“I want to sing again”

Via a link that was a making the rounds on Facebook recently: a copious evisceration of all that grates and benumbs about congregational P&W music. From a list of the main features of these songs that offend the writer:

3. They repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And rep — all right. See what I mean? Really, really annoying. Really. The first time we sang the simplistic ditty, I could tolerate it though I thought the infinite God of all creation deserved better. By the fifth time, I was hearing echoes of Jesus warning about vain repetitions. But once you went softer and slowed it down on the seventh time, it really began to resonate with my soul.

Not.

Please. Stop. Now.

Full thing is here. Of course, taking down today’s off-the-rack P&W music in most evangelical churches is admittedly a fish-in-a-barrel kinda activity, but that shouldn’t keep us from enjoying a good rant now and again.

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Comments

  1. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    What an excellent and TRUE, VERY TRUE article. I have felt for years that the Praise & Worship Choruses were more for show than for actual praise and worship unto God.

    As a matter of fact (as I witnessed in my own Pentecostal church in the 90’s), the new P & W music actually served a purpose in dividing the congregation. Why? Because the ultra-selfish choir director basically tossed the old hymns of the church into the back Sunday School rooms, giving little regard for those who may enjoy the music with a rich heritage.

    The charismatic movement brought in, not only repetitive music that went on for what seemed like an eternity……..it ushered in a spirit of defiance and a lack of compassion for the elderly folks who couldn’t stand up for 45 minutes.

    Of course, churches don’t pass out Valium or Celebrex to help those with arthritis and migraines get through the onslaught of loud, overdone, headache-inducing noise.

    Worship is not about putting on a show for God, it’s about reverence, respect and giving of thanks for the Creator of the universe. Holiness, reverence and true worship will not be created out of chaos. As the Bible says, “God is not the author of confusion.”

    Of course, try vocalizing that fact in a new-wave, relevant, modern and hip Charismatic church, and watch yourself be branded a murmurer and a troublemaker. Therefore, most people keep their mouths shut and endure the three-ring circus. (and we wonder why people’s lives aren’t really being affected by church today…..)

    Couple this with the fact that most new churches being built more resemble a theater or a nightclub, complete with black ceilings, dark interiors, big screens, massive sound systems and theater-style lights. It’s like going into a nightclub minus the alcohol. Everyone gets their P & W fix and leaves sober……BUT unchanged. It reminds me of the following Bible verse:

    II Timothy 3:5

  2. jimmieg wrote:

    This of course is unlike our beloved SG music. Oh, wait, does anyone remember the glorious repetition of the “I’m Redeemed” chorus of The Old Country Church, the countless repetition of multiple times through “I’m Saved and I Know That I Am” with each singer taking a charge at it or even Brian Free. How many times does he repeat “Looking for a City.”

    Now, I’m at retirement age, and I know change is hard, but let’s not take it out on the music style or the architectural style or even the communication style or dress code of the pastor. These all change over time. Be happy there are folks, probably younger than many of us, worshipping the Lord.

  3. CVH wrote:

    I agree with BP’s points as well as those of many of the posters to the original article. I’ve been involved in this dialogue with people in the industry, church music people (amateur and professional) and everyday folks who sit in the pews and listen to Christian radio for years.

    My sense is that the problem is at least three-fold. First, look at the changes in church attendance over the last 50 years, then the past 100 years. Any way you look at it attendance is down. Giving is down. And the importance of the local church in the community has diminished. There are exceptions to the trends-the growth curve of the megachurches exceeds nearly all others-but there’s been a slowdown in their rate as well. And megachurches fail just like their urban counterparts faced with dwindling membership and the suburban/exurban independent churches built in the last 20-25 years that have gradually lost their sense of place and purpose.

    At the same time there were many changes in the ‘evangelical’ church in the first half of the last century. The big tent revivalists, the rise of fundamentalism and fundamentalist theology and the influence of the Pentecostal movement began to affect the course of religion, a trend that grew rapidly after WW II. The post-war boom in the economy, job growth, education, conveniences around the house (like the electric can opener), the growth of entertainment, the notion that America is destined to be the savior of the world and that pursuing the ‘American dream’ is the most important goal in life all contributed to an erosion in religion’s importance in everyday life. It also began the encroachment of secular cultural influence on the church. It was the beginning of the tipping of the axis from church being focused on God to being focused on us.

    The second issue flows from the first; the influence of modern musical styles on church music and the commercialization of religious music publishing. True, many hymns written in the last two centuries borrowed melodies and musical styles from the popular music of the day but we have seen in the last 50 years a much bigger influx of music written directly to various market segments. In the late ’60s and early ’70s it was octavos and then choral books. Some denominations had groups that traveled the country doing church concerts to promote their colleges and sell product, just as the pioneer southern gospel groups did decades before. Then came soundtracks, first from the group’s records then produced independently, song by song. 1972 was the first time I saw a group use a soundtrack in concert-it was the Gaither Trio and Henry and Hazel Slaughter. The Downings used one from that record they did where Paul narrated the ‘Love’ chapter. A very big deal at the time. While the early Jesus people music was growing, so was a segment of the market that had been underserved. The youth market. Innovators like Ralph Carmichael, Jimmy and Carol Owens, Otis Skillings, Andrae Crouch and others shattered the norm with innovative songs and musicals. This was not only a popular musical trend but a huge source of revenue for publishers. The long-haired, guitar strumming Jesus freaks at Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa are often credited with being the pioneers of the praise and worship genre. But don’t blame them; for most of them their motives were sincere and the songs were an act of worship. In fact, many of them were better constructed and had a stronger message than today’s crap. And they were much less repetitive.

    But of course there was money to be made so…voila! The Maranatha Singers and ‘The Praise Album’. With all the mutations of the original concept they must have put out 200 titles in the past 40 years. This was years before Integrity, Hosanna, Vineyard or anyone else. Word had a stronger publishing division and better marketing and distribution than Benson and that’s where a lot of their growth came from. And the BIG bucks started in 1974 when McCracken sold to ABC. From then on it’s been go, go, go. Where a publisher/record label may be losing money on record sales they cleaned up on publishing praise and worship and youth-oriented product.

    Along with the exponential growth for evangelical publishers, there was a steady decline in sales and profits by denominational publishers. Their sales base was shrinking, congregants cared less about singing the older hymns and with the growing use of multimedia in even traditionally-oriented denominational churches, most church music publishing has dried up. A couple years ago I was talking with the guy who edited the new Southern Baptist hymnal. He said it was the first upgrade in years and the biggest emphasis was on including popular praise and worship songs. Since they’re the largest non-Catholic franchise in the country they can afford to publish it. But we also talked about future editions being digital. I may be wrong on this but I think Gaither’s ‘Hymns For The Family Of God’ is the biggest selling hymnal of all time. Unless you’re worshipping in a liturgical setting which ties hymns, Scripture readings and prayers all together, thus tying you to a denominational publication, it’s unlikely you’ll see any hymnal, let alone a denominational one in the pews.

    The third factor is the decline of Biblical literacy among evangelicals. As far as knowing basic doctrine (what we believe) and having any understanding of its Biblical underpinnings (why we believe), there’s never been a dumber generation of Christians on the planet. Survey after survey, from Barna to Pew to Lifeway, reveal how superficial and oftentimes incorrect our understanding of our faith is. Why? If you look at all the influences mentioned above and add to it the general casualness and indifference many evangelicals have toward even the basics of Biblical teaching, is it any surprise that we tolerate this mind-numbing crap?

    There are, no doubt, exceptions to every point I’ve made but they are few and far between. We are creatures of habit, easily attracted to bright, shiny objects. We’ve allowed our worship to be co-opted by slick marketing, big money and popular trends. We are unable to discern the gravity of our situation and we lack the spiritual compass needed to navigate our way out of it.

    Basically, we suck.

  4. Wade wrote:

    Via JD from a number of sources…

    “First, this track thing will replace musicians, then we will loose promoters because they will stop making money, then this Praise & Worship Shit will take over and it will even be tough to get church dates!! SGM is screwing itself!!!”

    This was in the mid 90’s when I heard him say this on a bus out infront of a mall in Myrtle Beach but recently was refreshed while talking to a group owner!! & YES JD always used the SHIT word when discussing P & W!!

    jimmieg - True but most of those have atleast 2-3 verses!!!

    BWP & cvh — did y’all have those comment on stand by!?!?! lol;-)) Loved them!!

  5. irishlad wrote:

    To augment CVH’s comment the Church is being eroded of young people the same way a lot of institutions are even humanist ones like the Masonic Order, there simply is too much choice out there in this hi-tec age competing for peoples’ time attention and money..kids just find Church too boring so what happens Church leaders dumb things down with weak theology and mindless P&W songs..the attention span is too short for the kind of Church i was brought up in in the ’60’s and 70’s. I clearly remember 3times on Sunday no television, not even allowed to go into a store…frankly it was the most boring day of the week for me.

  6. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #3 - CVH - Excellent analysis and history lesson. Again, a very enjoyable read!

    #2 - jimmieg - I understand where you’re coming from, but from my personal experience and the experience of others I know, the P & W movement accompanied the rebellion of the Charismatic movement.

    The Charismatic “movement” ushered in a takeover mentality that said, “It’s our way now, quit your whining, get off of your derriere and sing these choruses, whether you like repeating them 20 times or not!”

    The P & W choruses were not as much about a change in musical styles as they were a sort of militant takeover of music and lyrics. And, the folks leading the charge in the late 80’s and 90’s had really bad attitudes about the progression.

    Choir Directors and Music Directors became insufferable in their attitudes towards P & W. If someone even remotely voiced a desire to hear something different, we all got a sermon on the “tongue” and “murmuring”.

    The same thing, exact same thing happened during the multi-million dollar church building programs of the 80’s and 90’s. Hip pastors gladly drove their churches into massive debt to have the appearance of wealth and prosperity. It was a combination of new worship experiences, new music, new buildings and…….as the soul singer said it best, “a new attitude”……or, in my personal opinion, a demonic force of terribly destructive behavior.

    #4 Wade - Okay……here I go again……..Yes, JD had a way with words, and he saw it coming………. the P & W movement, in many ways, accomplished more harm than good.

    In MANY churches, the Charismatic movement and P & W movement sent common sense, accountability, tradition, Christian heritage and compassion out the door.

    Of course, the whole enchilada included the Motivational-Style Word Faith and Prosperity Movement (emphasis on Prosperity), resulting in ministries bringing in untold gazillions of dollars to finance lavish lifestyles…….with VERY LITTLE going to homeless shelters and missions projects.

    ……and what did Jesus Christ say about “laying up treasures here on earth”????????

    If you don’t think some of these New Wave Pastors have sold out to this crazy culture, just look at this particular BAPTIST (whose dad was President of the SBC)…….wow, this performance ought to bring ‘em into the kingdom by the thousands. I honestly wonder what he’s smoking. I’m serious.

    Ed Young, Jr. Rap Song

  7. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    I want to say this……

    Folks, forgive me if I sound angry or upset. It’s not about anger or bitterness for me, it’s about a sadness of what has happened to the church body as a whole across many denominational lines. Consequently, much of the damage to the church body came as a result of the Charismatic movement along with the weird fads and trends…….

    Again, I’m heartbroken and saddened over this, but at the same time, a jolt like this to the church really allows a person to examine their Christian walk and discern the difference between show and worship……between fad and faith……..

    I believe one of the reasons that Gaither’s Homecoming series was so incredibly successful is because he brought back the “sound” of tradition and helped to “heal” a wound within the Christian music world. At least he put a really nice band-aid on it for a while.

    He brought back the rich heritage of the old hymns of the church and the songs with a REAL, genuine message of love and salvation. People were hungry for something authentic, something truly soul-stirring……and Bill Gaither beautifully brought that music back to life. And, for that, I will always be appreciative for what he’s done.

  8. Wade wrote:

    BWP….If it does more harm than good then why do people often go nutz in a good way when they hear GOOD, sometimes even bad Harmony???

    It is LAZINESS that people do not want to learn harmony they all want to be able to look at the screen and above and all sing in unison!!

    SGM has become stigmatized by the sucky hick nature of some of the BS that is rolling out there today as SGM, plus the music being so evangelized & politicized!!

    But I am telling ya DONE PROPERLY people still LOVE IT!!!

    It is funny to be with some one like in a car or if you can trick them into going to a concert and when they hear the music they can not help but like it!!

    There are still BIG CHURCHES that do it right that it is still loved too!!! Both in the Church of Gawd & baptist. I seen it just this last weekend!!

    When people even hear a secular song with good harmony ESPECIALLY 4 part male harmony they go nutz but do not know WHY which is the funniest thing to me!!!

    Testify to this McCray!!! How they liking it!?!?!?

    Oaks have been pretty good with it for a few years!!!

  9. Wade wrote:

    irishdude — Amen!!! the Masons are even openly recruting now!!! ;-))

  10. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #8 - Wade, I think people still love four-part harmony, and of course, a lot of people still love P & W music, but no matter the genre, quality has been sacrificed for convenience.

    Now, strictly talking about the QUALITY and ORIGINALITY of music…….

    What has damaged music as a whole…….and I’m referring to SG, Contemporary Christian, secular such as country or pop……is the lack of quality in the production of the music.

    *** For SG, it’s the reliance on soundtracks and the removal of LIVE BANDS.

    ***For Contemporary Christian, it’s the reliance on the same melodies and the same basic sound, similar to P & W. It’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between the artists.

    ***In secular music, Country sounds like Pop and Pop music all sounds the same on the radio. No originality. Therefore, the lines between Country and Pop are completely blurred.

    Unless the young people of today are willing to dig through the archives of the good quality music of yesteryear……no matter the genre……Gospel, Country, Classical, Pop, Soft Rock, Jazz, Big Band…..you name it…..

    Unless they are willing to do a comparison of “how it used to sound” as opposed to “what we hear today”, then they will miss out on the knowledge of quality music production. And, they will certainly miss out on originality.

    To make a comparison with some Southern Gospel styles, utilizing the argument of quality and originality…….

    For example, (and of course, I LOVE the Hinsons), but notice the originality in this performance, which includes LIVE music.

    The Hinsons - He Will Calm the Troubled Waters

    The above music is original, unique and has a country flare to it. Most importantly, their “sound” was distinguishable from any other sound in Southern Gospel. They were ORIGINAL, just like Johnny Cash was an original in Country Music.

    Now, listen to this LIVE music performance. This is The Singing Cookes, a group who also has a Country SG sound; however, there is a uniqueness to their persona and their presentation. Mrs. Cooke has an original-sounding voice……..yes, it’s earthy and rustic, but not familiar, as in “sounding like all the rest”.

    Singing Cookes - I Feel Like Running My Last Mile Home

    Now, and no offense meant to this next group, but notice the “familiar” sound to their performance of “I Feel Like Running My Last Mile Home”. It doesn’t have the same originality or earthiness in the performance. Notice - they use piano only - the rest is SOUNDTRACK. This is the Anchormen, but it could be most any SG male quartet today because of the manufactured SOUNDTRACK sound….. The soundtrack sound strips a group of their originality.

    Of course, the tenor is very talented, but we’re talking about originality, quality, and the “something’s missing factor” in this mostly soundtrack performance.

    The Anchormen

  11. Gospel Has Been wrote:

    Wade #9 no they are not openly recruiting and take it from someone who knows

  12. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    Okay, I more closely watched The Anchormen clip again on #10, and there is a bass player and a drummer (who seems hidden), but (and correct me if I’m wrong), the sound is so full that I think there is a soundtrack playing along with the live music. It sounds “too full” to be strictly keyboard, bass and drums. In other words, it sounds like more than three instruments playing.

    Anyway, and my point, the “soundtrack sound” is vastly differently from completely live music.

  13. Hector Luna wrote:

    I just want clarification. Which way are we going? Are we discussing preferred musical styles? Or ecclesiology? For every comment thus far there is a bit of truth. I love (or have some “liking”) of SGM. There are theologically weak lyrics in P & W and SGM, as well as strong ones. But there are two different conversations going on here.

    As far as what JD said, current artists take heed: cut the crap, quit the standard cookie cutter mentality, and try to reach a younger fan base without forsaking the old people who are paying your bills.

    As far as mixing ecclesiology and evangelizing/discipling and music with the youth/young adults: just don’t be cheesy. Today’s generation can see past the bull far better than the older crowd. They are generally more educated, accessible knowledge and entertainment at every turn, and they crave authenticity. It’s not the music. It’s how the music and more importantly, how the artists portray it. Go to NQC with a 20 year old sold out believer from Dallas who knows little about SGM and they will tell you why they might not want to go back.

  14. Wade wrote:

    BWP… your quote …”much of the damage to the church body came as a result of the Charismatic movement…”

    LoL;-)) True that!!! AMEN!!!

    Gospel Has Been … well until a few years ago you never saw bumper stickers that said “Know 1 to Be 1″ with the Masonic Symbol… and does it count if they approach you and ask you if you have ever THOUGHT about getting involved???

    That has happened to me 3 times in the last few years and it was not my family member. My Grand Dad who was a Mason and a Southern Baptist Minister talked to me about it several times. But I know he would be stroking out if he saw those bumper stickers and to have people APPROACHING others about THINKING ABOUT IT!!!

    I also know he spent countless hours in the back of a diner helping people with their memory work!!

    Have thought about it seriously several times, but I just do not want to commit to something like that because I am afraid I just would not have the time!!!

    Hector — the 20 year old believer to the NQC for the first time would be a fun experiment!! I know when I went the 1st time as a 16 year old I already loved the music so I was excited to see so many hero’s under one roof for a week.

    It also might help if the NQC rethought how they compensated the REAL Groups other than board or stock owners. I have heard more than 3 REAL GROUP OWNERS who say they just can’t take the cut in pay and the expense of putting all their people up for that amount of time.

    EXPOSURE only goes so far and save the exposure card for the up & coming and regional groups who basically PAY to get on the main stage or a SHOWCASE!!!

    Y’all HELP ME here because it has been SEVERAL years since I been, but I know even back then several top groups did not show or were maybe there for 2-3 days. I’ve heard it has become worse.

    Will be funny to see WHO wins the NEW Awards coming from NQC. I know when it was the Singing Snooze (NEWS) Awards God help you if you did not sell the rag out on the road.

    You can almost go back over the years and look to tell who WAS and who WASN’T by the big groups that would sweep the awards one year and then not even PLACE the next year and then the next year when they started selling it again it was AMAZING ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY WOULD BE BACK FOR A SWEEP!!! The Singing SNOOZE awards where the biggest crock of shit and if it wasn’t criminal BLACK MAIL then it sure was a total lack of an ETHICAL Presentation!!!

  15. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #13:

    Hector, if we’re referring to P & W music and the Charismatic movement, the church trend affected the music, but the music also affected the church trend.

    It all blended together with the Prosperity and Word Faith theologies (or lack of theology).

    In my former church back home, the music, worship styles, theology, teaching and building programs began to change about the same time. However, it did originally start with the music in our church…….and went downhill from there…….all the way to a big, fat church split.

  16. Wade wrote:

    LoLololo BWP — you crack me up I gotta meet you… Church SPLIT!!! Always thought that was the craziest thing… like the world needs another G of G or baptist church. Especially here close to the Promise Land of the C of G Clevegas, Tn.!!

    I like how both now are starting churches and not even calling themselves what they are… like they are an UNDERCOVER Church ashamed of being their own self imposed very deserved REPUTATION!!

  17. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #16 - Wade, undercover church is right. It also amazed me when the Charismatic movement began, the churches began to change their names from Church to Worship Center. It was as though the word “church” had to be removed.

    Or, for example, if a church was on Lakeside Road, such as a Lakeside Baptist or Johnson Street Church of God (made up names), they would change the name to something they thought would attract more folks……..such as River of Life Worship Center or The Sanctuary……..at least with the street name you could find it! LOL

    It’s sad really……because many of the church leaders “missed the boat”, so to speak. It’s the Holy Spirit that draws sinners to Jesus Christ, not slick marketing programs. Preach the Truth, love people and minister to those in need……now that’s a unique approach to ministry. :-)

  18. CVH wrote:

    Hector (#13): Good points. My thought is that instead of ecclesiastical influences shaping the music used in churches as it had for centuries, the greatest influence in the last 40-50 years has been the culture. I don’t think this is true in music only; we’ve seen similar effects in everything from church architecture and design to sermon/teaching content and styles, attitudes toward diversity and even how many services a church has and when they’re scheduled during the week.

    Yet ironically, there are some areas where the church, for all its boasting of how hip it is and how Jesus is a cool friend to have, should be focusing and isn’t. For example, ministry to single adults. Depending on whose statistics you use, around 50% of people in America today are single - never married, divorced, whatever. The percentage in the church is almost as high. There is an appalling gap in attracting and developing ministry to them. So there’s almost a kind of hypocrisy going on in the midst of the church’s attempts to be relevant and engaged. (Just don’t take away my skinny jeans and black horned-rim glasses.)

    I don’t think all of this is bad per-se, but I’m not at all convinced that the person sitting in the pew even recognizes that they’re being fed mindless pap in music or teaching. Worship these days seems much more about being ‘in the moment’ and emotionalism than repentance and adoration. I’m not suggesting that the ‘old ways’ were necessarily better - but we lack the ability to filter out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to modern worship.

    So I don’t think it’s as much a debate between stylistic preferences and ecclesiology. To me it’s about having solid content, regardless of style. But that is only going to be informed by our understanding of scripture and tradition. The further off from true north we go in that, the further off (dumber, simplistic, repetitive, lousy theology) everything else will become.

  19. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #18: CVH - Another excellent analysis. God has blessed you with much discernment and wisdom.

    You are absolutely correct…….the culture has definitely affected the church, especially with music and dress. I have noticed for years that people want to be “cool” more than they want to please God, and they are willing to enter a House of Worship dressed in clothes I wouldn’t wear to a honky tonk. (No, Irishlad, I’m not insinuating anything! :-) LOL)

    One Sunday, I was worshiping at a United Methodist Church on Easter, and I saw a young ladies a few pews in front of me dressed in backless dresses. I couldn’t believe the lack of respect, but I’ll stop for now with that subject. The modern culture has indeed affected everything in relation to the church.

    It seems that church design and church worship services are directed by The Kardashians instead of a sensible Deacon Board and a discerning Pastor. A lot of money flows in, but very little substance leaks out. A lot of people walk in lost, but not many walk out saved.

  20. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    Churches that Resemble Nightclubs

    Churches that Look Like………a Church (Notice the light)

    In making a point with the above photographs, which church seems to invoke a sense of reverence and worship?

    Wade, this next one is for you, featuring J. D. Sumner…..one of the great performances on the Gaither Homecoming Series.

    Hide Me, Rock of Ages

  21. Knows Nothing wrote:

    To #11…Oh yes they are!!!!!!Like Wade, I have been approached twice in the last few yrs.

  22. Ode wrote:

    CVH, thanks for the historical info,great.

    yea,modern pop worship is bad. Counting my blessings..Being very promiscuous with my church choices during college days, I test drove ab. 4 dozen churches of various denoms; became fully convinced that a decent cantor, musical director, liturgical conductor,whatever name is used, can perform miracles untold. A truly talented professional fishes out great music from a sea of junk and creates sheer wonder of art

    My church at home had 9 people, current one slightly over 7K each sunday, both have musical geniuses in charge. To all Musical Directors reading this- my sincere wish of blessings, may God give you long days.You can make it or break it, all in your hands :)

  23. Ode wrote:

    13,Hector, perf post. We young people can indeed do better! I love religious quartets, wish good luck to Memphis QS,NQC, but leave em to elderly, as for me and my friends -no thanks. We want quality, professionalism and don’t have money to waste, I got student loans, condo, a goldfish and highheeled sandals, let go of my hand.

    Firstly, SG Qts perform in churches. Unless it’s a tall 100 y o stone cathedral with natural acoustics, sound usually isn’t concert-quality. Secondly, lame preachin- politicizing.

    CVH’s Dulcinea (no, not Susan this time,the other one) posted today a great link to Barbershop- those are my long term passion. May I plug our sister in arms,here

    http://southerngospelyankee.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/a-standing-o-for-artistry/

    To see live quartets I’d always prefer to go to B-shop conventions,seen 2 already,sadly missed last one in Portland, and in comparison … SG concerts, except Gaither and 2-3-three others, are amateur work, sorry.

  24. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #23: Ode - thank you for posting the link to that incredible Barbershop Quartet. What an enjoyable performance! It’s encouraging to see that the younger folks are craving authenticity and tradition mixed with quality. It gives us artistic hope!

  25. Hector Luna wrote:

    CVH: Also good points. And I agree with much of what you said. I’m a young adult, reformed evangelical. I’m the guy who likes to read Luther, Calvin, Wesley, C.S. Lewis, Tozer, Murray, and theological commentaries in my spare time and journal about it, while listening to Avett Bros and Sigur Ros with some coffee.

    When that’s not kicking, I spin the instrumental hymns.

    Our church is making young adults a priority. Much of your statistics seem to be true. But during the “Campmeeting Revival” period, emotion and nostalgia was also rampant. There became a correlation between the sinners who got “saved” and pregnancy out of wedlock. American church history has shown that much of the “intimacy” was in some way directly or indirectly connected with those campmeeting revivals.

    Spiritual change was really only Religious and emotional change. Whether or not it was to get into some girls’ pants or the heightened “spiritual” emotion of it all swept right into the emotional aspects of teenagers and young adults’ in whose hormones were lacking in self-control.

    I’m not saying this is true across the board, for certainly this wasn’t all that was happening at campmeeting revivals, but America’s own church history wasn’t quite as rosy as our (ahem…) elder folks might want to admit. Since Adam, we’ve been spinning in and out of love with true repentance and an authentic Jesus.

    I respect the morals and values of our elder generation, and it’s a shame our culture (my people) have lost much of the fervor, but from what I know of my saved friends, is that there have been some fundamental elements of the gospel that have been mis-represented by the:
    1) Mega churches
    2) Cool, but weak theologically, pastors
    3) Health, wealth, and prosperity preachers
    4) Wealthy pastors in general who do not install church discipline

    Our generation sees right thru that junk. I think there is a mini-revival going on among our generation. I just don’t think that it’s visible in southern gospel. I think we must go outside of it.

    Which dives into something else. Southern Gospel politicizes, and dumbs down theology, campaigns for stupid stuff in stupid ways. They always stay in the bubble. I had more lost friends go see Mercy Me and Jeremy Camp a few months ago than saved friends…because it was a public festival, with secular artists throughout the week.

    If SGM would (once again…) cut the crap and promote stuff for “un-churched” folk, let lost people be lost people, erring on the side of grace, being willing to change up a few things, letting them smoke, cuss, and be be promiscuous since they don’t know Jesus anyways, maybe God’s grace would truly be a reckoning in their lives, because His grace is already sufficient… we wouldn’t be delving into whether or not P&W is ruining the church. Maybe then, more lost folk would have a better grasp on SGM. Maybe SGM did ruin the church.

    But many SGM artists want to stay away from the “world”. And that is why the “world” will be harder to reach for them. Music says a lot about a person. Our theology should take precedent over our relationships, but our theology must also include “relational” cultural engagement. If that means switching to a style more culturally engaging, then it’s worth it. That doesn’t mean the songs should suck and lack doctrinal depth, but that doesn’t mean it always does or will.

    Once again, I’m speaking as a young SGM insider/lover as well as a general lover of all types of music who loves Christ’s bride. I WANT TO SEE SGM FOR WHAT IT COULD BE. Not just what it once was.

  26. RF wrote:

    Wow. Just wow. Did this subject get intellectual all of a sudden. Not that I don’t agree with most of it. Let me tell you a story that gets to the crux of the situation.

    In the late 80’s-early 90’s, my church, a fairly traditional United Methodist church, along with a particularly Christmatic pastor, led certain members to believe that most of the members were not Christians, only came to church to be noticed, and that demons were amongst the congregation. The choir director was ordered to change the music. The small group infiltrated the Administrative board (deacon board for you Baptists, except the meetings are open) and demanded that monies left to the church with stipulations in their wills, be spent NOW because if Jesus came back we would all have to answer for it. The music became noise and in time, that faction left, and the fallout was a congregation of 300 was split.

    The pastor soon left for another church, but the congregation had shrunk to about 100. Many just didn’t come back. Things got back to normal. A new choir director was hired and the music also did the same until another Christmatic pastor came on the scene. The music changed, augmented by a screen, a computer generated worship service, and a pastor’s wife that urged the congregation to sing in unison because all that “harmony stuff” didn’t have a place in “our” church. Attendance was down to 75 at this point. This pastor and his praise music left, but not before attendance was down to 50.

    Today, this church has average attendance of 35. Recently, the new pastor and choir director has returned to the old hymns of the church combined with more modern songs, but it’s too late. The church is dead. When you remove great music because it’s not hip or change worship because it doesn’t fit your style, you give the death penalty to a church. It goes from. 300 on Sunday to 35, with most just staying home. I despise P&W music. If I’m so dumb that I have to sing the same phrase over and over to get through to God, and if I’m doing it for me instead of in praise to God, I’ve got a problem.

  27. irishlad wrote:

    At this point i should be digging deep and coming up with something profund to add to the discussion but beind a Humanist/agnostic by definition and therefore lacking spiritual faith i must remain silent however because of my evangelical background i understand and appreciate the words of Hector CVH & Bp.Still love Sg though and dislike P&W.

  28. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #25, #26 & #27: Thank you. This is a much needed discussion. Thank you again.

    The Charismatic movement is just one more reason that I personally don’t agree with the NQC joining forces with TBN. Most of the so-called Christian programming is a cover for cons and frauds who are extorting money from a deceived public, people who think they are giving to an honest ministry program.

    If anyone is not convinced that the NQC and TBN agreement is not a good idea, just Google this……. Paul and Jan Crouch Scandal. Why would decent people want to affiliate with folks like this? Personally, I find it very disturbing. What kind of people are really in charge at the NQC???

    The Praise & Worship movement and Charismatic movement have been destructive forces used to tear apart very stable and productive churches.

    In reading #26, RF’s post, it is absolutely heart-breaking to see a traditional and productive church fall from 300 to 35.

    The devil appears as an “angel of light”, and unless church leaders and church members truly pray, read the Bible and have wisdom to understand the truth, they can fall head first into a trap that evil will set for them……and, it is a TRAP.

    This passage of scripture says it all:

    2 Corinthians 11: 13 - 15

  29. Mayor-of-Mayberry wrote:

    26 - RF Thank you for sharing your story. It is a sad one that can be repeated more than most of us want to imagine. My first experience of it came in 1974. I was asked to pastor a church that had been through an earlier version of what you describe. It devastated the congregation. A church battle is a disaster on many levels. It never ends well. The disillusioned are gone.

    In 1974, those who would now be known as Charismatics were known then as Neo-Pentecostals. The movement at that time moved through traditional churches by way of a process called “Lay Renewal”. Music was not yet that involved. The worship service was not yet the focal point of the “event”. This process consisted of a visiting minister/guru, small group psychology, and prayer.

    Even as early as 1972, Neo-Pentecostals had developed within the Catholic Church. They were simply called Catholic Pentecostals. It was explosive, to say the least.

    As the movement ramped up, the first churches actually high-jacked were established Pentecostal Churches, i.e. Churches of God. BP lived this one up close and personal.

    The small group experience that took place alongside and outside of “church” moved into and took over the “worship” service. The intimacy of small groups gave way to “my rollicking experience” in a crowd riding wild and free on the music.

    By the late 70’s, the Neo-Pentecostals, many of which had been part of the Lay Renewal movement, raided the music of the Pentecostals adding their own twists.

    These “strum and drum” crews were wreaking havoc in the Baptist Churches everywhere. Forget beginning a service with a high and holy call to worship. We prefer the religious equivalent of “Are you ready to rumble?”

    My second pastorate started at this time and continued for twelve years. It too was another healing and rebuilding ministry following in the wake of what would eventually become the Charismatic movement.

    P.S. The group that split the second church where I was pastor has subsequently been left in the dust. They were considered too tame for the Charismatics. Too light on demons. Too low-key in their music. Didn’t understand the value of P &W. What’s next?

  30. Wade wrote:

    BWP… it is very well documented the NQC does MUCH that does not make sense!!

  31. irishlad wrote:

    27 should have read “being an Humanist” not “behind”…can’t get used to this touch screen iphone. :)

  32. irishlad wrote:

    Just caught Tim Surrett on youtube with his latest acoustic band “Balsam Range”.I got the feeling he was a happy man as in he had finally come home as far as his musical journey was concerned.It’s a far cry from his Kingsmens days with their fake cryin’,blubberin’ testifin’ and corny jokes.Rightly or wrongly i get the feeling he’s glad to see the back of it.Wonder what he thinks of P&W ? :-/

  33. irishlad wrote:

    10 BP. The talented tenor Brian Routh,oh my i’m sure he was quite “talented”, in which department i couldn’t be quite sure by the way I witnessed Terry Carter playfully patting him on his rear-end on a river cruise i was on at the NQC years ago. Bent as a 9 dollar note, but a great Tenor notwithstanding :)

  34. irishlad wrote:

    23 I listened with interest to Terry Franklin and the Sons Of Tones(yes i went to ygg’s site..shock/horror) and almost immediately afterward stumbled upon which i feel is simply the best accapella group i have ever heard bar none…Tonic Sol-fa. Ode you gotta youtube these guys if you haven’t already.

  35. CVH wrote:

    Well this has certainly turned into an interesting discussion. But as often as we go 40-50 posts on some inane topic, it’s probably good to tackle the more serious issues once in awhile.

    Going back to BP (#18), thanks for the kind words but I think it’s just observing things and the fact that I’ve always been an outsider within the evangelical/SG culture. So maybe it gives me a different perspective. I can say this - the older I get the less I know. But the more I understand.

    Ode (#23), ah yes, my Dulcinea. My muse, my siren, my seductress. Suzan always tops the list but the mysterious and elusive Brooke is an interesting diversion.

    #25, Hector, great comments, good illustration. And I love the line, “we’ve been spinning in and out of love with true repentance and an authentic Jesus”. Beautiful.

    You’re right - previous generations have not always held to higher, more spiritual standards or less promiscuous ways. I didn’t mean to give that impression if I did. Because, as you say, that experience was as much about the culture in many ways as today’s is. And somehow, for all our efforts, methods and techniques, we still miss the Gospel and fail to present it with authenticity and simplicity, stripped of all the extra junk.

    Most SG and Christian artists in general want to stay away from the world which, as you say, makes it harder for them to reach the world. Despite our self-medicating blather about reaching “lost souls for Jeeee-susss!” the fact is that 85% (and I think I’m being generous) of Christian music is directed to a Christian audience. But some cultural molds are harder to break out of than others and I believe SG is one of those. So even for the progressive thinkers in the business, the smart businessmen, the truly talented writers and players, producers and singers who WANT to be more ‘real’ and culturally relevant, it must be tremendously frustrating to have so many factors working against you.

    RF (#26), what a sad but impactful story. I went through a similar situation and split in the ’70s and it had a huge impact on my spiritual life. For me, despite the turmoil, it ended up being a positive thing. The lessons I learned made me a more informed, self-assured person. And yes, you have a problem. So do I. A big one.

    #28, BP, you ask, rhetorically I assume, “why would decent people want to affiliate with folks like this?” (Jan and Paul Crouch) If the decent people had a proper understanding of Scripture they wouldn’t affiliate with TBN. If they weren’t so desperate for publicity and marketing value, even at the risk of tarnishing their reputation, they wouldn’t associate with TBN. If there wasn’t enough of a financial incentive (whatever form that comes in) to make it worthwhile, they would not partner with TBN. But obviously, there are reasons why they do. That said, most of us are probably resigned enough to ‘the way things are’ that we overlook it too. For example, if I saw a SG group on TBN (the odds of which are very, very slim), and I liked the song they did, I’d buy the download or CD. Because I like the music. I might think they’re a bunch of morons for going on TBN but that’s their problem. So I guess I’m as guilty as anyone else of perpetuating the situation. And what are you going to do - boycott a group’s concerts because they appeared on a charismatic freak show? Everybody’s using everybody, let’s just admit it and move on.

    Somebody said earlier that there are good and bad praise and worship songs and good and bad southern gospel songs. True. The hymns of the church used to be used to teach doctrine but some of them also contained bad theology. And a lot of the mainstream CCM stuff has lyrics that are theologically incorrect or very “Jesus is my boyfriend”-ish. I don’t see anything that would cause this to change. It’s all about the cultural influences and the money. I’m not suggesting The Florida Boys lose their laughable yellow suits, don black robes and sing Gregorian chants - unless it was orchestrated by Lari Goss - but we have to regain musical and spiritual integrity, regardless of musical style, if we are going to represent well the One about whom we sing.

  36. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    Ode and Irishlad,

    Speaking of Barbershop Quartets, you will get a kick out of this! The really funny part starts about 1:45. This is a very creative version of “Old McDonald Had a Farm”.

    Barbershop Quartet - Old McDonald (New Version)

  37. RF wrote:

    Thanks for the support, guys. And I apologize for misspelling Charismatics. It’s a very emotional subject for me and using an iPad, it’s easy for the beast to correct words for you.

    The sadness is because our church has existed since 1913. It was always the heart of the small town I live in and is on the historical register because it is constructed of native chestnut, which doesn’t exist anymore. That aside, we no longer have a full time pastor, but are on a circuit, sharing a pastor with another church. The choir, which I was a part of, has gone from 40 members to nine. Sad part is all the rebels went here, there, and yonder and some even Don’t attend church anywhere now. They destroy a church and then leave the fellowship?

    All this because a traditional congregation didn’t want to change. I have advice for those who go to a church and try to change 100 years of tradition, good works, and Christian discipleship. Go somewhere else. Leave people alone. Don’t try to change centuries of music history. Learn to respect others. In our great country, we’ve forgotten the art of compromise. We see it in politics, business, and life. If something is working, don’t fix it. And love the Lord. He couldn’t care less what kind of music you use.

  38. CVH wrote:

    RF…very well said. And amen.

  39. McCray Dove wrote:

    JD told me the very same thing Wade in Goldsboro NC! It is happening word for word right before our eyes! What’s the answer? I don’t know.

    As an artist that’s been in SGM full-time for 26 years I have seen my share of changes and have had my share of changes!

    But what I have not seen yet is that group that does something in SGM that only great Artist have done and kept it going for more than a couple of years! I don’t mean how many awards they have won I mean how many tickets can they sale! Does the number of people in the seats justify there FLAT!
    Did they bring a style and songs etc, that takes industry by storm! All I’ve seen is tribute cds and concerts! Hey I’ve done it myself!

    You want to know why? Its quick Money! But does not Last, because before you know it you have folks that don’t know the group or song writer that you are honoring! So when that has played out its back to what you can do and not what someone else has done! I hope all of you can read this and understand what I am trying to say ! Lol

  40. quartet-man wrote:

    #39 Thanks for your honesty, McCray. You might end up taking some heat for the money thing, but hey money has to be a consideration to keeping ministry going. You are simply giving fans what they want and choosing a way to do so in order to make a living. You aren’t watering down the message or anything to do so, you are simply putting together a package that will do the ministry thing, but also be lucrative.

  41. observer wrote:

    Could not agree with BWP and CVH more. There is a very interesting essay in a recent issue of “Christianity Today” called “When are we going to grow up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity” - addresses some of the issues that CVH brought up.

  42. McCray Dove wrote:

    Quartet - Man I’ve taken heat my whole career! Lol. Anybody that thinks you can make your living at this without thinking of ways to bring the MONEY in lives in a DREAM world. That’s why there are prices on tickets and cds! No doubt SGM is about the Message in SONG but there is a business side to it and that is what I wanted to post about .

    Hey even Churches have business meetings, Bake sales, chicken plate sales etc. To bring in Money! The Bible speaks a lot about Money even in Apostle Paul teachings, if you want to get spiritual!!!

    I know somebody will take what I wrote and begin to minister to me. Good I love it that’s why when we sing on Sunday Mornings I stay and listen to the preacher I need it! When me and my Family go on vacation we always find a CHURCH to attend on Sunday Because we need it!

  43. Brad Smith wrote:

    McCray, you keep doing what your doing. God love your heart and passion. You shouldn’t have to explain yourself. :-)

  44. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #39 - McCray, I definitely understand what you’re saying! Thank you for sharing.

    For example……..In the past, a lot of us have said that “canned music” is hurting the SGM industry. “Fans” have let the artists know that they prefer live band music over soundtracks.

    You’re a different (in a very good way) artist in that you are willing to come on here and have a conversation, and, I personally appreciate that about you. I applaud you and Stewart Varnado for showing interest in talking to the “customer base” about the industry.

    Folks have mentioned the lack of quality in a soundtrack performance, but all we hear from most artists is, “We can’t”…….”We can’t afford it”…….”It’s not practical”. The responses are always negative with no thought for what the audience or customer prefers.

    Yes, I understand the money issue, but in my opinion, a professional singer/group traveling with a soundtrack is about the same as a trained chef using canned vegetables instead of fresh vegetables.

    It would be similar to a man marrying a gorgeous beauty queen, and then on the honeymoon, he finds out that she has a hair weave, false teeth, chest implants, fake tan, nose job and collagen-injected lips. He thought he was getting “the real thing”, only to find out she’s fake from head to toe.

    That may sound a little drastic :-) LOL, but paying to hear a performer with a soundtrack cheats the customer. SG is the only venue that I know of that uses soundtracks in live performances.

    Again, McCray, thank you for being willing to discuss the ups and downs of SGM.

  45. irishlad wrote:

    36 BP, now that WAS really good..nearly gonna say awesome there :)…Btw i’m a ringer for the fat Tenor in the glasses.

  46. ode wrote:

    6 “”"look at this particular BAPTIST (whose dad was President of the SBC) “”"

    only if he was a cocaine dealer would I agree he is doing comparably more damage then his father’d done. SBC’s history of diabolical acts, like standing behind slavery, racism, women abuse, oppression, heartlessly demanding to throw terminally sick out on the street in the 80’s , and we YET to get a decent apology from them. Ed, Jr’s bad rapping pales in comparison.

    See, that’s the bull we young people see thru. Want younger gens taking church seriously,big adults? Address all this crap (yes, I know you personally do it). Refuse? Too bad. That’s why baptisms in all SB denoms are at 60 year low, a loss similar only to Catholics’, who at least got sex abuse scandals to blame it on.

    ***

    BP and Ilad, thanks for the video links. I didnt know of “Sonic Tol Fa”, actually :)

  47. ode wrote:

    35,
    “”Inane”"

    - I am not an English expert, but it is spelled with the “s“. At least here.

  48. McCray Dove wrote:

    You can do what you really want to do. Its easier with tracks. Less problems faster set up time. You have more turn over etc. I’ve heard it all. You have to find the venues that will pay for it!

  49. ode wrote:

    BP,re: returning to old hymns, etc..

    Just because during the Jimmy Carter’s administration Tim Riley had enough hair for a decent combover, energy for grueling tours and could still locate his belt w/t a mirror, electing Carter again won’t bring all those goods back. Unless you have a working time machine, my dear friend, and can transport us all back in time, that old music, even if we returned to it, wouldn’t work anymore, not in today’s churches.

    Even sprucing it up Gaither-style isn’t enough for younger audience. I myself wouldn’t object, I was raised not to expect entertainment from congregational music, and love old liturgies, but for the modern spoiled mentality piano only /hymns is just too outdated. Realities of life now demand more attractive music. Cheesy P&W pop isn’t the solution, but….

    In Ch 4, The Frisson of Participation part of his book Doug poignantly talks about time when people became interested in being sung to by professionals, in lieu of congregational singing. Fun is like a drug, once tasted, you rarely turn back, but require more entertainment with better, newer choices – the bad other side of otherwise vital for survival “human adaptive nature“coin.

  50. ode wrote:

    18, “”"ecclesiastical influences”"”

    And those, lest we forget, are in a state of perpetual, never ending progression. What nice posters here are eager to return to is not the old musical ways of first believers – who can blame them,I am jewish, half mizrahi, and I can’t stand it - but to the old hymnals, music of the 50s, etc, and those were brought into existence thru the scorn of their own predecessors, complaining of hymns sounding too secular, based on world tunes, what’s wrong with the old liturgies,etc. Let’s be honest, change is inevitable and needed.
    Old rabbinical wisdom , “ If we stop letting young seek progress within the confinement of religion, they will find it elsewhere and bring it into religion”
    Churches are reaping what they sawing.. They stifle the internal growth – outside weeds are growing right in

  51. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #46 - Ode,

    Another thing that really hurt the SBC is getting involved in politics. #29 saw it first-hand and was thoroughly disgusted by what he personally witnessed at the conventions. According to #29, some of the famous Baptist preachers that people watch on TV today threw some major fits during the big political conquest…….of course, in favor of the HUGE take-over.

    Going the political route (as the NQC has attempted to do) is always certain to bring confusion and dissension.

    I believe the thing that has frustrated people more than anything in the church world has been the bombardment of church leaders with a brassy, narcissistic take-over mentality regarding music, worship styles and politics.

    The “take-over” has crossed all denominational lines from the Pentecostals to the Baptists all the way to the Catholic Church. Very little was done gradually - it was as though one day the laypeople walked into church and said, “Where are we?” “What is this alien spaceship that has landed in our congregation?”

    For me personally, the thing that has bothered me the most about the musical change (other than repeating a chorus 15 times)……was definitely the bad attitude and selfish mentality that accompanied what we call “change”. Along with the change came a spirit that was quite disturbing. It was kinda the…….”my way or the highway” attitude.

    Consequently, the modern church leaders and music directors managed to alienate anyone and everyone that raised a question.

    The attitude that accompanied the new music and Charismatic worship style rubbed people the wrong way……and set rebellion and resistance in motion almost immediately. Consequently, God is not the author of confusion, and much of these movements created mass amounts of confusion.

    Change is never easy, but it’s especially difficult when the leaders have no concern whatsoever about causing dissension or hurting a layperson’s feelings, a person who has given many years of faithful service to a church.

    On top of this, many of the new-wave church leaders and music leaders behave with total ignorance, and sweep in like a tsunami…….. and completely anger and ignore the financial supporters of the church. Many of them had no qualms about causing a Category 5 hurricane amongst the folks who paid their salaries. Brilliant, isn’t it?

    One more thing that I have NEVER understood…..while Gaither was making untold millions of dollars “singing to the oldies”, it always AMAZED me that music directors ignored this highly lucrative trend and took the P & W route.

  52. irishlad wrote:

    Think this way: Frank Sinatra in his day was hugely popular,Harry Connick Jr was too, as is the current Canadian exponent of that particular style of music, Michael Buble.
    Now this guy is singing a form of music which for all intent and purpose should be dead, so why is he a top star? The logical conclusion is:the style itself hasn’t lost popularity there just happens to be a contemporary popular figure to carry it forward. Sg can follow suit…with more Canton Junctions & Union Sqrs…oh aye,and McCray Doves :)

  53. CVH wrote:

    BP (#44): I love your illustrations…the chef using canned vegetables. Of course Sandra Lee might dispute that.

    As far as the fake chick goes, I wouldn’t chance waiting until the honeymoon to find that out. There’d have to be some pre-qualifying done before it ever got that far. You know…quality assurance and all that.

  54. quartet-man wrote:

    #44 BP said “It would be similar to a man marrying a gorgeous beauty queen, and then on the honeymoon, he finds out that she has a hair weave, false teeth, chest implants, fake tan, nose job and collagen-injected lips. He thought he was getting “the real thing”, only to find out she’s fake from head to toe.”

    Now, let’s not get drastic here. You paint a good picture here, but not a pleasing one. :-p ;)

  55. RF wrote:

    My Dad was a quartet singer in West Virginia. Ran the roads from church to church. Taught me to sing harmony and showed me how hard it was for a group to stay together. McCray is right. To make a living you have to have people willing to pay. Never made a dime. Typical.

    Politics never payed a part. Always stay neutral. Christians come as Democrats, Republicans, Independents and others. Why alienate people because of their political beliefs? Why alienate people because of what church they go to? Does anyone believe that Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and any number of others can, with their decisive rhetoric, do good for the human race? Does anyone believe this belongs in a religious setting? If you do, then think back to the groups that touched America with their music and not their politics. My Dad taught me that.

    Shame on those that use politics to fire up a crowd.

  56. McCray Dove wrote:

    What SGM needs is some more AWARD shows!

  57. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #53 and #54: LOL LOL :-) That was a good one, wasn’t it!

    #55: RF - Amen! Unfortunately, it’s easy to use politics to “fire up a crowd” because the majority of the electorate are still “true believers” in this corrupt system. They still believe that Sarah Palin, Obama or Romney will make things better.

    As long as people continue to behave like an ostrich and keep their head in the sand…….. and refuse to discern, read, see or understand the truth about both sides of the fence, the political circus will continue both on and off the stage. Nonetheless, the SG singers use “politics” and “agenda” where it is financially beneficial to them. I’ve seen this time and time again.

    One night, we were at a Brian Free & Assurance concert in a rural town in Georgia. They were performing at an obviously far-right, down-home, Conservative, Fundamentalist Baptist Church. So, Brian got on his soapbox against the “homosexual agenda”. Well, his little rant must have worked.

    When the offering plate was passed around, I watched as people took $100 bills out of their wallets and tossed them into the plate. (People who didn’t appear to afford Taco Bell were producing $100 bills) The offering plate was running over with $20 and $100 bills. So, when necessary to fill up the tank on a brand new bus, politics seem to work! ;-)

    Now, if he had been performing in Liberal upstate New York or Chicago, I seriously doubt he would have started his anti-gay rant! However, most folks are pragmatic materialists - they do what works.

  58. Ode wrote:

    51,Appreciate it; Doug,forgive sidestepping, one more question - how did Charismatic flavor affected such radically different, in theology and practice, denoms? That’s as strange as imagining them being influenced by RCC and putting out statues of Mary. Why do you think takeover happened? Maybe the churchs’ grip on truth and spiritual worth wasn’t all that good? (If I get to stay in US, I will move South- weather, great people- so I want to know what boogiemen are real)

    “”"it always AMAZED me that music directors ignored this highly lucrative trend and took the P & W route”"”

    That’s what I tried to say in #50- due to modern xtianity’s lame spiritual condition and inability to facilitate progress of musical trends WITHIN the church, secular cultural influences seeped right in.

    As for canned veggies…:) They do really,really good nose jobs today- unbelievable how the new soft can synthesize piano, or esp. organ (simple square wave) sound. Even for the pros it’s almost impossible to distinguish it from real instrument. I’m all for live, but adding high quality tracks can majorly enhance music and give it public appeal w/t sacrificing quality. Live bands use this approach, even though it might be unaffordable option for a lowbudget group. CVH, or any other sound engineering geek, chime in with support, please..

  59. Ode wrote:

    18 :) Culture affecting church is still lesser evil than the other way around. Give religion unlimited power of influence we’ll end up with Inquisition again. Society and culture keeps church in well needed check, not allowing Christianity to run havoc. I can just imagine a pastor who a few decades ago proclaimed, to much delight of his flock and all foamy-at-the mouth, “segregation is God ordained”, refusing church welcome to a black/mixed race family today.

    I do see your point about music.To bring another perspective:

    Article’s author hits it, yet I chuckled at “2K years of music tradition” reference. Well, cupcake, if you can’t stand P&W reps, you’d instantly run away from a church that sings tehilim the way early Jewish- or Greek - believers did. They used repetition of the same verse hundreds of times. Rich history and modern psychology are firmly behind that Jewish, and later Christian, liturgical tradition. It’s designed to distract the mind from everlasting quest for novelty, information, and entertaining visual/audio stimuli. The state of constantly amused mind is precisely what they were trying to avoid.

    The repetitious ways of singing praise songs “break out our nature towards the spirit and bring heaven to earth“ - in talmudic Hebrew all that is one word, in modern it doesn even exist anymore :D

    P&W just doesn’t do it right ;) And yes, I do realize that’s outdated for us modern believers, we have no time/patience for that.

  60. Ode wrote:

    “”"but we have to regain musical and spiritual integrity, regardless of musical style, if we are about whom we sing”"”"

    AMEN! And nothing speaks of restoring integrity and representing the One about whom we sing like aligning with TBN .Cake, eating, having. We are or doing dirty tricks for Crouch for money/exposure, validating his circus with our presence, or claiming integrity. Cant do both ;)

    It’s much worse then signing with any secular station.

  61. Hector Luna wrote:

    Ode - you struck with truth. I think most modern Christian music is either lame or lacking. I enjoy some SGM and some P&W, but I do simply want to reaffirm your point. To those fundamentalists fighting against modern praise choruses and wanting to “get back to how they used to do it”, then let’s go back… all the way to the early Church. You are exactly right. They repeated, and repeated…letting truth sink in.

    Do we think the angels get bored with singing the same stuff over and over again? Of course not.

    As far as a few commenters talking about how music split the church…if that split the church, then it was worth splitting up. Jesus isn’t always popular to follow. He invites us to an execution, not a party. Narrow is the road. Few will find it. It is perhaps true, that many who left that church were in fact, un-believers not willing to part with their own pride.

  62. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #58 - Ode, I believe that the reason many different denominations embraced the Charismatic worship style and the popular P & W music was due to pragmatic materialism. People, organizations and churches “do what works”.

    Trends that are successful in one denomination will quickly cross denominational lines, especially if that trend seems to draw many people and/or attract large amounts of money Again, it’s based upon pragmatic materialism.

    Many trends and fads in the church today are not about God or the Bible, they are about SELF, the promotion of SELF and the acquisition of more people that leads to the accumulation of more money. Money and fame is as popular in the church as it is in Hollywood.

    Let’s look at Joel Osteen, his huge church and his motivational, positive preaching style, to include his contemporary music and worship style. Obviously, thousands attend his church because they are attracted to his “style” and his “message/emotional massage”.

    Millions watch him on TV. He has sold book after book, and has frequently been on the New York Times bestseller list. Obviously, his “style” works. Therefore, church leaders will follow in his footsteps to attempt and produce the same results for their church……and their bank account. Again…..pragmatic materialism. Again……a lot of it is about money.

    #61 - Hector……in some of the church splits that we have witnessed…….

    Some folks didn’t want to leave……some folks were basically pushed out or asked to leave. That’s what has happened in MANY churches. Another tactic used……..keep hurting a person’s feelings and wreaking havoc until the person can’t emotionally take it anymore. Now, from what I read in the Bible, church leaders who pull stunts like this are not controlled by the Holy Spirit, they are controlled by the devil. However they will (as all of us will) give an account for our actions on Judgment Day.

  63. Ron F wrote:

    I know everybody is down on TBN, but Southern Gospel Music needed a TV Network.

  64. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    #57 Brian Free is a man of principle. You seem to be implying that he doesn’t believe a word of what he says and was merely seizing an opportune moment to fish for cash. That’s unworthy of you. I know people can’t always be what they seem, but you take cynicism to a whole new level. Brian has proven that he’s not afraid to affirm and re-affirm his beliefs even in the face of criticism.

  65. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #64 - YGG,

    I have heard Brian many times, especially in auditorium venues. In the auditorium venues, this does not happen. The church venue seemed to solicit different behavior. I also understand that in a church setting, a group or performer has more time to talk or “share”.

    I don’t have a problem with him sharing his belief system, but let’s not forget, this is the same man who asked for donations of 1-ply toilet paper.

    Southern Gospel Yankee Article on Brian Free & Toilet Paper

  66. CVH wrote:

    BP (#57) - LOL, well as a proud, liberal New Yorker, I think the only place Brian Free could get away with an anti-gay rant would be in a church similar to the one you saw him in. And those churches are few and far-between up here; those that do exist are very rural, small and small-minded and predictably suspicious of anything post-1955. They’re the ones who still think Billy Graham is an ungodly liberal tool.

    (#58) Ode - the evolution of electronic instruments has been extraordinary over the last 10 years but I think it’s hit a plateau recently. They’ve mastered the art of sampling at very high bit rates and making keyboards much more responsive. But like so many things much of it comes down to the creativity of the player, an understanding of theory and orchestration and experience.

    A few groups use mix-minus features where they have the partially-mixed multitrack for playback and can pull out individual tracks (piano, guitar, drums) when they have live players. As long as everyone stays with the click track…

    I love to hear a live band but it’s just not a viable option these days for most SG groups. I agree - well-produced tracks can be great option, provided the group knows how to use them in concert. EH&SS and Greater Vision do it with the most polish I think.

    A thought on the Inquisition. Sure, they overreached a bit, but what’s a little excess in the pursuit of a lofty goal? After all, the point wasn’t so much punishing the individual offenders as it was intimidating and striking fear in the hearts of the great, unwashed masses. Not unlike many fundamentalist churches today. I mean, what’s going to motivate most people - a friendly chat with their pastor or the very real possibility of being burned at the stake? Sometimes you just gotta go with what works.

  67. Ethan wrote:

    #57 - While people may have brought $100 bills, did anyone bring BF&A any toilet paper for the bus?

  68. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    #67 - On his Facebook page, I found it interesting that it was the middle-aged to senior-citizen female fans who were supplying him with toilet paper (women LOVE this stuff). They promised to bring supplies to the next concert they attended. It’s still amazing to me that people fall “hook, line and sinker” for things like this……especially women.

    #66 - CVH - I’m to the point with this that most of SG is strictly a business anyway, so…..since people are usually paying to hear the music, either through tickets or offering, the singers just need to sing.

    I definitely don’t have a problem with soloists or groups presenting the “Plan of Salvation” or giving an altar call, because people need Jesus Christ, but stirring up a crowd or pandering to a certain demographic in hopes of a better offering is not professional.

    I’m not saying that was Brian’s intention, but this is also the same guy who ignored the church folks as he walked into the front door that night. ……..sorry…….but some things you can’t help but notice.

    The main thing that Southern Gospel needs at this point and time?

    More professionalism, creativity and sincerity

  69. quartet-man wrote:

    With the Chick-Fil-A stuff Brian brought the subject up again and was very clear on his feelings. He got some people upset, but didn’t back down. So, I really don’t think he is afraid of doing it or doesn’t believe it. I suppose he might choose to broach it at some times and not others, but not sure that is because he is manipulating people.

  70. just saying wrote:

    #68..Sincerity in the southern gospel industry is sadly becoming something that is just not there. It’s projected in a false form from the stage to portray an image, but authenticity and true sincerity is getting harder than ever to find.

  71. Wade wrote:

    CVH … so you are a proud NY Lib… I knew I liked you for some reason!!!

    BWP…Ha Ha & Gawd you are so right about EVERYTHING in #68… usually though Brian works the anti abortion angle.

    Ethan— Ha Ha

  72. Tim wrote:

    I have to agree somewhat with McCray. As much as The Cathedrals, Statesmen, Blackwoods, Hinsons, Goodmans etc … , everyone has tributed them to death either purposely or by habit. The industry needs someone that will bring something different to the table. Now, if I new what that was, I would be selling books instead of writing post on this website.

  73. Tim wrote:

    Should have insterted “as much as those artist have paved the way for many that follow”. Maybe I should keep my day job.

  74. McCray Dove wrote:

    Tim I have went thru my albums with the Statesmen, i found two albums that the Statesmen did that was a tribute. They were both to a song writer. I tell you something else that we don’t have enough of is GREAT Promoters. To many promoters now want to promote by Remote Control!

    They want to blame the Artist to many times for there poor attendance. We will have folks walk up to us and say man this concert sure wasn’t promoted. I didn’t see a poster, it wasn’t in the paper or nothing! If the Dove Brothers hadn’t sent out the email I wouldn’t have known a thing about it! To many promoters want to start promoting a month out and expect to have a crowd.

    You got get out and WORK the area inside and out . Radio and facebook is not enough. But you can’t expect a promoter to do well if the artist is gonna be back in six months and work a church for a FREE will offering either!

  75. Ode wrote:

    62,Thanks, BP, and yes, that’s sad…

    66,CVH, appreciate your professional perspective. As a tough New Yorker you are dispensing truths in quantities that SG world can’t possibly absorb/ tolerate, be afraid;) Indeed, no amount of great technology can replace musical professionalism and talent- God still holds the monopoly in talent granting business. Looks like many SG CDs are done very well, I’d give them credit, dont know about concerts.
    Wait, so even Antares AutoTunes cant’t make me sound like Vestal?:(

    I know I am salting your wounds, BP, but that’s the crux of the matter- people love lavish productions. That sells, if a band wants quality and class, go for symphony orchestra, real or synthecized,rich sound Is eternal and will always attract. Selling piano-only old style concerts is like selling black&white TVs. One retro show is ok, but most of it has to be color, preferably Hi Def. Corded phones and grammohone records time had passed…

  76. Ode wrote:

    68, I’ve se seen people without fear of God but that shyster Brian Free is in a class by himself. You should see the stunts he is pulling on FB now… I got it, he is guided by money and nothing else, but come on, he thinks people are idiots? He is saying that “gays and lesbians are welcome “but yet insists they are subhuman, and worse then livestock.

    God have mercy on him…I am sure many brownnoses will jump to his defense right away, but the truth remains. Again, this is the genre that wants young people?
    ;)

  77. Ode wrote:

    63, Ron, NQC /artists are cheering it.”It’s an honor”, “looking forward to”,”God glorifying station”, ‘proud to
    be a part of”, they love it.

    NQC & TBN deserve each other, birds of a feather. Fake hair, self aggrandizement and very flexible morality - they are a good match.And majority of SG and TBN supporters are silverheads.

    I am just deriving much entertainment laughing at this circus. To me SG is good music AND much laughter :D, what more can you ask for

    **********
    ilad ,BP, yes, Lunch Break are good/ website, funny:) I heard these guys in FL at a church, they rock. Christian family group. I hate cheesy musicals, but they made the part enjoyable. Ilad, like the bass?
    skip the foreplay, start at 1:20

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu6zospCQSA

  78. irishlad wrote:

    77 you say the sexiest of things ,you little minx ;)

  79. quartet-man wrote:

    #76 Ode, what you seem to not understand is the same thing that many don’t with the Chick-Fil-a thing. Saying someone is doing something wrong is not banishing them from being there. Sure there are some churches that do not want sinners (and although we are all sinners, when I use sinners in this case I meant those actively involved in ANY sin or at least obvious ones) there. That may not be stated directly, but it sure looks that way according to appearances because they pretty much shun who might come who don’t fit a certain mold. BUT, in Chick-Fil-a and Brian Free’s cases, from what I have seen at least, they are speaking out against the sin per the Bible, but aren’t banishing them from showing up to the restaurants or concerts. One needs to stand up for the Bible, but at the same time love the person and hope to reach them. In Chick-Fil-a’s case, there isn’t so much “reaching” and yet I am sure they don’t want to lose the business (if the person wants to come there) nor keep people out who want to come in.

    It is the same with the correct type of churches, you need to speak out against sin (not just that sin), but you want to have people there to hear the word and hope to reach and minister to them. If churches didn’t speak out against sin, they are not doing their jobs (and I don’t mean exclusively, but people need to know their need for God and the need to live for Him and as He wants us to live). If a church doesn’t accept sinners in church they are not doing their job. I qualify this by saying not the ones there to disrupt, but those truly seeking. If sinners weren’t allowed none of us would be welcome. If only Christians are allowed in, it is a big problem. Ministering to Christians is good and important, but reaching souls is the big thing. Even if the sinner is actively engaging in sins, if they aren’t there to disrupt, they need to be let in to hear the truth in love.

    There is a guy who comes to my church who is really colorful. He had an accident some time ago and I think had some brain damage. Anyhow, he stopped me one Sunday (”hey music man”) and chatted with me. He used some words he shouldn’t (especially in church). I was unaware of the damage by the accident, but thought he should have more respect in church and should show more sense, however I was glad he was there. I’m sure some churches wouldn’t feel that way, but the sick are the ones who need a doctor. What good would a doctor’s office or hospital be if the unpleasant, sick people were kept out in the name of keeping it a more appealing place to the healthy?

  80. CVH wrote:

    (#75) Ode - ah…no. There’s no Kate Smith button on the auto tune. But I think the real question is, why would you want to sound like Vestal?

  81. irishlad wrote:

    I don’t want to be rude here Q-Man, but get a life will you.When they invented the word repressed they certainly had you in mind.

  82. irishlad wrote:

    Quartet-Man,i feel i have been bordering on the edge of abuse/bulling please forgive me i won’t do it again.

  83. CVH wrote:

    Another pint for everyone! I’m buying.

  84. jimmieg wrote:

    @CVH #80 Kate Smith was one of a kind. When the “Moon Comes over the Mountain” and “God Bless America.” Not asking for her back, just enjoyed the time/place she was.
    And isn’t that the point, something about when our memories are greater than our dreams, it’s all over. Don’t want to be “over” just yet.

  85. jimmieg wrote:

    By the way, as far as insincerity in SG quartets, does anyone know if James or Hovie or Urias/Eva Mae or Smitty or Elmo or Ed Hill or John Matthews ever hold their guys to a godly standard on and off stage in the fondly remembered “golden age”? Seems like the point of Jake’s “morality clause” when the Imperials began was perhaps because they didn’t. Maybe insincerity is nothing new?

  86. CVH wrote:

    jimmieg - I agree, Kate Smith was one of a kind even in her day. And she was a consummate performer. She once said, “I sometimes get that wonderful sympathy between me and the audience, telling me I’ve reached their hearts. And when I do the thrill is mine.” An artist truly connecting with their audience; that’s what it should be about.

    On the morals/sincerity question there were quite a few ‘golden age’ groups that put on a great show but that’s all it was. Booze, women, porn and just about every vice imaginable were never in short supply.

  87. irishlad wrote:

    77 Ode,really enjoyed that Barbershop Qt :)86 CVH,let’s start our own “golden age” quartet and you won’t have to put your hand your pocket for any drink…or anything else for that matter ;)

  88. Auke wrote:

    #79 exactly right! job!

    As a lover of this kind of music, and a admirer of some of the people involved in this genre, it’s very easy to get disillusioned and discouraged reading all these ‘insiders only’ remarks and suggestions about immorality/drinking/drugs and so forth…why is it that most of you use obscure names stating these things? I’m all for transperancy and getting things out in the open…and I am the first to acknowledge that these artist are like me(us) just people/sinners. I’m not placing anyone on a pedestal, or worship any of then.But shooting live rounds at artists living, and even deceased from a concealed hide-out somehow seems cheap or cowardly. it somehow seems rather pathetic.

    On the topic itself i can say this, why beat the P&W crowd over the head about repetition? When this blog does basically the same thing, over and over again…??? How many blogs can one post about the decline of SGM, canned music, gaysingers, etc etc? I love critism and edgy and eloquent journalism/blogs, but i rarely read about someone getting excited about the music anymore…no one seems to anxiously awaiting a new release by the GVB anymore or any group for that matter..all I read is grumpy old men being frustrated about whatever trivial bullcrap they can come up with! Lighten up, and make a joyful sound now and then…like i am about to…I love you all, and love The Lord above all!

  89. Ode wrote:

    79 -whole multi worded opus can be safely reduced to Mark 2:17.

    You are consufing “banned” with “allowed, not welcomed”.Don’t play dumb, QM, please, you know that “Gays are Welcome” -be it on a church board, FB page or a concert flyer- means all-inclusive gay friendly environment. Brian Free, does what’s good for business,he accepts serious sins that Bible condemns, like open forms of adultery (which was a felony under law for centuries and warranted exclusion from congregation, until it progressed into a norm for churchgoes recently).

    He wouldn’t dare to rant against/ demand change from them, due to their overwhelming presence on stage and among audience. Divorced/remarried, cohabitating couples, single moms with sleep-in boyfriends, cougars with live-in male“companions”, artists that have kids before marriage – I personally know at least 1 SG fan for each of these groups (I actually want to move south :)

    His situational ethics allow him to sell hate speech where it sells, but keep his mouth shut on gay subject in venues that won’t tolerate it

    Actually …I don’t care about any entertainer’s xtian maturity level AT ALL, I pay for the music. BFA’s P&W-ish style just isn’t for me. I did buy one CD to try

  90. Ode wrote:

    Rechecking Brian Free’s glorious rhetoric..he wants “old biblical definition of marriage” - that means naughty old Brian wants 5 chicks at once, or what?

    80, buttering up Avery in a cheap move, telling him what I think he wants to hear ;) Vestal was a gay southern gospelites’ icon, after all. I love altos. Yes, wise men, you convinced me, I‘ll wait until Kate Smith button is mastered before ever daring to sing on public (good news for the public)

    83, not for Auke - seems like he have had enough ;)

    87,I love Tim Riley ’s bass, he is more rugged (no pun )but i like melodic ones too. In addition to progressive groups mentioned -Beyond The Ashes, i have their CD, great group.Point your finger, where in Union Station? cant find..

  91. jimmieg wrote:

    @Auke My original question was were there managers/owners that tried to keep congruence between the message and the music. Not that bad character could arise (George Y., Paul Downing and Jay Simmons admitted to drunkeness at points in their singing career, Calvin Newton’s testimony, Urias Lefevre and Rex Nelon confessed to coming to the Lord after singing gospel for many years). But the question was, were there men of integrity that said “You’re a great singer, but you’re off the bus. Get your life in order.”

    Perhaps promoters were at fault in continuing to book singers with bad reputations because they drew a crowd. I heard from a concert worker that Sonny Simmons ask the Sunshine Boys move their bus not to park near the Cleveland arena because of a slogan that was written on the bus. Perhaps the answer was cancelling them on the spot.

    And maybe the decline of the style in churches was connected to the reputation of the singers and that they were not invited into churches because it was “a show.”

    I’m not an insider. Not digging for dirt. Just pondering - I could be wrong in connecting the dots?

  92. McCray wrote:

    Jimmieg, to answer your question the percentage is about the same as your preachers and pastors!

  93. CVH wrote:

    Ode, I have no idea what you’re talking about (#90). Have you been ODing (no pun intended) on those red velvet pancakes at IHOP? Just avoid any live mics and let Logan Smith take the lead.

    Auke (#88), man, chill out. Grumpy old men? Wow. A bit jaded maybe but grumpy? A lot of us have been around for awhile and while we love the genre we’re not naive enough to believe that anyone sings as well outside the studio as in or looks as good as they do on a record cover or lives out every lyric of every song they sing. But while we may be critical at times I doubt anyone is going to be killed by friendly fire.

    I’m not sure that this is designed to be a fan blog. There are plenty of those. A lot of people who post here want to see the genre grow but that’s only going to happen through introspection, criticism and challenging dialogue. I’d rather participate on a blog like this, despite the occasional rants or distractions, because it has a purpose beyond simply gushing over the latest GVB record.

  94. Auke Bijlsma wrote:

    I love this blog, and love critique, and the occasional rant. But like the typical P&W composition it seems to repeat itself again and again. Like Billy Preston sang ‘going ’round in circles’…introspection is allright, as long as in doesn’t mean people can not look beyond the obvious flaws of people involved in this genre. I know it’s very tempting to rehash the dirt and scandals over and over again, because there is really no real musical news to rant about. It’s been awhile since anyone has put out a exciting album…the genre is in need of a creative blood transfusion. All i wanted to say is that i don’t want to know all the dirt, it kinda takes pleasure out of the already limited amount that is left.

  95. Wade wrote:

    # 92 — McCray — Ha Ha I bet it is HIGHER with Pastors!!!… and a lot less over all EVIL!!!

    CVH — Istead of a Pint can irishdude & I get SHOTS of SOMETHING!!!???

  96. Ode wrote:

    93,
    Who can blame you, brother of mine? My Hebrish, or “Engl-brew”, as my UK born friend puts it, mumblings are often hard to get. To your “Why would u want to sing like Vestal?”I revealed that, loving the alto voice range, if any auto tune software could gave me the ability to carry a tune I was born without, I’d want it to sound like praised Kate Smith.

    In a cheap attempt to please Doug I said “like Vestal”, assuming he had fondness for her. Mostly I admire her larger than life, no pun intended, stage presence and her aura of magic…

    I also made fun of BFree’s parroting Biblical misquotes; he sounds wishing for a busload of concubines (oh wait! that’s what groupies are? No more polit. incorrect “diesel sniffers”label, you evil AFLN-ers! It’s called “biblical marriage”, like the Bible’s heroes of faith had)

    Teased Auke about making little sense.I know he means well, but errs believing a blog’s activity can be affected by whining /complaining instead of participating/posting on topics of your interest

    BE the change you want to see in others,.Aukie!it was drilled into my head since I was 2

    The way to flirt with Ilads heart is thru bass singers, so I did, and asked how to find “Union Station”, google gives me the map of Chicago

  97. CVH wrote:

    Ode, amazing…some of us need to get together for a few refreshing adult beverages someday…I can only imagine the conversation!

    Wade - absolutely - some Don Eduardo and Glenfiddich. Grey Goose?

  98. Auke Bijlsma wrote:

    Ode i’m not whining/complaining i’m commenting on what is going on here…why is it everybody is fair game when it comes to comments or critique, and when one of the posters comments on the substance (or lack of) of this blog, he/she is suddenly a cry baby?! Okay let me BE the change…what about Gold City?!

  99. irishlad wrote:

    sorry ode i was gone for a few days..union station is the ryan seaton qt with aaron mccune on bass

  100. irishlad wrote:

    99 apologies Ode it’s Union Street Quartet.

  101. Wade wrote:

    cvh… If I have to choose from those 3 i would say Grey Goose… it is SMOOTH but I have a thing against most things french… Have you tried Ciroc??? Vodka made from berries!!! Yum!!!

  102. CVH wrote:

    Wade, yeah I’ve had it a couple times. Very nice. Hey maybe that’s what they need at NQC to kick it up a notch - a tasting bar.

  103. Ode wrote:

    102 - see? go ahead and order high end shots , guys, I will :D Those rich people from Planet NY have no word “reasonable pricing” in their dictionary. I paid 9$ for a coffee in downtown. I thought what, their faucet is connected to an oil well, why is 10 ounces of water with beans nine dollars? A bagel, doubtlessly sprinked with diamonds and golden flakes, was 5.50.
    I saw in a paper ad what a house in median income NY suburb costs – I haven’t studied such big numericals neither in school no in college. Get G.Goose, CVH wont even blink

  104. Ode wrote:

    98, While other sg bloggers usually don’t allow similar criticism of their blog - a wise move in terms of weeding out unproductive content/people - DH kindly does, but it’s still pointless to demand the blog be catered to your liking. Why would anyone feel motivated to do it? Hasn’t practical living on this earth proven that to you yet, dear?

    Let’s say you go to a public park. Nice looking women are chatting, reading,eating sandwiches and painting nails- to your great disappointment, for you came expecting to see bikini beach volleyball. You want entertainment that they are not (yet, or at all) interested in providing! You go test your luck at another beach, or bring a ball and try to build a team. Same with the blogs.

    why waste your time here when you can find one to your taste?

  105. Ode wrote:

    100,Thanks, Ilad, I found it.I like the baritone very much!

    102, yeap! breweries/local wineries do tastings at churches here in upper midwest,it’s very popular. Huge tents, a stage, Christian bands, slides for kids, its fun, but Southern Baptists must have too many alcoholics among em, judging by their antiwine policies

  106. irishlad wrote:

    grey goose for me fellas or good single malt.the main reason baptists dont drink is theyre so tight fisted they wouldnt spend the money

  107. CVH wrote:

    Ode, I love you. Life is a celebration so enjoy it. You can do that at any price point. First rule about living in NY is stop thinking about what it costs; it is what it is.

    irish…that’s like why Baptists don’t have sex standing up. It might lead to dancing.

  108. irishlad wrote:

    107 yeah CVH, they just stick to the horizontal jogging.. that’s why they make great missionaries :-/

  109. irishlad wrote:

    …107 CVH cont: and that’s my official position on the subject.

  110. Ode wrote:

    CVH, Ilad ,lol to 107-108 :D

    Yeah, that’s why at least SBaptist’s kids are pretty. Whaever they produce using their brains or mouths is usually really bad.

  111. gmlover wrote:

    Rumor has it Stewart Varnado is with the DE again. Heard he’s still traveling with them. Anyone else heard that?? Just curious

  112. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #111: He did ride on the bus with them a couple of weekends ago, but he is not back with them. They have a new pianist with them named Ben Hart who has been there for around a month.

  113. gmlover wrote:

    #111…thanks! Someone said they saw on fb he was with them in Branson this week too. Just wondering.

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