Two Gems, or Three

Two Gems, or Three

Sometimes you run across articles or commentaries that have some real meaning for life. It happened the other day and again today. I read a piece talking about music, making music really. “’Each note rubs the others just right, and the instrument shivers with delight. The feeling is unmistakable, intoxicating,’ musician Glenn Kurtz, adding: ‘My attention warms and sharpens…. Making music changes my body.’ Kurtz’s experience, it turns out, is more than mere lyricism — music does change the body’s most important organ, and changes it more profoundly than any other intellectual, creative, or physical endeavor.”

“Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout… Playing an instrument engages practically every area of the brain at once — especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. And, as in any other workout, disciplined, structured practice in playing music strengthens those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength to other activities… Playing music has been found to increase the volume and activity in the brain’s corpus callosum — the bridge between the two hemispheres — allowing messages to get across the brain faster and through more diverse routes. This may allow musicians to solve problems more effectively and creatively, in both academic and social settings.”

My hunch is that singing has a similar if not equal effect on the brain, using the voice as the instrument of choice rather than a string, woodwind, brass or percussion piece. And I don’t just mean singing in the band or the choir; I mean singing in the shower, in the car with the radio and in church! Singing hymns is not only about praising and worshipping God, it’s about improving your brain! So, sing like it makes a difference, because it does!

Then I saw this gem: “The Georgia 3Rs Project, led by Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute, is a three-year initiative designed to create demonstration models of religious literacy and religious liberty in three Georgia public school districts. The Georgia 3Rs Project is guided by the national consensus guidelines on the role of religion in public schools collected in Finding Common Ground: A First Amendment Guide to Religion and Public Schools, written and edited by Dr. Charles C. Haynes and Oliver S. Thomas, Esq. These guidelines are framed by a shared commitment to religious liberty as an inalienable right as guaranteed by the First Amendment; the civic responsibility to guard that right for others, including those with whom they disagree; and the respect that is necessary to maintain civil discourse across differences in religion and belief. “ “The ‘3Rs for Religious Liberty’—rights, responsibility, respect—originates from the Williamsburg Charter, which was signed by 100 national leaders on June 22, 1988, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Virginia’s call for a Bill of Rights.”

This program meets the expectations of everyone involved as it provides an opportunity for students to explore and study various religious traditions without the fear of coercion, bias or intimidation. It makes sense in a time when “common sense” and cooperation are at a premium.

 A bonus Lenten thought: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.” MLK, Jr.