cahn: (Default)
[personal profile] cahn
Things that have been happening at church(es):

-We walked into Lutheran church (late, as usual) and the handbells were playing "Hallelujah." That is, the Leonard Cohen song. ... What?! ...so apparently someone made up lyrics to it that were related to Jesus and crucifixion, that were printed in the bulletin, but... I just... what?? It was a really interesting arrangement, mind you. But... what?? I dunno, this just weirded me out. The Cohen Hallelujah is one of the most... secular (ETA: okay, fine, that's clearly not the right word)... songs I know, in the sense that it uses religious imagery to make its point about being areligious (unreligious?).... I don't like repurposing something so clearly counter to the point of its existing in the first place. (As opposed to repurposing tunes in general, which I would have to be a giant hypocrite to object to. Not that this has ever stopped me from objecting to things before! Okay, maybe it occasionally has.)

(I wonder who did the arrangement. I am betting that it was the church music guy. Because I also would think it was totally strange if they granted copyright permission to do this.)

-At LDS church: choir director, after rechecking and double rechecking that people were actually going to be around to sing in Sacrament meeting [service], realized right before church that he had another commitment and couldn't be around, and his wife subbed in for him at the last minute. I did not realize this (perhaps I should have), but her degree is in conducting. He is orders of magnitude better than our last conductor, but she is FABULOUS. I had not realized how much I missed singing under a REAL CONDUCTOR. I have resorted to CAPITAL LETTERS to show how much I enjoyed this.

(She's also gonna have to watch out. She's been flying under the radar -- if I didn't know how good she was, no one else did either, and now we all know :) )

-I got released from being chorister (after asking for same) after one month straight where E flipped out in Sacrament Meeting every week. (The flip-outs range from easily-contained-and-over-quickly to have-to-take-out-for-fifteen-minutes -- it could certainly be worse, but the thing is that they usually happen during the hymns! And I feel bad for having someone else deal with it.) I felt vaguely guilty, but less so when she had a fifteen-minute meltdown about five minutes after they announced my release.

-I may, however, pick up being unofficial choir pianist instead. Not quite sure what happened to the old one, but I've been doing it unofficially for, um, a month now. (The meltdowns don't usually happen during choir practice.)

-Taught a lesson on Why LDS Women Are Awesome, without anyone exploding, yay. I wasn't exactly expecting anyone to explode, but it's a bit of a minefield of a lesson. Why, for example, don't we get a lesson about Why LDS Men Are Awesome?

Date: 2014-11-18 04:17 am (UTC)
snickfic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] snickfic
I don't like repurposing something so clearly counter to the point of its existing in the first place.

I agree. Not that Christianity doesn't have a long history of taking over and repurposing lots of different aspects of culture - see: Christmas - but that doesn't mean I want us to keep doing it, especially when it actively does violent to the original intent.

Date: 2014-11-18 04:40 am (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Why, for example, don't we get a lesson about Why LDS Men Are Awesome?

Is the answer "Because they're not"? [Sorry, I'm on a misandry kick triggered by seeing Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk last week.]

Also, I would be interested in hearing the case for Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" being areligious, that he's just using religious language to tell a purely secular story about a bad romance. Because I don't see it at all. I read "Hallelujah" as a song about a nonbeliever who has taken such a beating that they're reaching out for something greater even though they're pretty sure it's not actually there. Irreligious, yes, but definitely not areligious. I hear that song as being all tangled up in questions about what faith means.

Date: 2014-11-18 05:30 am (UTC)
metaphortunate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] metaphortunate
Ooh, yeah, I don't think you can call any of Cohen's stuff areligious. It's all so mixed up.

Actually, continuing on my Lorde-Cohen kick, I find that Cohen uses religion - and weirdly, specifically Christian imagery - in the same way that Lorde uses royalty. We'll never be royals! It's not my bag, baby. Now let me write a bunch of songs about being a beauty queen and living in a palace and so on.

Date: 2014-11-18 05:08 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
And furthermore, you might call that power "God" or "religion" or "sexual love," and there's something a bit, hmm, almost blasphemous about equating romantic/sexual love with religious God.

http://seekingferret.dreamwidth.org/60885.html

"We look at a verse about her breasts, interpret it according to our tradition, and then ask the question: What does it mean to compare breasts to the Tablets of Law? What kind of relationship are we expected to have with the Sh'nei Luchot and how does it compare to the relationship we have with the Shnei Shadayim of a lover?"

Date: 2014-11-18 07:26 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Also, I used the term 'bad romance' because I was coyly hinting at Lady Gaga, who in songs like "Judas" I think actually is using religious imagery for purely secular purposes. I don't see any evidence of religious devotion or even religious questioning in Lady Gaga's work. (Which is not to denigrate her in any way! She's an incredible artist.).

I would personally have a much bigger problem with a reworking of "Judas" for a religious ritual than I would with a reworking of "Hallelujah". I know, in fact, that some Reform temples use another equally bleak and "irreligious" Cohen song about faith and doubt, "Who By Fire", as a component of their High Holiday ritual. And I've seen the Hallelujah melody used for "Adon Olam", and when I went googling for that, I found the Maccabeats also using it for "Lecha Dodi": http://www.jewishhumorcentral.com/2013/04/maccabeats-channel-leonard-cohens.html

Date: 2014-12-08 02:31 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
but I think it's a quite different thing to use sexual love as a metaphor for God, than to use God as a metaphor for sexual love.

A different thing, sure, but as I argue in that post, I believe Shir Hashirim accomplishes both. But here I think we are in Christian theology vs. Jewish theology territory, so we may just never agree.

It's my feeling that by using this metaphor for the relationship to God, King Solomon endorses use of the metaphor for the relationship to a woman, since it is our hope and aspiration to live Godly lives.


because I really love "Hallelujah," I have a kneejerk reaction against trying to appropriate it.

Yeah, that's probably what I was pushing up against. I don't think there's a strong theological reason to exclude the Hallelujah melody from worship, but music always creates strong personal associations and it's to be expected that when those personal associations conflict it'll create tension.

Date: 2014-12-08 02:46 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
In a somewhat unrelated note, this thread has led to me trying to work out how to use the Maccabeats "Lecha Dodi" as the music for a Magneto fanvid. Because in a sense you're right, that there is a strong and foreboding tension between a melody designed to deliver "Maybe there’s a God above/ But all I’ve ever learned from love/ Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you" and the lyric "Wake up, Wake up, sing a song! The glory of the Lord is revealed on you." And it has been my lonely personal struggle since X-Men First Class came out to read Erik Lehnsherr welcoming the Sabbath Bride while everyone else in the world thinks he's a a cold and broken Hallelujah.

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