Thursday, November 1, 2012

From Memory to Imagination

I am tucking into a fascinating book published last month by Eerdmans, From Memory to Imagination:Reforming the Church's Music by C. Randall Bradley, the director of the church music program at Baylor University.
The book is loaded with subheadings-- in some chapters nearly every paragraph has its own heading. This certainly makes it easy to skim!
Bradley is calling for churches in their response to the current crisis in church music not to retreat to their memory of a simpler time -- rather to dare to imagine the new future for church music and worship. In the process, Bradley has some interesting things to say about singing (emphasis added):
When we sing with a group, we are joining our instrument with those of others; it is an act of intimacy. Our breathing becomes synchronized with the breathing of others, and a physical conformity ensues that is unlike that of any other human activity. The sheer power of dozens or hundreds of human bodies forgoing their own preferred breathing patterns to reconcile with others is a striking picture of community and of the  power of group singing (174).
This gives me a new insight into how congregational singing is a practice that is both the Church's testimony of God's reconciling power and also a practice which requires reconciliation.

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