26 June 2008

This one is not about politics.

At the church, there have been evening commitments every night this week: a worship meeting on Monday, minor league baseball game with the youth group on Tuesday, Ad Board and special Charge Conference last night, and tonight is our Farmers' Market and Eatin' Meetin' (which is an open-invitation community meal).

Monday's meeting was the 'next step' planned after the somewhat contentious Ministries Council conversation last month. This meeting included the staff responsible for planning worship and music, a few lay representatives of our Worship & The Arts working group, and a few lay representatives from our Racial & Ethnic Inclusivity working group. As someone who does not know much about music, I had not realized just how difficult it is to deal productively with musical recommendations coming from people who don't know much about music. The practical challenges of diversifying the genres of our hymns and anthems are tremendous, even if you have wonderfully talented musicians (as we do). Yet I think certain people at the meeting had never had the 'pleasure' of hearing a classically trained vocalist attempting to sing Mahalia Jackson. Changing our music is not simply a matter of picking different songs.

I was really impressed, however, with one woman at the meeting -- another individual who'd been involved with the racial & ethnic inclusivity proposal -- who really had her eye on the ball. She wasn't interested in abstract, liberal goals like "inclusivity" for their own sake; as someone who became a Christian at this church, she truly understands worship as a transformative force in people's lives, and so for her, changing our worship is all about our ability to make disciples. Now we're talking.

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