Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jewish Rock, Christian Rock, and Lessons in the Air

So, I spent Saturday traveling from St Louis to New Jersey and back. Imagine the most touching Mastercard commerical combined with a three-tissue Hallmark commercial, and you have my Saturday. My Dad was touched, I got to see cousins I haven't seen in years (and meet new spouses/children), and had a nice, long chat with my grandfather. It was a whirlwind of an afternoon, but the travel time gave me plenty of quiet space in which to think, pray, and just be. So, while I arrived home both excited and exhausted, I also felt renewed by all the solitude I'd had.

In an effort to travel as lightly as possible, I carried only my purse, which meant I did not even bring a book, just a small notebook, my ipod, camera, and wallet. I decided to approach my time waiting in the airport and on the plane as "retreat" time... and fill it with prayer, praise music, and contemplation rather than filling the time with some sort of "entertainment."

Saturday morning, I arrived at the departure gate around 6:15 am, settled into a seat, and turned on a podcast I'd downloaded the day before. Sitting across from me were several guys who looked to be in their late-20s, looking at "Star Wars" magazines and giving off a very "World of Warcraft" vibe. (Yes, I judged them. Wrong, I know). I said a small prayer that none of them were my seatmate.

In a day that can only be described as divinely ordained, one of the men was, of course, seated in 13C. I nodded hello, turned up my ipod, and stared out the window. (Please don't mention the irony that I was listening to Christian rock on my ipod... I know, it is shameful).

We had almost no interaction throughout most of the flight, though I did share my outrageously expensive almonds with him (urged on by the message of Jesus Christ playing in my ears). With about 20 minutes left on the flight, the attendants made us turn off our electronic devices. I reluctantly pulled the earbuds from my now-tender ears; he turned off his movie and stored his laptop. In the awkward silence that settled on us, I thought, "come on, Jen, actually act on all that Christian stuff you keep talking about, and be friendly."

So, I asked where he was headed. And spent the next 20 minutes absolutely delighted and fascinated. He is the drummer for the Rick Recht band, the most popular Jewish rock band in the nation, and was traveling with the band for a series of shows that weekend.

"Ummm, I don't mean to be rude, but I've never heard of Jewish rock."

He explained that most people have not heard of Jewish rock, that it is where Christian rock was about 20 years ago, a niche market, but growing. His band is very popular, he travels about 300 days per year, and is able to make a living doing what he loves (drumming).

He was a very nice man, gentle and enthusiastic about his career, friendly and easy-going. I immediately regretted all of the judgments I'd made about him, based on his appearance and his choice of leisure activities. We had a pleasant conversation, wished each other luck, and went on our way.

This morning, I had a chance to look up the Rick Recht band, and was amazed to see that they have 7 albums, and seem to have a significant YouTube following. In iTunes, I listened to samples of some of their songs, noting the similarities and differences between Christian and Jewish rock.

And then I came across this song:

I have this same song in a Christian rock version, and it's one that the kids and I both love. It usually gets a "play that one again, Mom" when it comes on the CD rotation in the car.

And, I think, it's the perfect reminder to me... that we may choose Star Wars magazines and World of Warcraft over mom-blogs and Catholic podcasts, we may worship in different languages, different buildings, or with different prayers, but we all bow before the same God.

And holy, holy, holy is the Lord, God Almighty.


  1. Loved that song, thanks for sharing. You get around. I can't even imagine.

  2. Ahh, but Mary, I don't have groovy sandals and an awesome hippie-purse, like you do! Imagine what I could do with that!


  3. It is wonderful how God brings people into our lives when we least expect it.