As I Was Saying…

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All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir

June 13, 2008

mr youse needn’t be so spry
concernin questions arty

each has his tastes but as for i
i likes a certain party

gimme the he-man’s solid bliss
for youse ideas i’ll match youse

a pretty girl who naked is
is worth a million statues

— e.e. cummings

As I’ve mentioned here before, I have sung in the choir at our church ever since Elizabeth was born in 1980. Through the years, I have often wondered about the expression “preaching to the choir.” The words seem to suggest that choir members are likely to be the truest of true believers and the most pious folks in the congregation.

That hasn’t been my experience.

For example, several years ago all of the U.C.C. churches in the area got together to hold a combined service at Merrill Auditorium in Portland City Hall. In the combined choir seated on the stage there were more than 100 singers. In the tenor section, I was surrounded by singers from other churches. I didn’t know any of them.

The service itself was not exactly my cup of tea and included things to which I have trouble relating. It began with what was called “liturgical dance.” Please believe me when I say that I am a hopeless philistine when it comes to dance of any kind. Yet in retrospect I have to admit that the dance was the highpoint of the morning.

The fellow sitting next to me seemed to find the dance riveting, and he followed one dancer in particular. The dance went on and on, and my mind began to wander. Soon I was wondering why the hell I’d ever gotten involved in such New Age hokum.

As the dance finally neared its conclusion, my neighbor leaned toward me just a little. He continued to watch the dancer and, without moving his lips, said sotto voce, “She has a nice ass…”

He was right, of course. About some things guys are never wrong.

So maybe I’m not the only one who joined the choir because it’s too hard to sit through church without something to do.

2 Responses to “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir”

  1. Cowtown Pattie Says:

    I wasn’t ready nor expecting that line: “she has a nice ass…“.

    And dancing? In church?

    Wow. I surely know this didn’t happen in my part of the Bible Belt. Footloose didn’t free any Baptists ’round these here parts…

  2. Pete Says:

    Hi Pattie,

    Thanks for stopping by!

    I have to admit it. I’m not ready to party with the Bible Belt Baptists, but the “liturgical dance” didn’t set me free either.

    For me, dance doesn’t work very well as a metaphor for the Christian story, huge parts of which are, in my opinion, already metaphor.

    My fellow tenor was smarter than I and simply saw what was in front of him!

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