Mike Curb Tells Belmont to Shape Up

Well, there you go! Mike Curb, of Curb Records and the Curb Center and of serving on Belmont’s board for ever and ever, says “Belmont has to decide whether they want to be a national recognized university – particularly with their school of music business – or they want to be a church.”

Of all of the people in the music industry who might come forward and take a public stand, Curb is about the last one I expected and, frankly, one of the only people who could single-handedly bring enough pressure on the university to make them change.

And the thing about Curb stepping up and speaking so frankly, saying “that board members are out of touch with the reality of life at Belmont’s school of music business. Many of those students are gay, he said. And no matter what their sexual orientation, Belmont graduates will work with gay colleagues in the music business when they graduate,” is that it not only fires a shot across the bow of Belmont, it turns around and fires a shot down Music Row.

This is no longer just about how Belmont treats gay people; this is about how country music and Christian music treat gay people: Are you a business or are you a church?

That is huge.


Belmont Visions


Megachurch as Refuge

There’s a lot in here I think you guys will like, but I remain deeply moved by the idea of the megachurch as a reenactment of most people’s corporate lives, but with genuine niceness and people being able to choose to be there.

I get kind of creeped out by megachurches, but this has stuck with me all day and I don’t know. Seeing the megachurch like that–as a sacred drama in which the corporate life is enacted but in a way that goes manageably for the the participants?–it makes me feel… I don’t know… compassion might be too strong a word. But it makes me feel less snootily disparaging.

Which I guess is weird. And it makes me think a lot about what the shapes of my own holy life say about the things I feel out of control about, the things I need divine soothing over.

Writings I Like

1. Just the opening paragraph is really nice here. But the whole thing is a nice take on how this whole incident has really tarnished Belmont’s reputation. But I still do think that part of this really has to do with just a cultural change in how people respond to the authority of religious leaders (which is kind of what the higher-ups at Belmont are). The days in which a leader could just make a decision and inflict it upon the less powerful without them questioning it are over. There’s been too much abuse (across denominations) that has been too easily hidden because congregations were told to just accept that the leaders knew what they were doing. I think it’s important to understand that dynamic, too, because that’s what’s biting so many in the Belmont administration in the butt.

They were completely unprepared for their decision to need any more reason behind it than “God said so.”

But come on! There are too many stories of too many people being hurt by religious leaders who used “Do this because I said God said so” for people to not be cautious, to put it mildly, when they encounter someone spouting that line.

2. I am not a hunter. Obviously. But I found this column about whether sandhill cranes should be hunted to be really interesting and thought-provoking. He ends up deciding, “Eh, it’s probably not worth it,” but I felt like, if he’d decided, “Eh, it probably is,” either way, I would have come away from the column feeling like I really understood better a position very foreign to me. That’s great writing, I think.

The End to the Scary Story

So, I called back over to the doctor and left a message. They called me back. The nurse was the same nurse that called last night, who has the scariest neutral voice ever.

“Ms Phillips? This is [Nurse so and so] from [Dr. so and so]’s office. [I swear to god, I thought I heard scary music.] I HAVE YOUR TEST RESULTS. [seriously, in like Vincent Price voice!]”

At this point, I’m sweating and my hands are shaking. I’m thanking the powers-that-be that the Butcher is driving because I’m sure I’m about to have a breakdown.

“The doctor wants you to know…”

Fifty million minute pause….

“Your cholesterol levels look really great. Keep up the good work and we’ll see you in a year.”

“Good lord, you have the scariest phone voice!”

“People say that.”

I Don’t Walk Below 20

That’s not an unreasonable rule, right? But I’m going to be sad about it all day. I need to remember that we did not walk this morning and go out and walk at lunch.

The poor heater has just been working nonstop all night, but I will give it up for the heater, it stayed nice in here. And none of our pipes froze. We have a really “interesting” set-up and by “interesting” I mean, “plumbers hate us and we’re probably drinking from terrible pipes” but we have a very, very shallow crawlspace and almost all of our pipes (except the new ones in the kitchen) plunge immediately under ground. It’s pretty ingenious, because, though our ground freezes, it almost never freezes very deep. So, putting the pipes under ground insulates them in weather like this.

Or so that’s the theory. And so that’s what two plumbers and my brother have told me. I sure as hell have not been down there looking.

All this is to say that I grew up in the Midwest, so I feel like I know cold. But I think folks here have a lot harder time with it than we did up north. And it’s not just the lack of infrastructure to deal with it, though that’s a major thing. I’ve been thinking just about how many people I know whose heaters have gone out this week and, really, upper teens/lower 20s is cold at night, but it’s not heater busting weather.

BUT I was thinking about that meeting the bloggers had years ago with Jim Cooper and he was talking about how, when the TVA came through, they were basically like “electricity will be practically free–forever!!!” and so not only are homes the age of my home poorly insulated but people who owned homes older than mine didn’t reinsulate when better products came along if they had electric heat (or switched to electric heat) because they believed in (practically) free electricity for ever.

I guess they didn’t figure on the cost of replacing heaters that ran constantly.

All this is to say that infrastructure, even the infrastructure of our houses, will get you in the end.

I have all my Christmas gifts picked out. I’m dithering over my mom’s. She needs a good crochet guidebook, but her eyesight is really, really bad. So, is getting her a book a help or not? I don’t know. And I am eternally grateful to the Bluegrass community for putting out many fine Christmas albums for me to choose from for my dad. I picked one with a lot of Ralph Stanley and Stanley Brothers on it. The thing I like about the Stanley brothers or just Ralph by himself is that they/he conduct a song like a.) it’s going to be fun; b.) it’s going to be meaningful; or c.) someone’s getting hit upside the head with an upright bass and he might not come back from that; or some combination therein. And that, frankly, is how I like my Christmas music.

You have your coping mechanisms.

I have mine.