09/08/2011

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revmatt's top 40 songs August 14, 2011 This summer I didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked, but I did start listening to music more intently again. Mostly when I am driving and running. So, I decided to compile my top 40 song list. It was both a simple and difficult task. Compiling was easy. Ranking them was tough. These aren't necessarily the "best" songs ever recorded, but they are my favorites. Interestingly, if I were to select my favorite albums, rather than songs, the list would be altogether different. For example, some of my favorite albums are the Grey's Anatomy soundtracks, but only one song from three albums made this list. Why these are my favorite songs is a mixed bag. Some of them speak to me deeply on a spiritual or emotional level. Others have been very influential at different points in my life. And the rest just rock! I was also surprised in the end that this is a pretty serene list overall, even though there are several different genres. So here's the list from 1 to 40: (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding Blue Boat Home - Peter Mayer Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) - Green Day Landslide - Dixie Chicks Over The Rainbow - Eva Cassidy Imagine - John Lennon Redemption Song - Bob Marley & The Wailers Amazing Grace - Ani DiFranco You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones The Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye By My Side - [Godspell] Elizabeth Sastre and Jacqueline Dankworth Piano Man - Billy Joel I Am The Walrus - The Beatles The Long Way Around - Dixie Chicks One of Us - Joan Osborne Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin Nowhere Man - The Beatles Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles A Day In The Life - The Beatles Swimming To The Other Side - Emma's Revolution Hallelujah - k.d. lang I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John Holy Now - Peter Mayer Southern Cross - Crosby, Stills & Nash Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival Scarborough Fair/Canticle - Simon & Garfunkel Can't You See - The Marshall Tucker Band Truth No. 2 - Dixie Chicks Graceland - Paul Simon Chasing Cars [Acoustic] - Snow Patrol Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) - The Beatles Puff, The Magic Dragon (Live) - Peter, Paul & Mary Love Me Tender - Elvis Presley House of the Rising Sun - The Animals Love Shack - The B-52's The Christians And The Pagans - Dar Williams Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Jewel Jericho Road - Joan Baez
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Why? "Why?" It was many years ago now, but I can still remember the first time my eldest son asked that question. He was three years old. I was telling him to do something (I don't remember what). Instead of responding with the worn-out and parent-torturing two-year-old anthem, "No!" he invoked the three-year-old, even more disturbing and existential, "Why?!" Oh no. Now I had to answer him, reason with him, and know things. Of course, I was well-prepared with my best parental response, "Because I said so!" This, of course, didn't work. It just perpetuated a string of "Whys?" Three year olds are not the only ones who repeatedly ask why. Therapists do it too. They call in inference-chaining. The idea is to repeatedly ask the client "Why?" to each subsequent answer about their presenting problem or feelings. This moves them closer and closer to their deeper issues. I think this is also the reason young children ask, "Why?" "Because" isn't the answer they want. They want to go deeper, to learn something they don't know, to explore life's core. "Why?" is a very human question. Beyond being a learning tool and a means to deeper understanding of ourselves, it can also be an existential call for help. "Why me?" "Why them?" "Why not?" "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Very simply, to ask why is to be aware of our desire not just for learning, but for difference or change, to ask for help, to be aware of both opportunity and tragedy. It is to be aware of the divine. In our ability to ask "Why?" we are the universe becoming aware of itself. Sometimes, the answer to "Why?" is neither "Because" nor some deeper insight. Sometimes, the answer is simply, "I don't know," or as Jesus was know for doing, asking a question in return instead of providing an answer. "Why" lives In the realm of uncertainty and discernment. To provide an answer too quickly (despite the child's natural inclination for concreteness) risks disturbing the creative process. Unquestioned answers are far more dangerous than unanswered questions. Investigation, discernment, and creativity take time. Perhaps the best response to the "Whys?" that come our way is, "Why, indeed?"

Rev. Dr. Matt Tittle

Rev. Matt is a Unitarian Universalist minister and author.

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