Everyone's an Expert
My wife sees too much. Martha is an artist, and with an artist's eye, little escapes her gaze. I've tried to sneak out of the house with a favorite pair of pants and shirt and she'll say "Are you really going to wear that?" Which means, don't you dare leave the house looking like that. She will see a smudge on the lower left pantleg of my suit, or a small spot on a patterned tie.
The other day she made an observation that bordered between poetic and prophetic when she said "It seems that everyone is an expert in music and hardly anyone can read notes." As we talked, she connected with her world of art where everyone is an "artist" and few study classical skills of drawing, sculpture or printmaking. The recent Whitney Exhbit in New york features a man who does magic marker cartoons, is in an out of psychiatric facilities and is disconnected with the real world.
When I get invovled in conversations about worship (with church-goers) here too, everyone is a confirmed expert with firmly held opinions, especially about music. I have heard too many rants about the idiocy of drums or pipe organs, of robed choirs or projection screens, of fixed liturgy or spontaneous praise. But in it all I hear few references to resources, to authors, to seminars or lectures. I hear few references to historical precedents or ancient sources. It seems that we cobble together an assortment of impressions from our personal path and that, then, becomes our fixed truth.
I heard a phrase that described much talk radio as "affirmation radio." When asked to define that term, the speaker said radio talk shows speak to narrow interest bands that draw sympathizers. Screeners make sure that contrarion opions don't get aired. So the result is like minded friends speak only to like minded friends.
Where is the genuine dialogue? Where is the learning? Where are the contrarion voices the divergent opions?