After last week's blog on how at times it is music that makes sense of us,rather than us understanding music, in one of my classes, I had the one of most involved sessions of the semester. It was based on the song I wrote about last week and on the forgotten (they say) and marginalized (or popular?) theme of sin and evil. And I know (and teach) that sin is a revealed reality, and not to be thrown about easily as only in the context of knowing oneself as deeply loved are we ever going to grasp what saying ‘no’ to that love could mean. But the class got very involved in explaining why life is sad, broken relationships hurt, death is tragic, and non-communication as a form of understanding the consequences of sin was something that made sense to them. It seems contemporary culture is quite aware of their poverty and limitation. And although in a (desperate?) attempt to be loving and accepting and non-judgmental they sometimes take the easy ‘relativistic’ route: (“in the end it all depends on the individual”), when challenged on it to look at the consequences of our wrong-doing and the need to actually have opinions on things, I was edified by depth of thought and willingness to reflect. So now I’m the one who is thoughtful…. because it seems to me that we really understand relationships… and the sadness when they don’t work, or end (for all the many reasons they can. Is it because we find joy harder to allow than pain? Is that one of the consequences of what theology calls ‘the original’ falling? Or does it simply help us to feel, and empathize, in this world of paralyzed feeling and over-stretched procedures (cry with those who cry”)? God seems closer and it does not feel like cheap grace. Another song – my brother’s this time – but that I believe touches that same chord, beauty and sadness, love and loss, that is at the heart of our faith: Beautiful Life.