Friday, May 20, 2016

"I think we never thought about the world and its realities"

Last Sunday I was at the parish early to prepare to preach and accomplish a few administrative tasks. As I did my work, out of nowhere, Styx's song "Living High" popped into my head. With no warning, I found myself singing, "Livin' high, livin' fine, livin' on borrowed time."

Some things stay with you for a lifetime, even good things. You see, in junior high, my friends and I were very heavily into the music of Styx. I doubt kids do this anymore, but we used to get together at somebody's house just to listen to music, entire albums and most of the time more than one. This was something we did pretty regularly during colder months, usually after spending a good deal of time either outside or in the church gym playing basketball. We'd put on the record, then lay on the floor and just listen. Really, everything I know about music and the great love I have for many forms of contemporary music are largely the result of these experiences.

It was much different for me listening to music then than it is now. Back then I looked forward with great excitement and a little fear to the great unknown, the future. Somehow, I found all the music encouraging, reassuring, and, I daresay, inspiring. Now when I listen to music, which I do daily, but in a dedicated way most Friday afternoons, I usually find myself looking back and thinking about the journey from then to now. I still find the music encouraging, reassuring, and, yes, at times inspiring.

While I didn't know this in junior high and likely would not have cared, Dennis DeYoung, the founder and lead singer of Styx, was and remains a devout Roman Catholic. Without a doubt, DeYoung is one of the greatest rock n' roll showmen of all time. It's easy to forget, too, that many rock bands in the '70s and '80s, as "Living High" demonstrates, were deeply suspicious of ideologies of both the political left and right, ambivalent, if you will, towards politics.

Because it also speaks directly to the silliness that increasingly constitutes our politics, as this presidential election year plods slowly towards our national day of reckoning, Styx's "Living High" is our Friday traditio for this first Friday back in Ordinary Time:

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