A friend (thanks, Tim!) directed me to this recent news story:
Louisville seminary merges music school
LOUISVILLE — The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is folding its decades-old music school into another school because of the sluggish economy and waning popularity with students. The seminary's School of Church Music and Worship has trained thousands of choir directors, organists and other church worship leaders for 65 years.
[the story continues, concluding with the following]
The National Congregations Study, conducted by a consortium of universities and research organizations, found fewer churches using choirs or written orders of worship between 1998 and 2006, and higher percentages using drums, shouting, dancing, raising hands and saying "Amen."
I’m not quite sure what to make of that concluding paragraph. Are we supposed to think that in place of ‘choirs or written orders of worship’ some churches have substituted ‘drums, shouting, dancing, raising hands and saying “Amen”’?
I have this picture in mind of some church leader saying, ‘And now, instead of the choir singing as we did last Sunday, we are going to pound on some drums, shout, dance, raise our hands and say “Amen.” Get ready, get set – go!’
Back in the days of church choirs, I did hear some that were of poor quality. But my best guess is that even a mediocre choir was better than a bunch of people shouting, dancing, and saying ‘Amen’ – with raised hands, of course – all to the accompaniment of pounding drums.
Of course, to attain even mediocrity as a church choir required a lot of practice and effort. I’m sure it’s much easier to pound a drum while people shout, stomp and scream ‘Amen’ with raised hands. I bet I could do the drumming, shouting thing right now with no practice whatsoever, but I won’t for fear of being arrested for disturbing the peace.
Word has it that people are not as interested in churches as they used to be. Perhaps somewhere in this is a hint as to why.