Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Tambourine Man

(No Matt, this post is not about the Bob Dylan song.)

It is about, however, the man who came to church with a tambourine.
Yes, you read that correctly, the man who brought his own tambourine to church.
Picture this: Wednesday night service at Calvary Chapel Sebastopol. It is the mid-week service, so the crowd is smaller and more intimate. I am sitting at my normal spot, the second row from the front on the left. We are all welcomed in and asked to stand up to read one of the psalms, the traditional "call to worship" that we do. We read it together, then are ushered into the music time.
Lo and behold, a man who is sitting across the isle whips a tambourine out of his bag! Say what?!? I didn't realize that my jaw had dropped until after I had started to smile. He gave it a few shakes gingerly, as if not knowing if he would get in trouble.
Seconds later, our associate pastor swoops in. He gently puts his hand on the mans shoulder and whispers something to him. The tambourine man nods his head and places his instrument down on the ground.
As I sit and think about this, it makes me wonder what music in church would be like if we all brought our instruments of choice and played them. Trumpets galore, guitars, perhaps the occasional bassoon or nose flute. We certainly would not have the London Symphony on our hands, but would it be any less pleasing to God? The Psamls say to clap our hands and shout to the Lord with cries of joy (Ps 47.1), but we don't necessarily do that in worship either.
I dont' know what I would have done. I personally kind of wanted the tambourine man to do his thing. I think it might have been a way for him to engage in musical worship. Perhaps it would be more welcome in a church that was clappy. Churches are generally divided into two categories: Those who like Niel Diamond, and those who don't (for those of you who didn't get it, its a "What About Bob?" quote). Actually, I've heard that they can be classified as "clappers" or "non-clappers." But in reality, does it really matter? Does clapping and shouting and singing and tambourining (or the lack thereof) enhance the joy that it brings to the LORD?
I donno. Its just something to think about.

Friday, April 4, 2008


My story is not a new one.
But I'm convinced that life is rarely as boring as I pretend it to be, especially my life.
I was having a conversation with my friend Phil a couple of months ago. He kept on asking me what was new. I ran out of things to say after one or two answers, but he kept persisting! The next time he asked me this, I told him that I had nothing else new in my life. And he said to me, "Tamsen, you are a child of God. I doubt that your life is boring."
So maybe I'm not boring after all. Maybe my life is exciting. I am a child of the Most High God. He did save me from my sins. He has redeemed me. I live each day in the knowledge of his Holiness and Love. Isn't that in itself exciting? His mercies are new every morning. That is what is new, but at the same time its not. Its new because I start off each day with a clean slate, but I also start off each day with the same age-old promise of unfailing love and redemption.
The Lord does new and good things to us each day. Like today seemed pretty average. I woke up, got ready, and went out to Charlie Brown Cafe on campus to do some reading and homework. There I ran into one of my favorite professors and he said hello. As I stopped at the counter to say hello to one of my roommates, she told me that one of our friends/her co-worker had just recently given her life to the Lord. Hallelujah! Is that boring? Nope. Yet again the Spirit is moving hearts and calling them to the Lord.
I was grading papers for the English 101 class I am a TA for, and my friend James sits down next to me. Fabulous! He's one of my favorite people because he's quite chipper and always brings a smile to my face. He plays the cello quite well. We both applied to a summer job through and organization called Sierra Service Project. We were discussing when our second interviews were (both on April 18th) and getting slightly giddy at the idea of working together for the summer and laughing at the possibility of us hating each other at the end of it all.
Then at 11.00 I had my third official discipleship meeting. I get to disciple two freshman girls for the rest of the year, and hopefully the rest of my time at Sonoma. We currently are going through Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, and had a great discussion that could have lasted another good hour if it were not for prior engagements.
I came home to eat some lunch, spent time with two of my other roommates. Then rode my bike to work (don't worry, its only a mile and a half away) only to ride it back 15 minutes later. The young man whom I tutor did not have any homework to do! The syllabus is incorrect for the rest of the semester because the professor changes her mind more often than not. I think she is the SRJC version of Velma (if you have any idea who Velma is, you know what I mean). I realized that I really like riding my bike. Good exercise and a good opportunity to be outside. I especially like it when the wind is pushing against you and making your legs work harder to move forward.
When I came home, I was greeted by a small black chihuahua named Cloe. We are watching her for our campus minsters for a couple of days. They have a wedding in Lodi to attend, so we get to be "aunties" for the weekend. Its nice to have a dog, even if it is small enough to step on.
So back to what I was talking about: I'm convinced that my life is not boring. I just have to look past what seems normal and mundane and find joy in being in the right hand of God. Now that is exciting.