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2. What would you be willing to change in your church if it meant making more people feel welcomed or comfortable? Music? Order of worship? Style or time of worship? Number of services?

 

Just about anything physical. All of the above and more.

 

3. What would you be unwilling to change?

 

The call to follow Jesus, to become disciples and not just believers. All too many churches consist of folks who come in on Sunday, get their spiritual ticket punched and go home. The service should be a call to a change of life, to an adventure, a challenge to really follow Jesus in all the hard ways: forgiveness, love, service, stretching your comfort zone to the limit and beyond. That's the core. To change, ignore or overlook that makes the whole thing a waste of time.

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  • 1 month later...

1. Can you think of a type of person who might make you uncomfortable if one sat next to you during a church service?

 

Those who stare.

 

 

2. What would you be willing to change in your church if it meant making more people feel welcomed or comfortable? Music? Order of worship? Style or time of worship? Number of services?

 

Yes, yes, yes, yes, & yes.

 

 

3. What would you be unwilling to change?

 

Stance on gay marriage, GLBT people, responsibility to the poor...

 

4. How long do you think people should attend your church before they can hold positions of responsibility?

 

Depends on the person.

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Funny thing. Maybe it is my age (late 50s), but I love the old hymns (not maybe some of the words, you know the more militiristic ones esp.). Only thing is that I wish that I had gone in and changed all the quarter notes to eighth notes (haha bet the organist would love me!) as I hate it when they drag the hymns on, or maybe she's the one that drags them. We had a music director in Chicago that would really kick that mule! She also was musically gifted and wrote hymns, and these were great. I don't care for praise "music". We do do some music from other countries aside from Europe or US, esp Mexico, which I very much enjoy.

I'd like other instruments playing. And sometimes we get guitars, flutes, base, and a recorder orchestra.

I dislike liturgical dance!! Though I remember once going to a Matt Fox event and they had one and I liked that, so maybe it depends.

 

I also like the old dark church (stained glass, natural and incandescent lighting, dark wood, etc.).

 

OTOH, the local UMC does a couple modern events, dinner and movie, an updated service and I haven't gone yet... They must be popular as it is a huge church. It's cute but they have this brochure with fire and "what's your burning question?" And I keep thinking "hell".

 

I also went to a Taize service which I thought was very neat.

 

 

--des

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I found a second hymn in the hymnal I like. Much of my dislike for church music (be it praise music or hymns) comes from the emotional manipulation that was done in the church I grew up using music.

 

I prefer secular music.

 

 

I agree about the emotional manipulation factor. The church I am in now uses hymns mostly, and even then not many during the service. I actually feel okay about them because I don't feel the manipulation that has happened to me elsewhere - with the singing of songs over and over and over again. I'm not sure whether it was hypnotic or whether people didn't breathe properly when singing, but it had some weird effects on people and also ramped up the pressure factor.

Although hymns often don't express in words what I necessarily understand sometimes, I feel quite comfortable with them because they don't mess with my emotions in the same way.

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I agree about the emotional manipulation factor. The church I am in now uses hymns mostly, and even then not many during the service. I actually feel okay about them because I don't feel the manipulation that has happened to me elsewhere - with the singing of songs over and over and over again. I'm not sure whether it was hypnotic or whether people didn't breathe properly when singing, but it had some weird effects on people and also ramped up the pressure factor.

Although hymns often don't express in words what I necessarily understand sometimes, I feel quite comfortable with them because they don't mess with my emotions in the same way.

 

 

That pretty much describes my experience. It is why I tolerate hymns. I don't enjoy them but they don't bother me the way "praise" music does.

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Hmmm. I don't much care for hymns. I don't like modern Christian music that is played in many of the pomo churches.

 

Do they use music at unprogrammed Quaker gatherings? I'm really starting to feel that's where I should go. :)

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Maybe it's a generations thing? I'm in my late 50s. But I really like hymns. For one thing, I think a lot

of them are good music written by well-known composers or are folk tunes that have been around awhile, "All thru the night", etc. Not that all congregations sing them equally well. I don't think they are manipulative, I think they are more on the emotional side, as that's what music is. But manipulative means a conscious effort to change or modify someone's viewpoint. Or something like that. If they aren't from the heart they aren't too well sung. (And if they are't known they aren't either, hence I dont' like new ones just for the sake of something different.)

 

I actually like to play hymns on the recorder, can play quite a few. And aside from some Celtic folk melodies in minor key, my favorite thing to play.

 

. Of course, I am not familar personally with emotional manipulation in hymns that some of you describe from churches in your youth. Christian Science has its hymns, but I wouldn't say they are a main part of the service. Many of the hymns are rewritten Protestant hymns that don't contain any ideas about mortality, etc. So I guess I found the hymns at a liberal church rather refreshing as they admitted humanity.

 

Somethings I would change are that I feel hymns are often played too slow. It makes them sound like funeral songs or something. Another thing I dislike is lots of verses. I think usually only 1 to 3 of the verses are any good and they gooff into some forced rhymns or just a lot of words. And I don't care for obscure hard to sing hymns either.

 

OTOH, I dislike praise songs, as I think the whole purpose is a bit different. I don't think you are supposed to end up thinking. It's one thing to deal with an emotional side, but I do think about the lyrics. If you get too much of praise praise praise, you aren't thinking about lyrics and they are supposed to be manipulative in that you should be pulled along.

 

I'm not sure there is no place for it. I've heard that oen of the purposes of group prayers like The Lord's Prayer is not hte meaning per se but there is kind of contemplative aspect to everybody saying one thing, and it's the same thing each time. I think Bauer talks aobut this in Stealing Jesus.

 

 

BTW, we had a very interesting incident around a hymn/song at my old church in Chicago. The church had been the former home for an exiled South African pastor. So he came back to visit after apartheid was being dismantled.

We had a typical South African greeting for him where the kids all came up and gave him flowers. It was quite lovely. Then we sang the S.A. national anthem. We had been practicing it for a few weeks. Although it is more of a hymn it is about as singable as our national anthem (NOT) and in about 6 different languages. After murdering it thoroughly, I suggested at one time we sing it in English. I commented I thought it was better than murdering his tongue and at least we could sing it somewhat. But that was heresy. :-)

He sat on patiently as we totally butchered his National Anthem. :-)

 

--des

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Hmmm. I don't much care for hymns. I don't like modern Christian music that is played in many of the pomo churches.

 

Do they use music at unprogrammed Quaker gatherings? I'm really starting to feel that's where I should go. :)

 

By and large, unprogrammed Quaker meetings don't use any music. I do recall an exception; I once visited an unprogrammed meeting in Nebraska many years ago that had, as I recall it, 15 minutes of singing followed by 45 minutes of unprogrammed worship, but that was from my experience with Quakerism quite unusual. Typically, in an unprogrammed meeting, the entire period of worship is an hour long, and it consists of everyone sitting in reverent silence, and if someone feels moved to speak they stand up and say something, then sit down, and the silence continues, or at least until someone else feels moved to speak. On rare occasions I've been in meetings when someone felt moved to sing something, which they did a capella, but that is also rare. Generally, an unprogrammed Quaker meeting is music-free.

Edited by Mystical Seeker
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I have heard of Quaker hymns though. I have somethign I play on the recorder called

"Come and find the Quiet Center". I really don't know the words but I did look them up on the

net. My recorder teacher identified it as "Quaker". We do sing somethign with the same

melody but doesn't go as "Come and Find the Quiet Center" -- I don't like it as well the way we

sing it.

 

From what I recall the lyrics basically describe going into The Center vs listening to all

the worldly distractions. Very Quaker I think.

 

--des

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I have heard of Quaker hymns though. I have somethign I play on the recorder called

"Come and find the Quiet Center". I really don't know the words but I did look them up on the

net. My recorder teacher identified it as "Quaker". We do sing somethign with the same

melody but doesn't go as "Come and Find the Quiet Center" -- I don't like it as well the way we

sing it.

 

From what I recall the lyrics basically describe going into The Center vs listening to all

the worldly distractions. Very Quaker I think.

 

--des

 

It is possible that the hymn comes out of the programmed tradition rather than the unprogrammed one. I have never attended a programmed Quaker service, but from what I know about them they are more like your typical Protestant services, although perhaps with short periods of silence incorporated into them. That might be the origin of the hymn that you speak about. All I know is that hymns are not normally incorporated into any of the meetings that I regularly attended.

Edited by Mystical Seeker
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I don't know much about Quakers except for the American Friends Service Comm. which has an

impressive record. There are also Quaker colleges, almost all of them (or all?) have dropped test

requirements for admission.

 

I went to one Quaker meeting which was conducted totally in silence. I didn't enjoy it. I didn't know there were different sorts of services, but I would gather that Quakers have this much related to Congregationalists (or UCC) in that they are congregationally governed. If they wanted some lay involvement in the services from music to anything else I gather they could do it. But afaik, there is no formal worship pattern, like most churches.

 

BTW, actually related to the topic. One thing I really miss from the old church was we had a real lot of lay involvement. And someone from the congregation gave a little talk on the lectionary topic from their point of view. I used to really like this as it was almost always quite personal and not at all preachy. They also ran the service--- doing responsive readings and part of the communion service. The Pastor pretty much just

gave the sermon.

 

 

Speaking of which, I am doing the Scripture reading this week. plan to read from the Message. It's about all we can do in the current church, which I would change.

Anyway, Proverbs is pretty colorful in the Message.

 

 

 

--des

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I have heard of Quaker hymns though. I have somethign I play on the recorder called

"Come and find the Quiet Center". I really don't know the words but I did look them up on the

net. My recorder teacher identified it as "Quaker". We do sing somethign with the same

melody but doesn't go as "Come and Find the Quiet Center" -- I don't like it as well the way we

sing it.

 

From what I recall the lyrics basically describe going into The Center vs listening to all

the worldly distractions. Very Quaker I think.

 

--des

 

Hi des

"Beach Spring" is the hymn tune used for "Come and find the Quiet Center " It's found in the UMC hymnal "The Faith We Sing" on page 2128. In the regular UMC hymnal the tune is used for "Wash O God Your Sons and Daughters" and "Lord,Whose Love Through Humble Service". I don't know if its in the UCC Hymnal.

 

BTW there is a ghastly(IMO) contemporary gospel song out now called "I'm in Love with Jesus,and He's in Love With Me.

 

MOW

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Beach Spring is the tune for "As We Gather at Your Table" which we sing sometimes during communion (for obvious reasons). Beach Spring doesn't sound real Quaker. Perhaps the song was adapted for some Quaker meetings that are more structured. My recorder teacher's son is a Quaker and she recognized it, even knew I copied a couple notes wrong.

 

More notes in the UCC hymnal (hymnals have some interesting reading!) says Sacred Harp 1844.

 

--des

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  • 1 month later...

I find the Quaker unprogrammed style of worship to make more sense to me than the typical Protestant service. It has taken me a long time to get over my dislike of the cermonies and hymns. When I realized the ceremonies, musical accompaniedment, and hymns are part of a historical tradition that reaches back across the centuries, I became more accepting of them. I look at it from a participant/observer point of view...witnessing one way of expressing Faith and Worship out of many others and that is connected in time and place with others of today and long ago. The Quaker approach, to me, gets right down to business without all of the pomp and ceremony. The robes, the choir, the hymns, standing up, sitting down, the almost cult-like emphasis on and worship of Jesus, etc. seem so very extraneous to me. I plan on remaining active in my Methodist church, but want to attend Quaker Meetings every other week or so.

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I find the Quaker unprogrammed style of worship to make more sense to me than the typical Protestant service. It has taken me a long time to get over my dislike of the cermonies and hymns. When I realized the ceremonies, musical accompaniedment, and hymns are part of a historical tradition that reaches back across the centuries, I became more accepting of them. I look at it from a participant/observer point of view...witnessing one way of expressing Faith and Worship out of many others and that is connected in time and place with others of today and long ago. The Quaker approach, to me, gets right down to business without all of the pomp and ceremony. The robes, the choir, the hymns, standing up, sitting down, the almost cult-like emphasis on and worship of Jesus, etc. seem so very extraneous to me. I plan on remaining active in my Methodist church, but want to attend Quaker Meetings every other week or so.

I used to be an active Quaker, and I know what you are saying. I have drifted away from Quakerism in recent years and have become a bit of a church shopper these days, but I still like the Quaker form of worship, although I have come to enjoy other forms of worship as well. What I like about Quaker worship is that it draws me into a contemplative state and I often feel refreshed and centered after it is all over. That is also why I like other quieter, more contemplative modes of programmed worship, such as candlelit Taize services.

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Russ, I really like what you said about all the standing up, sitting down, etc. I think in those simple comments you might have grasped something rather major. The planned sitting and standing at various points seems to be distracting to me in a way. We had a Christmas Eve service where we did nto sit and

stand. It immediately made it much more contemplative. These things, to me, break up the contemplative nature of worship.

 

Then there is your comments of the "cult of Jesus", of course you didn't word it so barely. But I also dislike things in "Jesus name", singing for Jesus, talking about Jesus as if he were there, and all that. We don't have that so much at the UCC I go to, however, when we have a guest pastor it comes out again or every once

in awhile we have a hymn that goes on and on about Jesus says, "...". Not only do I find it cultish, but it is also distracting to me in a self-conscious sort of way. Of course, other people may find that sort of thign meaningful but from a little talk around I would doubt it was a majority.

 

OTOH, I like hymns but I can't say I like all of them. I also wish-- most of the time-- that they would speed up the tempo and not sing 6 verses.

 

I went to one Taize service. I liked it, but kept looking at my watch and would be wondering just how many times they would repeat something. I guessed I found the repetition of a single line tiring after awhile.

 

 

--des

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I went to one Taize service. I liked it, but kept looking at my watch and would be wondering just how many times they would repeat something. I guessed I found the repetition of a single line tiring after awhile.

--des

I have to admit that part of what makes me love the Taize services I attend is that the cantor there sings so beautifully. I don't know how I would react to a Taize service held somewhere else.

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Different strokes i guess. OTOH, I found the Taize service meaningful and moving. I wouldn't mind going to

one about once a month or so I think. The service I attended had a few interesting ancient instruments:

a harp, etc. I think someone also played some very modern instrument that was lovely with the old instrumetns. I have a recorder piece that is Taize, that I enjoy playing. And I think it would be neat to play in one if I got any better. Though I don't think there are any local Taize groups here. The service I went to

was held during Lent, and it was part of an adult education program.

 

 

 

--des

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