Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I have to admit, I cheated in Seminary. That sounds pretty bad doesn’t it so let me soften it a bit. In seminary I got really good at killing two birds with one stone. I would have a huge paper due on one particular book of the Bible and so I would “just happen” to be preaching from that same book at my church. My masters thesis “just happened” to be on the VERY THING I was doing out in my community at the time. The research I did for my class I used in my sermons, the surveys and community involvement I did for my church also was the research for my master’s thesis.

In the 1700’s and 1800’s there were composers that would compose a complete opera for one particular opera house in a matter of two weeks. Rossini was one of those wandering composers who came to the Valley Theater in Rome and was asked for a quick opera. While a genius, many thought he was more lazy than genius and would often not compose the overture until the very day of the performance. The composers often did battle with the singers, especially the “prima donnas” who would take their composition and “enhance” it with all kinds of extra runs, high notes and even drop out songs to make themselves look better; after all, people came to the theater for the soloists not the composer. Rossini composed this opera in two weeks, turning over the overture a full day before the performance. The opera was a hit and Rossini became a legend. The opera was called The Barber of Seville and it’s overture was it’s second most famous piece. (Figaro being the most famous piece) Most of us grew up with the overture to the Barber of Seville from Bugs Bunny’s rendition: The Rabbit of Seville. You can find it on Youtube if you forgot.

What we don’t know is that the overture for the Barber of Seville was used not just once, but this was the FIFTH TIME he used this overture in one of his operas. You wonder how a composer can produce an entire opera in a few weeks. He borrows from all his previous operas, changes a note here and there and reuses it. He could get away with it since nothing was recorded in the 1800’s and composers would often wander from town to town. Talk about killing two birds with one chorus.

There are some preachers I know who believe they only have a certain amount of good sermons in them. Once they start running low they take a call to another church and start over again. Is this cheating and underhanded or is this smart and efficient? I have come to discover that if you give a lazy man a job that he HAS to do, you will find the most efficient and quick way to get things done. I think it all depends on your expectations. If you pay someone to produce a great opera for you, HOW he did it didn’t matter as much as how GOOD he did it. If you are expecting God to move through a preacher and touch you, should the fact that he gave that sermon 5 times before detract if the message truly moves you?
You will find many a genius is a master of efficiency. Or he could simply be lazy

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