I once took an accounting course. I was working at a bank at the time and thought it would contribute to my interest (and make me appear more interested) in the world of money.¹ I remember that the accounting textbook referred to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). At the time, in my late 20s, I don’t recall questioning the notion of general acceptance, but I now imagine that there are all sorts of variations on what’s “generally accepted” as sound procedure in financial accounting.
In conducting, there are also some generally accepted principles—benchmarks or non-negotiables, if you will. One universally accepted pattern is that the “downbeat” is down; the last beat is up, and the next-to last is out. However, some very fine, artistic conductors agree that “not all downbeats are down.” Some music seems to cry that its downbeats are less about “gravity” and should move forward—and even up!—with less weight and more effervescence. The aim to express the musical essence must trump the generally accepted patterns.
The expression of authentic Christian faith—faith that is truly of Christ—must rise above generally accepted patterns, too. Who knows, after all, why a pattern became generally accepted?!
¹I got an A and enjoyed some of the work at the time, but I can’t imagine registering for such a course these days.