65 comments on “This . . . . . at Church?

  1. Black Baptist or Pentecostal Church.

    American Black church traditions tend to get VERY enthusiastic in their services.

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  2. Well, there is no accounting for cultural differences. At least he wasn’t throwing money around the steps like one prominent black word of faith preacher did one time. He asked his congregation to walk up and throw cash on the “altar” and they were obediently doing it.

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  3. LOL. I got that nasty version of Robin Thicke’s song now running through my head. I wonder if that pastor knows what the original lyrics are. As for getting down at church, looks like fun. When I first got Jesus, I went to a wonderful african american church boy did that place shake.

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  4. My husband and I (white and Native American respectively) attend a predominantly African American inner city church and I will say this…our church can totally party and rejoice in our love for Jesus. We can also have deep, sweet moments of awe and sweetness. I was not raised in a gospel music environment and it took some time to fully appreciate the beauty of the musical style in a worship setting. But you do come away looking at life with a renewed sense of joy and community when you celebrate His goodness together…and, at least in our church, there is a greater freedom to be your real self. When I think about the trans-generational trauma from which the the African American community is still emerging (which I understand initimately.

    As a First Nation person) it makes sense. Life is hard. Sometimes you make yourself small to maneuver your world without drawing negative attention. But in church…ahhhh! That’s the place your can openly be yourself and express feeling and emotion that you have had to restrain in the larger world.

    Praise, in its many OT words, is almost always tied to physical expression. In its primary NT use it implies a dog licking its masters hand. When I see my neighbor return home from work his Labrador doesn’t quietly walk up and calmly lick his hand. That dog is bouncing all around, tail wagging and enthusiastically expressing her love for him. My husband and I travel the world and see worship in diverse cultures, people groups and denominations. The diversity is wonderful and very moving when it comes out of a genuine heart of love. I am so thankful that there are many expressions to glorify the one God whom we have each encountered and love. I am thankful for communities where we can celebrate that love together. I would run like a mad woman from any group that would judge others in their legitimate expression of Biblical worship and attempt to correct them in how it should be done.

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  5. Oh, and remember, Martin Luther wrote his great hymns based upon the popular bar tunes of his day. Try Amazing Grace to the tune of Gilligans island for fun. Yep…when we’ve been there ten thousand years bright shining as the sun , with Gilligan, the skipper too….

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  6. Scott said:

    Oh I don’t know, I can kind of see you doing that Julie Anne. We know you gots the music in your soul….

    True story, Scott. I absolutely love the music that this is copied from and in fact, if I hear it on the radio when driving, I annoy my kids by braking to the beat of the music . . . .and they roll their eyes at me. My poor children. I remind them of the family DNA and that they will probably be braking to music for their kids, too. 🙂

    However . . . . . for this song – – – there is a very R rated version (the radio version is bad enough) and so I admit, those lyrics would distract me very much in a worship setting.

    But Maryl, next time I’m in town, I’m calling you. I want to go.

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  7. Yup, sometimes I know too much for my own good. The original song is just so debaucherous ( word crime? sorry ). I don’t know what the lyrics to the old bar songs were but I’m sure if they were about twerking and later using saloon girls I’m sure church ladies would have had trouble praising Jesus to it without anger and the church gentlemen would have trouble praising Jesus to it without..well..you know.

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  8. @Maryl:

    Oh, and remember, Martin Luther wrote his great hymns based upon the popular bar tunes of his day. Try Amazing Grace to the tune of Gilligans island for fun.

    Well, Dr Demento used to airplay Gilligan’s Island sung to the tune of Stairway to Heaven and I’ve heard Amazing Grace done to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun”:

    (Real kicker when as far as I can tell, “House of the Rising Sun” is a song about a Nawlins whorehouse…)

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  9. @Patti:

    I don’t know what the lyrics to the old bar songs were but I’m sure if they were about twerking and later using saloon girls I’m sure church ladies would have had trouble praising Jesus to it without anger and the church gentlemen would have trouble praising Jesus to it without..well..you know.

    Or the choir busts up laughing as the “original” lyrics earworm them.

    The reverse of this happens to me at St Boniface. A lot of filksongs (SF novelty songs) are written to public-domain hymn tunes and when one of those hymns comes up, I have to watch myself or I can start singing the filk lyrics (“…when you’ve a knife you’ve no need for a crown…”). Or Beethoven’s “Hymn to Joy” done entirely in cat meows… Or the Wiccan lyrics to “Lord of the Dance”…

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  10. I understand why some people may have trouble with using the music from “Blurred Lines”, but I can really get down with that kind of worship. Now if they could come up with some worshipful words to Pharell Williams song, “Happy”!

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  11. I admit I have never heard the Robin Thicke version of this song. I suppose it would be hard to keep those lyrics out of my mind if I had heard it.

    It makes me wonder if the Levite priests ever struggled with the thought that the sacred furniture, alter pieces and candlesticks they used in the tabernacle were made of gold melted down from god and goddess figurines and fetishes. (When they lit the lamp did they ever have a passing thought that the menorah was an elaborated phallic symbol possibly made from a phallic-endowed Egyptian god? I think that might have crossed my mind) The scriptures say that the gold was sanctified when it was dedicated to the purpose of God, melted downand then reshaped into something new. (A hopeful analogy for our lives…or just a very convenient theology…you decide)

    Can we safely use this example as justification for remaking raunchy songs? I don’t know. Gold is maleable and the original form is lost. Tunes are images that are deeply etched in our psyche. Its hard to separate melody and words. I think its possible, but I would proceed carefully. Now one last question: which came first? The gospel version of this tune or the secular? I’ll bet you it was more likely the other way around.

    And yes, JA, I would love to take you to church with me.

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  12. “Bar” songs were not necessarily sung in bars. “Bar” refers to the rhythmic pattern of the song, not the venue it was sung in. Tunes are frequently recycled. Old folk tunes make great melodies for hymns. You find a melody with the same bar pattern as the poetry and you’ve got it.

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  13. Regarding the video, I say why not? I volunteered at a Christian coffeehouse in my hometown about 30 years ago and some of the singers would sing Christian lyrics to the tunes of secular songs. Then again, I knew some other folks who were convinced that the late Larry Norman and other Christian rock artists were of the devil.

    As for Robin Thicke, I can’t say I care much for his music or his antics with Miley Cyrus.

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  14. Ok, I must have missed the R rated version of the video. The one I saw was a rather low budget one with Thicke and a few scantily clad young women prancing around with a white background. Didn’t see anyone actually topless. It would bother me if I went to church and they had incorporated a knockoff of this song, given what I know about the original. I’d probably be wondering why the heck so many evangelical Christians keep resorting to these cheap knockoffs of top 10 hits that just aren’t as good as the original tunes.

    I’d feel the same way if a church was trying to do Capital Cities “Safe and Sound”– love the trumpet part, and the equally awesome video. That’s a tune I turn the van radio up for; ditto for Pharrell’s “Happy”, but trying to sing that in church would just ruin it for me.

    Love Weird Al. His parodies are funny, and the videos are clean enough for my kids to watch.

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  15. I don’t know who Robin Thicke is so I guess that wouldn’t be an issue for me. My pastor did mention in his sermon on Sunday about cultural differences. We are a predominantly white church and don’t worship and praise the same way as a hispanic or black church. A few hands go up during certain songs, but for the most part we just sing. I think the way they were getting into praising God is fantastic. I think Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Son, would be pretty cool and I think I will try it while I am working today. We needed something new to discuss around here anyways. It gets really old talking about business!!

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  16. I really didn’t have an issue with the video…I think dancing and joy should be a part of worship. Not my style but hey…it beats the dirge-like stuff I used to think was “worship” at my old fundy church.

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  17. For those of us who are familiar with Robin Thicke and Blurred Lines, it’s hard to watch the church’s video above in this post and see it as innocent fun (not knocking those of you who are viewing the church video in that light, blissfully unaware of the sleazy video of which it’s based).

    When “Blurred Lines” was released, I kept seeing people talk about it online so that I had to see what the fuss was about. So I went to You Tube, looked up the video, and watched the R-rated version of the video – which has topless women in it. (Yes, you see their cleavage in the video, it’s not pixelated or censored in any way.)

    The lyrics of “Blurred Lines” suggests a man is taking sexual advantage of a woman. He seems to be saying a woman he finds attractive is sending “mixed messages”, but the fact is the singer (Thicke) in the song translates the woman’s “no” for “yes.”

    To any woman who has ever received unwelcome advances, you know that your “no” means “no,” and you have made it more than clear to the guy you are not interested, but guys who are rapists, sexist pigs, totally oblivious, or cads assume that “no” means “yes.”

    Or, they misread a woman’s “no” to mean, “If I just keep pursuing her, stalking her, she will cave in and want me.”

    So in the song, even though the woman is apparently not interested in Thicke, he sings lyrics to her such as, “I know you want it.”

    So. It’s kind of a crass song – the melody is very catchy, I will admit – but a lot of people were turned off by the lyrics. The women in his video (who are topless) are presented as being nothing more than props – and the men in the video (Thicke and two side kicks are totally clothed in suits). His “Blurred Lines” song was banned in some portions of the UK.

    Robin Thick also recently released a new album dedicated to his wife Paula (the album is entitled “Paula”) that has not gone over well. Paula dumped him a few months ago, allegedly for cheating many times, and this album is supposed to be about winning her back.

    Problem is, the “Paula” album and Thicke’s constant talking about his wife in interviews promoting the album struck many people as being stalker-ish and creepy. The guy has a huge image problem as a creepy creepster who stalks woman and who supports rape culture.

    There was a huge blow up on Twitter a couple of weeks ago involving him – go search for articles about “#AskThicke” to see what I mean. People just gave him “what for” on Twitter. (CNN has an article about it called “#AskThicke backfires big time on Robin Thicke”)

    You can read more about the original controversy here (there might be some slightly adult language, around a “PG-13” level, in the article, from 2013):
    ‘Blurred Lines,’ Robin Thicke’s Summer Anthem, Is Kind of Rapey

    It’s the No. 1 song in the country. But some female fans are unnerved by the creepy lyrics and NSFW video from the blue-eyed soul singer. Tricia Romano reports.

    … The song is about how a girl really wants crazy wild sex but doesn’t say it—positing that age-old problem where men think no means yes into a catchy, hummable song.

    …“Good girl, I know you want it,” sings Thicke, who has all of his clothes on, as one of the near-naked models dances and pouts next to him. “Talk about getting blasted, I hate these blurred lines, I know you want it, but you’re a good girl, the way you grab me, must want to get nasty.”

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  18. NJ,
    There were two versions of the “Blurred Lines” video. One was a more PG13ish, the other was R-rated and showed naked female breasts.

    The one with nudity was pulled from You Tube but is still on Vimeo.

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  19. Thanks for the explanation, Daisy. I didn’t even listen to the lyrics. . not cool. I was just responding the rhythm, I guess!

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  20. In the article I linked to above, “Blurred Lines,’ Robin Thicke’s Summer Anthem, Is Kind of Rapey”?

    I have read farther down the page. Some woman interviewed in the article says,
    “And, it helps that Thicke doesn’t have a womanizing, sexist image, said Johnston. “I really like Robin Thicke..”

    Yeah, that was in summer 2013. Since then, the story in the media in June and July 2014 is his wife left him mainly because he cheated on her many times.

    A photo also came out a few months ago of Thicke posing with a young blonde fan – they are both standing in front of a mirror – and the image in the mirror reveals that Thicke’s hand is right up this young woman’s rear end. Not just casually on it her rear end, but he has his hand partially stuck up in there (through her clothing). It’s so gross.

    And how he has publicly handled his break up with her (with the Paula album I mentioned above)? And his Twerking with Miley Cyrus several months ago at the VMAs?

    He totally has a creepy, womanizing, sexist image now, in summer of 2014. He needs to hire a P.R. firm to repair his public image problem. (His new “Paula album” sold only like 500 copies its first week in the UK. The album totally flopped.)

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  21. Daisy,
    If I had known all of that, I certainly would have had a different comment. I’m not going to look up the video, you have already told me enough to want to stay away from any of it. No does mean No. Anything other than that is rape.

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  22. Bystander, you nailed it when you said that most old hymns started out as poems that were later fit to music, typically known tunes of the day that were in the same meter & rhythm of the poem. I find it fascinating that there was a joyous tune written by Mendelssohn, a Jewish man, to celebrate the invention of the printing press. Mendelssohn had clearly indicated his music was meant for secular purposes only and was never to be paired with sacred words. Charles Wesley wrote amazing words and said they should only be paired with slow and somber music. William Cummings combined the two and out of that blending came the cheerful Christmas hymn “Hark the herald angels sing”.

    And I should probably add, lest there be any protest from music enthusiasts, that although Mendelssohn was born into a Jewish family he was later baptized Christian. I wonder if it was a business move since he felt so strongly about keeping the majority of his music secular. Anyway, this is one historical example of the current example we are
    discussing. Nothing new under the sun, except I don’t think they had twerking in the 1800’s.

    [mod note: Maryl, I fixed it and combined your 2 comments. ~JA]

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  23. In defense of the video, people appropriate things from others all the time. We don’t know the private lives of many composers or their misdeeds. The LGBT movement (and I am not making a political statement here) have appropriated the rainbow symbol to represent their cause. Does that mean we can no longer see the rainbow as God’s promise after the flood? Now if the video is a trigger for some, by all means please avoid it. And yes I have seen the nude Robin Thicke video, and when he performed it with Miley, he looked like a desperate dirty old man (very pitiful). But the video JA posted shows a man who has taken something ugly and turned it into something beautiful for God. Just like God has taken our sinful lives and turned us into something beautiful. Just another point of view.

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  24. My background history to the Blurred Lines song: I loved it when I first heard it on the radio, but I typically do not listen to lyrics. Eventually, I heard the lyrics and cringed. But here’s how I found out about the R-rated version. I was with my daughter at volleyball Nationals in Dallas last summer. We were in a car with a teammate and her father when the song came on. I told them to crank it up and my daughter and her teammate looked at each other with an “uh-oh” look on their face, but didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what that meant, but continued grooving in the car. Then I heard the lyrics and about died. I said:”THAT is NOT the version I remember.” That’s when the girls told me there were 2 versions. We had a good laugh about it, though, thinking some crazy volleyball mom was rocking out to obscene songs.

    I don’t recall having 2 versions of songs when I was growing up. I can’t keep up with all of this stuff.

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  25. Thanks for the explanation, Daisy. I didn’t even listen to the lyrics. . not cool. I was just responding the rhythm, I guess!

    It really is great dancing music, isn’t it? What a shame the lyrics are so raunchy.

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  26. Ann,

    You reminded me of something I read in Romans last night in Romans 14 about participating in something that causes someone to stumble.

    Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God.

    Romans 14:20

    I’ve always thought of this “stumbling” in reference to sin. However, now I’m wondering if this could also be applied to people who could be triggered. So, in other words, perhaps this song would not be appropriate to play at church because it could cause women who are familiar with the worldly women-sexualized version to be triggered. Is that a type of stumbling? What do you think?

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  27. Julie Anne,

    perhaps this song would not be appropriate to play at church because it could cause women who are familiar with the worldly women-sexualized version to be triggered. Is that a type of stumbling I’m not Ann, but for my 2 cents worth.

    It is possilbe depending on what the Lord lays on your heart and yours alone. The problem with triggers is that you don’t know what will trigger anyone individual. I have mine, without a doubt, but for someone else it may not budge them at all. I wouldn’t drink wine if an alcoholic were sitting in the room, but that would probably be a well know trigger for that person. I was triggered when an elder was playing like he was chewing out his wife because he had seen a segment of a movie that related to what they were doing at the time, which was him trying to help her fill a large container with lemonade. It put me in panic mode, while his wife was laughing hysterically. Do we stop living because it might trigger someone else? I personally don’t want to stop others from doing what they do because it might set me off. I am a grown woman and just need to get a grip. They were having fun together.

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  28. Mod note: If you guys ever get a comment that doesn’t go through, please post a note here or send me an e-mail. Sometimes they go to the spam box for no reason I can find. Thanks!

    JA

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  29. If you want to listen to a “clean” version of the song, as I said at the top of the page, there is Weird Al’s parody “Word Crimes.”
    (Word Crimes, by Weird Al)

    Not only is Weird A’s parody clean (no nudity, nothing about sex), so you get a catchy tune without the vulgarity, but you get a grammar lesson and a few laughs, too.

    Instead of naked dancing ladies, Weird Al has dancing punctuation marks in his video.

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  30. JA, If I ever did send something and it didn’t go through, I’d probably never know it. I only see the ones in my email that I don’t write. lol

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  31. JA and Brenda R, I appreciate both your perspectives. Personally I choose my battles carefully. For example, I am surrounded by people (including my husband) who like to have a drink at dinner or at a party. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I have made a choice not to drink in the last 30 years because I am aware of the havoc substance abuse has on people. Now I don’t announce this, but I want anyone who may have issues to feel they have an advocate, and maybe notice that they aren’t alone in their abstainance. Except for my husband, no one knows this is the reason I don’t drink. It wouldn’t hurt me, I don’t have a substance abuse problem, but it was put on my heart to be a silent support for those who are recovering from substance abuse and feel like they stick out for being the only one not drinking.
    I think we are all called to different areas of outreach. That is why I do not condemn the video, but I do appreciate anyone who supports people who might be triggered. We can not know everyone’s trigger, but we can be consistent in the areas we are called to. I am also sensitive about the “Where do you go to church?” question that many Southerners ask newcomers. I think this makes a huge assumption about the choices and values the newcomer makes. For all they know, the person may be the abused child of a charismatic pastor. For that newcomer, church could represent the most unsafe place in the world. Not everyone understands that. And that is OK, as we are not mind readers and we all come from different experiences. So I guess we try to stay true to the things God puts on our hearts, try to be empathic to others, and understand that we will make mistakes at times and be open to offer repentance when we screw up!
    JA, I hope your studies are going well. And Brenda R, thank you for your words.

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  32. Julie Anne and Ann,
    It is always good to put others perspectives together with your own. I learn and broaden my perspective and hopefully become more aware of those around me. I am from Texas, but live in Michigan. The last time I went to TX I noticed that there was a Baptist church on every corner in every town. I think there the question would be “Which Baptist church do you go to?’. But no, I don’t ask people such questions unless they mention going to church. Then we’ve got a conversation going. I might find out there is somewhere better to go than where I am.

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  33. Brenda, I’ve been a low key Weird Al fan since the 1980s and “Eat It” (Michael Jackson “Beat It” parody). I also like his other parodies, “White and Nerdy” and the E-bay song. 🙂

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  34. Julie Anne’s original post and someone’s post above reminded me of a controversy a year or more ago, when Perry Noble’s church placed a cover of AC/DC’s song called “Highway To Hell” during the church Easter service.

    Here is one page about it:
    Who knew you needed an excuse NOT to play Highway to Hell? [in church for Easter Services]

    As to the video Julie Anne linked to.

    I’m not sure if I think it’s necessarily wrong that the pastor took the “Blurred Lines” song and changed the lyrics up to be about God and to sing it in church, but my bigger point is that because I am aware of the original song, the video, etc, if I went to a church and heard “Jesus Lines,” it would stir up visuals from the music video.

    It would be distracting to me personally. I don’t think I would find it offensive per se, but highly distracting. It would also bring to mind (to me) all the other Robin Thicke controversies I mentioned in a post above (about his divorce, womanizing, etc).

    I’m not a prude or against secular music, just to be clear. I’m somewhere in-between on these issues.

    I don’t care for hyper legalistic types of church folk who think any and all secular rock music is evil and Christians should not listen to it or not make any references at all to pop culture in a sermon…

    But, on the other hand, I don’t know how comfortable I am with churches (like the seeker friendly mega churches) that go overboard in the other direction and base entire sermons on Bat Man or Spider Man movies week after week.

    You will hear more about Bat Man or Warren Buffet in seeker friendly churches than you will about Jesus. (Or, if your pastor is Steve Furtick, you will hear more about Furtick than you will about Jesus.)

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  35. Daisy,
    “I Lost on Jeopardy”! Great song!! I don’t remember “White and Nerdy” or the “Ebay song”, but “Eat It”….oh yah, that was a cool song. I haven’t heard much about Weird Al for so long that I didn’t know if he was around anymore or not. Of course, I probably don’t listen to the stations that he would be on. Since the kids are all grown, I don’t keep up with todays music.

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  36. NJ and Daisy,
    Those are all great Weird Al. I just listened to them all and see there are more on YouTube. I’ll have to get a mix together to see if I can get the boss going. They are much funnier with the videos though,

    I just can’t seem to get “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun” out of my head.

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  37. Julie Anne, you said, “I don’t recall having 2 versions of songs when I was growing up”. Don’t you remember Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome?” When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school…the “crap” got bleeped out on the radio. My, the times have changed.

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  38. jkp Back in the day, they would pull songs off the radio that were controversial. Loretta Lynn’s song “The Pill” was pulled very quickly from a lot of stations. Now they’d probably use it in Jr High sex ed classes as a theme song.

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  39. Re: Brenda’s comment above – using Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill” as a theme song in Jr. High sex ed classes.
    Well, if they aren’t’, they SHOULD be!!! 🙂

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  40. I have a friend who attends a church in Phoenix where the worship band plays songs like “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” I am sure that some people find a spiritual connotation in that, but that’s not my bag even though I was young during the 70s and 80s and was a Stones fan. I left all that behind, and reading this thread I realized that I am totally out of touch with most current popular music. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I play for church (yes I am SB) and we like contemporary and traditional music. I don’t think I would ever see anything like the video that is the subject of this thread, though.

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  41. Bystander,
    You’re not alone. I don’t know anything about today’s music. Anything past 1980 is pretty much Greek to me. “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”, not exactly a praise song in my book. From what little I have heard of todays music, you are correct. You are not missing a thing. No matter what church you go to, you have to discern whether or not there teachings are correct and Godly. If my pastor ever allows AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” to be played on any Sunday or any other day, I’ll be lookin’ for a new church.

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  42. If anyone knows where I can find the sheet music for, “I Can’t Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand”. I would greatly appreciate your input.

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  43. Gary,
    No luck on that site, but I did send them an email asking if they had access to it.

    Hopefully, the moderator will let you get legal.

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  44. “We can not know everyone’s trigger, but we can be consistent in the areas we are called to. I am also sensitive about the “Where do you go to church?” question that many Southerners ask newcomers. I think this makes a huge assumption about the choices and values the newcomer makes. For all they know, the person may be the abused child of a charismatic pastor. For that newcomer, church could represent the most unsafe place in the world. Not everyone understands that. And that is OK, as we are not mind readers and we all come from different experiences. So I guess we try to stay true to the things God puts on our hearts, try to be empathic to others, and understand that we will make mistakes at times and be open to offer repentance when we screw up!”

    Is it a sign of PTSD, to wake up sick every Sunday? I think that stress and anticipation can cause our bodies to respond with real, physical illness (not just churning stomach or splitting headache, but actual fever). Or is PTSD too strong a term?

    And can someone who wants to go to church, especially a new church, very different from the old, abusive one but still “corporate worship” as in joining with a group of people to pray, praise, read scripture, hear a message — can they ever get over the anxiety attacks, or is it better just to give up on “church”?

    We are seeking help from a therapist, it’s on the schedule, but not yet begun. Have never done this sort of thing before. It’s unmarked territory on my mental map — you know, that blank space beyond known lands.

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  45. Brenda asked “If anyone knows where I can find the sheet music for, “I Can’t Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand”. I would greatly appreciate your input.”

    Check Gaither’s archives. This song has been performed at several of the Homecoming gatherings and it’s probably in one of those songbook collections.

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  46. Refugee, Congratulations on taking the first step to recovery. It is a scary and brave thing to do. Make sure your new therapist has been recommended by someone who knows him/her personally! (If this is possible) Healing can happen as long as you can be patient with the process, be gentle with yourself and try to accept and not judge yourself for whatever feelings come up. Some churches have a way of making people feel tremendous shame for there feelings. Sometimes it feels like baby steps, but the results are well worth it. Good luck!

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