I'm a bit worried about the stuff in the Bible that goes on about heavenly choirs. Does anybody know if downstairs has a choir free policy?

At least, this story that has just come in on my newsreader has nothing to do with me this time. Unfortunately, it seems to be about our good friend, Sam at ELIZAPHANIAN.

It's a load of journalistic, holier than thou tosh from a newspaper where no doubt many of the staff screw and get drunk and take recreational drugs. Jesus was right about scribes - they can be such a bunch of hypocrites.

I'm not posting their nonsense on my 100% nonsense free blog. But do go read it by clicking HERE.

I will be posting posting this on Chin Wag for those of you who may feel constrained in your response by the high standard of political correctness and sober language I demand from you on this blog.



  1. Does anybody know if downstairs has a choir free policy?

    I doubt it, MP – if you hated choirs I’m sure they could lay a special one on just for you, to accompany the sulphurous flames, handcuffs attaching you to your least favourite politician, and pitchfork up the derriere.

  2. Cathy, you are the reason that I wrote “can be” and not “are.” In fact, your face came into my head just as I was going to type “are” and reminded me not to tar all scribes with the same brush.

  3. Well thanks MP. Although in all honesty I have to add that there are times I quite enjoy being a hypocrite. “Embrace your inner hypocrite, be free”

  4. I hear you, Mark. But it was a choir that engineered my downfall and it is better that I vent my spleen on my own blog than turning the next choir practice into a repeat of the St. Valentine Day’s Massacre. Bear in mind I only have experience of English choirs and my paranoia is based solely on that. For all I know, American choirs are humble and collaborative and never look down on everybody else.

  5. I honestly can’t say that all choirs are decent folks, but I can say that not all choirs are bad folks.

    Of course, for those who just don’t like their church choirs, you can always ask for your money back.

  6. If we didn’t like church choirs, believe me, we wouldn’t have them. But most of us think they are valuable part of the church’s worship. Unfortunately, most choirs that I have known have trouble with the word “part” in my previous sentence.

  7. This is not about whether choirs are a good thing or not, it is about this particular bunch of people that want their church to ONLY be the way they want it.

    They are a minority of shouty-loudest people that potentially will drive us all away and leave the church back in the miserable and oppressed Victorian era.

    I detest happy clappy yet sing it (only when asked!), I love choral music (and sing it), generally, though, choirs are not always the best way to enhance and enable congregational worship. Plus they get a bit like a discharged X-Factor contestant when their ability is called into question 😉

    Revd Sam, top man, is a choral loving, anglo catholic Rector who is delighted to see the church growing by being adventurous and delivering great teaching.

    But the grief from even more e-mails today is starting to get too much!

  8. Please note: BanksyBoy knows this situation personally. In fact, he has been a tower of strength throughout the unpleasantness, trying his hardest to resolve the situation in a fair and Christian manner. He has lost much because of his commitment to the gospel in this situation. He is also about about one zillion times more sensible and down to earth than Sam (and me). If BanksyBoy says Sam has been poorly treated then the chances are that Sam has been poorly treated.

  9. As said above, it’s not about all choirs, it’s about some choirs, not about all church music directors, about some music directors. It could be any group that keeps a stranglehold on the life of a congregation. I would say more about a group that kept a stranglehold on the parish kitchen, not even letting the priest use it herself for anything, but I don’t want to get in trouble with the outside world.

  10. A choir can be a wonderful part of worship or a distraction. It really depends on the personalities of the choir, the clergy and the congregation.


  11. The significant word in the Daily Mail article is the word ‘perform’.

    If a church choir thinks that their job is to ‘perform’, you know they’ve got something pretty badly wrong.

    And by the way, I love traditional hymns, but I was also nurtured on charismatic Fisherfolk music in the seventies and still love it! I have serious theological reservations about a lot of contemporary ‘worship music’, but I remember very well what it was like to be a young Christian and have my music dumped on by the old fogies. Not going there.

  12. Suggested reading: The Church Mice at Bay, by Graham Oakley. It’s a children’s book that really isn’t, a delightful take on the traditional vs. modern issue. As our BCP says, “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest,” and enjoy.

  13. Our organist/choirmaster wishes we thought we are the show. We are the vestry, the ECW, the coffee hour, the most reliable eucharistic minister, etc. We’ve been accused of trying to run the parish. Duh. We are the people who show up week after week, get involved and help keep the parish moving along. When others complain, we suggest ways they can help. They don’t take the hint. Our choir isn’t the problem but our leader can be.

  14. The problem with church, in general, and by default also with choirs, is that is it well, so full of PEOPLE, full stop.

    wv: spent – yes, that about sums it up.

  15. Some church choirs and some musical directors are an absolute menace.
    Banksy says in his comment on the newspaper article:
    “Hymns were selected that the congregation didn’t know and anthems were often musically and theologically inappropriate.”

    I’ve also experienced this with some church music directors and they really don’t seem to want to take any advice or suggestions and many really don’t seem to want to cooperate in any way with the priest. It is a shame because if everyone worked together a good choir can really enhance the worship and it is important that the congregation can join in, not sitting clocking through a “performance”.

    The Revd Sam, MP and anyone else who has had problems with choirs/musical directors have my full sympathy and support because I was hounded out of a parish (I was an organist/violinist supporting the choir) by the musical director and a group of his cronies in the choir (called the three witches by some of the parishioners). They tried every possible dirty trick in the book. I couldn’t believe these people were going to church every week, listening to the readings and sermons and claiming to be Christians but behaving in such an abominable way.
    I left the parish and it took me 4 years to start properly going to church again.

  16. Mark. We spend most of our time talking about bad pastors. I think it is healthy to occasionally remind ourselves that the laity can also behave just as badly.