Bags of Bran

Worship Shanties from the Clank & Quaff™ Tavern
February 3, 2012, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Biography

Ever notice that when you’re singing some of our delightful new Arsh-style hymnody, the musicians cannot exactly evoke Ireland in their musical expressions? If he/she/it is a recovering fundamentalist or from that musical tradition, you get shanties. When you back-beat something that’s supposed to be skipped to, you find yourself upon a bar stool by the sea, surrounded by whalers and brigands, with a pint of something Solomon warned you about in front of you. The creak of ship-hulls from the rising tide, the dank smell of wet leather and salt, the bawdy laughs of men who are lost to polite society. Think Flogging Molly, minus punk rock, plus a lot of confusion about who is Israel these days.

Why don’t I sing? Because this is what I’m asked to sing. Sea shanties with bad hermeneutics.

The real issue is, if this is the church, and this is my people, should I not have read all those novels as a kid, and should I not have studied music just enough that I happen to know what a “shanty” sounds like?

Is this, as I have oft been told, my problem?

What about the church? If it’s my problem that I make this association, is she to be praised by those more level-headed than I for coming up (ten years after the world befadded the same music style) with a new, appealing vehicle for worship? Or is she culpable for uncritically embracing something that she can afford but doesn’t understand? Or something else?

And, with respect to the music once more: strangely, when you add some Israel = the Church typological symbolism to this curious setting, the incongruity of spiky-haired realized-eschatologians and salty fishmongers does not suddenly resolve itself in a *POOF* of sweet reasonableness.


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