Monthly Archives: November 2012

Thanksgiving

Anne Lamott has written a new book called Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential PrayersI This represents a

Anne Lamott’s new book

considerable development in her theology of prayer, because she said in an earlier work that there were really only two variations of prayer–“Help me, help me, help me” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” so I look forward this expanded theology!   I haven’t read it yet–I will–but “wow” seems fitting.  I believe part of the artistic vision is to tromp around in those parts of reality that hunger from neglect by politicians (a finishing school for becoming a world class dullard if you aren’t careful), scientists, economists, the military and cynics.

You would think the realm of artists and mystics (really, they overlap), would be tiny and easily mapped, but you would be wrong.  In this week devoted to giving thanks, counting blessings and generally being glad that we aren’t as bad off as someone else, it might do well to visit this realm.  It is where beauty, mystery and wonder abide.  The ancient Hebrews would be astounded by us, who surround ourselves with astonishing things and spend little time considering them.

So, I would add to the litany of Thanksgiving an apology for wonder.  Thankfulness assumes an enlarged view of life.  How mundane if all we were to call thankfulness consisted only of a listing of possessions and good fortune!  The ocean belongs to no one, yet who can forget the first time they saw it?  The excitement of a small child in a car, eagerly waiting to arrive at the beach, smelling the warm salt air long before arriving, driving along the beachfront road trying to peek between the houses and condos, the incomprehensible moment when at last the child stands and tries to take in a lake with no shoreline; that is a morsel of wonder.

Here are some others:

  •      the first day in a long time without the pain
  •      a time of laughter after weeks of draining grief
  •      The mystical fellowship of fellow worriers in a hospital waiting room
  •      The never-boring ritual of watching children, then grandchildren discover life
  •      Mountains, rivers and deserts, or the blades of grass in our backyards
  •      The good ache of sore muscles at the end of a hard day’s work now finished
  •      Rich memories of people and places and happy times, available at will whenever I call
  •      The deep silence of the universe, signifying not emptiness but a different kind of fullness from the noise and       clatter of my everyday life–wherein a prayerful heart can trace the embedded pathways of God.

So, “Thanks be to God, ” not just for the relative prosperity that gives me a better chance to survive than someone in the Third World.  All around are unburied treasures, opportunities to grow and see and touch and live.  We are loved, we are blessed, we are alive if we so choose to be.  Thanks, indeed, be to God!   We have plenty of those reasons that the dullard realms of money, power and dominance recite to us, but my prayer is to discover and give the thanks goes beyond and that flows our from deep joy.  Strangely, it doesn’t usually cost any more than a little time, the right attention and a bit of slowing down.  Oh, and a dash of being present!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and readers, even if you are not in the US for our holiday.  Thanksgiving wonder knows no calendar or border.

Cynicism and Forgiveness

“Forgiveness” is my wife’s favorite song on my new CD.  (Click HERE to listen to the song)  The chorus goes:

It’s impossible to give forgiveness

It’s even worse to have to ask

If letting go is the answer

Living like it’s gone is the task.

How else you going to deal with the past?

Lance Armstrong and General Petraeus in one year are maybe more than we can take, even in our jaded time.  I find myself turning it all off more and more just to preserve my soul.  Cynicism can cripple the spirit.  It can rest on the

How else you gonna deal with the past?

belief that everything is a con, everybody is out to get you, all politicians are evil, and all human beings’ motives are bad.  While Christians might be seen to have a lot in common with that, what with the fall of humanity and all, I’m here to say, “Not really.”

The Christian gospel is not as much about how bad we are as that God knows it and loves us anyway.  Sin is not what lives on at the end of the day.  Its moment is the middle of a Friday with a dark sky and a rugged cross and a man yelling, “It is finished.”  But the last word is an empty tomb, followed by a hopeful church, a Holy Spirit, and a kingdom to come.

So as Thanksgiving approaches, it might do well for us to think about how to defeat it in our lives.  I want to offer two helpful practices from our faith that can be an antidote to cynicism. Read the rest of this entry

My newest CD project is done!

I have just finished a new CD entitled, “What It Is.”  I have been writing and working on these songs for about two years now, and finally got to a point where they were ready.  I performed many of them in my last couple of concerts and got great audience response.

A conversation without words. That’s what it is…

I have written about 80 songs now in my lifetime.    One     songwriter said after you have written 100, you are ready to write really GOOD songs!  20 to go!
I am very proud of these songs.  They are personal, emotionally candid, and like children to me.  The musical styles are eclectic.  What I am most thrilled about is the opening of my “store” online that now has all three albums on it.  You do not have to mail me checks anymore and wait for me to wrap and mail a CD.  You can purchase them online by credit card either as download, tradiltional CD, individual song download or even a ringtone!

I hope you’ll take a listen and would be honored if you like one to buy.  It is produced, shrink wrapped and shipped directly from the factory to you on demand.  Click this link to visit the store

You can also get there by going to http://www.reverbnation.com/garyfurrmusic

Last Friday night, I was in concert with Adler & Hearne at the Moonlight Music Cafe.  We had a great time, as always, and my incredible bandmates from SHADES MOUNTAIN AIR joined me to back up several songs.  It was a great night.  This album is about love in its endless variety and mystery.  It is love, known first from God, and embodied in my incredible wife, Vickie, my family, my friends and neighbors, that make life so worth living. Read the rest of this entry

Sandy Calls