I’ve long enjoyed various forms of Christian chant. Gregorian chant is excellent, of course, but Byzantine chant is also fascinating. One of the things I feel Protestant denominations have largely lost is a sense of the mysteries of the faith, of the gravitas of ancient history. There is almost a mournful component – and I use this word for lack of any other I can use to describe this phenomenon. It is a difficult thing to explain. Listen to these two chant videos and see if you can pick up on what I mean:
At times, my Protestant upbringing protests that such things are frippery; meaningless ceremony. But I do not feel they are meaningless when I witness them, even in the local Catholic church my wife and I visit. There is something in both the Catholic and Orthodox branches of the faith, something that at least I feel is lacking in the church of my birth (Seventh Day Adventist).
If only the Pope wasn’t a near-Communist, I suppose. Otherwise my wife and I would probably find a Catholic church of the Byzantine rite and heal the Great Schism in our own household.
This is a thing that has been on my mind for years. We’ve witnessed the Leftist convergence and subversion within God’s own house, the perversion of the church as a vehicle for personal political aggrandizement. To me, this is as bad as the moneychangers peddling their wares in the Temple. Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls this mixing of the profane and the sacred. Whatever you may call it, our faith is the poorer for it.
Protestant churches likewise suffer this, though often in different and less direct ways. My father attended a church that conducted a campaign to modernize the hymns, to add a pop and/or rock element to them to make them popular for millennials. More mixing of the profane and the sacred. That, and the whole thing just came off as cheesy, in my opinion. But it is excessively common in many Protestant churches around the country. The temptation to change things out of a perceived desire to cater to social popularity is ancient and will always be with us. Compare such ‘modernized’ hymns to this chant:
The sacred is mystical, somewhat incomprehensible to us mere mortals, and possessed of gravitas, the very presence of the divine. It is both sorrowful, for the fall of man, and hopeful, for the promise of salvation. It transcends the profane, the political and social fascinations of the moment. To me, it is to touch, however briefly, a much greater universe that is otherwise quite beyond our understanding.
Whatever it means to you, and whatever branch of faith you subscribe to, the separation is important. Leftists often like to criticize Christianity on the basis of the Crusades, and bleat on about the separation of church and state, while attempting to suborn churches from within and make them arms of the state. Consider the contradiction for a moment. And consider where a Crusade, if any is to come, is likely to originate, or what its political ideology would be.
Whipping the modern day moneychangers and driving them from the Temple is an imperative.
In the meantime, I hope good Christian chant appeals to you as much as it appeals to me.