Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man” As A Paradigm For 19th/20th/21st Century Christianity [re-post]

You know the story, a classic bit of Americana:  Two-bit con artist fleeces small towns by convincing them they need a town band for the yung-uns.  Sells ‘em instruments, band uniforms, sheet music, the whole nine yard wax ball.  Then, just before the stuff arrives, he splits, not sticking around to actually teach the kids how to play their instruments.

Now the joke in the play/movie is that despite this, some of the kids actually manage to figure out how to extract a tune -- however painfully -- from their instruments.

In the late 19th/early 20th century, American Christianity spent so much time & effort selling the product that we never ever got around to actually teaching people how to use it.  As a result, today we've got a buncha self-educated yutzes who think they're Essa-flippin'-Pekka Salonen.  This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact (a) there are no genuine Essa-Pekka Salonens out there to disabuse people of that misconception and (b) as a result, the public concept of the “music” of Christianity is an ugly, jangly, discordant cacophony that no matter how sincerely wrought is still an abhorrent pastiche of the Creator’s original intent.

Essa-Pekka Salonen

Not Essa-Pekka Solonen

Folks, we need more study, we need more practice.  Too many churches build their worship experience on the theological equivalent of a first kiss, that giddy moment of delight that will never be equaled again.  The first kiss is all well and good, but ideally it leads to a deeper, more meaningful, more permanent relationship.

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