December 13th, 2019 by Jan

Good old Facebook. It has a memory, and shared that I posted this story on this day in 2011. It was on the old janparkerarts page in the notebook, the one without a comment section.

A friend wrote to tell me a comment section would be nice, as they had some thoughts this particular post.

So, today I’m re-posting the story. My feelings on this topic, are stronger than ever.

December 12, 2011
I went to the The Vancouver Men’s Choir Concert last night with my friend Rosie. As far as a holiday traditions go; this one is fantastic!

What’s not to love about 50 men singing and dancing in celebration on stage? It’s a fun concert, and the conductor is fabulous!

What I enjoy most about this holiday concert is the content of songs. They sing winter songs and sing a-long Christmas carols. And while, the performance is held in a church, there aren’t any “glory to god” songs. More like, Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells type songs. If I’m mistaken the glory to, type of songs aren’t the focus, and with the arrangements I’m able to by-pass the words.

By-pass the words.
Okay, here we go. I just opened my own can of worms.

I’ve had this conversation a few times this week, as it is concert season. I used to sing with a choir. Now, as much as singing in public challenges my comfort zone and voice, the really hard part for me, was raising my voice in praise of something I do not believe in. The choir I was part of sang a lot, of “glory to god” songs.

When I voiced my concerns I was told to “not worry about it,” try not to think about the words, I should just focus on the notes or beauty of the music.

I tried, but finally came to realize, nope. Words matter. What we say matters. What we think and sing about matters.

In one of Art Baner’s Qigong classes, he challenged us to walk for 30 days with bad posture, and hold negative thoughts during that time as an experiment. Of course, no one was willing to do that!  We all knew the effect it would have on us! It wouldn’t be long before we were walking our talk, and feeling terrible and depressed. How about if we were asked to welcome the world with a smile and joy? It wouldn’t be long before we were having joyful days and feeling pretty good.

Because what we say, think and sing… matters.

If they are “just” words, in these songs, how many of us would gladly sing a rap song, exploiting rape, cruelty, or murder?

Why not? The beat could be fun to bounce or dance to, maybe you are at a party that is hopping and the rhythm of the song is catchy. Would you sing “words” about rape? Would you sing it in public? Would it matter to you if you were asked not to worry about the words? Would you play gangster songs if you found them to be offensive? To my ears, religious church music is just as uncomfortable. I’m not willing to by-pass the words for the melody.

It is easy to fool ourselves, and get caught up in the melody or mood of the season. But, day by day, word by word, song by song, I’m more particular about what I listen to, sing and say.

I am either becoming more open or closing down further. I don’t know if I am standing in my truth, or stuck in my ways.  I do know I’m not interested in listening to or singing songs of praise to something I cannot fathom and feel is harmful.

When I wrote this in 2011, I had no comment button on this bloggy thing. Today, there is one, I invite your thoughts. But, please let me remind you — say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t say it mean… if you say anything at all, because words matter, no matter the tune.

3 thoughts on “canofwormsreprint

  1. Kathy

    Words matter. A simple word, phrase or sentence can delight or harm.
    Personally I enjoy most of the old carols. Having said that, I found my car radio station tuned to 106.5 (I think) as my son & daughter in law wanted Christmas music. Fair enough. The issue isn’t the music but everything in between. It’s a Christian station therefore the content is definitely religion centred. Frankly I’m surprised they listen as neither one is a “believer “. I have found myself switching to News 1130 to avoid any god talk.
    I appreciate your gangsta rap analogy and admit I’ve never thought of Christmas music in those terms. It makes sense. Who in their right mind would sing (a joyful activity) about something they find offensive? Thank you for that. I like it.
    So I get it, Jan. And even if I didn’t, what you believe or think or want to sing along to/with isn’t my business. Feel free to Jingle All The Way during the season..I’ll Join you ~ although I may throw a Silent Night in there for good measure…?

    1. Ken Smith

      Yes, words do matter. What we think and sing surely matters and affects us as well as others for good or harm. Would it be safe to say that our words, thoughts and what we sing reflect what we “give glory (praise, revere) to? Every one of us “gives glory” to something or someone. Sadly, many of us end up glorifying ( with our thoughts and actions) things that are harmful to ourselves and others. I include angry and self-righteous religion on that list. 40 years ago I began “giving glory” to the Christian God of the Bible, long story there! I’m still at it today despite often doing a lousy job at it, despite periods of doubt, and despite periods of suffering and disappointments. The journey has been and continues to be more than worth it. So I’m happy to sing “secular” Christmas songs, but in the end I’m a “Silent Night” kind of guy. I hope these “words” of mine have come across as sincere, humble, and non-offensive. Merry Christmas (or happy holidays if you prefer).

      1. Jan Post author

        Thanks for adding your voice cousin. I appreciate it. I’m not as “sensitive” as this may come across, yet as a human, I struggle with words and communication all the time. Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Happy Solstice to you as well.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *