of things he did not say, though stuff about "structural levels" boring the hell out of college music students is not likely to cause the damage the hijacking of Nietzsche and Wagner has, though it may cost an academic his job here and there.

Lao Tsu, whose Tao-Te-Ching, if there is no revelation, is the highest to which Man can reach.

The Confessional Lutheran Blogosphere, especially the blogs listed on my sidebar element "Lutheran Blogs", who at first showed me that, whatever else there may be in LCMS, it is where Lutherans such as myself are too in greatest numbers, and now continue to feed me. In particular, the blogs by Pastors Weedon, Beane and Snyder.

That's it. I'd have put BB King, the other Luther in my life, Allison, and Modern Jazz Quartet in there but they didn't ask about music. I don't know who to tag either, since the ones I would think of tagging have already been tagged. So, if you want to be tagged, you're it!


Matthew N. Petersen said...

I don't know much about music schools, but you got me intrigued by Eastman. Where could I get information about the Eastman series?

Past Elder said...

Wow, this is great! Someone is actually interested in the Eastman Series! Here's some info, and where you can get some more.

Eastman gets its name from its founder, George Eastman -- that's right, the camera guy, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company. Since its founding in 1921, it has enjoyed a reputation as one of the, if not the, finest schools of music in the US and the world.

The legendary Eastman Series was produced in the late 1940s by Allen Irvine McHose, during the 40 year tenure of Howard Hanson as director of the school. While it doesn't refer to this series specifically, there is good info on Eastman if you just plug "Eastman School of Music" in Wikipedia. The Wiki article has further links.

As to the Series itself, you can get them really cheap on Amazon.

There's five books in the series. The basic text is "Basic Principles of the Technique of 18th and 19th Century Composition", which is followed by "The Contrapuntal Harmonic Technique of the 18th Century". There are related workbooks: "Sight Singing Manual", "Keyboard and Dictation Manual", and "Teacher's Dictation Manual" (this last is pricey but the rest are just a few bucks).

A traditional university bachelor degree in music has (or had) the following core: first and second year, theory, where you learn how music works; third year, history and electives; fourth year, electives. Lessons on one's primary instrument (including voice) throughout.

The first of the two books would be the first year text, the second the second, and the manuals throughout.

I don't know that any school or department of music uses the Eastman Series any more. For that matter, the traditional curriculum, using Eastman or not, is not always found any more either. Both came under fire with 1960s thinking as too Eurocentric, not "politically correct" according to the thought police of the Left.

Thank you for your interest. That's a ruddy cliche, but really, thank you for your interest.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Given the reason for my interest I wasn't quite able to see how to reply to your post.

Right now I'm thinking of becoming Catholic, but, like you, I am very frustrated with the pograms against orthodoxy in the sixties. But I have a slightly different approach than you. First, I wasn't even alive till the '80's and so I don't know anything about the pre-conciliar Church. Obviously there were serious problems, given the response to the Council. My exposure is through Tolkien and Chesterton and St. Therese the Little Flower and St. Francis and St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross and other such saints and authors. And there is not only a vast difference between the them and the post conciliar "church", but also between them and most literature from the '50's I've seen.

Right now I'm in a Presbyterian church, but one more high church and more "catholic" than the LCMS churches I've been in. (Particularly the LCMS church here in town.) And I believe that Presbyterians are mistaken about the Physical Presence, but that Christ is still Physically Present.

That said, though some of the leadership in the church would say very high things about the Sacrament, there isn't a cultural devotion to the Sacrament, and there isn't any real solid Eucharistic piety.

But the real reason I'm thinking of becoming Catholic is that they have Mary. Doctrines of the Pope etc. are doctrines that I have to fit, not doctrines I out-right believe. But I am rather devoted to Mary, and really miss her absence in Protestant churches.

Orthodoxy doesn't seem like much of an option for me because they are Eastern, and I'm really bothered with leaving the Western Church. And so I'm thinking of being Catholic.

But, as you know, the Catholic Church has been gutted. And so becoming Catholic, I think I'd have to work to rebuild the Catholic Church. And from my perspective the central problem in the Catholic Church is the the inferior music. Everything else flows from that. Get them singing Luther and Chant and everything else will align itself. And so I really want to learn to sing (I have a natural inclination that way anyway), but I want to learn based on 17th century and earlier techniques, so I can tell people about the music that is missing. We (all of America and not just Catholics) need to learn to sing again, and to sing prayerfully. How can you pray without singing? How can you sing prayerfully if you don't sing as a Christian, singing the Church's music? And how can you be a Christian without praying?

And the Eastman series sounds like it may be the sort of thing I am looking for.

Anyway, thanks.


Past Elder said...

You're welcome! The Eastman Series may be hard to use on one's own, with no teacher or fellow students, as it wasn't meant as a self-instruction thing. However, there is still great information in it, well worth the time.

If you want to really get traditionalist about this, get Fux' Gradus ad Parnassum and CPE Bach's book on how to play the piano.

Pastor Weedon may ausgefreak a little if he reads this, but there isn't a whole hell of a lot of difference between improvising from basso continuo in a Baroque ensemble and playing piano from the "charts" in a Jazz Ensemble.

One of my cherished dreams is brushing aside our "Minister of Music" when he sits in with the praise band and giving them some full-on, camp meeting, come to Christ and get saved Jimmy Swaggart!

As to what church to join, you already see the problems joining the Catholic Church as it is now. There is a vast difference between the church of the saints you mention and what you find now, and much of your life, should you join, will be in trying to either bridge that chasm or convince yourself it isn't such a chasm, or both. I think you'll have considerably less problems with trying to maintain a true regard for Mary in the LCMS.

But in the end, if you're looking for the "true" church, stick to the books the church said you could rely on -- Scripture. The rest, including the Book of Concord, are fine and good maybe, but they are tested by Scirpture. We hold to the Book of Concord not because we think a bunch of Germans in the 16th century finally got it right, but because the Book of Concord, we think, holds to Scripture.