From the Music Ministry….

“Be Yourself; Everyone Else Is Already Taken”
Oscar Wilde

If you attended a magic convention (the term magic in this article refers to the variety arts, it does not involve chickens or graveyards, or the very popular card game, Magic: the Gathering) you will see a variety of performing styles and personalities. It will be obvious, especially watching the younger, less experienced magicians, that many are emulating established, current, well-known magician, such as David Copperfield, or David Blaine, or perhaps David Williamson or Mac King (two of my personal favorites). They may even reach back to imitate some classic magician such as Welch magician Cardini (aka Richard Valentine Pitchford), who had an incredible manipulation act, or the Father of Modern Magic, French magician Robert-Houdin who Harry Houdini (aka Eric Weiss) named himself after.

Inevitably, these performers, while being magically sound and even possibly entertaining, do not rise to the level of being truly delightful or inspiring until they give up imitating another performer and find their own performing personality and style. One of the most difficult things to do as a variety artist is to find your unique performing personality and style. It requires brutally honest introspection, some amount of life experience, and no small amount of courage to let go of the familiar. All the great artists have their own, unique personality and style. Think of Charlie Chaplin, Steve Martin, Steven Cobert, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, John Barrymore, John Wayne, Robert DeNiro, Shari Lewis (and Lambchop), Fred Rogers, Edgar Bergen, Jim Henson, and Jeff Dunham to name a few. All very successful but very different.

I have greatly enjoyed working with Jim King. He is the first pastor I have worked with who gave me sermon themes, possible titles, and scriptures for the entire liturgical year. He is the best, most consistently excellent speaker/preacher/communicator I have heard (and my father was one). I have found him honest, clear, and forthright. Finally, he is a real person – and that is a refreshing trait.

 Of course, Caroline Smith will not be Jim King. And that’s a good thing. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, Jim King is already taken. It would be unfair to her for us to expect her to be anyone other than who she is. We need to honor her unique, God-given gifts and recognize and value her strengths, perspectives, and personality. Everyone should be given the opportunity and freedom to be the unique expression of who God has called them to be. I am looking forward to seeing what God will do with the combination of the Parkway Baptist family’s graciousness, kindness, and commitment, and Caroline Smith’s unique personality and abilities.

Appreciating the Past and Looking Forward to the Future.