Phlebotomic is a blog experiment that seeks to gather multiple perspectives around a common prompt, which is provided weekly.

Last week's prompt was "Beauty"...

This week's prompt is "Path"...

12 January 2009

Tension: A Parable from the Strings

If anyone out there plays a string instrument, you know about tension in the musical sense.
On a guitar of 6 strings, each string is specially crafted to unique specifications, made to endure a certain amount of tension when stretched across the neck of the guitar. 1) The strings normally stretch from the head--where they can be tuned--to the bridge, where they connect to the body of the guitar. 2) As long as each string keeps within the confines of its specified tension-zone, in other words, as long as it doesn't pass its own tension-barrier, the string will not break from overstretching. 3) If the strings don't have enough tension, however, there is no sound, no voice, no music. 4) Each string is made to work together with the tensions of its 5 sister strings. If you buy a pack of strings of one tension-family, let's say, and then one string breaks, and you try to replace it with a string from another tension-family, there are a few possible problems that may result. One is that the one new string, no matter how hard you try, will always be just slightly out of tune with the other 5 strings. One other long-term problem is that, if the tensions are too different, it could result in the slow distortion of the shape of the neck of the guitar. 5) If you leave any less than 6 strings--but more than none--on the neck at the proper tension for a prolonged period of time, let's say a few months, there is also the possibility of long-term damage to the neck.

Let's now look at this as a parable.
1) The head of the guitar is the Lord, the Head to which we are all connected, and the place where we can all be tuned. The neck and the strings and the body are a small community, connected to the Head. Let's consider the 6 strings as representative of 6 relationships of 6 people in this community.

2) If our relationship with the Head consists all of our effort and morality and stress, we soon break under the tension and cease to do what we were made for, making music--for a time.

3) If we are too loose and don't cling to the Head, if we don't hold fast to Him, we are limp, dead weight. And we cannot make music. We are not in a place of tight relationship with the Head.

4) Each person has a relationship with the Head and with each other. These relationships are not mutually exclusive. If I am out of relationship with the Head, I am out of tune with the others. If I'm out of tune with the others, then we are not as harmonious, melodious, loving, sacrificing, or whatever, as we were designed to be when we were packaged and placed together.

Moreover, being out of sync long-term may cause serious distortion, which may then require a long recovery period.

5) If one member of our community is missing, out of play for some time, or relationally absent, then we may all suffer.


  1. i had never considered the way that having only 5 strings taut might affect the neck.

    i think of the fractured, warped nature of the body today...we have missing strings for awhile.

  2. With proper care, can the neck be brought back from the warping? Can we "undo" the damage done?

  3. Unfortunately, with a guitar, that is very difficult and near impossible to do. But, with One of us all things are possible.