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I went to church.

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Believe it. In Oslo.

Now, this was the first church service I've ever been to that wasn't a wedding or a funeral, and it was a bit special.

I like jazz. I have an album by Tørd Gustavsen, a pianist, that I played continuously when I first got it. Spiritual, minimal, glacial Norwegian-type jazz. I was only there for two full days, and in the paper when me and my new Norwegian squeeze were deciding what to do, we saw that, as insane luck would have it, Tørd was playing.

In a church, as part of a service, for free.

Well, bloody hell, we thought. We both love Tørd Gustavsen. This we have to see. Bound to be rammed, we thought, so we'll get there early. We got there an hour early to find only him and a trumpeter, sort of warming up, oiling the sustain pedal. "Hello!" they said. We sat down and when the service started there were only about 50 people there, and of them perhaps five looked they'd turned up to hear the music. I got my programme, or whatever it's called, so I could sing along.

The vicar would speak (gave a long shout out about solidarity with the people of New Orleans when he was talking about Lazarus) and then Tørd and the trumpeter would play something beautiful and minimal that turned into a hymn, and then he'd play the hymn and we were listening to one of the world's greatest jazz pianists playing a little church piano while the congregation sang along. I said all the 'amens', sang along, repeated the repeaty-bits.

The vicar hit a prayer bell and there was silence for three minutes, and I even said (God help me) a prayer. Well, I thought about the world and wished for specific things to get better, and thought about myself and how I wished to be better in specific ways, wishing these things would come about somehow. Then later the congregation were invited to bang their heels on the floor in a heartbeat and Tørd and the trumpeter played on top of it after a while. The trumpeter finished by blowing through his trumpet, unvoiced. It was beautiful.

It was very, very cool. Nice Christian stuff.

Still don't believe in any god or gods, not going to be joining any of my local congregations, but... respect to Jesus and His followers for that experience which had an effect on me. Nice.
post #2 of 36
The surreal moments are the best.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #3 of 36
Churches are a wonderful place for people to abandon their usual social awkwardness and be unashamed to feel love for strangers.
Put that in a group setting and you have naturally powerful experiences. You are bound to, because day-to-day life largely strips us of our humanity.
proud resident of a failed state
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proud resident of a failed state
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post #4 of 36
Hassan, good to hear you had a good experience. See, sometimes we're not so bad, us religious folk.
Living life in glorious 4G HD (with a 2GB data cap).
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Living life in glorious 4G HD (with a 2GB data cap).
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post #5 of 36
That's how it should be. I think the religious term is 'the Truth'.

When people bash it is not this sort of thing they are bashing.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #6 of 36
How odd.

Last time I was in the US -- San Fran -- a few weeks ago I also went to church. Freedom Baptist Gospel I believe.

It was a gospel church, and a very special place. Lots of hugging and cheering and laughing and singing and I had a fantastic time, surrounded by maybe a thousand wonderful people. There was nothing in the messages that I had anything but total agreement with. I was uplifted.

The church leader talked about how it was a place that anyone could come to, and anyone was welcome to share in spirituality and love -- even people of any religion and of any sexuality. I kept wondering what some churches would have made of the place ...

If churches were all like that (and mosques too) then we'd all be laughing.

As segovius said, when I rail at SOME Christians, I'm not railing at this or Christianity.
meh
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meh
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post #7 of 36
I have always enjoyed going to church. For a periode of a couple of years, while working at a shelter for the usual riff-raff of the hookers area of Copenhagen, I helped in the local church at the "after prayer coffee" each week. Now the ministers of this church may have been more, ahem, political than in most danish churces.
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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post #8 of 36
And BTW I am warming up to a thread about my own experience with christian material. Stay tuned a couple of days...
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
And BTW I am warming up to a thread about my own experience with christian material. Stay tuned a couple of days...

Uh-oh....
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #10 of 36
I went to a church where the pastor every week would say "You are here not as spectators to be entertained, but as participants!"

Which I always thought was funny because I was *always* entertained.
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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post #11 of 36
I thought it was interesting how a Baptist service made me nostalgic for Catholic ritual.
post #12 of 36
That's pretty cool that they had this (relatively) well known jazz pianist at this church. What type of church was it - Lutheran?

My guess is that the average Norwegian church is quite a bit more liberal (theologically and otherwise) than the average American church. But there are definitely liberal churches in the US too. It's just that there are also lots and lots of, shall we say, not-so-liberal churches.

Besides that, I didn't know Norwegians went to church. I'm surprised that there were even 50 there.

Hassan - were you raised Muslim?
post #13 of 36
Norway is as religious as US. Probably more so.

Until yesterday their prime was from a party called "Christian Peoples Party"...
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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post #14 of 36
Hmm, I don't believe it. Here's a table of church attendance from developed countries. US = 44%, Norway = 5%.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Hmm, I don't believe it. Here's a table of church attendance from developed countries. US = 44%, Norway = 5%.

Three things:

There is NO WAY Norway and Denmark are equal on that scale. I simply think they dublicated the result for Denmark.

Church attendance is not necessarily the same as believing

44% for US? Thats extreme. Is that a plausible picture of reality?
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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post #16 of 36
That's awesome, Hassan. Good for you.

I've not been to a church (sans wedding/funeral) for decades. You've given me the impetus to check out a non-denom I've been curious about. Going this weekend with either the SO or a lover.
It's just an object. It doesn't mean what you think.
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It's just an object. It doesn't mean what you think.
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post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
Norway is as religious as US. Probably more so.

Until yesterday their prime was from a party called "Christian Peoples Party"...

Not really.

As we have a state church in Norway, mainstream christianity is partially very liberal. And partially not.

The christian party have about 6% of the popular vote, and pretends to be more liberal than it really is.

But we have a lot of deeply devoted (and extreme) christian people in the west and south who attend other christian communities and churches than the lutheran state church.

There is even quite a few christians in the socialist left-wing party. They tend to argue that Jesus was the first socialist.
Bill Bradley to comedian Bill Cosby: "Bill, you are a comic, tell us a joke!"
- "Senator, you are a politician, first tell us a lie!"
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Bill Bradley to comedian Bill Cosby: "Bill, you are a comic, tell us a joke!"
- "Senator, you are a politician, first tell us a lie!"
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post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by ShawnJ
I thought it was interesting how a Baptist service made me nostalgic for Catholic ritual.

Split the difference and go to a Methodist church. You get to say the creeds and stuff, but there's no aerobics.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
Three things:

There is NO WAY Norway and Denmark are equal on that scale. I simply think they dublicated the result for Denmark.

Eh, Denmark, Norway, Norway, Denmark.

Quote:
Church attendance is not necessarily the same as believing

OK, but ask Americans how many "believe" and you'll more than double that 44%. But I was talking about church attendance anyway.

Quote:
44% for US? Thats extreme. Is that a plausible picture of reality?

Apparently church attendance is well-known to be extremely inaccurate - probably only 20% go to church regularly.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Hassan i Sabbah
...for that experience which had an effect on me...

That's what it's all about. Glad you had a proper experience instead of what most people think Church is from TV.
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Hassan i Sabbah
...I said all the 'amens', sang along, repeated the repeaty-bits...

Just don't get too caught up in this -
Matthew 6:7, "But when you pray, use not 'vain' repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
post #22 of 36
Music is how they get you. Any denomination that isn't making liberal use of the full on break your heart and lift up your soul power of music just isn't paying attention.

Any denomination that actively suppresses the power of music because joy is unbecoming to Sinful Wretches Such As Ourselves really should be shuttered up and made illegal.

I think Eddy Izzard has a great bit about Episcopalian church music:

(Grim clenched monotone) "Oh God, we thank you for our hairdos".....
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
Music is how they get you. Any denomination that isn't making liberal use of the full on break your heart and lift up your soul power of music just isn't paying attention.

Any denomination that actively suppresses the power of music because joy is unbecoming to Sinful Wretches Such As Ourselves really should be shuttered up and made illegal.

I think Eddy Izzard has a great bit about Episcopalian church music:

(Grim clenched monotone) "Oh God, we thank you for our hairdos".....

You mean the Psychotic Bastard Religion.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by midwinter
You mean the Psychotic Bastard Religion.

Cake or Death?
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #25 of 36
I went to church as a kid, largely because of the free donuts and coffee we got after the sermon.
orange you just glad?
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orange you just glad?
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post #26 of 36
well im glad he had a nice time at church, but i have not been to church since i saw a young boy being teased because he had that diease that caused his face to look as if someone threw a bottle of bleach at it. i will never forget seeing the tears roll down his face...

this was during the service.

not very "christian" at all...

i tried to comfort him and to get the kids to stop but to no avail. i never went back.

it seems too many churches nowadays have become places where some go to be "entertained" instead of to praise and learn. when i went i sure as heck didn't go to see "the band" when singing in the choir becomes a career move, you know somethings wrong.

there is a church in texas where if you saw the pics you would think you were in a mall. coffee shop, bookstore, movie theatre, ticket office, visitor center, good lord, is this a church or a mall?

its like they built a mall, and threw a church in the middle of it as an afterthought...

and dont even get me started on the "crystal cathedral"

what did the apostle paul say? "he must increase, i must decrease"
post #27 of 36
Very cool Hassan

I am glad you had a nice time.

Just last night my wife and I heard a gifted Christian author speak at a Church near our home. Max Lucado. He comes around about once yearly to this Church to speak and it is always a special treat to listen to his words which uplift and inspire compassion and understanding.

Before his talk which inspired both Heather and myself we had a time of worship with singing of songs. While this Church is not our home Church and is in fact a different denomination I fully appriciated and celebrate the diversity of worship styles in this big and diverse yet ever smaller world of ours.

Fellows
May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
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May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
Reply
post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
That's pretty cool that they had this (relatively) well known jazz pianist at this church. What type of church was it - Lutheran?

an - were you raised Muslim?

I don't know what kind of denomination it was. I've found the church on the web but I don't read Norwegian.

I wasn't raised religiously at all. My parents were (and I suppose still are) Soviet-style communists, which was permissible, even fashionable, at the time. There was no god in my house.

My background is mixed and I was raised (for my formative years) in a very rural part of Britain.
post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hey Fellowship, you have to check this man's music.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionande...interview.html

I had no idea he was a Christian, as it happens, I just loved his music. I didn't think his faith was relevant to the music he made but reading this, I guess it is.
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Hassan i Sabbah
Hey Fellowship, you have to check this man's music.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionande...interview.html

I had no idea he was a Christian, as it happens, I just loved his music. I didn't think his faith was relevant to the music he made but reading this, I guess it is.

You devil -- I expected a bunch of asynchronous, Copeland-on-mescaline poo-poo, but instead I get this quite yummy sample?

Nice.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Hassan i Sabbah
Hey Fellowship, you have to check this man's music.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionande...interview.html

I had no idea he was a Christian, as it happens, I just loved his music. I didn't think his faith was relevant to the music he made but reading this, I guess it is.

Took a listen to his work and it is a treat. Some of his work when listening to it reminds me of a calm scene in a coffee house on a rainy day. Sort of a mind-picture if you will of the idea of ultimate calm and pleasure in the subtle details.

Great Stuff!

Fellows
May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
Reply
May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
Reply
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Hassan i Sabbah

The vicar hit a prayer bell and there was silence for three minutes, and I even said (God help me) a prayer. Well, I thought about the world and wished for specific things to get better, and thought about myself and how I wished to be better in specific ways, wishing these things would come about somehow. Then later the congregation were invited to bang their heels on the floor in a heartbeat and Tørd and the trumpeter played on top of it after a while. The trumpeter finished by blowing through his trumpet, unvoiced. It was beautiful.

It was very, very cool. Nice Christian stuff.

respect to Jesus and His followers for that experience which had an effect on me. Nice.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
Reply
May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
Reply
post #33 of 36
"....I see alot of people in the world full of hate. Full of contempt for others, because of the little thing. Yet a slight shift of attitude, would open up a whole new world of compassionate love for nearly everyone. -MarcUK"

well. this is where i'm at, kind of the "endgame" i am exploring. of course, its viewed as "end" only because i am yet to fully comprehend "transitions to another reality" or "eternal love" etc... but something currently in our reality, well, i'm into the whole 2012 thing not as 'the end of the world' but just as an interesting timepoint for reflection on the state of humankind, a kind of confluence in the timeline

peace y'all. wooo... time for my medication.

hassan, actually, now the Chapel part when i was in methodist high school, the sermons were downright terrible, all, you suck, you're going to hell, you're guilty guilty guilty... but i did like the singing, was quite uplifting, and i was in the choir for a while, they did some christian songs like Hallelujah and that was cool when the harmonies came together.... probably formed the basis of my harmonic understanding and enjoyment of trance music

trance music - heh. it's like take a key, pick out a "mode" (set of notes in that key). and then form catchy tunes out of different combinations of that note, repeat, repeat, build up, drop kickdrum, repeat, repeat, build up, fade to space out chill zone music mmmm..... drum roll... build up... build up... build uppppppppp...... play same tune this time at max perceived loudness. add shimmering female vocals uttering sweet nothings like "this is the time" or "i will love you till the end of time". words to include are love, time, you, me, us, forever, now, etc....

hey maybe i'll go back to school and do a masters in music comparing modern dance/techno/trance music with gospel and try and derive what the devices are that combine to form a common spiritual feel. but i guess that would kill the whole fun of the experience once you deconstruct and over-analyse stuff \
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
hey maybe i'll go back to school and do a masters in music comparing modern dance/techno/trance music with gospel and try and derive what the devices are that combine to form a common spiritual feel.

I think a brilliant thesis which will rocket someone to stardom in the field would be the Muslim roots of the Blues and Gospel music.

There was this article in the SF Chronicle which is about Sylviane Diouf who is the main (only?) researcher in the field but generally it is under-researched.

I will have to check out Gustavesen, most of my Christian music taste stops at Larry Norman so I'm not really qualified to comment yet
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
post #35 of 36
One thing has to be said about norwegian church-music.

Because of the (partially) liberal state church, a lot of churches have become venues for different kinds of jazz-related concerts. Artists like the organist Iver Kleive and even jazz legend Jan Garbarek have become quite famous for their church performances.

I'm not sure if this would have been possible if the churches were not run by the state...
Bill Bradley to comedian Bill Cosby: "Bill, you are a comic, tell us a joke!"
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Bill Bradley to comedian Bill Cosby: "Bill, you are a comic, tell us a joke!"
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post #36 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius

I will have to check out Gustavesen, most of my Christian music taste stops at Larry Norman so I'm not really qualified to comment yet

I wouldn't call Gustavsen's music 'Christian'. He's just a musician who happens to be a Christian and takes time out to play in a church sometimes, if you get my drift.
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