[quote user="Rafael Chacon"]I think we canīt forget that there are only two kinds of church organists: Believers, whose ministry is to play, and unbelievers, who play for the wage.[/quote]
That may be ONE way of describing differences, but it's not the only one. I know "believer" organists who play terribly! It's simply awful to endure them sitting at the organ. I have walked out of services, to prevent myself from enduring the pain. And I know "non-believer" organists who have inspired many to do great things. Let's not fall into the simplistic christian trap of "we christians are automatically better at everything, just because we believe." That is nothing short of an arrogant lie.The bible says, "Believe, that you might be saved". It doesn't say, "Believe, that you may be better than everyone else." [By the way, I know many believers who play for money.]
[quote user="Rafael Chacon"]And they are worlds apart. I think that believer organists know, or they should remember, certain things (that unbelievers canīt neither understand nor imagine):
i) During worship God is present.
ii) God is who searches the minds and hearts (and He will give to each one according to his/her deeds), He knows our intimate purposes better than ourselves, and He is not mocked.
iii) Perhaps few in a congregation could distinguish between classical and christian music, between a human love song and a hymn (devoid of the lyrics), but God certainly can.[/quote]
Hmmm... That's not a very flattering description of the people in the congregation. My parents are not very musical, but they can tell the difference.
[quote user="Rafael Chacon"]
iv) Church is not a concert hall.[/quote]
Can you tell me what the difference is?
[quote user="Rafael Chacon"]Itīs well to respect the feelings of the congregation, but with the thoughts above, I'm trying to take God's feelings into account too, as you see.[/quote]
Ha, yes, to paraphrase a line from the film "What the Bleep@#$%!" -- How arrogant of us humans to think that although god rulesthe entire universe with all its galaxies, stars and planets,and guides the path of each molecule in every plant and animal --- we can ruin his day if we tell a white lie -- http://www.whatthebleep.com/
[quote user="Rafael Chacon"]
I think in such christians, pious, wise, and gifted with spiritual authority, who attached christian lyrics to popular, traditional or even classical tunes, as we all know, producing many of our current hymns. I wonder if they do it so because "Music itself is not religious or non-religious. Music is music". Quite possible. In that way, non-religious music became "sanctified", making it suitable for worship. Butwhich way they do it through? Through christian lyrics, or by means of their spiritual authority? Can we offer to the Lord no sanctified music? Is it the mood of the music enough "sanctification"?
But, on the other hand, there is a recent film, "Copying Beethoven", plentiful of lovely dialogues, where the composer just declares: "Music is the language of God". Then, is music non-religious?
Once, while going to visit an uncle of mine who is a very devout Baptist minister, I witnessed someone who was quite obviously not a christian, helping someone in need. I was quite moved by this demontration of love for another human being. When I arrived at my uncle's home, I told him that sometimes christians can learn a lot from non-christians about how to behave. He nearly blew up. He could not see how that was possible.
Just remember, being a christian doesn't make you better. It simply means that according to your belief system, there is a heaven and you are going there. Nothing more. According to your system, even forgiveness is available to non-christians.
I'm sorry for sounding so negative, but I used to think as you do, and in my youth, I could have written everything that you have written here. I believed it all. But my church encouraged us to study and learn. So I did. And I began to see the many flaws. If there is a god, that god is not a man sitting on a cloud or a throne. Most of the bible is not a good guide from which we learn morals and ethics, unless we use it to see how we should NOT behave, for it contains so many examples of bad behaviour.
Going back to the question of music - if something is beautiful, and inspires people to live a life that demonstrates love for other human beings and for creation, a life that seeks to encourage the gifts of others and work cooperatively with those around us, then that something is good. As others have mentioned, it includes a sense of propriety - does the music fit the situation and the listener? does it bring out the talents of the one performing? does it inspire?
The idea of 'sanctification' seems to imply that god could make something that wasn't good until it was sanctified, at which time it automatically becomes good. I don't understand that. Either it was good, or it wasn't. Again, christians like to show how they are better than everyone else, and arrogance and pride are the reality of their lives.