Oh, sometimes my mind just wanders, from one thing to the next, connecting this to that.
I was watching a movie on the flight to the States called “Almanya”, “Germany” in Turkish. It was mostly in German with some Turkish. The English subtitles were so small I could barely read them and had to rely on what I knew from the two languages as well as just the content of what I saw.
Parts were funny. Parts were dramatic. And of course, there was the tragedy. I really liked the movie. One part made me laugh out loud. As the Turkish family prepared to move to Germany, there were lots of “stories” being passed about the Germans. Growing up German, of course I had experienced “stories” about Turks, long before I ever met a Turk. This movie was sort of a “pay back.” A young boy was told that not only do Germans eat pig (ewww!), they also eat humans! As evidence, they ate a guy called Jesus Christ. They hung him on a cross, killed him, then ate his flesh and drank his blood. Seriously, if I didn’t have the window seat, I would have fell right out into the aisle. I was laughing that hard!
As the family arrives in Germany and inspects their new home, the boy is naturally the one to find the crucifix hanging in the apartment! What horror! Simply hilarious!
As I sat on my mother’s deck in Chester County this past week, I was thinking about this movie, quietly laughing to myself. And then I heard the church “bells” ring. Actually, they aren’t true bells anymore. They play a tune. And it’s not very loud because they don’t want to bother the neighbors. Those bells have meaning to me. I grew up with the Church bells. Several years back, the new bells were installed, in memory of one of the parishioners. He was the father of a good friend of mine. One I barely knew in grade school because he was older than me. (Therefore, we couldn’t associate.) One I got to know a bit better in high school, because we ran cross country together. One I knew even better as an adult, as we practiced law together for several years. He happens to be the reason I am here in the States now.
Listening to those bells, brought me back to an article I wrote on religion in Turkey. I no longer see much difference between most religions or the practices thereof. The muslim call to prayer is the same as those church bells in my mind. As I sat and listened to the bells, I also think upon a book I once read, and go back to from time to time, “Why do Catholics do That?” by Kevin Orlin Johnson.
One particular chapter that I tend to discuss from time to time attempts to explain why Protestants have such great music and Catholics have great artwork and items made from gold. It says that it has to do with what was available when and where certain peoples wanted to express themselves artistically. Catholics were southern Europeans. They came from the lands of gold. They were more dramatic people. When they expressed themselves artistically, they created with their hands. They painted. They sculpted. They melted gold into candlesticks.
Protestants were a more reserved people. They were northern Europeans, like the Brits. To express themselves, they wrote stories, books, poetry, and music. They wrote some of the best music known to man.
Makes sense to me.
This past Sunday I went to Church with Mom. I like going. I am comfortable there. But they are killing the music! They no longer play the good old Protestant songs. It seems to me that the Catholics who write the new music just don’t have an ear for it. They go up and down and all around in every song. Sounds like a cat being put down very very slowly. Speaking of slowly, we sang “America the Beautiful” in honor of the Fourth of July. Slowest version of it EVER. Worst than a dying cat.
Catholics haven’t written a good song since they stumbled upon “Be Not Afraid” back in 1974. There may have been one or two since then. I think that was around the time the Pope visited Philly. But seriously, PLEASE don’t try to fix what ain’t broke! The Protestants do it right when it comes to music. Just sing their songs and everything will be all right! Amazing Grace. Amen.