Sunday, October 28, 2007

as joyfully i lark about, and go crazy with the hyphenates and parentheticals

I was at church this morning (go me!) and I have to admit that a large part of the reason I go to church is because I like singing, and most (good) church songs have simple, repetitious, and soothing melodies that can make even amateurs like me feel like they have some musical chops.* (I also love Jesus and stuff, but I can love Jesus at home.)

As much as I heart the individual songs at church, I do wish sometimes that the musical director would pick a musical theme and stick with it. Otherwise, the aesthetic experience of church (on which my particular religion places what some would consider an idolatrous amount of importance, a disagreement which has led to, oh, I dunno, centuries of war and the creation of the modern, Westphalian nation-state system) can be pretty schizophrenic. One minute, we are all high-church organ chords marching along with a slightly caesero-papist militant undertone ("We all do extol thee, our leader in battle, ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine!"), and the next we are multicultural ("SeƱor! Me has mirado a los ojos; sonriendo, has dicho mi nombre."), and the next, we are recently freed slaves ("Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand, Precious Lord, and lead me home!"). And that is on a good day. Occasionally, you'll get an overly ambitious musical director who ventures into the choir-only lands of youth-Mass-guitar-rockin'-4-Jesus** (makes peace sign with fingers and solemnly head-bangs) or experimentally-atonal-but-it's-Latin-so-it-must-be-extra-holy (Faure, I'm looking at you), or, on a particularly weird day, both.***

Or maybe I should just quit my nit-picking and be thankful to Jesus for aforesaid job, aforesaid laptop, and below-referenced friends and family.

* A friend of mine has been using the word "chops" in the context of music a lot lately and it has crept into my vocabulary, as such things tend to do. I actually feel silly using this word in this context, calling to mind as it does some sort of church-inappropriate musical throwdown between me and another congregant. ("You wanna piece of me? He who sings prays twice, beeotch!") But I am too tired to look for an alternative, since looking-for-the-right-word is like 80% of my job-that-pays-for-laptop-for-blogging/facebook/AIM at the moment, and the fancy verbiage part of my brain needs a rest.

**Have you ever noticed that commercials for these albums tend to crop up during late night TV, in between ads for Girls Gone Wild 7 with additional bonus features, like Sorority Hazing 5, for just $1.99 extra if you call in the next hour?

***University churches are particularly apt to try this strange pairing, as the congregation is generally dominated by the youthful and the music ministry is generally dominated by the music majors, or those who wish they were.

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