Scott R. BursonThe seeds for All about the Bass were planted on Valentine's Day 2017 when Dr. Scott Burson gave a talk at Indiana Wesleyan University's first Day of Courageous Conversations. He was humbled by the positive feedback from many students and colleagues, including Professor of Music Phoenix Park-Kim who wrote the following on social media: "So grateful today for the IWU community engaging in the Courageous Conversations. There are just too many excellent sessions to attend, but if you can't make up your mind for the afternoon sessions, I highly encourage you to attend Scott Burson's session titled 'All about the Bass.' (Hint: It's not about the song)."
Following this initial presentation, Dr. Burson proceeded to integrate the All about the Bass content into his Humanities Philosophy course. Central to this material is a Matthew 5 "love your enemy" assignment. The first part asks students to identify their "other"--the kind of person they find difficult to understand across a moral/social/cultural divide. Throughout the semester, students then learn ten action steps designed to help them become a more compassionate Christian without sacrificing their convictions. At the end of the semester, students conclude the "love your enemy" assignment by writing a paper on how they will try to build a bridge to their "other" moving forward. While students rarely change their convictions, most move from incivility to increased emotional and cognitive empathy. Dr. Burson has found the "All about the Bass/Love Your Enemy" material to be the most impactful and transformative content that he has taught during his career as a professor.
One of the most meaningful comments about the All about the Bass material came from a student named Mason, who is bound to a wheelchair due to a degenerative disease. This physical challenge, however, has never dampened Mason's spirits. In fact, Mason travels far and wide as a popular motivational speaker. A few years ago he even addressed the Indiana House of Representatives. After taking Dr. Burson's Humanities Philosophy course, Mason wrote: "Dr. Burson's 'All about the Bass' content is the best I have ever seen and worked through throughout my educational career thus far. As a communicator, I admire how Dr. Burson came up with the content because I know how hard coming up with fresh new ideas can be. I do not know if Dr. Burson has done so already, but I would encourage him to travel the world to share this content."
Dr. Burson sees his All about the Bass book as only the beginning. He is developing an accompanying workbook that can be used by Sunday School classes and small groups. In May he is launching a podcast entitled appropriately "The All About the Bass podcast," where the conversation will continue. Through his blog and podcast, Dr. Burson plans to interview people from all walks of life who are choosing the courageous path of biblical empathic compassion over bass-pounding tribal division and demonization.
If you have a story of reconciliation and hope that you would like to share with Dr. Burson, please send him an email at email@example.com. Who knows? He might put you on the air!