Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pub Singing with Jesus

It had been a while since I had been to church on a Sunday, so I found it somewhat ironic that I roused myself to go to a gospel music sing at an area pub on Sunday afternoon.  Previously I had been at the pub for sea chanty singing which was done at high volume and with passionate, often salacious, enthusiasm.  The idea of that colliding with gospel music was definitely intriguing . . .

Many of the singers are vocal about their non-religiousness, even the ones who do shape-note singing, so I really wasn't sure what to expect.  I was pleased that even the avowed pagans and atheists seemed enthusiastic.  Louder, actually, even though many of the songs were completely unfamiliar to them.  Many of the selections were from the grand tradition of the rebel Jesus, one that I find myself liking more the more I encounter it, and there were even a few I knew.

One of the best things about these sings, especially when it gets loud is that there are so many notes that you can follow someone else or pick out your own harmony.  Sometimes you can't really even hear yourself singing, so you can't tell if you're flat or sharp or on pitch.  That doesn't matter.  Sometimes I need to be reminded of that.

I think Jesus would have had a good time there hanging out with the sinners (all of us).  And I'm told the beer isn't bad.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


  1. I like to think - and I'm not sure it's entirely true, but I like to think - that it is still praise, even if those who sing it don't believe it like that. It's still glorious and good, and He appreciates that.

    I couldn't agree more about the notes, as well... And yes, we're rather salacious at times. It's a thing.

  2. I think about that, too. I suspect in many circles, people confuse good with salvific good. It's not that this activity gets people closer to earning salvation (so many problems with that statement). It's just that there is something generally redemptive about a community raising voices in song and making a joyful noise. It IS somewhat glorious, and it's okay to take pleasure in it. I don't know the theological terms, but I suspect it has to do with that common grace and special grace division. No matter what, it's an interesting, thought-provoking experience.