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Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?

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CHRISTIANS AT WAR


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marty D 05 Jun 01 - 05:49 PM
ddw 05 Jun 01 - 06:14 PM
wysiwyg 05 Jun 01 - 06:17 PM
Chicken Charlie 05 Jun 01 - 06:19 PM
wysiwyg 05 Jun 01 - 06:19 PM
Burke 05 Jun 01 - 06:43 PM
dick greenhaus 05 Jun 01 - 07:35 PM
Midchuck 05 Jun 01 - 08:29 PM
thosp 05 Jun 01 - 08:38 PM
kendall 05 Jun 01 - 08:42 PM
hesperis 05 Jun 01 - 09:25 PM
catspaw49 05 Jun 01 - 10:10 PM
Nancy King 05 Jun 01 - 10:53 PM
Joe Offer 05 Jun 01 - 11:05 PM
wysiwyg 05 Jun 01 - 11:07 PM
Bill D 05 Jun 01 - 11:07 PM
GUEST,khandu 05 Jun 01 - 11:15 PM
Rick Fielding 05 Jun 01 - 11:15 PM
wysiwyg 05 Jun 01 - 11:19 PM
Ebbie 05 Jun 01 - 11:26 PM
dwditty 05 Jun 01 - 11:48 PM
GUEST,Celine 05 Jun 01 - 11:49 PM
ddw 06 Jun 01 - 12:00 AM
Little Hawk 06 Jun 01 - 12:06 AM
GUEST,Celine 06 Jun 01 - 12:18 AM
Ferrara 06 Jun 01 - 01:32 AM
SeanM 06 Jun 01 - 02:25 AM
Crazy Eddie 06 Jun 01 - 04:17 AM
kendall 06 Jun 01 - 08:28 AM
Giac 06 Jun 01 - 09:01 AM
Fortunato 06 Jun 01 - 09:29 AM
Nathan in Texas 06 Jun 01 - 09:54 AM
Mrrzy 06 Jun 01 - 09:59 AM
Trapper 06 Jun 01 - 09:59 AM
Matt_R 06 Jun 01 - 10:16 AM
Little Hawk 06 Jun 01 - 10:21 AM
Matt_R 06 Jun 01 - 10:25 AM
wysiwyg 06 Jun 01 - 10:55 AM
wysiwyg 06 Jun 01 - 11:27 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 06 Jun 01 - 11:30 AM
JulieF 06 Jun 01 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 06 Jun 01 - 11:49 AM
mousethief 06 Jun 01 - 11:50 AM
Dani 06 Jun 01 - 11:55 AM
mousethief 06 Jun 01 - 12:02 PM
Mrrzy 06 Jun 01 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 06 Jun 01 - 02:02 PM
Willie-O 06 Jun 01 - 02:18 PM
wysiwyg 06 Jun 01 - 02:22 PM
bbc 06 Jun 01 - 05:06 PM
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Subject: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: marty D
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 05:49 PM

This is something that I've wondered for years now and figured Mudcatters would have some interesting opinions on. When my musical friends and I get together we often sing Gospel songs, and not only are some Jewish, but I suspect a few are pretty much aetheists. It doesn't seem to matter much though. The one person in our group who is actually (I think) a fundamentalist rarely sings the well known folk or blues Gospel songs but usually has new songs that the rest of us have never heard. Can't say I like them much. They seem slick and 'new countryish'.

So I'm curious. Can you really get into Gospel songs if you think that 'resurrection-stuff' is a bunch of hooey? If so, how?

marty


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: ddw
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:14 PM

There is nothing about not believing in god that keeps you from enjoying the beautiful things created as a celebration of its existance.

Consider:

I hate organized religion (the jury's still out on the utility of belief — I can't, but if somebody else wants to, that's OK) but I think many churches are magnificant.

I love gospel music — both old-timey white gospel and especially Af/Am gospel. And I love to sing them — they're tuneful and can "feel" as good as any music I know.

But, apart from my personal preferances, just think of it from a singer's (read "performer's") point of view. Does a good actor have to kill his daughters to play a convincing King Lear?

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:17 PM

ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!

There was a great thread about playing in churches, too, to get one's skills and gig style up a notch. And we talked about this.

How? Well, I sang the choral sacred literature during the years of non-belief. I recall loving the beauty and the feeling it gave me, especially in Latin. I knew the meaning of what I sang... but my focus was elsewhere at the time. Now, I think it DID have an effect on me spiritually... down deep... and for the better. But I did not need to claim it at the time. I was working on other things, then, not spirituality, musically and otherwise in my life.

Maybe that's what it boils down to-- recognizing that people are BUSY doing and feeling what makes sense to them to do and feel (and think) at every point in our lives, and trusting people to move along progressively where they need to go. Taking what they need and giving what they can as they move along through life. Treating ourselves and others with that assumption always works, for me, anyway. Not that I remember to, all the time!

One thing that matters about this, though, is the attitude of believers participating. It's important to leave assumptions out of it entirely. Let the people be the people, the music be the music, and God be God. Then it works.

Even if it turns out Somebuddy IS listening.

*G*

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:19 PM

Sure.

cc


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:19 PM

And... if there is a deep feeling of compunction about it, when one attempts it, perhaps that is simply cause to pull back, look way deep inside, and ask, "Hmmm, whassup widdat?"

And let the answers unfold without judgment or fear.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Burke
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:43 PM

I'm curious if there are Gospel songs that appeal to you more because their texts are not quite so full of the Gospel as others. I'm thinking of something like "Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb" where the Christianity is inescapable vs. "Farther Along" where the religion is really pretty general & the only mention of our Saviour is in the last verse.


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 07:35 PM

You don't have to believe in the lyrics, but you damn well have to believe in the music.


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Midchuck
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:29 PM

What Dick said.

I sure hope so, I've been doing it for 35 years, give or take.

The Mark must be upon your forehead,
These earthly goods you then can buy.
"Depart from Me, I never knew you!"
You'll hear my blessed Savior cry.

When the fire comes down from Heaven,
And the blood shall fill the sea,
I'll be carried home by Jesus,
And forever with Him be....

So to Hell with the rest of you scum....

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: thosp
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:38 PM

yes!

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: kendall
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:42 PM

Listen to Helen Schneyer. You wont have to ask again!


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: hesperis
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 09:25 PM

I was in Church choir for a few yers. I liked the music better than most of the others in Choir. Hymns, Gospel, Carols - great! Only a few of the songs got on my nerves. (Don't remember which ones, sorry.) And I'll sing "Lord of the Dance" in any of three versions: the original Shaker hymn (Simple Gifts), the Christian version, and Pagan version.

And I am definitely not Christian. Of course, it's amazing how many symbols commonly used by the Christian religion, are used by other religions... and older religions than Christianity, too. So there is a common thread in many religions, and in many of their songs.

That makes it easy for someone who believes in The Divine first, Music second, and Religion third, to sing songs from almost any religion with meaning.


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 10:10 PM

ddw said it for me right away.........And I'd like to add to his one point. An awful lot of the "modern Christian music" is really contrived sounding and very hokey. It's almost tuneless being so contrived and the words are ridiculous. Even a bunch of old agnostics and atheists can get some moral, if not "Godly" meaning from many old gospel songs, but this new "Up with People" type bullshit is hideous!

I went with Connie to a Christian Home Schoolers Convention and among other things, I listened to a group playing........well, something. All these kids were pretty fine players and singers, but the songs(?) were just nothing. What a shame........You wanted to run up and say, "Hey....Try this instead!"

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Nancy King
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 10:53 PM

I believe strongly that singing gospel music is good for us, whether we "believe" in what the words are saying or not. Many of the songs are marvelously joyous and hopeful, and that feeling gets transferred to us in the singing.

Furthermore, gospel music is, for the most part, very simple, straightforward music, and it's easy to sing. Great for learning how to sing harmony, because it's predictable. Great for learning to sing right out loud in a group.

I am not a "believer" now, but I spent most of my childhood as a member of the Junior Choir at my church (of course it was an Episcopal church, so it wasn't exactly "gospel" we were singing...), and I remember learning several "spirituals" (such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot") as a child. And gospel music has always been an important part of folk music. It seems entirely natural to me to sing gospel songs.

Cheers, Nancy


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:05 PM

I'm a liberal Catholic with a degree in theology, and I've been a church musician all my life. I have a lot of fun singing gospel music, but I won't sing it during Mass because most of it is "fundamentalist" in perspective, and mostly incompatible with the theology of "mainstream" Christianity. The bloody dead lambs and the war images and all that stuff just don't seem to fit us liberals - but the songs sure are enjoyable to sing. I'll sing gospel before or after Mass, but not during.
I've said before that during my seminary days, we had a quartet who called themselves the Rolling Lambs. They wore nerdy white shirts with black ties; and black blazers with "RL" emblems on them. they'd gather us around the piano in the dining hall, and we'd drink beer and sing gospel til the cows came home. So, yeah, I love singing gospel - just don't ask me to sing it in church.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:07 PM

I bought the latest version of the new praise stuff... yycccch. We have done about three pieces out of it.... all lifted from old tunes!

The newer stuff-- well the newer southern gospel isn't bad, sometimes, but the rest... it's all presentation, like a very small and unsatisfying (and expensive) nouvelle cuisine meal! All garnish, no entree! Those melodies don't stick in my head no matter how often I hear them or sing along with them. Fluff... I hereby christen them Fluffernutters!

Our church thought we would be starting a contemporary praise service... and we tried... but week after week, that AIN'T what we do!

Next week, Gary Davis!

BTW, the Shaker hymnal we are studying at home at bedtime-- those Shakers had some REALLY UGLY melodies!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:07 PM

like Kendall said.....(Helen's heritage is Jewish...but)


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:15 PM

Yes! Can one sing "secular" music if one is a believer? Sure.

I do agree that most of the new "gospel" music is crap (to put it nicely. I am usually much more vehement on this subject.). From my perspective as a believer, I find many songs that are not written as gospel songs to nonetheless be gospel songs (to me).

I suppose music is in the ear of the behearer.

khandu


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:15 PM

Wow. Well spake folks. Got nuthin' to add (that's a switch) 'cept that I agree with Paw and marty that the modern "pop country" Gospel stuff strikes me as pretty lame. Ahh shit, now that I've started I WILL add something. Occasionally I accidentally click onto that hokey "Gaither Gospel Song" thing on the tube. Yeah, they're sellin' the videos, and half the singers on the stage are dead by now, but I listen....and I love it! Even all the staring at the ceiling, tears, and awful jokes.

The greatest moment of my life was Reverend Gary Davis singing "Death Don't Have No Mercy" at a Mariposa Festival 35 years ago...and then following it with "I will do My Last Singin' In this Land". Man may have put the faces and personalities to whatever God may be, but he also wrote those wonderful songs!

See...don't get me started....

Rick


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:19 PM

Go see my new verses Rick, for I Will Do My Last.... it's a current thread.

And Gaither? RealDeal, all of it. Why it works. Comparable program on the other gospel TV netwrork? Fake. All fake.

What we LIVE, sinks IN and leaks OUT.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:26 PM

Glad to hear the consensus! My ultra-fundamentalist parents were always a bit squeamish hearing their agnostic children sing their beloved gospel songs and I was unable, at that time, to put into words why I knew it was OK.

I still love gospel music, especially Southern Gospel, even though I have a different perspective from its usual position. I like to sing it, I love the harmonies, it just feels down home...

Eb


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: dwditty
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:48 PM

I think it was Dave Van Ronk who said, "I can tell a lie, but I can't sing one." 'nuff said.

dw


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: GUEST,Celine
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:49 PM

I don't know if all around the world what is called Gospel is the same but to me here in Canada it rings up the Spirituals of the Southern United States. I find the question ironic because these tunes were often drawn up by the slaves as codes for escaping from their dreaded life and the words such as Heaven for example were used as keys for the land of freedom in this case. So millions of people now sing these songs without recalling the original meaning of the words so slyly dissimulated in the themes of Heaven and Chariots and Lambs and so forth.

Celine


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: ddw
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 12:00 AM

Now you've tweaked my interest, Celine. I know Follow The Drinkin' Gourd was used for that purpose, but were there others?

david


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 12:06 AM

Do I have to be "without belief" to answer the question?

Hell, flattop can do it, and if he can it's my opinion anyone can.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: GUEST,Celine
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 12:18 AM

Sorry friends,

This one bears some research. I would imagine that "Swing Low Sweet Chariot coming for to carry me home" would surely be one of them. There were plenty of slaves escaping and they needed plenty of codes, so yes my dears, there must have been lots of such songs. Exactly which ones, I'm sorry, my fountain of knowledge stops here.

Celine


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Ferrara
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 01:32 AM

For a good example of someone doing this: If you get to the Getaway, listen to Bill D (agnostic, I think -- but maybe atheist?) sing "I'm Living on the Hallelujah Side" or "Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet."

These songs are powerful and rewarding to sing. They say what they have to say in a beautiful, straightforward way that is very satisfying.


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: SeanM
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:25 AM

Dick, I think I want that on my gravestone.

I'll also add to the cavalcade of concurrence with a 'yes' vote.

I'd also say that you don't have to believe to like listening, either. I've NEVER been 'religious', yet some of my favorite childhood memories are of the Sunday morning gospel sets out at the Prescott Bluegrass Festival. Years later, even in my punk/alternative days, I still enjoyed the Violent Femmes' gospel numbers (oddly enough, one of which has now surfaced on a car commercial). Haven't yet been singing straight gospel (though one or two songs definitely move the spirit to sing), but that is more a matter of opportunity.

You don't have to believe in one god, or any god, to believe in the power of the spirit of man, and in the power of the music that is created.

My view, anyway.

M


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Crazy Eddie
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 04:17 AM

The most important thing about Gospel Singing is Sincerity.
If you can fake that, you've got it made!
With apologies to someone (Groucho Marx maybe?) Eddie


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: kendall
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 08:28 AM

Crazy Eddie, I think that was George Burns? I cant abide organized relegion, and, I dont care for gospel songs either. I'm a words person, and, if the piece has boring, inane words, I'd rather hear an instrumental. kendallrunningforcover


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Giac
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:01 AM

Not into organized religion, but most especially this "modern" variety. The music, and the service, sound like the people are at church out of obligation instead of conviction. Maybe because it is politically correct and socially advantageous?

But that aside, I do love old-time evangelical songs. And bloody lambs? Bring 'em on. The more gore, hellfire and damnation, the better I like 'em. I like to watch and listen to gospel singers who have "the spirit." If they fling their arms about and bounce around the stage, so much the better.

It's the feeling of the music, and meat in the words. Yeah, you can sing it and not "believe" and the underlying message.

I'm sick to death of Amazing Grace, but put the words to House of the Rising Sun (Blind Boys of Alabama, for a really good version), and it's a killer song. The words take on a life that was buried under a tiresome melody, in my opinion. (Don't start flingin' rocks now!)

Mary ~;o)


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Fortunato
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:29 AM

Gospel songs like Angel Band, Just a Closer Walk With Thee, Down in the Valley to Pray and many others engender a sense of musical community when heard and sung. It is, I believe, the simple, directness of the melodies and the words that amalgamates the singers and the listeners into a musical persona that vibrates as one body.


I believe that singing and the playing of instruments are spiritual acts, though not exclusively religious, or Christian, clearly.

No one of any credo, ethnicity or belief system should miss the opportunity to sing or hear these songs.
Chance


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:54 AM

Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?

Only on this side of the grave.


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:59 AM

I think religious music, and religious buildings, to be among the most beautiful in the world. What a crying shame, when our schools are so ugly and there isn't enough beautiful music celebrating the things that are in this life... but I sing it anyway, because it IS beautiful (because it is there?)...


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Trapper
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:59 AM

As Mark Cohn said...

...
Now Muriel plays piano
Every Friday at the Hollywood.
And they brought me down to see her
And they asked me if I would
Do a little number,
And I sang with all my might,
And she said,
"Tell me are you a Christian child?"
And I said, "Ma'am, I am tonight."

- Al


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Matt_R
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:16 AM

My buddy Ryan and I detest the new "Christian" music crap too. We're trying to work on parodies of it, called "Ryan's Cheesy Christian Album." Included are a Aerosmith-esqe religious song "Jeeeeeeeeeeesus! Jesus Chriiiiiiiiist! Jesus Christ you are my liiiiiight!!" and "The Jesus Song" which has the catchy chorus of "Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus! Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus!"


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:21 AM

Matt, my feeling is that Jesus himself would not be all that impressed with most of it either. I think his intention was to set an example for others to follow, rather than to acquire hordes of fanatical worshippers grovelling at his feet and repeating his name like a mantra.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Matt_R
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:25 AM

Hey, George Harrison says "If you chant the names of the lord then you'll be free."


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:55 AM

GOSPEL TAPE LIBRARY, ANYONE?

Plenty of room on the ground floor.

Violent Femmes gospel? Huh? How'd I miss that?! Donate me some for the Library??? (I can't listen online, either.)

~S~


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:27 AM

Thanks to Marion, here's the thread referenced above:

ROLE OF CHURCHES IN MUSICAL CAREERS.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:30 AM

I agree with ddw,im not religous but some of my favourite songs are.john


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: JulieF
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:46 AM

I think I would avoid songs where I tended not to agree with the sentiment expressed. However, that does not mean that I would not join in when they are sung. I got a little hung up about this when I was a teenager - just as most teenagers I thought to sing hymns would be hypocritical. Nowadays I even go to church for events that are important to friends and family. In these cases I sing as loudly and as well as I can to "make" the occasion for other people.

I have always appreciated Religious music ( Mozart's Requiem and Hilderberg Von Bingham's work to name a few) and I defy anyone to start in one of the great cathedrals and not feel Awed ( Similarly Newgrange / Stone Henge etc)

All the best Julie


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:49 AM

In answer to the question--of course you can. As some have answered--but why would you? I've appreciated reading this thread. As a Christian, I've wondered sometimes why unbelievers sing Christian songs. It was particularly helpful for me to read ddw's remarks. Just one twist to add--Whenever friends who profess unbelief sing gospel, it makes me a little sad. I hope that they will come to a time & place in their lives where they will see what, to me, is the truth in the music. Belief comes from a meeting of what is within the person & his/her understanding of God. I hope that I have never pushed my beliefs on anyone, but, friends, when you sing gospel in my presence, I am praying (with no judgement in my heart) that you will come to know the joy, the peace, & the strength that come from my faith.

best to all,

bbc


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:50 AM

Matt, I'm with you. I used to (for satirical purposes) sing a thing that went,

It's so wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,
I'm so happy, happy, happy
Now-that-I've-let Jesus Jesus Jesus
Into my heart-heart-heart-heart-heart!

And that was when i was an evangelical!

Yeah, most of the people in my (Eastern Orthodox) church are converts from one stripe or another of protestantism, and we sometimes miss the old songs, and so at campfire sing-a-longs and such, we will trot them out and sing them in harmony and such. Then we'll laugh and say, "of course the theology is rotten..." and then sing more folk songs.

:)

Alex


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Dani
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 11:55 AM

Hell YES!

If you can't I'm in BIG trouble....

Dani


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: mousethief
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 12:02 PM

Back when I was in grad school in Chicago, I flew back and forth a lot between Chicago and Seattle. One Christmas I was flying home to spend Xmas with my folks, and in O'Hare there was a high school choir singing Christmas carols while I was waiting to board my plane. They sang tolerably well, but what I noticed most was the faces. Some were totally deadpan, some had a "my Gawd what am I doing here I could be anywhere else" look, and some seemed truly happy and joyful.

I don't know if the happy and joyful faces were the believers or not. But they were delightful to behold, whereas the others really dragged the music down just by their facial expressions.

Moral: If you're going to sing gospel songs with a long face, don't bother. If you can truly enjoy what you're singing, and bring joy to your performance, then this Christian doesn't see why you shouldn't sing 'em.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 01:54 PM

Hi, bbc, good to read from you! I have some questions, though, as I don't understand "where you're coming from" as we say. For instance, where you say Whenever friends who profess unbelief sing gospel, it makes me a little sad - I'm just curious, I don't quite see why... especially if you feel that (as you say later) Belief comes from a meeting of what is within the person & his/her understanding of God. If my understanding of god is that there aren't any, yet I find many $mas carols and other religious works to be movingly beautiful, would it really make you happier if I didn't sing them? And if so, why? Just curious, really, not picking any fights or anything, truly!


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:02 PM

I sing gospel songs happily and say to myself that the time I come closest to believing is when singing those songs. (Still remember meeting Joe Offer at the Mudcat Cafe last October or so hering him singing Power in the Blood and answering antiphonally)THe consensus seems to be forming that it's OK to sing gospel songs whether a nonbeliever, confused doubter and seeker, or believer. . .and that modern Praise songs suck. (Praise, is that why you re-named yourself?)


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: Willie-O
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:18 PM

I'm with everybody else. Don't sing too many, but Wayfaring Stranger is on my all-time faves list, with that great dark lonesome melody and the blood-and-guts lyrics.

A standard in my repertoire under the category "Gospel for Agnostics": "It Ain't Necessarily So". This classic has all the gospel swing and passion, and Bible stories, told with a skeptical flair (and crazy rhymes).

It ain't necessarily so (2x)
The things that you're liable to read in the Bible
They ain't necessarily so.

Jonah he lived in a whale
Yeah, Jonah he live in a whale.
He made his home in that fishes' abDOUGHmen
Jonah he lived the a whale.
But....

I also sing murder ballads and shipwreck songs, but have no desire to kill anyone or find myself clinging to a splinter somewhere in the North Atlantic ...

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:22 PM

LOL Pete! Good one! (I'm picturing a phone booth, "Praise Sucks, just call 999-555-5555!") I hope SOMEONE is blushing!

No, not why, tho.

Say, when ARE ya coming back to PY?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Can you sing 'Gospel' without Belief?
From: bbc
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 05:06 PM

Hi, Mrrzy,

If I wasn't clear in my meaning, it was probably from a desire to *not* push my beliefs on others. What makes me sad is my perception that people are singing about something as if they have it when they don't. Since I *am* a believer, not surprisingly, it's my belief that things of God are real & desirable. I am sad that my friends don't have the higher quality of life I perceive that I have through my beliefs. As to your latter question, by all means sing. Yes, the lyrics & tunes can be beautiful in & of themselves. For me as a believer, though, there is an added dimension of expressing my faith & worshipping when I sing those songs. I hope I haven't offended; just wanted to add my 2 cents to the conversation.

best,

bbc


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