You Can't Escape God, 1978
Problems of form and doctrine are a logical result of God's plan
NOW LET US EXAMINE CERTAIN ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONAL FACTORS for contributing to efficiency in the Church's divinely-authorized functioning. Some of these will be recognized to be everywhere in use already but others, in various denominations, have been avoided or neglected. Hence, what our logic is about to demonstrate is that -- as an ideal for the attaining of maximum desirable results -- all of these elements will tend to become universally used whenever they become fully understood by Christian people.
The additional factors here to be analyzed will include, for example, such items as liturgy, ceremonials, music, and even the architecture and appurtenances of Church edifices. Thus, what we are going to examine will be the manner in which such elements are desirable instruments for the reaching of maximum efficiency in the Church's functioning.
THE FUNCTIONS OF LITURGY AND CEREMONIALS as pedagogical aids in the congregational services in which Christians seek theological and moral advancement now become the immediate topics of our study.
We have earlier observed that the preaching of sermons is one of the chief instructional methods which the Church provides. Now let us note also, however, that the receiving of knowledge by this process involves only a passive participation by an assembled congregation; for this is merely sits and listens. Yet, there is additionally a need for congregations to be participants-by-action. For example, such participation occurs when assembled Christians sing a hymn -- whereby each participant reminds himself of his acceptance of whatever truths are stated in the words he sings. Hence, every denomination in which its congregations sing hymns is thereby applying the principle of laity participation-by-action which is one of the two characteristics of so-called liturgical services. Similarly, if a member of the clergy utters a prayer to which the laity responds by saying "Amen", this response is also a self-instructive act of liturgical participation.
Now let us recognize the second of the two characteristics of liturgy in Christian worship services by realizing what a chaotic condition would exist if a congregation were to engage in hymn-singing at the same time that the preacher was attempting to preach, or if a congregation tried to sing six or seven different hymns simultaneously. Thus, from that hypothetical picture we perceive that the second definition of liturgy is simply its provision for the conducting of worship services in a pre-programmed order.
It is evident, therefore, that all Christian denominations are, in varying degrees, already practitioners of the principles of liturgy despite the fact that many of the actual participants have erroneously supposed that "liturgy" denoted something to be regarded with suspicion. However, there is much more than we have so far mentioned about congregational pre-programmed participation in worship services which need to be more clearly understood in the future if all of the liturgical processes are to be increasingly used for the sake of ecclesiastical instructional efficiency.
Accordingly, we next observe that although a congregation might memorize the words and tunes of a dozen or even a score of hymns, the desirability of being able to choose among a hundred or more is made practical only by supplying printed copies of the words and music. Of course, the principles of liturgy do not exclude special hymns previously unprinted, to be composed and sung on special occasions. Likewise, there will be recurring instances in which a new hymn will be found so excellent that it will be added to future hymnal printings; occasionally also, a less useful old hymn will be relegated to the "old records" shelves of ecclesiastical libraries. Thus, the content of any current hymnal will be a collection of hymns that have earned a time-tested acceptance.
Let us perceive in turn, therefore, that the same logical practices are just as sound for group-worship prayers as also for hymns. Thus, over many centuries many saintly men have composed numerous prayers of outstanding and time-tested merit both in scope and in phraseology. Hence, there are several sound reasons for the Church to make considerable use of such inherited prayer compositions -- even though liturgical worship can also accommodate special or extemporaneous prayers on many appropriate occasions.
It follows, therefore, that if numerous prayers are to be said in unison by a congregation -- in applications of liturgy's participation-by-the-laity principle -- there will be need for such inherited prayer compositions to be printed in prayer books the same as hymns are printed in hymnals. Even if such prayers are in some cases to be spoken only by the clergy the printed copies will be needed not only to reinforce the memories of such spokesmen but also to permit the laity to read the words as well as to hear them. Similarly, because numerous prayers are needed for the sake of completeness, it follows that they must be prearranged in a printed sequence which will be easy for congregations to find and to follow. Thus, if the Church is to provide for worship services to make use of a number of inherited most-excellent prayers and for them to be said in unison and in orderly sequence, it follows that only they but also suitable position-references to other elements of worship services will be needed to be printed in a pre-programmed prayer book.
Now let us observe that the pedagogical desirability of liturgical practices can be further enhanced by including the self-instructional symbolism of certain physical gestures, called ceremonials. For example, a congregation which sits passively to hear a sermon will usually rise to a standing position for the singing of hymns; thus, the physical acts of rising and standing will provide a psychological enhancement of the worshiper's self-acceptance of the meaning of the hymn-words. Similarly, because some hymns are simply music-supplemented prayers it is pedagogically desirable for them to be sung while kneeling because this gesture expresses and self teaches humility on the part of Man in his relationship to God.
Thus, even such simple acts as standing or kneeling are properly describable as ceremonials regardless of whether they are performed by clergy or by laity. They are not, however, the only physical gestures which -- likewise as ceremonials -- can have a desirable self-teaching effect upon worship participants. Yet, before we consider some additional ceremonials that are highly useful whenever Man turns his thoughts to his relationship to God, let us note how easily, commonly, and usefully certain analogous gestures are applied likewise in secular relationships. For example, a hand-shake substitutes for words as a pledge of friendship and good faith. Similarly, hand -clapping is an acknowledged mark of approval. Likewise, the hand-salute that a soldier offers to another of higher rank is self-instruction in that, with the actual use of words, it signifies that "I acknowledge to myself as well as to you that you are of a higher rank than I and that I am accordingly prepared to obey your orders."
We observe, therefore, that among the commonest of all Christian ceremonial gestures of self-instruction is that of manually making the sign of the Cross from forehead to opposite sides of the chest. Most commonly used to mark the beginning or ending of a sequence of prayers, this physical act is of pedagogical significance because it is a gesture equivalent of saying that "I approach what follows in a mood of sincerity and reverence," or that "I affirm to myself and to all witnesses that what has preceded this gesture was said and done with sincerity and reverence."
Of course, the crossing ceremonial also commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Moreover, it is associated with still other word-meanings whether spoken or unspoken: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Thereby, it signifies not only that "I accept the theological and moral teachings of Christian truth to the extent of my understanding of them" but also that "It is my intent to be obedient to them." Indeed, especially at a time of earthly peril, the use of this gesture is a prayer in itself. In effect, it says, "May God be merciful to my soul," or -- as translated in terms of our study's analysis of the meaning of forgiveness -- it says, "Let my soul increase its content of the Holy Spirit in response to my mind's desire to adopt attitudes of love for the supplanting of attitudes of evil."
Now it is true that many Christians who are quite at ease in applying such gestures as standing or kneeling -- or saluting -- are so unaccustomed to crossing themselves that they tend (at first) to feel conspicuous in using this added ceremonial practice. Nevertheless, let four persons unaccustomed to using this gesture be placed in the presence of six persons who cross themselves with long-practiced familiarity and the four will find themselves quite able to adopt the same custom without the slightest feeling of affectation.
Actually, there are only a very few ceremonial gestures for the laity which are common in Christian practice; hence, we shall mention only one more. Thus, the second most useful physical act of self-instruction for the worship of God is known as genuflection -- a quick up-and-down action of one-knee bending -- to signify further Man's humility in relation to the Deity and to the Deity's Son. Accordingly, just as a naval officer faces and salutes the quarter-deck when boarding a warship, the act of genuflection in religious conduct is performed while facing the chancel (i.e., the front) of a church on arriving and again on leaving.
So far, we have dealt only with ceremonials primarily for use by both clergy and laity. However, our study next identifies and explains a number of others to be performed by clergy alone. For example, whenever it is appropriate for a priest to relay a divine benediction to one or more persons he will face himself toward the recipients and he will manifest the bestowal by a hand gesture of transmission combined with the pattern of the Cross to signify that the blessing is given "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
Similarly, as a final example of priestly ceremonials, the celebrant of holy communion will consecrate the bread and wine with gestures representing those originally used by Jesus himself. In the first place, his faithfulness even to such details will be one of the factors in causing a special infusion of the Holy Spirit to enter himself and then to enter the bread and the wine. In the second place, there is a need to prepare the laity for receiving the thus-consecrated bread and wine by causing the Last Supper to be visualized by means of the ceremonials as well as being described in accompanying words. Thus, to clarify just one of the related ceremonials, we initially note from the Bible that before Jesus gave the bread and wine to the Apostles he paused to speak the words of a blessing. In so doing, it was inevitable that he lifted in his hands the "cup" (today called a chalice) containing the wine, and likewise caused his followers to look upon a basket or dish (today called a paten) containing the bread. Thus, to remind a congregation visually of the significant ceremonial gestures of Jesus it is pedagogically desirable for the priest who administers this sacrament to lift the chalice and paten in the same way that the corresponding acts were originally performed.
Of course, as already noted, there are and should be still other ceremonials that likewise enhance the Church's teaching function. On the other hand, our logic also recognizes that both the clergy and the laity should be on guard against the use of excessively numerous or ill-considered ceremonials such as have cluttered some forms of in-church worship in the past.
CERTAIN ADDED FACTORS OF CHRISTIAN PEDAGOGY, such as ecclesiastical edifices and their various appurtenances, will likewise be needed for the Church to possess so that by their use it will be able to perform its teaching function with optimum success.
We cannot deal adequately with the positive aspects of these matters, however, without first making a preliminary analysis of the negative attitudes of some detractors who, in effect, would limit the Church to shelters no more ornate than a store-front or a tent with a grapefruit box to serve as a pulpit and some planks on saw-horses to serve as an altar if any. At the opposite extreme, of course, are some zealots who might be said to favor constructing all church buildings of marble and gold; however, we shall deal with these other extremists in other contexts of our study.
The commonest plaint of the group urging utmost frugality in the Church's functioning is that virtually the entire cost of conventional ecclesiastical buildings and their appurtenances should be expended instead as "charity for the poor." Our study finds, however, that the principal users of that contention are simply "do-gooders" or outright Marxists who are thereby exponents of the Marxian theory that everyone should be equalized in material possessions by processes in which all persons who earn above-average incomes would be obliged to contribute to all persons with below-average incomes until everyone was raised or lowered to an identical level.
True, a reasonable compromise between high costs and low costs in the Church's structures and equipment is desirable and can be attained. On the other hand, let us face four facts of relevance to the questions of what and how costly those items, for the sake of functioning efficiency, will necessarily be. First is the fact that even if all denominations were to convert all their existing properties into cash equivalents and were to distribute these funds to everyone seeking or demanding hand-outs the same recipients would still be "poor" again less than one year later. Second, charity in economic terms is primarily a secular function to be performed by Christians and non-Christians alike, irrespective of religious or non-religious affiliation. Third, the one major specific form of charity which is a special responsibility of Christians, acting by means of making financial contributions to the Church, consists of sending out domestic or foreign missionaries to perform its teaching function to non-Christian peoples. Fourth, it behooves the Church to maintain standards of buildings and appurtenances requisite for efficient pedagogy especially in the areas whence the financing of its missionary charity is derived. In other words, the Church must protect its home-front against functional inadequacies as its primary step to enable itself to extend its teachings to other places.
To determine what and how elaborate or simple the Church's buildings and equipment should be in the places where it is already successfully established, however, we shall next need to recognize that Man does not learn by words and gestures alone; that he also learns by receiving various sensory impressions even from the inanimate environmental factors which the Church has need firstly in its established places to supply. Thus, let us examine certain of those factors necessary for ideal pedagogical results as applicable in the established places.
The Church Edifice: Most basic of the inanimate ecclesiastical elements of pedagogy are, of course, the structures wherein the Church by means of worship services seeks to perform efficiently its primary function.
Let us recognize, therefore, that Christianity will ever need a limited number of particularly majestic edifices in which worshipers will experience an especially enhanced feeling of awe and love for God and God's Son -- even if the average Church member may visit one of these outstanding places no more than once or twice in a lifetime. Of course, such cathedrals will be needed for a related reason that their characteristically large size will accommodate certain occasionally outstanding religious events. Thus, although most of these will need to seat no more than 1000 persons, a few might accommodate 5000 or more. Yet, in all the World, perhaps no more than 500 of these great places would be required; moreover, a great many of these are already existing.
When we consider more typical church edifices, however, the sizes and the styles of architecture are more modest. Thus, if we are dealing with a local circumstance in which one full-time priest is to be assigned to a single congregation, the conventional structure will seat approximately 250 persons because 200 adults will be recognized as the smallest number that can usually provide sufficient financial support for the related operations. Moreover, if a congregation is composed of twice as many members the structure will be no larger than the minimum size; it simply will be used twice as often.
Now, still assuming we are dealing with ideal local conditions rather than with a temporary mission set-up, the fact that social intermingling of a congregation is desirable to encourage a feeling of Christian solidarity suggests that each unit should have additional facilities to accommodate such events as wedding receptions, group luncheons, young people's meetings, and other church-related but non-worship affairs. Likewise, there should be a nursery room where small children and mothers with infants can be sheltered while experiencing an insulated participation in worship services. Indeed, it is not even a trivial matter -- yet, too often neglected in church architecture -- that each church unit except in the tropics should include a coat-storage room so that worshipers will neither be crowded nor be distracted by problems of what to do with cold weather garments.
Already implied, of course, is the fact that beauty of architectural design, beginning even with a church's exterior, constitutes one of the first inanimate factors in preparing a worshiper to experience a mood conducive to learning the truths that Christianity teaches. This does not mean that only a single standard design is desirable; to the contrary, church architects should be encouraged to provide interesting and significant variations. On the other hand, our logic holds there is one detail that never should be omitted. This concerns a prominent displaying of a Cross at the highest point of a church's exterior, preferably at the top of a bell-tower and steeple. Why this importance of an exterior Cross? First, it identifies the structure with the Christian religion; in effect, it gives public notices that the theological and moral truths of the Christian religion are not being treated as though its members were embarrassed to let their devotion to these verities by public knowledge. Second, and exterior Cross exerts a preliminary pedagogical effect on every person who enters -- a mood of reverence and of receptiveness of the truths that are taught therein.
Now let it be emphasized that, just as the ideal of architectural beauty does not mean that churches should be of extravagant size, neither does it invariably require that they must be built of the most costly materials. Stone masonry? Yes in some cases but no in others. Brick masonry? Again the answers depends on varying circumstances. In turn, the same principle is also true of wood. For example, if wood-framing is to be used, the application of non-rusting metal siding can provide an escape from the costs of repeated painting. Moreover, such other materials as cement blocks should also be considered, bearing in mind that they can be given a stucco exterior surface and can be water-painted on the inside in white or colors.
The present point of our study is not appropriate, however, for a basic analysis of the financing of church construction or of operational expenses; instead, we shall leave these matters to be dealt with in a later chapter. Our immediate concern is only with what is ideally desirable to aid the efficiency of the Church's functioning. On the other hand, it is presently noteworthy not only that in many parts of the World there already exist a sufficiency of church structures but also that a majority of these already possess most of the pedagogical appurtenances which will be described in later portions of the present chapter. Right now, however, we shall need to mention briefly two additional matters more closely associated with architecture than with the category of appurtenances.
Thus, although there may be occasional circumstances wherein a congregation will be called upon to participate in worship services without the use of pews or chairs, let us recognize that good pedagogy requires seating accommodations to permit worshipers to participate without bodily fatigue. Moreover, because chairs can be pushed around in disorder, common sense dictates that fixed-position pews should be provided and that these should all face toward the main focal point of the services. Likewise, sound pedagogy requires that the pew seats should be covered by cushions. In turn, to encourage the pedagogical gesture of kneeling, each pew should be equipped with lightly padded fold-down kneeling platforms; otherwise, a would-be kneeler has no choice except a painful contact with the floor with probably damage to wearing apparel, or to assume a bent-forward posture that is neither pedagogically adequate nor by any means esthetic.
Next, our logic informs us that there needs to be a raised floor level in the area, known as the chancel, which is principally used by the clergy. In the first place, this permits the congregation to see and hear better the clergy's portion of the co-participation in the worship services. Further, there needs to be a portion of the chancel one or several steps still higher to be occupied by an altar. The reason for such elevation of that appurtenance is rather obvious too; it is to manifest an especially high level of honor for the symbolisms related thereto.
The Complementary Appurtenances: In this category we shall be dealing with certain supplementary items for aiding a complete and efficient performing of the pedagogy-by-worship function.
Accordingly, we now encounter the questions of whether every church needs an altar and of just how ornate or simple an altar should be. Of course, some denominations abandoned the use of altars some centuries ago. Others provided for altars but insisted these should be almost as plain as a kitchen table. A great majority of Christians, however, have never ceased to use resplendent altars and quite a few denominations which once abandoned such use returned to it later.
Let us note, therefore, that even Abraham on entering Canaan "built there an altar for Yahweh who had appeared to him." This was probably no more than a rectangular flat pile of stones to memorialize the related great event. In later centuries, other worshipers brought food to be burned as sacrifices upon stone altars to show their love or fear of God. Thus, the making of sacrifices at altars became a self-teaching ceremonial because each such act was a repetitive affirmation by the worshiper of his desire to possess God's love in return.
When Jesus at the Last Supper instituted the sacrament of holy communion there was no ceremonial of burning and it was surely a table of wood which served in lieu of an altar of stone. Nevertheless, the table was an altar in its purpose because his presentation of consecrated bread and wine to his followers was itself not only a ritual of sacrifice but also was a pre-symbolizing of the sacrifice of his own flesh and blood which he was to make on the Cross on the following day. Thus also, the Cross itself became a sacrificial altar when Jesus was crucified upon it. Accordingly, for the Christian Church to commemorate the Last Supper and all that was significant in direct connection thereto there is a need for a modern altar to be used. Moreover, there is a need for it to symbolize both of the altars which Jesus used. Footnote #1
Of course, an altar is an altar even if circumstances prevent it from being anything more than a flat pile of stones, a wood table, or just a horizontal plank between two chairs. On the other hand, let us recognize that if the circumstances are more favorable an altar should be of sufficient beauty to signify the greatness of Christian gratitude for the sacrifice on the Cross which Jesus made for the purposes explained in other chapters of our study. In other words, we should be like the woman who poured expensive ointment on Jesus' feet, rather than using a less costly substitute, because the greatness of her love impelled her to manifest it with an open-handed gesture.
How can Christians make an altar best symbolize both of Jesus' sacrificial acts? The logical answer is that we should make its main portion resemble a stone or wood table enclosed on its four vertical sides, symbolizing the altar of the Last Supper; then we should place a crucifix or a cross, to symbolize his second altar, at our single altar's top.
In this connection, let us note that an empty cross on a Christian altar suggests Jesus' triumph of resurrection but also permits a recollection that he previously experienced crucifixion. Obversely, a crucifix depicts Jesus in the midst of crucifixion but also permits a recollection that he subsequently experienced resurrection. Thus, because our logic has already concluded that the exterior of every church should display a cross which primarily is a symbol of the resurrection, we further conclude that every Christian altar should display a crucifix to depict particularly the sacrificial act of the crucifixion. Moreover, it is a fact of related significance that the resurrection was at a tomb, not at an altar.
Let Christians and non-Christians note, however, that -- although such altars commemorate acts of Jesus, and although the Church must recognize him as God's Son, genetically divine, and as "Lord" (of our World), and even names the Christian religion from him -- this does not contradict his own declarations that it is only his Father who is the One God. Thus, there is no incongruity in paying reverence and homage to Jesus while recognizing only his Father as God. Let us remember that in so doing, the Church will be teaching the same truths that were taught by Jesus himself.
What else, other than an altar, should Christian churches contain in the category of worship accessories? Let us mention at this point a group of seven additional items -- although there are still a few others that can be useful to the ecclesiastical functions.
First, for the serving of the consecrated bread and wine of holy communion, each church needs a chalice and a paten. These should be of precious or semi-precious metals and of beautiful design (appropriate to the circumstances) for the same reasons that beauty is a desirable characteristic of an altar and of a church as a whole. Thus, such alternatives as paper cups, lacking any resemblance to the utensils of the Last Supper itself, cannot convey the pedagogical symbolism that is desirable in the commemorations thereof.
Second, there should be candles lighted on the altar to signify that Jesus is "the light of the World." In addition, two larger candles should be lighted near the altar during holy communion to signify the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Third, there should be a single sanctuary light kept continuously burning in the chancel to signify that God and his Son are eternal, even as they have promised immortality to ourselves also by means of the reincarnation of our souls.
Fourth, there should be a Bible resting upon a lectern to signify the importance of the Scriptures as source material for the truths of the Christian religion.
Fifth, there should be a baptismal font near the main entrance so that this position will signify it is by baptism that a soul is initially dedicated to God's purposes through the teachings of Jesus. In turn, the water in such a basin not only will be used in performing the sacrament itself but also may be touched by anyone entering a church as a pedagogical ceremonial to signify a renewal of the pledges of baptism.
Sixth, every church should have ideally at least one large bell on its exterior to be rung on appropriate occasions, also for the sake of pedagogical impact. For example, who can hear the solemn tolling of a bell for a funeral without reflecting on the impermanence of his own earthly life and his need to qualify his own soul for admission to Heaven? At the opposite extreme, what can sound more joyous than the vigorous chiming of two or more bells to signify any of the happy messages which the Christian religion provides especially on certain appropriate occasions?
Seventh, every church should provide special vestments for its clergy to use while conducting worship services. Here again, this is for a pedagogical purpose; thus, we need to be reminded by such apparel that the clergy deserves a special respect as members of a holy vocation. On the other hand, the Church will need to be on guard against a surfeit of vestments and of ceremonials relating to the uses thereof.
When we come to the in-church displaying of various religious pictures, statues, and the like -- other than the crucifix -- the questions of what is desirable or undesirable are a more complicated matter. Thus, it is often difficult to determine what items of religious are both correct and pedagogically useful.
For example, who can deny that one of the most beautiful and inspiring of religious pictures is Michelangelo's depiction, in Rome's Sistine Chapel, of God transmitting life to Adam? Moreover, we find it proper in this instance to hold that artistic license is sufficient to authorize this depicting of the Deity as an elderly being despite the fact that our present study has earlier recognized that the physical development of God must have been eternally halted whenever he reached the apogee of physical perfection. On the other hand, it is curiously significant that Michelangelo's concept of God pointing a finger to touch Adam succeeded in capturing a gesture which is wholly in accord with our study's conclusion that what really occurred when Adam and Eve acquired the knowledge of good and of evil was a conferment of the Holy Spirit upon them -- not to give merely earthly life to their bodies but rather to give eternal life to their souls. Thus, our logic not only finds that this painting and any copies of it are highly desirable in ecclesiastical use anywhere but also has referred to this as an example to show how a variety of considerations should enter into any determining of which religious art deserves approval for such use while much other art does not.
Let us perceive, therefore, that a great many items of art that have been common in Christian use do not share the acceptability of Michelangelo's work. For example, although seldom if ever used in church decor, perhaps the most obfuscating case of pandering to human ignorance in religious art has consisted of probably millions of lithographs purporting to show the "sacred heart of Jesus." In the first place, this is a grisly picture. In the second place, it suggests a false concept of the heart as being the seat of the soul. In the third place, it is unsoundly maudlin in its attempt either to constitute or to lead to theological enlightenment.
Well then, what about our logic's acceptance of the crucifix, depicting Jesus on the Cross? Isn't this objectionable on somewhat similar grounds also? Not so. In the first place, it is not visceral. In the second place, it is a depiction of a fact. In the third place, it presents only a stylized depiction of Jesus himself; in other words, it does not purport to provide any identifying features that could distinguish Jesus from any other crucified male person or otherwise attempt to portray his personality. Similarly, the famous Pieta statue of the dead Jesus in the arms of Mary is basically stylized rather than specific.
Thus, the reason for an ecclesiastical preference for stylized concepts of Jesus is based not only on the fact that there has never existed a verified concept of his appearance but also on the fact that artists and sculptors, in drawing upon their own varied imaginations as though to portray his actual looks, have confused Christian people by their concepts; moreover, many of these have been pedagogically infelicitous.
On the basis of the criteria herein suggested, however, our logic accepts as suitable for in-church display not only the crucifix, the cross, the Pieta, and Michelangelo's painting (which might better become known as "The Conferment of Immortality" rather than as "The Creation"), but also such other items as miniature base-relief versions of the "Stations of the Cross", which depict Jesus' death march to Golgotha, and the various art portrayals of the Nativity -- noting that all of these are easily understood to be similitudes rather than being mistaken for "photographically" accurate" actual scenes.
Now it is also our study's obligation to consider whether, among the appurtenances of worship, a church should have not just one altar but possibly three of even more. Accordingly, we note it has been a practice of some churches to have not only a main altar directly associated with Jesus but also two side-altars related, respectively, to Mary and Joseph. Let us perceive, therefore, that although that custom has unquestionably had the best of pious intentions, it is contrary to theological correctness. True, Mary and Joseph deserve a greater reverence than any other human beings in history -- although it is likewise clear that Moses and even Adam and Eve were among others who also especially "found favor" with God. Hence, it is perfectly proper for our prayers, addressed to God or to his Son, to mention our reverence for such as Mary and Joseph as a means of reminding ourselves of desires to emulate their virtues; likewise, there can be no sound objection to the in-church displaying of stylized pictures or statues representing Mary and Joseph or of such others as Moses and the Apostles to induce congregational admiration of their great merits. On the other hand, because no beings of Earth's own human species can possess divinity, let us perceive that Christians should erect altars only to Jesus that these will simultaneously include the worship of his Father as the only God. Footnote 2
Earlier, our study mentioned the singing of hymns; accordingly, now let us add one further appurtenance of worship needed by every church to aid its pedagogical functioning: Some appropriate form of musical instrument to supplement and guide the sounds of human voices.
Long before the Christian Church was founded the Hebrews used cymbals, lyres, flutes, tambourines, and drums to "make a joyful sound unto the Lord. In turn, even the earliest Christians fitted their voices to musical tones for the singing of such words as those of the Psalms, and presumably welcomed whatever instrumental supplementation that happened to be available. It was not until about 10 centuries after the time of Jesus, however, that musicians learned how to designate musical sounds by written note-marks. Also, amidst the subsequent centuries a variety of new musical instruments were invented and these included the pipe organ which gradually eclipsed all of the others in applications for ecclesiastical purposes -- a condition which still prevails today but is now often modified by the electronic manufacturing of musical sounds.
It is true, of course, that music could be used in Christian worship entirely by the sound of voices. On the other hand, a typical congregation would be unable to provide the full pedagogical impact of liturgical music without being led by a dominant musical instrument. Thus, from long experience, the Church has learned that its worship services can be musically served best by the use of a pipe organ or by its electronic equivalent. Accordingly, our logic recognizes it is ideally desirable for every church unit to include such an instrument among its functional appurtenances. This does not imply that no other instruments can be acceptable; instead, it simply observes that an organ will provide an optimum result with what can be a relatively minimal investment. Our study cannot deal adequately with the topic of musical instruments, however, without also dealing further with the more basic matter of in-church music itself and especially by recognizing a need to terminate three deleterious related factors.
The first of such factors has been the widespread practice of installing organs of such enormous sound-volume as to drown out the totalities of congregational voices. Closely related to this has been a tendency of ambitious choir directors to be more intent on making an ostentatious musical showing than on being of primary assistance to liturgical principles. Likewise, there has been frequently an error of singing certain portions of a liturgy which actually are more impressive when spoken than when sung.
Second among the elements having unhappy repercussions on the optimum ecclesiastical use of instrumental and voice combinations has been the impact of arty revisionists of church music. Such as these have tended not only to toss-out hymns that deserved to be retained but also to make alterations in traditional chord-harmony patterns with a frequent result that the new harmonics have been inferior to those they displaced.
Third among the misuses of music in the Church must be placed primarily on certain clergy who would reshape religion to every fad or fancy of crackpots on the fringe of Christian membership -- in this case by allowing "psychedelic music" to intrude even into worship services. Thus, for the sake of pedagogical efficiency, the Church is going to need to remember that, although many a marijuana or lysergic freak-out has dabbled in chemical mysticism, this does not make their guitar-and-gut-bucket thumping either a suitable substitute for the music of a Wesley, a Bach, or a Palestrina, or make their instruments ideal for inclusion among worship appurtenances. Footnote 3
IT IS NOT ASSUMED HEREIN THAT ALL DENOMINATIONS of the Christian Church will adopt the ideal methods and appurtenances of pedagogy tomorrow morning.
However, the expectable speed limitations of denominational response have not hindered our study from analyzing -- with neither prejudices nor subjectiveness -- what the ideals really are. Moreover, if we assume that all Christians desire the Church to achieve the maximum functional efficiency which is its obligation to the commission assigned it by Jesus, we must anticipate the time will be sooner than heretofore expected when almost every denomination will choose to begin applying or to continue to apply most of the ideals which our study has helped to identify.
On the other hand, it is equally true that even in such widespread use of the ideals there will need to be no freezing of all ecclesiastical practices into a single dogmatic no-exceptions World-wide code. For example, no man will be rapped with a stick if, by not genuflecting on entering his church, he chooses to be different in such manner from many other worshipers. However, his clergy will teach to children and to requesting adults the pedagogical desirability of the voluntary act of genuflecting. Of course, in recognition of the principles of "freedom of religion", some extremist sects which have long engaged in wholly non-ideal practices (such as the handling of rattlesnakes with frequent consequent fatalities) -- and which are so guilty of theological errors that they do not even deserve to be described as Christian -- may continue such practices indefinitely because of the difficulty for Christian truths to make breakthroughs to people characterized by totally twisted conditions of illiteracy.
Nevertheless, in gradually achieving a near unity in respect to the use of whatever methods and appurtenances of Christian worship that are shown to fulfill the ideal of pedagogical efficiency, most denominations will thereby have moved themselves a long step nearer even to the additional efficiency dependent upon a World-wide organizational unity to displace the past conditions of managerial as doctrinal separatism. Our study will defer to a later chapter, however, a consideration of what the pattern of organizational unity will need to be to win a near unanimous acceptance. Thus, in the two now-following chapters we shall first need to deal with the predilections of numerous clergy, using the religious-political methods of Clericalism, to sell fallacious economic-social-political ideologies to the general public -- a practice not only potentially devastating to the secular peace and happiness of all Mankind but also critically damaging even to the divinely-assigned purpose, and the health, of the Church itself.
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