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Howard Redmond
(1957-1990), Professor Emeritus of Theology Beethoven AND Gershwin

When I taught in the theology department at Whitworth, teaching the Bible was my principal concern (remember my objective tests?). Since I retired I'm still teaching the Bible whenever I can, but my focus has changed somewhat; music, which once was a pleasant sideline, is now number one in importance. I play somewhere about once a week, and consider it a form of ministry - different from before, but having its own purpose.

So I play frequently. But what do I play? I started several years ago by playing mostly the classics, symbolized here by the name Beethoven. But I soon discovered that while people liked that, they also wanted more: Broadway musicals, movie music, and just plain jazz. So I started mixing up my music, starting out with maybe a piece by Beethoven, but then doing Rhapsody in Blue. This has worked out well: the Beethoven people appreciated the Gershwin, and the jazz-oriented people began to appreciate the classics.

But why talk about this in a "spiritual" article? Well, it seems to me there is a biblical principle illustrated here: to reach people where they are - and, in the process, increase my own appreciation for all kinds of music (and the same principle would apply in other fields, such as literature).

Is there anything of biblical interest here? I think so. Paul, in I Cor. 9:22, says, "I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some." ("I entered their world, and tried to experience things from their point of view." - The Message). So while the world of Gershwin (and others) is not exactly my world, I'm glad to include it in my programs - and in doing so also enlarge my own appreciation.



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