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What inspires me about church is singing

January 09, 2007|by FEDORA COPLEY

Every Sunday, part of my family attends Zion United Church of Christ in downtown Hagerstown. I watch over young kids in the nursery and sing in the choir. My dad is the choir director. Singing in the choir is something I actually look forward to during the week, because I really like singing the music my dad selects.

Contrarily, I don't count myself a Christian. My family has attended many Protestant churches in the past, and I've been around the Christian culture for a while, but most of the beliefs Christians respond to do not speak to me. I like the idea of being kind and respectful to people around me, but the main thrust of Christianity - believing in God and Jesus Christ as his messenger - fails to entice me.

So I wonder why I like singing anthems and hymns that are proponents of this religion. I find myself singing about the glory of God and the sinfulness of humanity, things that I think are irrelevant.

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I think it comes down to this: My interest in songs is often sparked by the music itself, not the lyrics. That strikes me as funny, too, because I love words and what people do with them. But when I sing with my dad's choir, it's the rhythms, notes and harmonies that transport me. And, every so often, I do find a phrase that captures me, something poetically worded or evocative of something more abstract than Christianity.

My dad says the messages of Christianity can be like a code for my own philosophy. If I translate the lessons I hear in church to something more constructive, more relevant to me, Christianity can be just as interesting as a broader, more inclusive approach to faith, like Unitarian Universalism.

I think that most religions have the same fundamental ideals - useful ways to live. Messages or ideals that give you inspiration in life. Respect your neighbor, respect yourself. Try not to be too selfish.

Most Sundays, I don't have the concentration to find meaning in Pastor Bob's God-speckled sermons. But when I do, I find the perspective he gives me useful. I like thinking about my philosophy in different terms.

Whether godly or not, music is beautiful, and that is not something that needs to be translated.

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