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.


Why I Could Never be a Chef (Sorry, Gravy)

A few weeks ago I put up this post about the crossroads I have found myself at in life. To recap, the question it posed was: Should I pursue further training and a career in either academic religion or ministry or should I continue down my path of becoming awesome guitar-man? It also posed the question: Can I do both? Well, as I disclosed a few days ago, I am now applying to the Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama in Glasgow to continue studying guitar.

I would love to go into academic theology. In my undergraduate experience I only did a limited amount of research driven work, but I loved it. I love crawling into books to see what's inside. I love starting a project with only a small idea of what I'm getting into and then becoming immersed in the ideas and opinions of others then and forming ideas and opinions of my own where before I had none. I love diving head first into just about anything. I love giving hours to the most mind numbing of endeavors. Chalk it up to my A.S.D.*, I guess.

The biggest problem with pursuing an academic degree is the 'giving hours' part. As it stands, my hours are spoken for. If I were to pursue such a degree, I'd pretty much be chucking my guitar out the window. I've been playing classical guitar for 5 years. At the point where I am now it takes about 2 hours a day to maintain the status quo. To advance takes more time than that. Add to that the fact that extended typing renders my hands nearly incapable of playing guitar, and it becomes clear that academic study and guitar playing are mutually exclusive activities at the moment.

One of the things that really brought me down upon arriving in Edinburgh was the realization that my undergraduate degree in guitar prepared me for little else than to pursue a master's degree in guitar. I no longer think that in despair. If that's what I've prepared myself for, than that's what I've prepared myself for. I've decided to do what I've prepared myself for. I've also decided that the 'spiritual' profession doesn't have anymore intrinsic importance than the 'non-spiritual' profession. Fulfilling the will of God doesn't have to do with choosing the right career but has to do with following God in every situation regardless of circumstance. And who knows, after I've finished this degree I may work as the music director at a church. I may still pursue a theology degree after I've come a little further along in my guitar playing. I may just decide to read theology on my own and interact with people who can challenge me and provide good intellectual fellowship. Maybe I'll just be an awesome guitar man.

I have a long way to go to become an awesome guitar man. I am currently waist deep in my application to the continuing studies program at the academy. Hopefully later this week or early next I'll be carting myself over to Glasgow to audition. If all goes according to plan, I will spend this year taking lessons every week for credit towards a master's degree and sitting in on classes for my own personal edification. Next year I will be a full time student in the one year long master's program and finish my degree in the same amount of time it would have taken in the states.

For all these reasons, and more, I could never be a chef.


* Attention Surplus Disorder

6 Responses to “Why I Could Never be a Chef (Sorry, Gravy)”

  1. # Blogger Anastasia

    this strikes me as a good path for you, for all the reasons you've stated. I also think you may find yourself disappointed in academic theology. you are a kind, sincere, intelligent person and academic theology is a big ugly swamp, full of people who want to turn the church upside down and remake into something neither of us would recognize and people who are so ambitious to further their own reputations that they care very little about things like ethics and Jesus.

    there are pockets where academic theology goes on in a positive way, but they can be hard to find. it might be worth your time and effort someday, but given what you're saying here about guitar, you may be better served by pursuing what you've worked so hard to prepare for.

    Good luck on your audition!  

  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I once heard an argument that choosing a career is about as spiritually ambiguous as choosing a marriage partner; there's a great amount of disagreement around how much of it God allows you to choose and how much of it is pre-destined.

    Just because you spent a lot of time doing something doesn't mean you have to keep doing it. Too many musicians hang on to playing because they don't want to feel that the time they spent practicing and studying was wasted. They want to force their reality to make the choices they made in the past the correct ones.

    I'm not one to say what God is telling you. But I would disagree that because all your degree in guitar prepared you for is a master's degree that your path should be limited to it. Only you know what God speaks to you, but be sure your passion for making the guitar worthwhile stems from the Lord, and not your own pride.  

  3. # Blogger Mariquita

    I think it's a super idea. And in spite of our chef ambitions (or our ambitions for you to be a chef in order to satisfy our eating ambitions), my mom and I are both excited for you.

    Can I still have some chicken sometime?  

  4. # Blogger Jenevieve

    Mary, if you come visit, Matt will make you chicken and I will make you pumpkin curry soup and/or lasagna.  

  5. # Blogger Anastasia

    ooh, i want pumpkin curry soup. soup is one of the few things that doens't make me want to puke right now. soup and applesauce.  

  6. # Blogger Pappy McVulgar

    Matt, I would love to chat on theological issues. I have read many boringly interesting books. Come to think about it...if you ever have a difficult time falling asleep I can help with that as well. ***There are many people here at seminary that pursued one avenue to return to the academic study later on. I say keep moving and let God open and close the doors in your life. Blessing!  

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