Upcoming Performances

July 12, 8:30 pm Central European
Guest recitalist, Cathedral, Rieux-Volvestre, France

July 22, 7:00 pm Eastern
Petr Eben Windows with James Stokes, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Boone, N.C.

August 26, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Church of the Savior, Newland, N.C.

September 23, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Schantz organ 40th anniversary, Culpeper Baptist Church, Culpeper, Va.

September 28, 7:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, Camp Hill, Penn.

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Weddings! Part 5: Jill and Kevin

We're talking about weddings in my church music class this semester. And since I'm such a huge fan of weddings (not), we have plenty to talk about. I'll be brief here.

One of the most viral YouTube videos ever is of a wedding party dancing down the aisle to a canned version of "Forever" by Chris Brown. I don't need to describe the music nor the event. You NEED to watch it here. And you have been warned. Don't say I didn't warn you. I warned you.

I will always maintain that a wedding held in a church is a service of worship, and not of the bride nor groom. But if you watch, you'll see that the bride and groom, particularly the bride, were worshipped in a big way that day. And so it goes. I'm troubled by it only because I'm not comfortable doing certain things in a church. I still don't walk into one without wearing a coat and tie. And I vividly recall some rather physical punishment I received as a kid, after I was running among the pews during a service. I have a learned respect for the inside of a church building. Nothing wrong with a little respect for where one is.

Ancient weddings included processional dances, but I doubt they included canned songs about sleeping together tonight. And they were done outside. While I would never deny a couple the joy that comes with getting married, if you're getting married in a church, then it's no longer just about you and your joy. On the other hand, I know that lightning did not strike our video wedding that day. God did not rain fire and brimstone upon the heathen. The building is still standing; the church still has a contributing congregation; no one got fired.

Well, mankind has pushed the envelope for centuries on what is appropriate in a church. Even murder has been committed in them, so what's a wedding dance down the aisle to a song about sleeping together tonight? So, just as I instruct my students this semester, I'll just say that since we don't know what God really thinks about it, we all have to make our own decisions, in consultation with our congregations, on what we'll allow and disallow in our church buildings. Had that wedding taken place outside, or had that dance occurred at the reception or the rehearsal dinner, we wouldn't have had a blog post today, for it would have been a non-starter. But there are some places on earth where we should still maintain some decorum. And when I'm the last old fart standing on that front, I'll graciously retire, give up the fight, and get out of the way.

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