I just sat down this morning and thought about how many denominations for which I have I sung professionally in the last 20+ years….
As liberal as I am, I don’t want to sing in services that are too loosey-goosey and contemporary. Give me the incense and the robes and the chanting and I’ll be happy. (Surprisingly, the most high church setting I’ve ever encountered was at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Baltimore. And because James Harp, chorusmaster of the now-defunct Baltimore Opera, was at the helm, we got to sing very full-bodied operatic literature. “Christ est ressuscité!” from Faust on Easter Sunday was a particular highlight.)
When people say, ‘I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual,” it’s usually a way of saying, “I don’t go to church” without the implications of “I am a godless heathen.”
During the years I sang as a section leader, I identified myself as “pay-theist” or “mercenarian.” After choosing to leave church singing, at least for now, I thought I’d go to church for my own spiritual development, but that hasn’t happened yet. While Tim Russert was alive, I identified myself as a member of Our Lady of Meet the Press. But that hasn’t held my interest since then (sorry, David Gregory). For awhile, Comedy Central was running Dogma on Sunday mornings and any movie in which Alanis Morrissette is the Divine Creator has to have some spiritual value. Lately, I’ve taken to going to the gym for Sunday Zumba classes so I have changed my status to Zumbafarian, which has some interesting Rastafarian implications that I rather enjoy. Maybe I should wear dreads.
I hope my participation as a church soloist/section leader has given people some comfort, hope and enhanced their worship, however they practice that. Right now, I don’t really feel as though I have it to give – for money or for my own spiritual expression. Perhaps I will again. I hope that for now, how I’m choosing to live my life as a teacher, as a wife, as a puppy mama, as a friend, as a writer, and as a singer will offer some kind of benefit to someone somewhere.