John Trepp is not here.

I am in banff, at the music festival that impacted my life quite strongly. My choir teacher, John Trepp, co-founded the festival, and it is specifically non-competitive which I find to be really beneficial for students, both myself as a young person, and so far the students are enjoying it and I think will be able to learn without worrying who is better than who. It's not about winning, it's about learning from each other.
The last time I was here, John and I had a great chat until late in the night. Such a good memory.
Tonight I started talking about him to one of the festival staff and it was hard to keep it together. There is a memorial for him here on saturday, and some of his friends are gathering to remember his contributions to this festival and to music education in general.

For those who know me, they know that Fr. Gregory Papazian has had a huge impact on my life through a straight up approach, a desire for truth. I don't know if I would have been as ready to hear truth in that way had I not been through the process of growth in my high school choir. John demanded hard work and always nothing but our best and a commitment to truth, in both expressing music and communicating with each other. The vulnerability we were able to share through trusting each other because of this truth was profound. Something I haven't experienced since, except at the monastery.

It's hard to be here, at his festival, without him.


Hearing God's Voice. (shudder)

I left a church that was obsessed with hearing God speak directly to individuals. I ran from it. trying to puke out the bad theology that I had ingested. The theology must have been bad because the number of people who were charlatans and magicians was staggering. They were fooling themselves, and tried to fool me. They were praying for God's spirit of revival and instead of seeking truth, they wanted hype. But I think they had been led astray...I don't know why they got ahold of a mic in front of a 'church' anyway. But they tried to push us over, literally-physically, so that it would seem that God had done it. So it would seem God had spoken to us, given us a word.
Call me arrogant, but I think I know what God wants and I haven't done a single percent of it correctly. I have read the part in the bible about loving the poor, the widows and the orphans. The needy. The least of these. We don't do it, we are failing miserably. I don't anyway. I am a teacher, and I try to care for my students in an appropriate and holistic way, and I try to do my job well and love my family fully. But when God has given us a) the Bible, b) the saints and church fathers and c) a truckload of wise people who have written books and given sermons and chatted to us personally, why would I dare to ask the creator of the universe to communicate anything directly to me? I would rather hide behind (inside?) the wall of the eucharist, embrace with gratitude the good things God has given me and try to express through a lifetime of slowly turning toward God (cause God knows I am too busy skiing and hunting and biking with the kids to think deeply or meditate on these issues and pray seriously) that I am sorry I haven't lived up to the fullness of human goodness capable with His spirit, and that I really am grateful, and not a spoiled child who can't turn off his phone. Or at least I am trying to go that direction. I hope.
But please, don't speak to me, I don't know that I could handle it, or if I would even be able to believe it. Too many of us have turned that moment into pornography. Something intimate for everyone to see.