Aug 3, 2012

Beaver Nelson Takes a Chance

About This Video

Beaver Nelson works at many things: husband, father, house painter, high school soccer coach, faithful churchman, and rock singer/songwriter. Just his being creates a tension within many good Christian folks. He doesn’t look like the rest of us, and he doesn't settle for simple answers. Instead, Beaver challenges us to think big, to see connections in our faith and work and everyday life.

Beaver’s music is a tonic for my soul. Sure, I’ve known Beaver and his wife Stephanie since they were kids at Laity Lodge Youth Camp, but I’ve known lots of people for years...and their words don’t drive me to the depths of introspection like Beaver’s lyrics do.

He has a real feel for the working-class life and struggles of everyday people. His music reminds me that my ordinary everyday living contains the extraordinary. Every quotidian ritual has profound meaning, and this gives me hope.

Painter Joel Sheesley has a similar creative expression. One of my favorite pieces is the 1994 painting, Game, seen below:

 
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This work makes me laugh and pause to wonder at the same time. The geese come home to their natural setting and find it claimed by a suburban soccer field.  The juxtaposition of the girl by the ice chest reaching out makes me wonder. Is she reaching to feed someone or some goose?  We have to wonder as we strive to create our own happiness who or what we displace through our actions? If we are afraid to ask these questions with Beaver and Joel, what does it say about us?

I love the lack of pretense in both artists. People who display their own vision of the world for others to see and judge take enormous risks. Beaver and Joel welcome our judgment and push us to uncomfortable places where we laugh and cry and wonder.

 
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