Sunday, November 26, 2006

Special Music!!

Very, very special indeed.

In Baptist churches in the South, for as long as I can remember, whenever someone sings a solo during the worship service it's been labeled "special music" in the program (or, as it was called when I was younger, the "bulletin").

I'm not a huge fan of "special music" as it's usually manifested itself, mainly as a performance vehicle in which the person performing seeks the attention and approval of the captive audience in the church building. It's like Holy Karaoke most of the time; they hear a cool song on the Christian radio station and run right out to the Christian bookstore and buy an accompaniment track so they can show everyone at church how much they can sound like the Famous Christian Singer.

I'd rather actually go to a karaoke bar; at least those people tend not to take themselves seriously when they're up there, and everyone gets the equal chance to participate. Plus, if it's really bad, you can hoot and laugh or even leave for a few minutes until they're done -- but why leave when you can be entertained by the sheer badness? In church, you have to pretend it's lovely, because it would be so unGodly to hurt the performer's feelings, you know.

I tend to view church music... or rather, worship, encompassing music as well as other forms of sincere praise aimed only at God and not at anyone else... with deep respect and a passionate desire to do it free from the piddly aims of human approval. I don't get to do that at this church, nor at many churches I've ever been in... which has unfortunately resulted in an unconscious "steeling myself" stance whenever I go to church. It's a coping mechanism, I suppose.

Anyway, back to the photo at the beginning of this post. This gentleman came to our church a few Sundays back and played his bagpipes for us. Not well, mind you. I'm sure he's a genuinely nice fellow, and maybe he's actually really good -- how can you tell, with bagpipes? -- at any rate, I suffered through it with a smile and the thought that this would make great blog fodder, if nothing else.

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