Season after Pentecost, 2023
There's more! From the wonderful book Te Deum: The Church and Music by Paul Westermeyer (Fortress Press, Minneapolis).
[Martin Marty] suggests that in our "postmodern utterly relativist market-oriented world," if Christians agree there is a God and that we are to bring our best gifts of response, then it follows that there are intrinsic "betters" and "worses" within "the standards and traditions of a culture." The church at twentieth century's end has not sorted this out well and has tended to define everything, including its music, like the market-driven world around it rather than respond to its best instincts and treat people well. In place of the Te Deum and the long strand of the church's song which it represents, the temptation has been to substitute superficial praise choruses or poorly crafted attempts to tell God how we feel. That the church might have a message and a schooling responsibility has often escaped its recent gaze. As Marty notes, people get hooked on all sorts of things and work hard at them–"community college, bridge-playing, bowling, hair-styling, fishfly-trying, YMCA, fitness training, Tae kwon do, T'ai Chi, woodworking, barbershop-quartetting, bass-guitar playing, scouting, etc.," but the church at many points appears to have lost its nerve and the sense that its message is worth a comparable effort or that people deserve what is worth the effort, assuming that only what sells immediately has any value.
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