Monday, June 1, 2009

The Choir Needs Preaching To. So long, Nick.

Have you ever heard of the saying “preaching to the choir”? It means you are talking to people who already know what you are talking about (like minded individuals). I wonder where that expression originated. Surely, it didn’t originate at my church. I know this because our choir needs preaching to.

Rumor has it that our Choir Director has been given the boot, the axe, see ya later, don’t let the door knob hit cha. I knew it was coming and it’s probably the best thing…for Nick. I wish him well.

The problem with Nick was that he came in thinking that he was working with a group of committed individuals and that was far from true (I can say this because I use to be in the choir and I was not committed). There are choir members who have been singing for over a year, some more than two years who still have not invested in a choir robe. There is always an excuse…the dog ate my check book, little green men stole my pocketbook, I need a new pair of shoes to go along with the 100 other pair in my closet. Hmm, last Wednesday’s bible study was about sacrifice. I don’t think the choir was there and it’s too bad because that lesson was for them. Anyway, rehearsal is every Tuesday and Thursday at 7PM so of course most people arrive at 7:20, 7:30. We then spend the next 10-15 minutes catching up on important stuff like where to get your nails done, this weeks’ sales, what cha cookin for dinner, who got fired, laid off, died, got a new car, boyfriend, hair do. At 7:45 we get around to praying and finally getting to work on the selections we will be singing on Sunday. While Nick is working with the Altos, the Sopranos and Tenors are talking amongst themselves, talking on cell phones or texting…this is loud enough to drown out Nick’s instructions to the Altos. He gives a glance to the talkers but they ignore this and keep on talking. Repeat this when he’s working with the Tenors and Sopranos. 9PM comes and rehearsal is over. We’ve accomplished nothing. Thursday is much of the same accept half as many people have showed up. On Sunday, if you’re really listening, the lack of commitment shows and no one in the choir seems to care. Nick cares or should I say cared (you can see it on his face) and our Pastor cares (you can REALLY see it on his face).

So, so long Nick and I hope you have learned a valuable lesson here. Everyone is not as committed as you are. Some are not willing to make sacrifices. Some have no idea that singing is a form of ministering. Some people are clueless. At your next church, the first thing you should figure out is the level of commitment of your choir members. Firmly tell them how you work and what you expect of them. Remind them that they are ministering with song. Remind them often. Remind them. Sometimes you do have to preach to the choir.

Oh man, how can I forget the most important lesson...always listen to the bass player!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What kind of music is God into?

Some church folk are funny. They act like once you've accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your musical taste should automatically change. You're only to listen to songs sanctioned by whatever church or denomination you belong to. What's absurd about this belief (at least to me) is that a song that some might consider from the "wrong side of the track" actually bought me back to Christ.

Like many of the relationships in my life, my relationship with Christ fizzled. We stopped being close, talked less and soon lost touch. I would here others talk about their relationship with Christ and would say under my breath, been there, done that. It seemed to me that in my relationship with him, I was the one doing all the giving and all the communicating so I kicked him to the curb. I can do bad by myself.

One night I was listening to music when "This Cowboy Song" by Sting came on. I listened and after it played, I played it again and again. I played that song for hours and while it played, I rethought my relationship with Christ. I realized that even after we had broken up, he looked out for me. Car accidents, sickness, I made it through because of him. He wasn't a deadbeat. He was closer to me than my own parents. I cried as I listened to Sting and I asked God to forgive me and to take me back. Here we are over four years later and our relationship is as strong as ever, we talk all the time.

Music...I listen to music on the way to church. Sometimes I listen to gospel and sometimes not. I listen to what moves me and that can be anything from The Jackson Five to Jackson Browne, Handel to Herbie Hancock. One Sunday I was listening to Marcus Miller "The Sun Don't Lie" (I like to call it "The Son Don't Lie) in the church parking lot and by the look on the faces of some of those passing by my car, you would have thought I was robbing a bank. These are probably the same people that were outraged when Kirk Franklin first came on the gospel scene. He was different and therefore unacceptable. After I finished listening to Mr. Miller, I thanked God for great music and ears to hear it. By the time I got to the front door of the church, I had a smile on my face and a dance in my step.

I think God loves a good bass beat. I think God plays the bass.