One important event that I missed this year is watch Don Moen in concert. This American musician of Norwegian descent, I think a Baptist, holds a special place in my heart, as he does in millions of others, for giving us Catholics and non-Catholics alike an accessible kind of music that spoke to our souls, with nary a hint of proselytizing.
Moen sounds a bit like Barry Manilow after an intense prayer meeting. Personally I like Steve Kuban and others better but Moen's simple, crowd-pleasing melodies and Bible-based lyrics are something even a non-believer will find hard hating.
Don Moen is one bright star that lighted up an unexpected bridge between the Christian sects. Instead of giving in to the temptation to condemn foolish sinners 'blinded' to their so-called faith and argue with them till kingdom come, he chooses to just sing pleas, prayers and paeans to God. He prefers to delve on the commonalities that bind the divergent faiths and, always, he strikes a common chord - that latent, residual longing to unite in the name of one loving God and one self-sacrificing Savior.
Strangely, Protestants and fundamentalist Christians suddenly find themselves singing the same tunes as Catholics.' I remember a born-again friend of mine in college who heard me singing a tune she claimed to be her church's property. "Kanta namin yan, e," she said. Don Moen's music is that kind of rare musical bridge, apparently a God-send for these strife-torn, war-torn, divisive times.
There's nothing more scandalous in the world than Christians fighting each other to death. Of course, I don't expect Moen to eventually recognize as legit the following Catholic dogmas: (a) the veneration of religious icons and 'plaster saints,' (b) the special role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ, (c) the infallibility of the Pope in terms of discernment in the matters of faith, and (d) other things. But there is great hope in the knowledge that contentious and fractious groups can at least sing the same love songs together - under one umbrella like the Araneta Center. Even Manila's staunchly conservative Cardinal Sin saw something in this that he'd gladly invite Moen to play his music at the archbishop's residence or some such place.
Don Moen is an inspiring whiff of change in a world wounded deeply by hate…