Tag Archives: imitation

The One Who Sang a Perfect Song

Story of the Day for Tuesday October 2, 2012 

The One Who Sang a Perfect Song

 

                   Amaziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord – but not like his father David. Instead, he followed the example of his father Joash.

                                                                                                    2 Kings 14:3

 

A woman from Asheville, Alabama, bought a mynah bird, but as soon as she brought it home she discovered it was sick. The bird started wheezing and coughing and hacking as if it trying to clear its throat. The vet said the bird looked healthy, but maybe it had a rare aviary virus, so he gave antibiotics to clear up its respiration.

After treatment with antibiotics, however, the bird continued to cough and wheeze. But, finally, the bird’s problem was solved.

Can you guess the problem? Like parrots, mynah birds mimic sound. When they tracked down the previous owner, they discovered it was recently owned by a woman who had emphysema.

 

All of us influence each other. The good news is that we can become a positive influence in the lives of others. The bad news is that our faults are a bad influence on others. Unfortunately, we don’t get to pick which of our traits will affect the lives of others.

A man owned a lovely Chinese plaque with raised figures on it. He hung it on his wall, but one day it fell and broke it half. He wanted the valuable handmade plaque replaced, so he glued the plate together as best he could and mailed it to China so that they could make a copy of it.

A half a year later, his new plaque was finished and mailed to him. The copy was exquisitely made – just like the original . . . including a crack across the center.

 

As the king of Judah, Amaziah got off to a good start. But, while he could’ve been a great king if he sought to model his rule after king David, he instead followed the example of king Joash, and needlessly bungled things up.

 

The village of Andreasberg, Germany, became famous for raising canaries. The birds, although not native to the Harz Mountain region, nevertheless, were known worldwide for the quality of their beautiful songs.

The secret to the superior song of these canaries was no great mystery. The Germans of Andreasberg understood that a bird learns to sing from others around it. So, they wouldn’t sell their best songbirds – they kept them so that the other canaries would be influenced by their song.

 

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty for those times you’ve been a bad influence on others. That’s why forgiveness is so refreshing.

But, if we want to grow in becoming a helpful influence on those around us, the best place to begin is by placing our lives under the influence of the One who sang a perfect song.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Step Out on Our Own

Story of the Day for Tuesday July 10, 2012 

 

Step Out on Our Own

 

                              Each one should examine his own work. Then he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to someone else. 

                                                                         Galatians 6:4

 

 Roger McGuinn was bowled over the first time he heard the Beatles. McGuinn, trained on folk guitar and banjo, was a songwriter for Bobby Darin. His job was to listen to the latest hit recordings, learn them, and try to mimic the sound. When the first Beatles hits topped the charts, McGuinn noticed they used folk-style passing chords with a rock & roll backbeat.

He loved the unique combination and employed it in his performances in Greenwich Village — so much so that one owner billed his gigs as “Beatle Imitations.”

McGuinn moved to California and helped form the Byrds. But the new band so adored the Beatles that their earliest recordings sounded eerily similar to the sound of their idols. When they watched the movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” McGuinn noticed George Harrison playing a Rickenbacker 12-string, and immediately bought the same guitar.

The Byrd’s manager, Jim Dickson, however, was troubled by the band’s desire to be like the Beatles, and pushed them to create their own style. So, McGuinn began experimenting with a brighter tone and longer sustain on his Rickenbacker, and developed a simultaneous flatpicking and banjo-style fingerpicking technique to create his famous “jingle-jangle” sound.

 

The Byrds’ first English tour, hyped as “America’s Answer to the Beatles,” was a disaster. The critics dashed off scathing reviews.

But one night, two musicians attended a Byrds concert. Afterward, they went backstage and introduced themselves as John Lennon and George Harrison. They were fascinated with the Byrds unique sound and creative harmonies. They invited the Byrds to their homes and shared musical ideas.

The harsh reviews of the Byrds were tempered when the Beatles publicly announced that the Byrds were their favorite band.

Soon after their visit, George Harrison sent press officer, Derek Taylor, to California to hand deliver to McGuinn a recording of his latest song, “If I Needed Someone.” Harrison, in tribute to McGuinn, had imitated Roger’s guitar work from “Bells of Rhymney.”

The Beatles, whom the Byrds originally sought to emulate, turned out to be the ones who encouraged the Byrds to continue exploiting their own unique style.

 

We learn by imitation. The great comic writer, S. J. Perlman said, “You must learn by imitation,” and adds he “could have been arrested for imitating Lardner” in his early writing style.  Just as all great artists begin by copying the styles of others, one of the best ways to grow in our Christian faith is through role models.

While we may learn by imitating others, however, eventually we must step out on our own. The Byrds began by trying to emulate someone else, but found their greatest strength was to discover their own creative potential.

Roger McGuinn acknowledges his debt to the influence and encouragement of the Beatles. On his solo CD, “Limited Edition,” his opening song is George Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone.” But McGuinn has also learned to step out on his own, not only by finding his own musical style, but also, in 1977, by finding Christ.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre) 
 

They Can See Right Through Us

Story of the Day for Monday March 5, 2012

They Can See Right Through Us

                  When you fast, don’t be like the gloomy-looking hypocrites. They contort their faces so it becomes obvious to everyone that they’re fasting.

                                         Matthew 6:16

 Have you ever noticed that people who are trying to look cool don’t really look cool; they look like they’re trying to look cool?

 

When I order sub sandwiches they have a tip jar at the end of the counter. I like to tip workers, but sometimes they’re attention is turned elsewhere and they don’t see me giving my generous tip. So, I like to wait until they see me – but here’s the trick: I try to make it look like I’m furtively sneaking a tip in their jar yet hoping they’ll notice. That way, they’ll see me as both humble and generous at the same time.

 

Jesus thinks I’m a poser when I do that, and, of course, he’s right. Posing is a big deal to him because our vanity destroys the most critical attitude of a believer: humility. Only humble hearts receive undeserved gifts. And that’s what Jesus came to give us.

Becoming proud of our humility is an oxymoron. It doesn’t impress God, and, if you must know the dismal truth, it doesn’t impress other people.

 

Daniel M. Oppenheimer is a cognitive psychologist at Princeton. He published a study about the benefit of using simple language, and entitled it: “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity.”  (I found his title a little ironic until I realized this was meant to be humorous; his subtitle says: “Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly”)

Oppenheimer wanted to know if people think we’re more intelligent when we use complicated language rather than using simple words. He found that 86 percent of university students admitted that they deliberately use complicated words in their essays to make their papers sound more valid or intelligent.

 

His study revealed that, contrary to prevailing wisdom, people do not think you’re more intelligent when you write obscurely – they think you’re less intelligent. In other words, whenever we try to impress others with our intelligence, our attempts backfire.  They can see right through us.

 

Jesus watched the “religious” people as they prayed and gave alms to the poor, and fasted. All of those things are good. But he observed that these people wanted other people to notice and admire their spirituality. Yet, craving attention is not spiritual, so he called it for what it was and warned us not to imitate that kind of hypocrisy.

 

But, if you still insist on trying to impress people with your spirituality, let me give you a tip: the key is subtlety. And, if you need any help, come with me some day and watch me pay for a sub sandwich.

                                                 (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)


The One We Want to be Like

Story of the Day for Saturday May 28, 2011

Climbinghigher.org apologizes for the absence of the stories for the day for the last two days…we were in the midst of an outdoor education adventure retreat with 6th graders and their adult chaperons.  We neglected to organize the posting beforehand and so it didn’t get done.  Sorry again for their absence.  Enjoy today’s story!

The One We Want to be Like

 

                Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. 

                                                                 Ephesians 5:1

 

Michael Hodgin writes of a missionary served in West Africa where his two young kids grew up.  When it came time for them to return home, their mother did not want them to look conspicuous, so she ordered “western” clothing for them to wear.

The first leg of their flight home took them to Paris.  As the family walked along, the parents realized that everyone was staring at them.  When they turned around they discovered why.  Their children were carrying their suitcases on their heads.

What could be more natural?  Children learn by imitation.  That is why play is so vital for them.  By pretending to be a fireman or a mom they are learning to grow up.

 

This principle, however, is not only true for children, but adults as well. We become what we pretend to be. If that’s a hard concept to swallow, ask a professional actor.

In the 1930s, Lee Strasberg recruited 30 actors and formed an acting school.  Actors were taught how to “pretend” they were in different emotional states.  That is what actors do.  But Strasberg was so good, that a co-founder of the acting school, Stella Adler said about Lee, “He would push people into spaces that they should not go without a licensed therapist present.”  Strasberg himself would often tell his actors that they should get therapy.

Why?  When good actors play a character who is, say, psychologically disturbed, it   can cause actual psychological problems for them.

 

There is a simpler way to convince skeptics that even adults become what they pretend to be.  A team of German researchers had a group look at a cartoon and say how funny it was.  Half had to hold a pen between their lips, which forced them to frown.  The other half were told to hold a pen between their teeth, which forced them to smile.  Guess which group said the cartoon was funnier?  (If you have no idea, try the experiment yourself on your friends.)

 

All of us are “pretending” to be like the person we want to become.  The crucial question is: who do you want to be?

Our heavenly Father thinks we should imitate him. That almost sounds blasphemous, doesn’t it?  But he obviously doesn’t mean we should imitate His attributes of being all-powerful or the omnipresent.

The Bible is clear: “Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.”  How do we do that?  Simple – we read the next verse, “and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as an offering and sacrifice to God.”

We are God’s children.  And like children, we are to imitate our heavenly Father, by choosing him as the One we want to be like.   And He is Love.

                                    (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)