Excerpt from Uprising, by Erwin McMannus:
"Several years ago I was mesmerized by the amazing talent of a classical pianist named Chris Crossan. After playing a wide spectrum of music, spanning from Beethoven to Bach to the Beatles, he invited an admiring student to come up and play. The student seemed a bit off balance by the invitation. It wasn't that he was timid before audiences; it was that he didn't know how to play the piano. But Chris insisted, almost as if missing the most important part of the information. Chris kept emphasizing he was free to play anything he wanted. Again the student, in somewhat embarrassed manner, explained that he didn't know how to play the piano. And then Chris pressed his point."
"Although the student had the opportunity, he really didn't have the freedom. Opportunity and freedom are not the same thing. Chris's freedom to play the full spectrum of music, to passionately express the music within his soul, was only available to him as a result of years and years of disipline. Discipline can be confused with conformity. Many times we run from discipline or at least resist it because we feel we are being forced to conform in the most negative sense of the word. No one wants to be a clone. No one's life ambition is to be a carbon copy of someone else (except, of course, all those Elvis impersonators). Yet the irony is that when we forsake discipline in our attempt to avoid conformity, we lose our potential to be truely free. The course set before us offers the freedom hat comes from a discipline of the soul. There is a gauntlet you must be willing to pass through. At first the pursuit of character has the feel of learning scales, but soon what is formed becomes music to your ears. Without character all you're doing is playing the radio. When the character of Christ is formed within, you are no longer simply an echo but a voice."