Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Choir chuckles

Ok, so during choir we sang our Jesus-y churchy songs in preparation for a performance at a church this Sunday. I think I will brave it. As we were practicing one song, a gal made a comment I couldn't understand at first. Someone else asked her to repeat herself, and she said (something like this) "I've never heard a worship song so 'hymned down' before. I'm expecting the guitar and drums etc."

Well, I'm glad I wasn't the only one laughing after hearing that. But I was probably laughing for a different reason. Everyone's point of view is so different. I thought her comment was funny because in my former religion, I would have thought of this song as to 'jazzy' to be performed in a church service.

Yeah, not lots of fun with guitars and drums in the Mormon Sunday services. Not even brass instruments (my fav)! Things have got to be pretty sedate for Sacrament service. No exhuberant joy because of grace and mercy. Grace and mercy don't exist in Mormon theology. Well, ok, they do. "After all that you can do" which is never enough, so mercy and grace don't kick in. hmmmm.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Moral decision about Choir performance

Ok. So I wasn't able to attend a choir event this pask week that was held during the day. This means I evaded/avoided having to sing the Jesus-y songs. But I think we are slated to sing at a chapel next week. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get out of this one.

Here's the deal: Do I go ahead and sing the stuff, even though I don't believe it? Seems a bit 'no harm no foul', right? But maybe my Mormon training is kicking in.

As a teen, I was pretty pious and I didn't even like to dance at church dances to songs that had 'questionable' lyrics (i.e. lyrics that implied immorality, etc. Not that there were supposed to be songs playing like that). As an adult I sang in a larger Mormon choir. We would occasionally change a few lyrics of songs to make them fit with Mormon theology. (one example: "All Creatures of Our God and King")

So, do I just go along and sing with the whole choir and enjoy the mixed agony I will feel as we sing all the floofy feel good stuff? OR do I skip it because I do not want to perpetuate a belief in the "I'm so glad you [Jesus] came to save us" bit. Another lyric we sing is something about he came "my debt to pay." And the musical emphasis is on my debt to pay.

Please understand me. I am a debtor only to my credit union for the mortgage on my house, the United States Federal Government for repaying my student loans, and to the credit card company IF I happen to purchase something this month, which I pay off in full every month (so I'm not really in debt to the credit card company). Jesus can't pay any of these debts for me. Wouldn't that be sweet if he could. But please, reality check! Not gonna happen!

So do I sing along, or not? Why does this have to become a moral issue? Oh, I know! Mormon training! Everything is a moral battle between good and evil. ;)

But I know that more deeply, it will affect me on an emotional level. Part of me thinks I need to move forward and confront those feelings, rather than just avoiding them. Growth occurs through moving forward through things, right? Hmmm. I'll see how I feel singing that stuff tomorrow night.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Minor perks in a down economy

Yes, it is very disheartening to hear about thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands of layoffs occuring. But I realized one tiny perk, too.

My commute has been taking less time. I have enjoyed this slightly shortened drive time for the past week or two and thought "What is going on? Why are there so few people on the road?"

Then it dawned on me. People are losing their jobs, and/or are altering their work schedules. This truly may not be the reason, and it's a very tiny personal perk when so many around me seem troubled, but I'm counting my blessings, regardless of the real reason! Shorter commute=happier me!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Weird Choir Experience

So I joined a local women's choir. It has been really fun to sing with a group again, and start getting to know a few people. The only downside is that we are singing 50's music which is all heartthrob and "I can't live without my guy!" type music. As I thought about it a bit more, I realize that almost everyone touches on the love theme in music (though maybe not always from such a co-dependent or lop-sided perspective. Thank goodness society has made a little progress!)

Well, the other night we sang some 'churchy' songs. Ok, songs of a religious-themed nature. One was called "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High". Of course, growing up Mormon, I had never heard this before (or any of them for that matter.)

I freely admit it was weird singing songs about Jesus and saying "Lord, I lift your name on high" when I don't believe in that (the "Lord") anymore. I wonder if the 'weirdy' feeling was more from my Mormon background. I would have felt weird being Mormon and singing that song. Now it's even more weird.

But I'll also admit to feeling emotion. I felt the good vibe-what I might have termed earlier in my life as 'the Holy Ghost'-or goosebumps a few times. (But I had goosebumps when we were singing "Fiddler on the Roof" too.) I think any good music can do that. I also felt some pangs and even had a tear in my eyes as I sang "I'm so glad You're in my life". I'm not quite sure what the emotion was. Not really regret, but perhaps sorrow for missing having an imaginary friend that's all-powerful, all-knowing, and loves me.

So it was a somewhat awkward, weird experience singing a Jesus-y song in a church basement when I consider myself an atheist and ex-Mormon. Oh well. Life can be weirder. I'll report about that when it happens!