Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.


Jeni and I went and saw The Passion of the Christ tonight, and all in all I'd say the experience was well worth it. The movie received some bad press before it was released, mainly by people who were worried it would be anti-Semitic. Neither myself nor Jeni (who comes from a Jewish background) found this to be the case. Yes, the large majority of the Jews in the movie are depicted as blood-thirsty conspirators in the death of Jesus, but so are the large majority of non-Jews. This should serve to remind us that the blood of Jesus is on everyone's hands, not just the hands of the Jews who gave him up to be killed or the non-Jews who carried out his execution. On another note, I felt that the movie was not as gory as people have made it out to be. What is more disturbing is the sheer length of time spent on the suffering of Christ, but I think that is the point of this movie. The emphasis on the wounds of Jesus reflect the definitely Catholic background of the movie, but I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. If the Catholic tradition can be faulted with putting too much emphasis on the humanity of Christ, then the Protestant tradition can be faulted with devaluing Christ's human nature. This movie was good for me to see, coming from a protestant background, because it has turned my eyes and thoughts onto the more physical aspects of Christ's suffering and my own faith, whereas left to my own devices I am likely to view these things in a more abstract and spiritual manner.

Seeing this movie turned out to be an appropriate ending to my week. Much of my time this week was spent composing a 19th century style art song. An art song is a musical setting of a poetic text, performed by a solo singer with a piano accompaniment. The music of the song reflect the lyrics in the ways that the composer chooses the melody and harmonies. The text that I chose, with the help of Jeni the former english major, was the last section of John Donne's poem Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward. (By the way, as Jeni pointed out to me, west is away from the cross.) I'm posting the text here because even though it's a little long it is really worth reading, especially as we move further into Lent and closer to the day we remember Jesus' sacrifice. The part I set to music is the line "Though these things as I ride be from my eye," to the end. Ask me and I'll sing it for you sometime if you're interested.

by John Donne

LET man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th' intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl'd by it.
Hence is't, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul's form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul's, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg'd and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God's partner here, and furnish'd thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom'd us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They're present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look'st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang'st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I'll turn my face.


Well, it's another day of class. I hate to admit it, but I think I may be burned out on this semester of school already. "Isn't it a little early for that, Matt?" you might ask. Yeah yeah, I know. I just feel bored, school is getting mundane. I have a relatively easy load this semester, but I have plenty to occupy my time with. I'm even learning interesting stuff in my classes. It doesn't seem like these factors should add up to a case of very premature senioritis, but it seems that they have. I guess the X-factor that I didn't consider above is the little get together that Jeni and I have planned for August 28th...that could be a contributing factor to my desire to be done with this semester. Well, anywho...I've got to go off to choir now for my daily dose of Milli-Vanilli-ing.

I have conquered!!!

I have comment deallies!!! (Jeni once again refuses to offer spelling suggestions saying that deallies isn't a real word. Well, every party needs a pooper. The blogger spell checker, which is a much better sport than Jeni, was willing to play along and suggested deli's. I think I'll go with that.) Now that I have comment deli's, leave me comments in the deli's. Hoo-ray!

Mmmm, Brent's...

Good, but Weird

Well, I suck at computers, I made an attempt at doing a blog feedback thing, but failed miserably. Man I suck! Suck, suck, suck! Hmm, yup. Whelp. Nothing else is really going on up here in the great white north, except that it's finally starting to warm up and the snow's melting. I just got a computer for my dorm room, so I won't have to run over to the music building every time I have to write a paper or use the ear training program. A side effect (affect?, no, effect) (I think) is that my AIM will be on a lot more often. Say hi to Love Your Squid if you want to sometime.

Jeni went to Montana for the weekend so I haven't seen her for two and a half days (death!). I'm pretty pathetic and do the lovesick puppydog thing pretty well. I can't imagine what it would be like living in different states for a school year, even though we did that not too long ago. That whole part of my life feels like a dream, like it never really happened. Come to think of it, I am often suspicious of the reality of all of my life up to this point. But of course, college doesn't really feel all that real either. I guess feelings like this are natural and expected after going through the death of a parent and a pretty major change of lifestyle. My guess it that someday 20 years from now I'll wake up next to Jeni and think for the first time, "Of course this is my life, what else would it be?" However, I think life is just going to get weirder and more dream-like up until that point. I mean, seriously, to think that Jeni and I will be leaving on our honeymoon in just over 6 months...good but weird. Good but weird

Overheard during AJ's first beer drinking experience

"Holy crap...I'm drinking porcupines!"

The Haps

Alright, so here's the deal. I don't know how drunk I was, but when I woke up there was a huge rock on Jeni's left ring finger and she had this crazy idea about us getting married. No, I'm just kidding, I was completely clear headed and rational when I virtually popped the proverbial question (meaning when I literally popped the quite real question). Well I guess its more accurate to say that I was at least as clear headed and rational as one can be when they ask someone to marry them. To think that in only a few short months people will be buying plates and cutlery for Jeni and I. That might actually be weirder than the prospect of sharing a bed with Jeni for the first time in our lives. Yeah, well, yeah. I guess that's pretty weird, too.

So AJ (a.k.a Andrew, Mandrew, Androgenew, and etc.) was quite thrilled with his time in Spokane. Or maybe not. I don't know if the fried oreos were enough to pull the trip out of the boredom fire. I didn't get it right in the stomach at any point during the week (at least I don't remember getting it in the somach) so it must no have been that bad. But I must commend the AJ for being such a good sport in putting up with all the ensuings that ensued after the proposing was proposed. Yup, he's a pretty good guy and it was really good to see him. Well, now that I'm done writing about AJ I can stop putting random words in bold. Phew.

Class started today. I have 13 credits of music and 3 credits of sociology. I'm taking one class in particular, Church Music Techniques, that seems like it will be a lot of fun and really useful at the same time. Other than that I'm taking all the standard music courses and playing a lot of guitar, hopefully.
Who knows if I'll ever get someone to actually pay me for doing this. Good thing I gots me a sugar-momma for life!

Well, that's all I've got. Sorry if I spelled Androgenew wrong. I asked Jeni the former English major what would be the proper spelling and she informed me, quite condescendingly I might add, that she only knows how to spell real words. Funny, she never has any trouble spelling her own name. I mean, seriously...

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