I had the interview with Andrea Roane on Monday. It was fun experience, to see how everything operated. I was asked to arrive about fifteen minutes before the show started, I was told what the headline was going to be (something about Oral Roberts University), and then I was led into the Green Room.
Luckily, there was another guest, talking about AOL’s move from our area to New York. He had been on the show a number of times, so I was able to ask him a little bit about what to expect. There were no pre-interview questions, I had no idea what length of time I had, and I began to understand D.C.’s love of talking points. It was almost like preparing for a three-minute job interview. I was pretty sure of the basic questions that would be asked, and had prepared for those.
I was led into the studio, saw the familiar set, and sat down to hear the headlines. I introduced myself to the other people there, a terrorist expert, a journalist from Australia, and a friend of a newscaster. They were still waiting for one guest to arrive–a football player was late.
About halfway through the live show, Andrea tiptoed over to my audience seat and introduced herself to me. She was amazing–beautiful, smart, and engaging. I’ve admired all the work that she’s done about breast cancer awareness, but her great gift to me at that moment was to immediately put me at ease. She had read Tribal Church carefully (she had a spiral-bound book with meticulous notes), and she loved the book. She was deeply concerned for her church and she said she liked to invite guests who portrayed a more compassionate view of Christianity.
It was also like a job interview in the sense that I spent a lot of time after the segment, wishing that I had said certain things, or said them better. For instance, Andrea asked, “Now you say in your book that churches don’t need to pull out the Hip Hop music to connect with a new generation.”
And I said something…but I wished I would have said that congregations can play the music that authentically expresses who they are. If that means Hip Hop, fine. If it means hymns, that’s fine too. The important thing is that they are not trying really hard to be something that they are not, or putting on a show, in order to attract new generation. The crucial thing is that the church cares for each other and the world. The most significant thing is to deepen our connection with God. And our churches–even if they don’t have a rockin’ band–they are really, really good at caring and spiritual growth.
But…I do wonder about the music. If I’m honest, I love soaring hymns and beautiful chants, and the pipe organ’s an authentic expression of my worshiping community. But it’s not like I’m reaching for my CD of organ recitals on my days off. If I planted a church, I would stick with many of the international hymns, add some monastic chants, Taize music, great gospel, etc. In one church I attended, they had a jazz communion, which was amazing. I have an aversion to the Jesus-n-me choruses that seem to go on and on forever.
So, what’s out there? What do you sing? What do you wish you could sing? Does organ music make you hungry for baseball hot dogs? What’s your instrument of choice? If you planted a church, would the music be different from the one you attend/serve?