The Great Divide

The comment boxes over at Pray Tell are even more interesting than usual today. There’s this survey asking what people liked or didn’t like about parish life, and one of the write-in negative comments said:

Liturgy often was more performance than worship.

The combox theorists are divided, right down the middle, about what this respondent meant by “performance.” The two possibilities:

  • Music that is too sophisticated to allow congregational participation
  • Music that is played and sung in a way that draws attention to the singer/player

We’ll never actually know what this parishioner meant. But honestly, which is more likely? How many parishes err, if erring it be, on the side of a choral Sanctus? Not very many at all. How many err on the side of the guitar and piano combo playing up in front where they can be seen?