Pieces of a Journey: The Difference Between Being and Doing

The first time I heard this song was on a tape, mid-nineties, during high school. I studied music for my senior year and rested on influences like Tommy Emmanuel, to broaden my awareness of how musical scales can be utilised outside of the five pattern blues pentatonic. I wanted to move on from the things that got me through the lunch time “impression management” sessions. In my quest for musical maturity (and putting some pride issues aside, which have been purged out of me since then) I turned to Jazz.

As a result I ended up with a more rounded knowledge and deeper appreciation for musical styles that exist around 8 notes bouncing around a fret board, tweaking out sounds from a variety of octaves.

It is not difficult for a musician to see absolute constructs behind theological truths. In particular, how things might be ordered by The Creator, His Word and His Spirit from what is otherwise 8 notes of discordancy. Order comes by command (see Karl Barth’s  ideas of ‘the graciously commanded order’ in his Church Dogmatics).

I’ve shied away from music since my early twenties because of pride, the indifference of an apathetic/abusive family and the absence of real relationships that inspire creativity. Since finding myself being grasped by God, (and as I see it, from this alignment I’ve found healing and real relationships) I’ve moved closer towards a healthier perspective of ability, talent and gifting. I’ve learnt from this down-time that pride can blind us and stifle the talents God grants us. I still wonder whether or not it is right to suggest that this means we are called to own what God gives, and are then encouraged by God to share (or gift) others with that gift? I.e: What is the difference between being the gift and giving the gift?

Sometimes spending time reflecting on our personal agendas, the jealousy exhibited by put-downs, discounting, covert-manipulation and back-stabbing from others, and how they meet with the will of the God, who gives of Himself freely and sacrificially for us. Can outline a pathway towards the ‘Lord of complete humanity’ (Barth, 1938 CD.1.2:128) and creativity.

The ‘bringer of life is the reconciler of (human) being’ (ibid,p.128). As such He becomes the Creator, who in Christ redefined, and by His Spirit redefines relationship with His creation. In a sense God becomes the difference between being and doing (John Calvin).

When we align with this, we see outlines of a pathway we never imagined, but have secretly always prayed for.

Tommy Emmanuel is one of the more well-known of Australia’s solo guitarists.


Barth, K. 1938 Church Dogmatics, I.II The Doctrine of The Word of God Hendrickson Publishers


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