Action Hero

The following post is dedicated to my brother who is working feverishly on his dissertation and to worship leader friends in the NO area who are sometimes overwhelmed with the busyness of life.

“Action Hero” by Fountains of Wayne is hauntingly reflective of about the last decade of my life: I would like to juxtapose the comical reflections in this musical satire with the ever-relevant musings of G. K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy. Chesterton warned the materialists (philosophical materialists: those who believe the material universe is inclusive of all reality) of his day to stop taking themselves so seriously. He places the materialists of his day in poor light by showing how rigid linear reasoning can lead to absurdity. He contrasts the artist with the rigid reasoner:  “Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination” (Chesterton, 9).

Of course Chesterton was not seeking to seeking to psycho-analyze artists, rather he was making a point about a particular way of thinking. For we all know artists that have gone as mad as the mad scientist. The research of Csiksentmihalyi on flow (the sense of timelessness that sometimes occurs when one is engaged in artistic activity) actually substantiates Chesterton’s assertations related to certain types of thinking being healing. Csiksentmihalyi contributed a good deal of research toward the substantiation of naturally healing human activity.

The irony in all of this for me as an artist is that artists often don’t live in the freedom of thought that Chesterton encouraged. Sometimes, even when producing art, the artist too takes himself too seriously. I’ll never forget Dr. Tim Koch reminding the Monday night choir at University of Southern MS that we were not performing brain surgery.

Friends, let’s stop taking ourselves so seriously. But let’s always be mindful to take Jesus quite seriously and encourage others to do the same.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mauricka McKenzie, Sr. on September 24, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I agree we need to not take ourselves too seriously. We cause needless heartache and lose peace and energy that could be used to serve God better because we get hooked on ourselves. We need to forget about ourselves and concentrate on Jesus and Worship Him. Worship Him!


    • Posted by Matt Coker on September 25, 2011 at 12:49 am

      Agreed, worship must never be about ourselves but at the same time worship leaders can not use this as an excuse for not being prepared to lead people in worship in way that exemplifies excellence.


  2. Posted by Matt Coker on September 24, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    I have found myself working with our youth praise band and begin totally consumed with details and making sure everyone know their responsibilities that I almost completely overlook the purpose for our preparations. We are very careful to never neglect a time of prayer before leading worship. As the leader I seem to care the burden of stress and details but our students can focus on worship and that is okay with me.


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