Monday, August 07, 2006

Sacred or Secular?

So we’re at church this weekend and the band…hold on – let me back up.

I’m from a pretty casual yet traditional church background – choir, pastor, church suppers, trying to stifle your voice when you and your friends accidentally start a laughing kick. Why is it that laughing is so much louder in church when you are supposed to be quiet?

Anyway, I’ve been to a few places where they have the more modern musical ensemble with instruments other than an organ or piano and it just wasn’t for me. For some reason it doesn’t bother me now. Maybe because I’m trying to learn guitar? Maybe because one of the guitarists has a Stratocaster just like mine? I’m not sure.

For a special music the band started playing, “The Reason.” Yes, the song by Hoobastank. My wife and I looked at each other quizzically, but went with the flow. The words were displayed, and if you had never heard the song before, the lyrics could be taken appropriately for a churchly song.

But that got me thinking. Was the band still playing a secular song? Did it become a sacred song within that context? If the lyrics are applicable, depending on the setting, does the song change? When I was in Houston I went to a weekly youth meeting thing where they had a really good band with a great female singer. They would usually do a song while the service was just about to start, and often it was a secular song. The only one I can remember was Sweet Surrender, by Sarah McLachlan.

1 comment:

khickman said...

How does a secular song become sacred? The same way a bank commercial becomes wedding music, or a cynical rock anthem becomes a TV theme song. For better or worse, art and music have ways of reaching far past the context of their creation.

Go figure.