Reflection by Josh Katz
 

When I first met Ben Horne, his favorite band was Creed.  By this time, liking Creed, particularly in college, was deeply unpopular.  Grunge was fading, and nobody wanted to hear grunted, growling songs full of Christian allegories.

The next year, we were roommates in a suite we called the Shanty.  This was right at the time that Napster came around.  At one point Ben got in trouble with Wiess’ network administrator because he had set up a download queue with like 5,000 songs on it.  I think our room single handedly brought Rice’s campus network to its knees.

Within a year’s time, Ben was into everything from old school hip hop to anarchist sound collage like Evolution Control Theory or avante garde noise rock like Frodus.  He became a KTRU DJ, and eventually station manager.

But if you were to ask him, even a year ago, he’d happily tell you:  Creed was still one of his favorite bands.  Still listed on his many meticulous lists of best bands, best songs. That band talked about struggling to keep your faith in a world that challenges that faith left and right.  The entire KTRU community had a Creed fanclub of exactly one person.

If that seemed like a contradiction – well, that’s Ben.  To paraphrase Walt Whitman, do you like contradictions?

He contained multitudes.

Activist

Catholic

Rapper

Economist

Life of any Rice Party

Non-drinker of anything but OJ

An oft-repeated phrase at Wiess, “That’s just Ben.”  You’ll hear a lot of stories here today that show the spirit and imagination and zeal with which Ben did everything. 

Sometimes these stories are whimsical – “did you know Ben ate a shirt?   Because he wanted to see if you could eat a shirt?  Turns, out you can.”  And that’s just Ben. 

But what was also just Ben:  His passionate love for his family.  For his role in the Peace Corps, improving the lives of kids around the world.  Teaching kids in Kyrgyztan how to rap.  Challenging himself to do more and go further every step of the way, both enjoying the Glory of God and praising that glory in the way he chose to live his life.

My time with Ben was too short.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.  I miss him, but I’m inspired by him, and I’m happy to be here today to share in his memory.