Monday, October 1, 2012

Tuning To The Standard

By Warren E. Berkley

I was a musician for several years.  In junior high school and high school I enjoyed some achievement playing a trumpet.  I played in the Fort Smith Symphony for two seasons, then served in the Army Band for about three years.  In those days, musicians would tune with a device called a tuning fork (the predecessor of the pitch pipe and the new digital devices).  The conductor of the orchestra or band would strike the tuning fork with his hand, and let a clarinet player or violin player tune to that standard.  Once the musician tuned his instrument to the tuning fork, the rest of us would listen to that note and tune our instruments accordingly.  Today, if you attend an orchestral performance (and you get there a little early), you may hear the piano player striking a note like “C,” and all the musicians listening, then tuning to that note (up or down).  In this process, do you realize the tuning fork was the standard of authority and therefore unity.

Can you imagine the unmusical results if the conductor said to his musicians: “For tonight’s performance, we will not be using a tuning fork.  It will be our purpose to illustrate the beauty of individuality and diversity.  You find your own “C” according to your own desires, or tune to a neighbor if you like.  We do not want anyone to be stifled or limited by the authority of a single standard.  We will perform tonight without tuning to a standard.”  What do you think the performance would sound like?  What would the reviews say?  But why not take it further (this suppression of authority and exaltation of individualism)?  The conductor says, “Each one of you can play your favorite piece; ready, 1, 2, 3...”
But you know what?  The very presence of a conductor requires submission to leadership.  Fire the conductor!  Let the musicians show up whenever they want to, play whatever instrument they want, whatever piece they like, in tune or out of tune; and let them start and finish whenever they desire.  Let individualism prevail and authority die.  What has happened?  You have nothing left of any musical value.  No authority, just unattractive chaos that nobody would want to hear.  It would sound awful! 
Yet this is exactly what we observe in modern religion today.  There is resistance to Bible authority, praise for human plurality, unity in diversity and the growing deception that this is what God wants!

- via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg Church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  

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