Never look at the trombones

The liturgical calendar shows that today we are to celebrate the life of Thomas Becket, 12th century Archbishop of Canterbury who argued with King Henry II over issues of authority, with fatal consequences.  Issues of authority…power versus authority…these are themes that color nearly every news story and touch our lives in various ways.  Fortunately, many of us recently re-acknowledged that we have put ourselves under the authority of a tiny babe born in Bethlehem. Legend, if not history, has King Herod quite fearful of the authority being placed in this newborn, seeing it as a threat to his own power.  The real difference between authority and power suddenly becomes quite clear – power is taken while authority is bestowed.

I wanted to share again a TED talk (“Technology, Entertainment, Design”) with you that I came upon a year or so ago.  These TED talks are forums for cross-related ideas on many topics.  If you don’t know about this series of online talks then I’m pleased to be the one to introduce you to these thought-provoking mini-seminars with this talk by an Italian conductor, Itay Talgam, who gives presentations to businesses around the world that “explore the magical relationship between conductor, musician and audience to achieve inspiring new insights into leadership, management, and teamwork.”  He is in fact exploring themes of power versus authority.

Near the end of Talgam’s 20-minute presentation (which had me laughing out loud several times, by the way), he talks about the confluence of creativity at any given moment during a concert between the architect of the hall, the conductor, the musicians and the audience.  It wasn’t a difficult stretch for me to imagine that same confluence happening during worship – the church building itself, liturgical leaders and the congregation all contributing some part to the telling of our story.  Somewhere around the 6:45 mark Talgam relates a funny story about musicians asking a renowned conductor to resign, telling him “you’re using us like instruments, not as partners”.  No surprise that there is more potential in collaborative efforts, every time.  There might be a Saint Herod Episcopal Church somewhere had that ancient king worked with the authority given to Jesus rather than being threatened by it.

Whether you have an interest in issues around power versus authority, in qualities of effective leadership, or just enjoy music and observing the conductor’s craft I hope you will find 20 minutes to watch this TED talk.  If you don’t have the time, let me leave you with one last thought, taken from something Talgam says about Leonard Bernstein near the end of the talk – “you can see the music on his face”.  As we cross paths with people throughout this coming new year, what will be seen on our faces?  Faith?  Joy?  Hope?



This entry was posted in Sonya Subbayya Sutton and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Never look at the trombones

  1. Christian says:

    Your comments are priceless. The TED lecture was a delight, especially the last 5 minutes or so. Thanks for sharing that. (No St.Herod Episcopal Church anywhere. Herod had power, but no authority.)

  2. Carlyle Gill says:

    Great Daily Cup, Sonya! I have often thought of preaching that way – the mysterious synergy between congregation, text, building,life, and preacher…..and perhaps a host of things I am unaware of. And I’ve always wanted to know what TED stood for. Thanks! C.

  3. Cay Harltey says:

    Ah, Sonya. As usual, a wonderful “Cup.” Where do you get the link to hear these talks on a regular basis? Cay

  4. Bill Hall says:

    TED has such wonderful stuff!! And, without consulting the church calendar, I sat down last evening and watched “Becket”. O’Toole, Burton, and a collaborative model that needed additional work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s