It was a typical Thursday night. My wife and I were sitting on our sofa, watching television. I was about to get up and grab myself a snack, but I was lingering because I wanted to see what an eighteenth-century English made chair would go for at auction. An old gentleman had brought one in to “Antique Roadshow” in order to be evaluated. The announcer/antique expert said if the chair had come from New England and not England it would have been worth much more, but as it stands the chair was only worth $5000. The same model of chair made in New England goes for around $100,000. So, by comparison the old man’s chair was relatively worthless. I got up, went to the fridge, and grabbed a fat free yogurt.
I was sitting in the lobby of the student center at my college. Resting, wasting time, idly studying in between classes; grabbing something overpriced and packed with preservatives to fill my stomach. A few of my classmates were around, and as normally happens, our conversation was interrupted by the ringing of someone’s cell phone. Beethoven’s Fur Elise met my ears. I had never learned to play Fur Elise, except for the first few pitiful bars. I had not even learned to play the lefthand accompaniment, just the hummable melody in the right. And now I had to sit and listen to it being played on a cell phone in the form of a midi file. They did not even have the courtesy to let it play all the way through before answering their call. They would be gone for a few minutes and would be out of the loop by the time they got back. I still had not bought a cell phone.
I was onstage; electric guitar strapped around my shoulders. Cables were everywhere. I had cables in my ears with tiny speakers on the ends of them so I could hear what I was playing and singing. There was a cable coming out of my guitar that was attached to a floor pedal that had two cables coming out of it: one for power and one that was attached to a much longer cable that went all the way to the back of the room where the soundman dwelled with all his buttons and knobs. I was singing into a microphone that also had a cable attached to it whose destination was the same as my guitar. Everyone else on stage had about as many cables attached to them as I did. To my left and my right on the wall behind me two giant video screens were projecting a slow moving digital image of a pastoral countryside. If you paid close enough attention you could see the grass bending slightly with the wind. On top of the image were words—poetry in fact—that matched the song I was singing and were constantly being updated as I sang, all with the help of more wires, assisted by a man pushing buttons on a computer, who sat next to the soundman. I was looking out onto a church congregation, but I could not see them very well; the lights had been dimmed and the stage lights were so bright. Naturally, sweat was pouring down my face.
They called this "praise and worship".