One of the best things about the recent Mockingbird conference in NYC was its unerring focus on universals and primary factors in human destiny and identity, rather than on contingencies and elements in life that do not endure, but pass away.

Hence one’s love for Blue Magic.

Blue Magic were a Philadelphia group in the early and mid-1970s who stuck to absolute basics. Which is to say, Blue Magic stuck to romantic connection and romantic loss as the big drivers. Almost every song they performed is about acutest mourning (for a person) or ecstatic presence (of a beloved and loving person). I don’t think “profound” is too strong a word for Blue Magic’s output. (Never mind the Spinners, Stylistics, Delfonics, and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes).

This cast talks about Home and the treasured feelings, some of them conflicted and unfulfilled, that almost everyone has concerning Home. Think “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Green, Green Grass of Home”. In passing, I connect those feelings to current passions on the subject of immigration; and relate it all to … college! (Did you have fun in college? Did you want to have fun in college? Yes or no.)

If we could just frame our debates — basically all of them — in terms of primary and not secondary or even tertiary elements in the creation of personal happiness. Abstractions don’t make you happy. Blue Magic understood this. Dorothy understood this. Paula White understands this. The Gospel and the Word of God understand this.

Podcast 246 is dedicated to the Rev. Canon John Arthur Zahl, Rector-elect of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Bedford, NY.