Hymns and Worship

As a clueless undergraduate, I majored in religion, later adding a sociology major and attending seminary for a couple years. Beyond learning that I should not become a minister, I came to appreciate various styles of music and worship.

Once on my own, I eventually joined a Christian Reformed church whose worship style can best be described as eclectic. It includes Calvinist theology, an odd mixture of music (traditional hymns, praise choruses, hymns from other parts of the world and music written by members of the congregation), and a liturgy closely descended from the Orthodox/Roman Catholic/Episcopalian branch of worship.

Sometimes the music amuses me more than it ought to. Today for example we sang a hymn that included the following phrases:

Tell the grim, demonic chorus, “Christ is risen, get you gone”

There just aren’t enough hymns in which you get to sing the phrase, “grim, demonic chorus.”

UPDATE: Oh, and while I’m at it, I’ll also provide a link to one of the cheesiest hymns I have ever encountered (though not at my church). It’s called “The Royal Telephone.” Its a great example of how to take an inoffensive metaphor (the telephone as prayer) and drive it into the dirt through overuse.

Its my hope that I never encounter a hymn that likens any part of a Christian’s experience of God to the internet in any way. My suspicion is that I would find it aesthetically painful.

Ethical Questions

So here’s an odd little ethical question that I’ve often pondered…

Soon after I got my current job, my supervisor in the job I left took me (and the rest of the department) out for lunch. We went to San Chez Bistro.

Bearing in mind that it basically serves appetizers, we all ordered and shared what we’d ordered. San Chez Bistro serves pork (which is just fine), but my supervisor was Muslim.

As it happened, I ordered something that did include pork (in the form of prosciutto). Like everything else, it got passed around the table. I don’t know if my supervisor had any, but I’ve often wondered if I should have said something (or simply not ordered pork…).

On the one hand, I tend to figure that people can make their own decisions about whether to follow their religion’s teachings. On the other, the man was from Pakistan originally. As such, it’s possible that he wouldn’t know what prosciutto is. If I were in that position, I might want to be warned.

Kind of funny the ethical situations one can get into in a religiously diverse society.