Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Carol singing

Taking part in my son's carol service a few days ago, I was reminded of all the religious services I sat disdainfully through in my youth - pretending to sing when I wasn't, or replacing the words with rude ones. But I've changed over the years. Even though I'm no more inclined to believe at face value, a combination of maturity and Buddhism has mellowed me and I'm less hostile to theism.

A choir had come from Salzburg to take part and even though I don't normally listen to religious music, the combination of the two choirs, the organist and the congregation was quite something. My disdain had faded away; scripture readings were just voices telling stories; and I had a powerful sense of expansiveness through all of it.

Choir voices soar
High into the vaulted ceiling
Even hymns and scripture readings
Cannot obstruct God


  1. I'm with you on this. For the past couple of years I've had nothing but contempt for anything Christian (I deconverted back in 2006). But something stirs in me when I listen to the religious works of Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. A short piece that sends me into the sublime is a work by Tchaikovsky titled, "O Dios Sanctus". The Kiev Choir has a free download off the internet that I play over and over. It's in Latin, and I don't know the words, but it's a wonderful piece.

    I also miss the congregational singing... from the acapella hymns in the Church of Christ, to the praise and worship choruses of Israel Houghton.

    Of course, it doesn't help that I spent four years of my life as a music education major before I dropped out.

  2. Got a link?

    I've not come across much Buddhist music that moves in the same way, except for a recording from chanting at Eiheiji that one of my teachers played once.

    Do you have any idea what happened to Kyle?

  3. That's amazing, that haiku is certainly aspirational - I'm still feeling that these efforts drown it out, it's nice to think that it's possible to be secure enough that even those things can't interfere.

    I fear I'm not quite there yet, myself. Maybe as I get older.

    Why is it that the haiku doesn't offend me, yet I have no belief in God ...

  4. "Why is it that the haiku doesn't offend me, yet I have no belief in God ..."

    Because you know I don't mean it in the Biblical sense?

    I don't want to be nit-picky, but strictly-speaking it isn't a haiku, although it's similar.

  5. Justin, sorry it took so long for a link:

    Next to the name of the song is a little button with an arrow (if you haven't used soundclick before. The arrow facing down means you can download it, the other arrows to the right are for low or high quality sound.

    I have no idea what happened to Kyle.

  6. If Christians just made music like this and cut the yap, I'd definitely be a Christian.

    Thanks for sharing that Jamie.