Anglicans and CCM

Discussion in 'Arts, Literature, and Games' started by Religious Fanatic, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Fortunately we don't have a piano or digital keyboard at my parish church. That rules out a lot of CCM as much of it isn't readily playable on the organ without extensive modification. I keep CCM to an absolute minimum and personally would prefer not to include it at all. Around 90-95% of our music is traditional Anglican fare comprising 18th/19th century hymns, the 1550 Merbecke Mass setting and Anglican Chant.

    Regarding early keyboards, I love the inventiveness of the old makers. Instruments such as the claviorganum, a combined harpsichord and chamber organ or the clavecin brisé, an ingenious folding harpsichord:

    https://youtu.be/fGZaWEvzpy0

    I've come across Hogwood's Secret Bach and Handel but not the Mozart. I have a large unfretted clavichord at home and quite enjoy playing early piano music on it as well as the usual Baroque repertoire. The Internet site IMSLP is a treasure trove for such music.

    I've acquired a number of harpsichords over the years and currently have four instruments at home: a large double manual revival style instrument by deBlaise, two single manual Italian style instruments and a small triangular spinet. I made one of the Italian instruments and the spinet myself. I'm now building a large double manual Franco-Flemish harpsichord which will be decorated in Flemish style with block printed seahorse papers and Latin mottos on the lid interior. When it'll get finished I don't know...perhaps when I retire which isn't for a few years yet.

    I'm sorry to hear about the Marfan Syndrome, it must be terribly frustrating. I have minor osteoarthritis and a year or two ago noticed some discomfort in one of my hands when playing the organ at church. (A very heavy tracker action when the keyboards are coupled.) Fortunately it wasn't OA and resolved after a few months.

    I must explore some of the chants that you mention. There's only one (Greek) Orthodox church in the county where I live. They have a tiny building that was formerly a Methodist Chapel. They were hoping to buy some land and build a new church but the cost was just too high. I gather they're now looking for a larger property instead. A few years ago they used our Cathedral for a funeral service.

    https://youtu.be/UeY5gpm3MVo
     
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  2. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Amy Grant hasn't been relevant in CCM for almost 20 years now, but I do agree this kind of Christian music with 'is it God or the girl/guy' type lyrics are disgusting. I also prefer traditional granny hymns over most Christian rock in worship services, but some writers and listeners of CCM are truly in love with God and not just touchy feely types with no heart. Don't generalize them. Some people really are moved by that stuff in a profound way and do produce spiritual fruit so I know God is working in their lives. But I do feel most CCM is gross. Thankfully, it is dead creatively. Contemporary worship dominates which, while not always better than Christian rock for theological content, is still preferable, as many people were conned by fake Christian pop music in the past that was never meant to glorify God in any way but unfortunately marketed that way. People like Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, and Della Reese sung 'gospel' music, but it was for money and as a showcase for THEIR glory, not God's. Reese was involved in a new age psuedo-Christian cult with the Roman catholic Roma Downey, her sidekick from the disgusting television show Touched by an Angel. Embarrassingly cheesy and sappy new age TV drama of the 90s.
     
  3. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Firstly, what on earth is a “granny hymn?”

    Secondly, the Pietist sentiment that I shouldn’t generalize against CCM because of the moral earnesty and lovingkindness of some of its performers is something I can’t accept. It is not a rational argument, and reason is one of the three pillars of Anglican theology. Allow me to demonstrate with some simple examples: there can be no doubt that many of the great heresiarchs of the first millenium were “truly in love with God”, or what they thought to be God, and a disproportionate percentage of surviving ante-Nicene Christian hymns are either partially Gnostic (as in the Odes of Solomon), or entirely Gnostic (as one will find in the moving Hymn of the Pearl of the Acts of Thomas or the Hymn to the Word in the Acts of John, or at least Dr. David Bently Hart, the somewhat pompous Eastern Orthodox man of letters who nonetheless demolished Richard Dawkins and skewered Gnosticism in his modern day heresiological classic, Atheist Delusions.

    I also have a grave concern about the alleged ability of CCM to “win hearts over to Jesus.” I have met many devout Evangelical non-denominational types, whose problem is that they do not understand what worship is, due to CCM (I once met a chap who was ignorant of the book of Acts and considered ordination unbiblical (he was very surprised when I told him about the ordination of St. Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot, and the later ordination of the seven deacons; after I had told him about this, he said he would have to reread that book, and then ventured back inside the auditorium as the praise band struck up another hard rock song with superficially Christian lyrics, telling me he “wanted to get more worship in.” His problem, and the problem caused by CCM especially among catechumens and neophytes, is that CCM is a stumbling block that prevents them from acquiring a knowledge of Orthodoxy, by which I am not referring in this case to the Greek, Russian, Syriac, Romanian, Coptic and other Eastern and Oriental churches, but rather to what that word means, and why it is so important both to the churches of Eastern Europe, Northeast Africa and Asia, and to tradition Anglicans, which is “Right Worship” or “Right Glorification.”

    And there can be no doubt that all traditional Anglican worship is Orthodox, and indeed in general all Anglican worship has always been as Orthodox as the worship of my church, and still is, to the extent CCM and liberal theologians have not yet managed to eliminate it even in those provinces where they regrettably exercise the most control (such as Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the ECUSA, New Zealand and most of Australia).

    We can only be sure that a neophyte converting to Anglicanism will be properly catechized if their reception into the church occurs through the means provided in a traditional version of the Book of Common Prayer and other Anglican liturgical texts of historic provenance, together the traditional hymnals and choral repetoire are used, but not where defective BCP replacements and false BCP editions (of which there has been only two truly bad ones thus far, the 2004 Irish BCP, and the New Zealand BCP, which doesn’t even read like a BCP, although I would agree with the consensus on this forum that the 1979 BCP as published is problematic, and requires one to use the rubrics it contains normally anused by liberals to water it down further, in order to stiffen it up, in derivative editions like the Anglican Service Book).

    Indeed, because of the dangers in worshiping God in a heterodox manner, which we see both in the Torah when the Sons of Korath were swallowed up for performing an improper rite before the Altar in the Tabernacle, and in the New Testament, where our Lord warns that not everyone who calls out to him truly knows him, and St. Paul warns that the Eucharist received unworthily can cause sickness or death (1 Corinthians 11:27-34, which with the adoption of the Revised Common Lectionary, is no longer heard in those Anglican parishes not using a traditional Book of Common Prayer with a traditional lectionary), it is imperative that people who join an Anglican church are taught from the beginning about the importance of Orthodoxy as it exists in Anglicanism and other local churches that comprise the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church (of which I fear many non-denominational Evangelical megachurches, or totally desecrated mainline Protestant and Catholic parishes, like St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Fransisco, or the notorious Ebeneezer Lutheran Church (ELCA) across the bay, taken over by a female pastor who, with the blessing of her bishop, painted it pink, renamed it herchurch, celebrates exclusively Feminist heterodox worship, and engages in idolatry by distributing “Mother Godess Rosaries” with what appears to be Aurora replacing the cross or crucifix of our Lord).

    Indeed, it would be ideal if every heathen received into the Holy Catholic Church by an Anglican parish received a traditional Book of Common Prayer (the 1662 or Deposited Book in England and Wales*, the 1928 BCP in America, the 1962 book in Canada, the 1926 book in Ireland, and the 1929 BCP in Scotland), along with an Authorized Version (KJV) including the Deuterocanonical Books and an anthology of writings of the Church Fathers and Anglican Divines.

    Now, what makes the worship of the Church of England in its traditional form correct? It is justified by the Anglican trilateral, and the Wesleyan quadrilateral, which is to say, scripture, tradition, reason, and as Wesley added, the experience of the Church. Specifically, traditional Anglican worship is in all respects conducted decently and in order, like that of the other ancient churches of Apostolic provenance who still care (including the entirety of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox communions, and the Assyrian churches in Persia, Iraq and the Diaspora, but alas, as a whole, the Roman church no longer cares, nor do a depressingly large number of Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist and Moravian churches, and I would argue the churches of the radical reformation like the Anabaptists, the Baptists, the Quakers and so on, very seldom did anything decently and in order). The Eucharist is celebrated with great reverence and humility; the Divine Office is so exquisite that even in England today, Choral Evensong is managing to fight back against secularization and stand its ground, noteworthily, BCP Choral Evensong and not Common Worship Choral Evensong** (I’ve never heard this on BBC Radio 3 although I have no doubt it happens), and the BCP throughout is imbued with what John Wesley called “rational, scriptural piety” and what I would call a superabundant reverence, dignity and elegant allocution of the traditions and principles of Christian doctrine.

    It also has a certain rubrical, latitudinarian restraint, which allows pious tradition-minded low church Evangelicals who reject CCM, and equally pious high-church Anglo Catholics to use it; for example, a high church parish can use plainsong, Anglican chant, surpliced choirs and liturgical supplements like the Directorum Anglicanorum and Ritual Notes, along with litugical colors, splendid vestments (such as copes, maniples, chasubles, stoles and so on), whereas a low church parish can focus on stirring homiletics, with the priest attired in the simplicity of a Geneva Gown during Morning and Evening Prayer, and a cassock, surplice, tippet and academic hood during Holy Communion and certain other services, and both groups can agree on the beautiful prayers of the book they hold in common, on congregational hymns such as those by Charles Wesley and other great composers, and said services as something of a liturgical standby very popular even in the US (during my time in the Episcopal Church, I normally attended the 0830 said service of Holy Communion in order to avoid the dreadful CCM that was interjected into parts of the 1030 service by the incompetent organist, who had the temerity to once tell me he considered Christian liturgy to be a form of ritual magic. :wallbash:

    * I am thus far not entirely comfortable with the 1984 Welsh book, for although it does retain traditional language, it is a massive, ponderous, two volume book, and I can’t figure out any rational justification for its excessive size. The 1662 BCP, the 1928 Deposited Book, and also, specifically in Wales, an abbreviated recension of the Deposited Book which was in print for many years, the Churchpeople’s Prayer Book, compiled by Bishop Monahan and enthusiastically welcomed by the archbishop and used throughout the Province, which had, alas, been disestablished owing to the extreme growth of the Non-Conformist churches therein.

    ** No doubt many services on Radio 3 are actually the traditional version of Evening Prayer which is included in Common Worship, analogous to the Rite 1 Evening Prayer in the Divine Office of the 1979 BCP, but since one cannot easily tell this from the BCP service, this is less of a problem, and we should be very thankful for the fact that on those rare occasions that we hear something other than the Presces (“O God Make Speed to Save Us, O God make Haste to Help Us”), it is almost always because we are hearing Choral Vespers from a Roman Catholic abbey or parish or a parish of the Church of Scotland or the Orthodox Church.

    I should note I also bitterly resent BBC Radio 3 for not having a Choral Mattins service and for timing Choral Evensong in such a way that it has had a negative effect on attendance at some parishes and contributed to the decline in Divine Office services outside).
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    We should not be entirely dismissive and critical of CCM.

    When God brought me out of the RCC in the mid '80s and got me started really learning from His written Word and walking with His Spirit, CCM was a much-preferred alternative to the worldly rock-n-roll I had been listening to. it's better to listen to godly lyrics (even if shallow in comparison to many traditional hyms) than to guys screaming about sex, after all! I still enjoy listening occasionally to some Petra or Mylon LeFevre.

    In the mid or late '90s, my nephew was living in Wyoming and working for a newspaper (we're far away in Oklahoma). He was a young liberal and a religious skeptic who enjoyed playing in a rock band in his spare time. I obeyed an impulse from the Lord and sent him a cassette tape copy of Mylon & Broken Heart's album, "Sheep in Wolves Clothing," even though in my natural mind I was pretty sure he'd think it was dreck. We never really had much occasion to communicate otherwise, but about 3 years ago he dropped me a note to thank me for sending him that music. He said that the album was instrumental (no pun intended) in his coming to faith in Christ. He is married, with 2 kids, and they all go to the Methodist church every Sunday where he plays the drums during praise & worship. It really surprised me and warmed my heart to hear that my small, simple act of obedience to the Spirit's prompting had blossomed into new life in Jesus Christ.

    Here are the lyrics from one of the songs ("Morning Star") on that album:
    Lord here I stand before You on my knees
    So Jesus help me please
    I want to be just like You
    I will, I will cause it's Your will
    I can, I can do anything
    Because of what You've done for me

    So I'll praise You till the mountains reach the skies
    Till the rivers all run dry
    Because of what You've done for me
    And i'll praise You with my lips and my guitar
    Cause You are my Morning Star, oh Jesus

    So now I bow before You in my heart
    So Jesus make me smart
    Enough to just be humble
    I will, I will be holy too
    And I can, I can because of You
    Because of what You've done for me

    I think any Christian who listened to this song would recognize God's anointing on it. It still touches my heart when I listen to this song, even after so many repetitions.

    So, some CCM is good, and some... eh, not so good. But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. ;)
     
  5. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate your encouragement on the subject of CCM which in my opinion some tend to be rather prudish about in the more traditional churches. I too have mixed feelings about it but I do enjoy some immensely. I don't criticize relatives who listen to the stuff that isn't my style either, so long as it's leading them to the Lord. Jesus came as a humble child in rags to save the world. So it is that some of the more 'common' songs have brought encouragement to people. Even some secular songs I've loved have brought me closer to God so long as they were filtered through a Christian lens to make their meaning more complete.
     
  6. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    There are very few Orthodox involved in writing new hymns or even care about outreach like evangelical CCM artists. They have an opportunity to do so but like everything else that shuns people away from the Orthodox church (like its ethno-centricism), they don't take it to hand and like every other church that is jealous because they are not getting any traction or increases (except the exaggerations cited by converts on the internet) they use sayings like "the Lord knows what's good for us" or "narrow is the road" to justify their spiritual weaknesses and apathy. I was appalled when I looked up Orthodox music on the internet, only to find hymn after hymn of Mary-worship from a church that often criticizes the Roman catholics for Mariolatry!

    And, I guess you can say I am not really listening to the traditional granny hymns for the right reason. To me, Anglican/Baptist, etc. hymns are just easy listening worship, the kind of stuff your gentle, earnestly naive grandmother would listen to in her personal hours (like "In the Garden"). But it's not necessarily a bad thing. I respect the humility seen by some elder people in my life who don't always know the most about apologetics, philosophy, and other mountain hills of humanistic obstacles, but follow their conscience and somehow manage to have an overall decent summary of what God wants from them in one way or another.
     
  7. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I beg your pardon, but on this point I fear you are misinformed. Please do not take any of this post as hostile or critical of you; I have nothing but love for you. You have misconceptions about the Eastern churches which one could fall into just by looking into them online, and much of this I think is also directly applicable to Anglicanism, because I have encountered people with similar misconceptions about Anglicanism stemming from general misconceptions about liturgical churches, and the way they engage in mission and proselytism compared to Evangelical megachurches and hard core non-denominational “Calvinistas.”

    …………………………


    To begin with, the Eastern churches have been engaging in steadily increasing general outreach in recent decades, led by figures such as Fr. Peter Gilquist, Metropolitan Philip Saliba, and St. John Maximovitch, of memory eternal. Now, with Orthodoxy, negative proselytism is controversial; and the kind of offensive, in your face attempts at evangelism one sometimes encounters (today, I drove by a billboard which asked a question “Where are you going? Heaven or Hell?” , and provided a toll free number where one could ostensibly find out that which is in fact known only to God). Our approach is rather that which we find in the Gospel: “Come and see.”

    I feel this has also been an approach historically practiced by the Anglicans, who focused on enabling people to “Come and see” by translating the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer into more languages than any other church, thus enabling people to hear the written word of God and discern the Incarnate Word of God in the Liturgy. For example, in Africa, the Province of Southern Africa alone translated the BCP and the Bible into more languages than I knew existed, in the course of the 19th century. This in turn made things easier for all other missionaries, including the Orthodox (in recent years, the four major Orthodox churches in Africa, the Coptic and Greek churches of Alexandria, and the Ethiopian Church, have expanded dramatically and also in Egypt, the Greek, Coptic and Anglican churches have forged a new unity in response to ISIL terrorism. Other churches as well, which I respect, have benefitted from this, but I feel like missionaries of the Eastern churches and Anglicans have a particular symbiosis, since the Eastern churches also tend to do the same thing (which is to translate the Bible and the liturgical books into the languages of people being evangelized, starting with the Syriac and Latin translations, and continuing with the Armenian, Ethiopic (Ge’ez), Church Slavonic, Arabic, Romanian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Aleutian and Native Alaskan, English, French, et cetera).

    But the Anglicans did more of this faster with the growth of the British Empire, versus the approach of the Catholics, which was to preach in the vernacular, but generally, rely on Latin for scripture and liturgy. This allowed the Roman church to grow rapidly, but led to a catechetical deficit and also anger when populations in central Europe, like the Czechs and Slovaks, were conquered by the Holy Roman Empire, forcibly converted from Eastern Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism, and denied the vernacular liturgy, Bible, and Eucharist in both kinds which they had historically enjoyed under the Orthodox (this in turn initiated the first enduring genuinely Protestant church, the Moravians*, and the Czech Reformation in the 15th century I believe enabled the more successful reformations of the 16th century, and we venerate St. Jan Hus as a martyr, along with St. Jerome of Prague).

    Also, new hymns are continually being written in the form of new Akathists, Canons, Troparia and Kontakia, as new saints are recognized and glorified, such as the New Martyrs in Russia and the former Soviet Union, and more recently, the victims of ISIL in Africa and the Middle East.

    The Oriental Orthodox, with the exception of the Armenians, and to a much lesser extent, the Ethiopians, tend to adhere to a specific form of liturgical chant which is not written down but is a matter of oral tradition, but new hymns are composed in these systems of chant (such as the Coptic Tasbeha) as needed.

    The Orthodox parish I attended for many years in Victorville, CA, has a British choir director/precentor, a Syrian deacon, a Russian-American priest (and before him, after his predecessor reposed, temporarily relied on Romanian priests), and in addition to a few Romanian and Greek members, Latino and Caucasian American members and other ethnicities as well; I believe a Philipino and a woman of partial African American descent. The Creed was sung in five languages.

    The Orthodox Church is on the whole no more ethnocentric than the Anglican Communion, which is why the two get on so well. Basically, the Eastern churches spread wherever the Byzantine, Ethiopian and Armenian Empires expanded, and later the Russians, and also, everywhere Syriac was spoken, and then, everywhere someone could translate Syriac into the vernacular (Tamerlane killed most of the Syriac Christians, and the Turks killed another 90% of them in 1915), and as a result, Orthodox populations tend to be in countries where connections of trade and Empire facilitated missions. For example, the Aleutians of Alaska. Portions of the church became unable to proselytize due to Islam; the entire Middle Eastern church was locked in place after the fall of the Byzantine Empire, but many Muslims converted anyway and were crowned with martyrdom.

    In like manner Anglicanism and Presbyterianism (the established church of Scotland) initially spread throughout the British Empire, just as Lutheranism spread through Germany and Scandinavia, and the Reformed Church throughout the Dutch and Prussian Empires. And Roman Catholicism spread wherever the Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italians went.

    But later, in the 20th century, something remarkable and very good for the unity of Christendom occurred, and that was the growth of the Anglican Communion and the Eastern churches, which embody the Patristic values of Episcopal polity, solemn and dignified liturgical worship, beautiful, traditional chant and melody, for the singing of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, decently and in order, as St. Paul commanded, began to expand into regions not traditionally associated with their ethnic groups or neighbors. So, for example, Anglicanism has thrived in Latin America and in African colonies one would expect would be solidly Roman Catholic or Dutch Reformed; the Orthodox have expanded into Continental Europe and the US, and Japan, Korea and Indonesia in a substantial way.

    As these two churches, which share so much in common, have spread about, I think it is a profoundly positive influence, due to the undesirable growth of heterodox and heretical sects like the Seventh Day Adventists, the Anabaptists and especially the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is my belief, hope and prayer that strength of GAFCON, the Continuing Anglicans, and traditional Anglican groups in the Church of England and other precious parts of the Anglican communion under siege, for example, the Prayer Book Society and Forward In Faith, among many traditionalist groups, and indeed this website, will have the effect of further strengthening the Anglican Communion, and in like manner, a resolution of problems caused by the Ecumenical Patriarchate (the one part of the Orthodox Church which does have real problems with parishes devolving into ethnic social clubs), by its dissolution or a restructuring imposed, perhaps, by an alliance of the Romanian, Georgian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Russian churches and the Orthodox Church in America, and a reunion of the Eastern, Oriental and Assyrian churches, will further strengthen Orthodoxy, and then, if one looks at the map, the desired communion between the two churches discussed since the 1700s, and nearly achieved in the era of King George V, will happen.

    As it stands, there is already a Syriac Orthodox church in India, the Malankara Independent Syrian Church, which is in communion with the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, which if memory serves is a member of the Anglican communion along with the Church of South India and the Church of North India, or is otherwise in communion with the CSI, which is a part of the Anglican communion, thus technically creating a scenario where you have an Oriental Orthodox church that is indirectly in communion with the Archbishops of York and Canterbury. This anomaly I hope is the future, and since the 19th century, there is a group I much admire called The Fellowship of St. Alban and Sergius which desires the same thing. Also the Anglicans provided humanitarian assistance, vestments, and other needed supplies to the impoverished Assyrian church in Iraq, and the Armenian church, both before and after the Turkish genocide, and the assistance the Anglicans provided was sincere and genuine, unlike that offered by the Roman Catholics, which came with a debt to Rome.

    Every honest Orthodox Christian admits that some churches are experiencing a decline; the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in North America, which is under the Ecumenical Patriarchate and embodies most of the problems you complain about, except for the monasteries of Elder Ephraim, which are ethnically diverse and spiritually healthy, and are basically keeping “GoArch” as we call it, spiritually afloat, is in dire financial straits. The film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, produced by Tom Hanks and his Greek wife (Tom Hanks likewise converted to marry her), did not help. The Armenian church is also experiencing problems with decline, but for more complex reasons. On the other hand, most of the other churches in North America have a membership which is stable or growing, and this is demonstrated by the large number of new parishes recently built, under construction or in planning, for example, St. Mary’s Assyrian Church of the East and St. Leon’s Armenian Orthodox Cathedral in the Los Angeles area, the new Romanian and Serbian Orthodox parishes in Las Vegas, and many other examples. The Coptic Church is experiencing particularly extreme growth in the US due to a baby boom among Egyptian Americans of the Coptic faith, and these churches are packed, with new ones under construction. The new Church of St. Moses the Black at St. Anthony’s Monastery in Newbury Springs, California, is splendid, and also attracts many Ethiopian Orthodox pilgrims (that church is also booming, and not just among Ethiopian immigrants and Carribeans).

    In the Old Country, Greek Orthodoxy is in trouble, due to increasing secularization in Greece, but it is still more viable than GoArch. Also much of Greece, and most of the problems, are actually not parts of the Church of Greece, but of the adjacent Ecumenical Patriarchate; only those parts of Greece conquered from the Turks in the War of Independence are under the Archbishop of Athens; the later expansion of the country is under the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, an institution known as the “Phanar.”

    But even the EP has some vitality. In addition to Elder Ephrem’s monasteries, one of their other jurisdictions in North America, the American Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Diocese, or ACROD, has an impressively high Sunday attendance with something 45-55% of the members of a typical parish showing up. This is in contrast to the Ruthenian Catholics, which ACROD separated from when the Latin bishops attempted to force their married priests to become celibate, which is in a state of decline. ACROD also has the most congregational singing of any of the Eastern Orthodox churches with the exception of the Russian Old Rite, both use Slavonic hymns, but the singing of the Rusyns, Lemkos, Ruthenians and Carpathians, known as Prostopinije, sounds closer to the Western style Chorale popularized by Luther and Calvin, and especially, some of the more idiosyncratic hymns of the Moravians.

    These are not sayings, nor pious sounding platitudes; the former is expressed throughout Sacred Scripture and is evident from Genesis to Revelations, and especially in the Book of Psalms and the Holy Gospels, and the latter is a direct quote from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If a Christian does not measure the work of their church by Sacred Scripture, in the manner of the Bereans, and does not justify their sentiments in that manner, their Christianity is dubious.

    Also, apathy is a virtue in many respects; you are confusing it or conflating it with sloth, or spiritual lethargy, which is dangerous. So a slothful Christian, and I am ashamed to say I am guilty of this, neglects to attend services for reasons of convenience or feeling unwell, or other silly excuses, but apathy, I was taught by one of my catechists, a loving Serbian priest named Fr. Nebjosa, can be a virtue, specifically, the Greek concept of apatheia. Apatheia means ignoring or not paying attention, or not letting oneself be unsettled, by situations beyond one’s control, which are not important. For example, I no longer permit myself to be troubled by the inevitable wear and tear on my personal belongings, I have no interest in the raging controversy among Presbyterians over the Federal Vision theology, which I can’t even understand, or within Orthodoxy, the petty conflicts that sometimes occur between bishops. We should care only about what is important, and those who are able should care, according to our Lord, about Him exclusively, but this is a difficult vocation (although I have met Orthodox and Anglicans, including my friends Fr. Steve and Fr. Bryan, a retired and active traditionalist priest trying to make a difference in the Episcopal Church USA, who are in this category, and it is remarkable how the more someone cares about our Lord, the less their other problems seem to be).

    Apatheia is also known as a virtue in the West; Serenity or Tranquility. Benjamin Franklin sought to practice 13 virtues throughout his life, and while he was by no means a man of exemplary piety, I believe we can all agree that he was decent and wise, after the fashion of Cicero or Plato, he summarized the principle of what Eastern Orthodox call Apatheia as: “Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.” I am still working on cultivating this virtue, but it is something I lacked, and it also is something which one of my best friends, an elderly Jewish businessman, suffers from a lack of, causing him much misery during most of the week.

    I recommend a Christo-centric apathy to anyone who can cultivate it. This does not mean we ignore people injured on the streets, or fail to call the fire department when we see a fire break out, or the police when a neighbor’s house is being vandalized, or that we insulate ourselves from the political process altogether (although some degree of apathy concerning the petty politics politicians often try to make newsworthy is a good idea).

    Mariolatry is forbidden in the Eastern Orthodox Church by the canons of the Second Council of Nicea, and in the Oriental Orthodox Church by equivalent canons; the Patristic rule is that Mary and the saints can be venerated, but not worshipped. And there is a difference; we venerate our relatives, the flags, patriotic figures and so on.

    The Council of Ephesus, which Orthodox and Anglicans regard as dogmatic, declares that the Virgin Mary is the Theotokos, the Birth-Giver of God, because Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man, and it was by the faithful cooperation of Mary that our Lord became incarnate.

    However, if you had read the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy, that is to say, the Holy Communion service, the main sacramental service in the church, which is readily available, or watched it on YouTube, you would note that while it contains three antiphons (Psalm 102, 145 and the Beatitudes), too many hymns to count (O Monogenes, the Trisagion, the Cherubic Hymn, the Sanctus, the Communion hymn, and others, and too many litanies to count), only one hymn, called the Theotokion or Megalynarion, is about St. Mary, of which there are two main versions, All of Creation, used ten times a year at the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, and It is Truly Meet, used the rest of the time in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom; in Lent during the Presanctified Liturgy I don’t think there is a Theotokion. And these two hymns are simple glosses on the Magnificat, from the Gospel of St. Luke (“My soul doth magnify the Lord...”), which the Anglicans sing at Vespers, and the Orthodox sing in the Canon as one of the Odes (either the Canticle itself, or a hymn derived from it; each Canon has nine Odes, of which the Magnificat is the last; the other Odes are:

    The Ode of Moses in Exodus (Exodus 15:1-19)
    The Ode of Moses in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 32:1-43) (Note: this is sung only on Tuesdays in Lent)
    The Prayer of Anna the mother of Samuel the Prophet (1 Samuel 2:1-10)
    The Prayer of Habakkuk the Prophet (Habakkuk 3:2-19)
    The Prayer of Isaiah the Prophet (Isaiah 26:9-20)
    The Prayer of Jonah the Prophet (Jonah 2:3-10)
    The Prayer of the Three Holy Children (Daniel 3:26-56)*
    The Song of the Three Holy Children (The Benedicite, Daniel 3:57-88)*
    The Song of the Theotokos (The Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55) and the Prayer of Zacharias the father of the Forerunner (The Benedictus, Luke 1:68-79)

    Several of these are also used in Anglicanism, for example, the eighth and ninth ode in Mattins and Evensong.

    There is a popular devotional song to St. Mary of Greek origin called the “Agni Parthia”, but this is not actually an Orthodox hymn; it is not used in the Divine Liturgy, or outside of the Greek Orthodox world. And it is of very recent origin; I believe it dates from the Greek Revolution, which is why it has tonality (actual Byzantine chant is not tonal, but modal). And I consider it to be flawed, which is why as far as Marian devotional hymns are concerned, I prefer the Akathist, which is Christo-centric (there are also Akathists to our Lord and other persons), or Ave Maria in the Western Church. But even the Agni Parthia does make it clear enough that it is being sung to St. Mary because “she is the mother of our Lord” and a “Temple”, both of which are scripturally and doctrinally incontrovertible positions.

    I don’t know which hymns you are specifically referring to; it is true there are some which are doctrinally lightweight, and I dislike these; one thing I love about Anglican and Orthodox chant is the focus on the canticles, Psalms and Eucharistic hymns which have strong dogmatic content. For example, the Gloria (which alas, is not used in the East) or the Ho Monogenes (which alas, is not used in the West), or “Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silent”, which fortunately, is used in both, along with the Sanctus, the Psalms, the Canticles and so on.

    But I will say the hymns you will find in the 1940 Episcopal Hymnal are exquisite and beautiful; indeed most mainline American churches had extremely good hymnography until the liberal liturgical reforms of the 1970s. There is also the English hymnal of 1906, which is deservedly celebrated. I have a copy of it with the music and one without; it is a pleasure simply reading the word.

    The Lutherans, Presbyterians, Reformed Christians and Moravians also have some extremely good hymns. Lutheran hymnody in particular tends to be very Christocentric. I am not a huge fan of Martin Luther, although I do like some of his work, (actually the only early Reformer I deeply admire is St. Jan Hus, who was also recently declared a saint and martyr by the Czech Orthodox Church, along with St. Jerome of Prague), but his hymns are exquisite.

    I think it would be of great benefit if you obtained good quality recordings of the traditional hymns. If you have Apple Music, on their subscription service they have two brilliant collections: the New English Hymnals, and another collection by the Scottish Festival Singers. I would be happy to provide you with a discography or a playlist; I also have several playlists on YouTube I have curated you may find enlightening.

    This is very good. What you are describing is piety, and the cultivation of piety through humility, charity, and faithful obedience to our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ is essential, and gives a meaning to our life. And prayer; deep, sincere, reverent prayer. Our music must be prayer, our hymns an act of prayer. Only through prayer, in everything we do, whether reading the Bible, or going to work, or helping others, or in our music, can we acquire actual knowledge of God and become true Theologians. And everyone is capable of prayer. And next to Theology, worldly philosophy shrinks to insignificance. And one can learn more about Jesus Christ from a pious elder who has lived a life of prayer, than from the most eloquent preacher or apologist.

    God bless you my brother.

    *The Waldensians appeared before the Moravians, but their early beliefs are not extremely well understood; they subscribed to Donatism, which is a heresy, and they later adopted to a Reformed (Calvinistic) faith when they received refuge in Switzerland. That said, there is a connection between them and the Moravians; I recall a town in the Carolinas built by ethnic Waldensians, or Vaudois, who had joined the Moravian church, and still live there.
     
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  8. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I dislike that piece immensely; it's basically a sort of reconstituted blend of several of the Psalms. So to the extent it is "anointed", it is only because the lyricist was taking various Psalms and writing a sentimentalized gloss of them.
     
  9. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Liturgyworks, do you like the song "Mary, did you know?" by Mark Lowry? That's a prime example of a Protestant worship song that mentions Mary but does not venerate her in the wrong sort of way.
     
  10. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Please don’t take this post the wrong way, or personally; I can’t endorse that somg at all but this has naught to do with my love for you as a Christian and as a brother.

    I hadn’t heard of it until today. But the most charitable answer I can give is that I abhorr it and anything that sounds remotely like it.

    I wouldn’t call it a worship song, because unfortunately it is not fit for Christian worship.

    You cannot venerate the Theotokos incorrectly, except by failing to venerate her or acknowledge her as the Mother of God. Veneration is not worship; it would be inherently wrong to worship the Theotokos, and some Roman Catholics do that, but the Anglicans and Orthodox do not.

    Now, if you want to hear an example of a song that venerates St. Mary correctly, listen for the Magnificat (which is in Luke 1, “My Soul dost magnify the Lord...”) in these recordings of Choral Evensong (I selected the period 1976-1980s mainly because of sound quality; the music was better, and the Church healthier, before that time, but the BBC did not do a very good job storing its recordings of Choral Evensong until, intermittently, the late 1960s, and audio quality remains spotty into the 1970s; in the 1990s, even where the traditional BCP Evensong is used, there are far too many disagreeable modernist priests and bishops and politically motivated Collects and Bidding Prayers in Choral Evensong, and alas, many of the clergy seem to have lost the ability to chant and articulate their sentences so clearly and beautifully, for which splendidly eloquent diction the Church of England is still renowned for even today, but standards in some dioceses were lowered.) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEv7ZfArXoUnh7DlIw70hJP3gJaYvAiC_

    These recordings were collected by a superb British YouTube project called the Archive of Recorded Church Music, which I expect the members of this site will thoroughly enjoy.

    At any rate, I hope you enjoy the above; that is an example of what beautiful Anglican liturgy sounds like. There are many other liturgical rites worth exploring, for example, the West Syriac Rite, the Coptic Rite, the Russian Old Rite, the Italo-Albanian Rite in Sicilly, the Georgian Rite, and many others, and then there is also the splendid hymnography of the Protestant West, and the beautiful Gregorian Chant, and later Latin Polyphony of composers such as Byrd and Tallis, who also composed exquisite English music for the Church of England. And then there is the spectacular ecclesiastical music of Johann Sebastian Bach; Lutheran canticles, motets and mass settings, in German and Latin.

    This ideal Church music I refer to is that which is contemplative and prayerful, without being emotionally manipulative. We want music that does not interfere in our prayer by emotionally manipulating us, but the music also should not be stone cold or insensitive to the sublime subject matter; thus, Ukrainian and Russian music for Good Friday conveys concurrently both a sense of sorrow and victory; the sadness of human cruelty as our Lord is put to death, and His victory on the Cross as he tramples down death by death.

    If the Anglican music I linked you to isn’t your cup of tea, we should keep going until we find a traditional style of church music that you like (and by the way, the Anglican Communion does a remarkably good job singing in a diversity of traditional styles in their traditional parishes; one parish in London that I love, All Saints Margaret Street, even adopted the All Night Vigils service of Rachmaninoff (which does not take all night; it is the Russian equivalent of Choral Evensong and usually takes around 90 minutes), and his setting of the Divine Liturgy, into English for use with Anglican services. A (from what I understand, conservative) Episcopalian Church in the US decided to go whole-hog as they say and to try and serve the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (not Rachmaninoff, but an easier setting), exploiting this nebulous, highly flexible option in the 1979 American BCP nicknamed as “Rite III”, but did not quite pull it off, because their deacon couldn’t chant very well, and you need a priest or a deacon with a good singing voice to do the Byzantine Rite liturgy (the Russians in particular like to use deacons with beautiful basso profundo voices to lead the congregation through much of the worship and to sing the Gospel).

    But I myself am extremely fond of the splendid music of the Anglican tradition, which is rich, sophisticated, and a blend of ancient and modern; one will frequently hear 16th and 20th century composers in the same service of Choral Evensong.

    God bless you brother.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
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  11. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Liturgy, there's an attempt by a scholar named Dennis McCorkle to reconstruct the music for the psalms which have been lost over time. Ancient manuscripts contain the notations for the music. He came up with something like this:


    Is this appropriate for worship?
     
  12. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Possibly, but what he is actually doing is using Hebrew cantillation marks used in Jewish synagogue services, and attempting to reconstruct some archaic, original form of chanting the Psalms, because right now the different Jewish liturgical traditions (Ashkenazi, Ethiopian, Sephardi, Mizrahi, Yemeni, Bukharan, Romaniote, Karaite), all chant the Psalms, the Torah, the Megillot (the “Five Scrolls”, Esther, Lamentations, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon and Ruth) differently.

    My own view is that this is a futile endeavor, because cantillation marks were a relatively late innovation, the chanting historically being a matter of oral tradition, and we are too far removed from King David and his son King Solomon to be able to reconstruct their music accurately.

    But I admire what he is trying to do, in theory, even if I regard it as quixotic.

    A better approach however would be Ethiopian chant (which is basically the same between Ethiopian Jews, the Beta Israel, and Ethiopian Orthodox Christians); the Ethiopians were the first Hebraic people to implement a system of notation for their chant, and I believe the notation used with the Ge’ez liturgical language (a Semitic language related to Hebrew, Judean Aramaic, Gallilean Aramaic, Arabic, Syriac Aramaic, Maltese, and the modern day Ethiopian vernacular language, Amharic), is the oldest system still in continual use in the world. Ancient Greece had musical notation, but if memory serves, it fell out of use, and was then re-implemented by the Orthodox Church during the Byzantine Empire, to notate Byzantine chant, and it is much more flexible than modern Western notation.

    This takes us, if you will forgive the pun, to a noteworthy point: just as oral tradition can change over time, and change the sound of songs, the semantics of most systems of musical notation can also change over time. For example, it is only since 1920 that the frequencies of notation have been standardized with A at 440 HZ; before this time, it varied across Europe, and in Leipzig, at the Thomaskirche, a beautiful new organ was recently built tuned to A = 466 HZ, which was the tuning in use when Bach did some of his greatest work there, as the Thomaskantor (Cantor or music director of the Thomaskirche, its organist, and its famous boys’ choir and mens’ choir). This makes a difference; Bach sounds good always, but the sound of Bach tuned properly is amazing.

    But ultimately, the test with regards to worship music, is, does this music aid in prayer, is it written according to a tradition of sacred music, with certain distinctive features we might call “set apart” or “holy” because composers avoided them in secular music, and likewise, certain things from secular music excluded (syncopation, the tritone, or augmented fourth/diminished fifth, and other things), and on the whole, does it meet the Pauline criteria of being “decent” and “orderly.” We are after reverence and the fear of God, and not emotional rushes or the dance floor.
     
  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Songs and hymns are works of art. Just as "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," in like manner beauty is in the ear of the listener. Since human beings are so diverse, tastes in music are bound to be diverse as well. God can work through music, even music some people "dislike immensely" or "abhor," to bless some other people. It's good to avoid limiting God and to resist the drawing of narrow bounds around what we think He will do. ;)

    I'm glad you like the music which speaks to you. I hope you can be glad that I like the music which speaks to me.
     
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  14. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Church music, like church architecture, is not a venue for experimentation on the part of the composer. Indeed, within the Orthodox church we have canons which regulate iconography (in the Eastern Orthodox church particularly); statues are prohibited, bas-relief is restricted in depth, the faces of the saints must be stylized so as to focus on their spiritual aspects; the Incarnate Word of God, our Lord, or the Gospel, an Icon of Him, must be depicted in every icon, and when an icon is venerated this is what we kiss or touch; it is also forbidden to depict God the Father visually since He has never been incarnate and never seen, except through Jesus Christ (who St. Daniel beheld as the Ancient of Days, the Son of Man returning to reign forever, and who St. Isaiah also beheld; the text in Isaiah is also yet another proof text against the Chiliast misinterpretation of the Apocalypse). The Eastern Orthodox also decided in their churches that they would not depict Christ as a lamb, since He had been incarnate as a man, but Rome was not anathematized for having statues or iconography depicting Christ as the Agnus Dei).

    This is just to give an example, that with all human creative efforts in the Church, they are to be directed towards God as a sacrifice, rather than to satisfy the personal creative impulses of the artist in question. The Church is not the place for creative innovation; art in the Church exists to serve the church, whether this is iconography, or the church building, or the worship music. And the latter is regulated as a canon by St. Paul’s directive that worship be done decently and in order.

    Church music, like iconography, the church building, the altar, the vessels on the altar such as the chalice and paten, is holy; it is set aside for Divine Worship. It therefore must be worthy for such a use.

    Indeed, but the primary purpose of church music is not to please the listener but to glorify God. This is why many musical styles which are very enjoyable would be, or are, extremely inappropriate, in a church. There should never be music in church with a syncopated rhythm; there should not be tritones or extreme dissonance; the beauty of the human voice must be expressed clearly so as to glorify the Incarnation of our Lord (some Eastern churches use only A Capella music for this reason, but others make very successful use of the organ), and the music must facilitate a calmness, a certain stillness in the heart in which the reverence and fear of God conducive to prayer exists.

    Indeed, and there are a wide range of liturgical rites, and in our modern society we have the ability, due to immigration, to join a church based purely on their music. For example, I like music of the local Romanian Orthodox church; I would go there, except their church is inconvenient to me. But not terribly, and I might go there in the future, depending on how I discern my feeling of a calling to assist Anglicanism, among other things.

    Certainly. However, we must consider that in the case of music used inside the church, that music must follow the canon established by the musical traditions of the church; it must be composed not to please the composer or the congregation but to facilitate prayer and please God, as part of a sacrifice of praise. It is imperative that church music not be sensual, sentimental, dissonant, doctrinally confusing or in error (John Wesley edited the lyrics of the hymns of his brother, Charles Wesley, to ensure their doctrinal correctness, as Charles would sometimes compose a hymn which contained an error, or could cause confusion), threatening, bombastic, violent, pulsating, or otherwise of a nature that inflames the passions.

    In particular, and this is the greatest problem with the entire CCM genre; CCM music tends to follow a pattern that is based on popular music which is centered around sexual relations and relationships and is intended to inflame and cater to the passions and the many complex human moods and emotions related to sex, to facilitate dancing, the interaction of lovers, reproduction, and so on. This is true of an extremely broad swathe of popular music. A few other styles of popular music instead cater to feelings of anger or oppression (for example, some forms of Techno or the “metal genre”), as a form of relief. This vast array of popular music, which consists of everything from the Blues, to Jazz, to Country Western, to Hard Rock, to Rap, to R&B, to secular classical music, for example, the Flight of the Valkyries or the ecstatic duet between Siegfried and Brunnhilde in Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle (specifically, Das Rheingold, Act 3, Siegfried, Act 3, and Gotterdamerung, Act 1), is all completely inappropriate for ecclesiastical purposes.

    The only admissable “popular” genre, and it is a stretch to call it that, is that of “Gospel”, the Spirituals of the African American community, which I believe according to the cultural values of Africans, and owing to its similarity in some respects to some parts of Ethiopian church music.

    It has nothing to do with whether or not the music “speaks to me” or not. It has to do with what that music is saying. Is this music quieting the passions, allowing me to focus my thoughts on prayer before our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, or is it instead inflaming them, through sentimentality, or rhythmic syncopation, and so on, placing me in an attitude entirely incompatible with prayerfulness?

    It ultimately comes down to St. Paul; is the music decent and in order, or is it indecent and disorderly? We are to work out our salvation in fear and trembling, and the music of the Church must not serve as a distraction or as a form of carnal pleasure. I encountered a man when I once visited with a friend a non-denominational church he likes to attend, who I was horrified to discover, aside from not knowing the book of Acts, thought that the proper mode of “worship” was to dance to the rock music performed by the praise band. This is entirely contrary to what Scripture says about worship.

    On this point also, if anyone should bring up King David removing his garments and dancing in an undressed state before the Ark he had recovered; this was an instance of spiritual ecstasy in which he was united with the Holy Spirit; it was not the routine conduct of normal worship in the Temple given to the Aaronic Priesthood by our Lord, and there is a difference between an individual experience of religious ecstasy, and the congregational worship of our Lord in the Divine Services.

    It is my firm opinion that what in this thread we are calling “CCM” is dangerous to the soul, even outside of the Church, because it stimulates carnal passions in relationship to God, which can lead to confusion or spiritual delusion, which we call Prelest in the Orthodox church. This music does not really have a justifiable place. The closest one might safely get to it would be popular Christmas carols, but always outside of the Church; it would be an extreme irreverence to sing that song in the consecrated nave of a chapel, parish, or cathedral, before the holy altar where God is worshipped and glorified.

    Indeed, what we are calling CCM, I think should be considered one of the major heresies threatening all of Western Christianity. Very few Western denominations, if any (I do not know of any) have banned it*; indeed some people tried to introduce it into the Coptic Orthodox Church through parishes in extra-diocesan areas which lack a regular diocesan bishop with the authority to regulate worship; this, along with an unhealthy proliferation of heterodox books by Word of Faith authors like Joel Osteen, who I believe can be considered a heretic by the standards of traditional Anglicanism, and others of his ilk, was starting to become a major problem, but fortunately this has been countered by the creation of several new dioceses, and the consecration of bishops for them, by Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria (one of the only two legitimate Popes, the other being his friend Pope Theodore II of Alexandria; by pure coincidence Tawadros means Theodore, so the only two legitimate bishops with the title of Pope are named Theodore II and preside over one of the two Orthodox churches in Egypt; naturally, neither bishop claims supremacy or universal jurisdiction, or even has the power to act in the diocese of a diocesan bishop in his church without the blessing of that bishop). Previously the churches which were being infiltrated by this acoustical apostasy and by blasphemous books had for pastoral care where a bishop was required only “General Bishops”, who did not have formally defined dioceses, but rather, merely areas of responsibility, where their job consisted mainly of ordaining boys and men to the minor orders of Psalti and Reader (Coptic boys who sing in the church are tonsured as Psaltis, and the men who also sing, as well as some of the older, better behaved boys, are tonsured as Readers; this is also done in the Syriac Orthodox church, where practically all children in some dioceses are tonsured into minor orders, and in the Eastern Orthodox church for boys who are altar servers).

    The threat that this music poses to the Anglican Communion in particular cannot be overstated. One pattern that I have noticed is that many evangelical parishes, which would otherwise be doctrinally correct, suffer from this inappropriate music, and it drives some people to go over to the liberal parishes just to get away from the noise. I myself inadvertently did this in the Methodist church.

    There are three great tasks which I believe all traditional Anglican churches and provinces, for example, the ACNA, must set for themselves (we will use the ACNA as an example, but this applies universally, to the Diocese of Sydney, to the Forward in Faith and Prayer Book Society and other conservative groups in the Church of England, to any Anglican monastic orders, to any traditional Anglican priests serving in any province or jurisdiction, and to the Continuing Anglican churches, and to GAFCON and the Global South:

    1. The suppression of the female priesthood and episcopate; the ACNA must find the courage to degrade to the status of deaconess, or to simply depose (defrock or laicize), all women serving as priests or bishops (if ACNA has any female bishops; I really hope it does not), rather than simply waiting for them to disappear via attrition. It should be noted this act was a tremendous blessing for the SBC, when they worked up the courage to defrock their female ministers in the early 1990s.
    2. A program of acquiring former Episcopalian churches closed and sold by TEC, of acquiring TEC parishes under the table, since TEC despises conservative Anglicans and refuses to sell to departing congregations, and of building new churches of equivalent beauty and splendor to those which TEC is profaning or otherwise denying to traditional Anglicans.
    3. The implementation of a canon completely suppressing all “CCM”, all praise and worship music, prohibiting the use of a drum kit, electrical guitar, or the performance of any music featuring syncopation, extreme dissonance, or other aspects which stimulate rather than quiesce the passions, as described above.

    Indeed, on point 3, one of my few regrets about the ACNA’s excellent new 2019 BCP, is that it lacks such a canon. Historically, one was not necessary; CCM was rare even in 1979 when the 1979 BCP was introduced, so I can’t even fault that somewhat faulty BCP edition for lacking such a canon.

    *On a purely Diocesan level, the Roman Catholic church actually does have a canon prohibiting instruments like the guitar from being used in worship, but I know of only one bishop in the United States who is attempting to enforce it (the bishop of Upper Michigan, IIRC), who has published a diocesan hymnal to replace the “Missalettes” given out for free by the CCM publishers in Nashville, so that Catholic parishes will pay to license their music. These missalettes spare parishes the cost of hand missals, even though these are of dubious utility given the vernacular nature of the Novus Ordo Mass, and they are conveniently arranged for the specific liturgical year for which they are printed, thus being easier to use, and thus are basically a trap; several traditional Catholic priests have commented on this atrocity. This also takes us to another vital point: unlike the ancient hymns of the church, this CCM music is still under copyright, and licensing revenues for “artists” like Hillsong is a big business. Every penny any church spends on licensing this music is a penny taken from the poor, who the Church, whether Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist or Eastern Orthodox, is obliged to serve.
     
  15. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    I do not mean to sound rude, Liturgyworks, but is it necessary that someone have Asperger's disorder before entering the Orthodox Church? I ask because it seems to correlate well with rants about the technical aspects of hymns that are rather vulgar to the laity, and the eccentricities, even the insular tendencies of the Orthodox. I have the condition myself. I am wondering if it's the same for you.

    I have thought deeply and hard about virtually every single thing you have said in recent years. I've often wondered why most CCM is pretentious and ugly, even by the standards of mainstream secular music, and why God isn't blessing it to be better. What is the spirit behind it? I do think though that the artists I've seen who are the more fruit-bearing, humble types have a very formal and mature emotion in their music and usually I can sense something about that from the songs they write before you even see their confessions of the faith in interviews, biographies, and the like. I consider Andrae Crouch to be of blessed memory and from what we know he had a reputation as a Godly man up until his death. Contemporary gospel singer.

    But again, let's go back to what I said about the Davidic Cipher. If beauty is objective in this way, why of all the things we've had passed down to us in tradition, did this get lost? Shouldn't it be a template for what music should sound like as an inspired work? Or is it maybe a matter of freedom in non-essentials but unity in what's necessary? Otherwise we could only sing them perfectly as they are in Hebrew to fit with the meter. What I'm saying is maybe that God what the text and actual meaning of those words to be expressed with varying accompanying music adapted to different languages for people to understand. And I don't know exactly how 'heavenly' our music could ever be if God hears Susan Boyle or Andrea Bocelli and says "Nice try, but my angels sing better than that!" What does this all mean?

    A few other suggestions. Read this chapter from this Anglican devotional. Frances Ridley Havergal wrote it, she was a hymn writer and wrote "Take My Life and Let It Be", but she makes a brilliant elaboration on the use of music in the church that's as relevant today as it was a century ago:
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31647/31647-h/31647-h.htm#c05

    And lastly, there's a great Christian band called Burlap to Cashmere. The members are all Eastern Orthodox (Greek variety) and write these kinds of songs:


    Let me know if you think this is OK.
     
  16. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    No. And for the record I consider traditional Anglicanism an Orthodox Church.

    What is vulgar to the laity of both traditional Western churches and the Eastern churches is to have the sex-driven, passion based popular music crammed down our throats by Nashville publishing houses and by wanna-be rockstars among the congregation, who do not have control over their passions.

    What “insular tendencies”? More specifically, how can you differentiate the Orthodox experience from that of traditional Anglicanism, or the Moravian church, or the Lutherans? In each case we are talking about a liturgical church oppressed by Rome which broke free, and re-established apostolic liturgical practices.

    Of course, it is true that some of the Orthodox and the Assyrians were historically isolated by Turkocratia, the rule of Islam over their territories, and where this did not exist, there was still great distance. But there was a great deal of communication between the British and the Russians, who were historically allies except in the Crimean War and the Cold War, via the Muscovy Company, and after the Ottoman Empire began to seek peace with European Protestants in order to prevent it from being conquered by the “Three Emperors” (Russia, Prussia and Austria-Hungary, or the Holy Roman Empire pre-Napoleon), between the British and other Eastern Christians.

    Thus John Wesley, for example, was in 1763 secretly ordained a bishop by a visiting Greek Orthodox bishop, Erasmus of Arcadia, and he relied on a combination of this, plus his contention that apostolic succession could be transmitted if need be by presbyters, to justify his ordination of Thomas Coke as a superintendent (which is a modern English translation of Episkopos, or Bishop; Wesley also wisely sought to have Priests referred to as Elders, because the word Priest had come to be conflated with the sacerdotal office which in Christianity is held by all Believers).

    No, but I am happy to pray for you.

    Nashville, the recording industry. Sex, money and celebrity.

    Perhaps, but it is difficult to tell what is real and what is PR. The advantage of using hymns by St. John of Damascus or St. Theodore the Studite, or St. Ambrose and Augustine in the case of the Anglican canticle Te Deum, or Biblical Psalms and Canticles, is that you are completely isolating yourself from the desires of the modern music industry.

    By the way, is it a coincidence that every mainline Protestant church except the Episcopalian church* is headquartered in Nashville, TN?

    I don’t know anything about the man and it is not my place to judge him.

    No. It bore fruit and multiplied.

    Yes, and that is precisely what happened. The different Jewish communities developed their own styles of chanting the Psalms; then, the Christian church adopted them and developed its own regional styles. The major style used in the East is antiphonal music, with two choirs alternating; this is due to a dream of St. Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch who was martyred by being fed to lions in 94 AD, in which he dreamt of two choirs of angels singing in such a manner.

    But the Ethiopians have their own style, the Copts have Tasbeha, the Spanish have Mozarabic Chant, the Europeans in general, Gregorian chant, and the Anglicans have Anglican Chant, and each of these diverse systems is beautiful. In the Church Slavonic tradition, there are about 15 different varieties of chant ranging from the ancient congregational Znamenny Chant to the polyphonic Greek Chant (unrelated to Byzantine or Greek Orthodox music), to Kievan Chant, to the tonal congregational Prostopinije we find among the Rusyn and Lemko people, and thus in the Moravian and Orthodox tradition, which resembles the Chorale favored by Martin Luther and John Calvin.

    I think so, yes. It is essential that the music used in the church not stimulate the carnal passions; it cannot be dance music or sex music or anger music; the waltzes of Johann Strauss II, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture, and the operas of Wagner or Verdi are equally out of place in the Church, as is the swing music of Glenn Miller or Artie Shaw, and I enjoy all of that music. But for worship it is not suitable.

    The Jews don’t even bother with that. The Karaite cantillation of Esther is more metrical in my experience.

    I think this is entirely correct, which is why there is a diversity of liturgical rites.

    If you want to sing like the angels, you can do it: you simply have to sing prayerfully, following the tradition of the church, setting aside your ego, and seeking to reign in your passions.

    What she is talking about is a completely different issue. Her hymns were not the adapted popular music that appeals to the baser instincts churned out by Nashville.

    I do not; I think they should be precluded from partaking of the Eucharist until they repent of that music and publicly repudiate it.

    *TEC amusingly enough is, or was, headquartered on Madison Avenue in New York; if memory serves, they were seeking a buyer for their building to pay for the $40 million in legal fees racked up by Katharine Jefferts-Schiorri in her campaign of terror against traditional parishes and dioceses which wanted to leave.
     
  17. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Liturgyworks, your writings are informative, but also terribly exhausting and disturbing for me and I can't go on in this thread anymore. I am not in good spiritual or mental health lately to continue chatting about these things, so I must politely remove myself from the discussion. These subjects are magnifying worries and stress I have from new medicines.
     
  18. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I do beg your pardon profusely; I did not intend to cause you stress or exhaustion but was rather attempting to show you the beauty of traditional church music and how it can help. I do believe that if you are able to find a style of traditional church music you like, it will help you. I will pray for you my brother.
     
  19. Brigid

    Brigid Active Member Anglican

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    New medicines can indeed be stressful, RF. We will, I'm sure, all pray for you.
     
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  20. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Indeed so.
     

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