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There’s something about Sunday night
that really makes you want to kill yourself
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Sunday, July 10, 2005

I've got the spirit

Or not. Church freaked me out today, and it was only singing. Then the minister dismissed us to prep for Dennis.

Most people close their eyes, sway, clap their hands, or reach upwards with their arms. Everyone really gets into the music here. I don't. I never really do, whether it be church music, or listening to my favorite alt-country band in a smoky dark bar. My body doesn't respond to music unless I specifically mean to dance. Though I think that I can enjoy music just the same without tapping my feet or clapping my hands, I feel completely awkward around others who physically get into it more.

I'm using to singing in church clothed in choir robes, holding a hymnal. It's what I'm comfortable doing.

I like to think that I'm comfortable in my skin, but I guess if I'm not comfortable with my surroundings, then I'm not. I shift from foot to foot, not sure what to do with my hands. I need something to lean against, something to hold. Though everyone around me seems to be in a reverie, their only personal communion with God, I still feel like they're watching me, and judging me for not being moved by the spirit. And the truth is, I'm not. I feel like an imposter taking part in such meaningful moments with folks who take their religion seriously, when I don't believe any of it. My mind wanders during prayer, and I play with harmonies during the singing, instead of taking the lyrics to heart. I only listen to the sermons because the minister is an incredibly dynamic, down-to-earth speaker.

I used to enjoy church solely for the music. Suddenly it's become the part I'm least comfortable with. They don't even provide any musical notation, the way a traditional hymnal will have all four parts written out on the staff. We just get words up on the movie screen, and we have to haplessly follow the tune of the band. Most of the time I can't even pick out the melody.

I used to be good at this. I used to be so musical. Now the music I'm surrounded by makes me so insecure. What's happening?


Blogger QueSaraSara said...

I sort of understand what you're talking about.

First, I'm a pretty boisterous and outgoing person, but the Dutch Reformed Calvinist in me tends to be very quiet during church. Shouts of "Amen" and raising hands to heaven makes me uncomfortable.

We played bells at a Seventh-Day Adventist church a while back. At one point, a woman was standing at the back just yelling over and over again, "Praise Jesus! Yes! Yes Lord! Praise Jesus! Praise him!" Really loud. And it made me tense because I just wanted her to be quiet so I could hear.

Second, despite being a fairly modern gal, I don't like praise and worship music much. I'm much more likely to be moved by the old hymns. Give me just a guitar and some harmony on "The Old Rugged Cross" and I'll most likely be in tears. I never would have pegged myself as a traditionalist, but I'm finding that I am, at least in this setting.

6:51 PM  
Blogger tish said...

Dude, when I used to go to church this was exactly how I felt. I just liked the singing. Nothing anyone ever said touched me, and I didn't believe any of it. I used to feel guilty taking communion, but I liked drinking the juice.

12:10 PM  

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