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Author Topic: Singing Christmas Music  (Read 2447 times)

Mithril

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Singing Christmas Music
« on: December 15, 2011, 09:02:13 pm »
This is something that I've been thinking about the past several weeks. I love Christmas carols, and can't help but wanting to sing them. On my own, I just sing them and don't think about the words, but in public (specifically, the Christmas Eve service I go to to keep my mom happy), as much as I want to sing, I can't bring myself to because I don't want to misrepresent myself as Christian. I don't want people to think I'm Christian; my religion is an important part of my identity and it makes me feel unhappy when people think I'm something I'm not, like I'm having to hide part of myself or like I'm being untrue to myself.

How do you feel about this? Do you sing Christmas music? Do you mind if people think you're Christian when you're not? Or, how can I sing the songs I love so much without compromising my identity (for lack of a better phrase) as a Pagan?

Celtag

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2011, 09:07:24 pm »
Quote from: Mithril;34921
This is something that I've been thinking about the past several weeks. I love Christmas carols, and can't help but wanting to sing them. On my own, I just sing them and don't think about the words, but in public (specifically, the Christmas Eve service I go to to keep my mom happy), as much as I want to sing, I can't bring myself to because I don't want to misrepresent myself as Christian. I don't want people to think I'm Christian; my religion is an important part of my identity and it makes me feel unhappy when people think I'm something I'm not, like I'm having to hide part of myself or like I'm being untrue to myself.

How do you feel about this? Do you sing Christmas music? Do you mind if people think you're Christian when you're not? Or, how can I sing the songs I love so much without compromising my identity (for lack of a better phrase) as a Pagan?
I really don't have a problem with singing Christmas Carols. I tend to sing along to, because its just a festive time of year and spending time with family and friends is what its all about to me. So i think as a Pagan it's okay to join in a little bit and have some fun with others, nothing wrong with that. I don't think you misrepresenting yourself, your just doing what you want to and we have the right to do that. I say just have fun during this season and don't get to caught up in worrying about what others think or anything, just have fun.
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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2011, 09:11:54 pm »
Quote from: Mithril;34921
How do you feel about this? Do you sing Christmas music?

Only when alone -- as calling my singing awful is probably being too kind.

Quote
Do you mind if people think you're Christian when you're not?
I could care less what religion random strangers think I am. My friends already know so they aren't an issue.

Quote
Or, how can I sing the songs I love so much without compromising my identity (for lack of a better phrase) as a Pagan?
As I'm a polytheist, I don't have an issue here. I have no problem honoring Christ on his day. He's not my God, but he's never done anything hostile to me and he seems to helped a lot of my friends who are Christian over the years.
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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2011, 10:33:06 pm »
Quote from: Mithril;34921

How do you feel about this? Do you sing Christmas music? Do you mind if people think you're Christian when you're not? Or, how can I sing the songs I love so much without compromising my identity (for lack of a better phrase) as a Pagan?

 
I mostly don't sing them, because I spent the earlier part of my life as not only Christian (Catholic for most of the relevant bits), but really active doing music ministry. So a lot of the most common carols have a really strong music-as-act-of-religious-worship connotation for me. (And I don't like most of the generic wintery ones as much, though there are exceptions.)

I am, however, fine with ones that I don't have a strong liturgical association with (and a couple of others). I was putting together a playlist for something gaming-related, and realised that some stuff, I was fine with an instrumental (even though I perfectly well know the words), some things I was fine with in the original language (even though I perfectly well know the translation), and some of the odder stuff that rarely gets done in church settings, I was really happy to listen to, again.

I will still probably not walk down the street singing it, though, because I try to use that kind of time (which I don't have tons of) to reinforce specific things I'm working on, and Christmas carols are usually not the right thing for that.
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Fagan_the_Pagan

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2011, 11:18:00 pm »
Quote from: Mithril;34921

Occasionally I get annoyed by the ones that are particularly sappy, but I don't generally mind Christmas music.  I actually prefer the older, more Christian carols to the newer ones from the 40s and so forth that are all about snow and sleigh bells.  I think it is because they are more musically interesting and complex.

My two favorites are "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and "Carol of the Bells."
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 12:18:32 am by Melamphoros »
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Melamphoros

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2011, 12:21:20 am »
Quote from: Fagan_the_Pagan;34949
Occasionally I get annoyed by the ones that are particularly sappy, but I don't generally mind Christmas music.  I actually prefer the older, more Christian carols to the newer ones from the 40s and so forth that are all about snow and sleigh bells.  I think it is because they are more musically interesting and complex.

My two favorites are "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and "Carol of the Bells."

 
Fagan,

Please remember that if you are going to trim out all of the text of a quote, you would need to put both parts of the code on separate lines.  Otherwise, the quote (and most importantly the link-back) won't show up.

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Fagan_the_Pagan

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 12:31:22 am »
Quote from: Melamphoros;34956
Fagan,

Please remember that if you are going to trim out all of the text of a quote, you would need to put both parts of the code on separate lines.  Otherwise, the quote (and most importantly the link-back) won't show up.

Thanks,
Melamphoros
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Oh, I didn't recall that rule.  I will be more careful in the future.
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KHarkless

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 12:44:06 am »
Quote from: Mithril;34921
How do you feel about this? Do you sing Christmas music? Do you mind if people think you're Christian when you're not? Or, how can I sing the songs I love so much without compromising my identity (for lack of a better phrase) as a Pagan?

 
I do sing Christmas music. I have a fairly friendly connection with the church I grew up in, and still get calls to sing in the choir when they're desperate for people in my part. Two of their soloists are not Christian, so they don't seem to have a problem with the assumed wayward agnostic daughter. For someone who's into choral music, it's really, really hard to avoid singing religious music anyway, because most of the good stuff was written for or is still being commissioned by religious organizations, and the selection of good secular music is slim by comparison, and I can count on one hand the number of choral songs I know that would describe my own spiritual feelings. But I've disassociated religious music from practicing religion since I realized I was a nonbeliever as a pre-teen, and it never really bothered me (in the same way that I'll sing pop/rock/folk/whatever songs with lyrics that obviously don't describe my own life.)

But beyond that, I actively enjoy the caroling tradition. I went caroling last night and we brought cookies and hot chocolate to our neighbors. ("We brought you some figgy pudding...and we won't go until you take some, so take some right now!") One of the people I went with is Mormon, and we have no political or religious beliefs in common, but can still do something together as long as she doesn't probe too deeply as to why I'm there. Plus, even the secular winter songs don't make sense...when I used to carol at the faculty club's holiday party at the college I went to in southern California, we'd be singing "Let It Snow" in 70 degree sunny weather with palm trees. Cognitive dissonance R us!

Melamphoros

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 12:45:38 am »
Quote from: Fagan_the_Pagan;34958
Oh, I didn't recall that rule.  I will be more careful in the future.

 
Well, it's not so much a rule as it is a weird glitch in the forum's programming.  But still, it needs to be visible;)


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KHarkless

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 12:57:06 am »
Quote from: Mithril;34921
Or, how can I sing the songs I love so much without compromising my identity (for lack of a better phrase) as a Pagan?


Forgot to respond to this part of your question. I would never use this excuse when arguing against government-sponsored religion, but as a personal thing, it's a bit different: if you consider it part of your own cultural history or as an artistic thing, it's a lot easier to justify. One of the guys I went caroling with was a practicing Hindu who just likes to try out what he considers American cultural practices that he can't do at home in India, and to be around friends. All that really matters is that you can justify something to yourself, whether it's because you like something for aesthetic reasons or because you want to share company with family or whoever. You know your own reasons in your heart.

Maps

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 11:30:56 am »
Quote from: Mithril;34921
How do you feel about this?

Living up to my name as the Human Radio, I absolutely love Christmas music and will sing along if I ever hear them. Old, new, religious, secular, doesn't matter to me. I love love love Christmas and I don't care who knows! :B

Sleigh Ride and O Holy Night are probably my two favorites, though. The old Christian carols/hymns are really powerful, and when I hear them being sung by a choir or with a full orchestra (Pavarotti's Cantique de Noël is my favorite), they will almost bring me to tears. As for holiday gospel music, I'm a fan too.

But I agree with Randall; Jesus and the Christian god has been there for many people that I care about and has done amazing things in their lives, so I have no problem acknowledging that, defending them should they come under attack, and celebrating with them. (Just don't drag me to a service... snooorefest!)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 11:31:48 am by Maps »

Mithril

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 11:50:30 am »
Quote from: KHarkless;34960
For someone who's into choral music, it's really, really hard to avoid singing religious music anyway,


Exactly. And I didn't have a problem singing it in college choir, because we *were* the college choir, and no assumption was made that we were Christian. The entire congregation was aware that a good number weren't Christian, so that didn't bother me. It's just that in going to church with my mom, I don't want people to think "Oh, I'm glad Jesus has found her and brought her back to us" or whatnot and I don't want my mom to think I've "reformed", either, but I don't want to flat out tell her I'm not Christian and I never will be, because that would do more harm than good. I guess I could just not sing during the service like I used to, but then I get even more resentful that I have to go.

KHarkless

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 01:12:08 pm »
Quote from: Mithril;35003
Exactly. And I didn't have a problem singing it in college choir, because we *were* the college choir, and no assumption was made that we were Christian. The entire congregation was aware that a good number weren't Christian, so that didn't bother me. It's just that in going to church with my mom, I don't want people to think "Oh, I'm glad Jesus has found her and brought her back to us" or whatnot and I don't want my mom to think I've "reformed", either, but I don't want to flat out tell her I'm not Christian and I never will be, because that would do more harm than good. I guess I could just not sing during the service like I used to, but then I get even more resentful that I have to go.


It sounds like you have more of a problem coming to terms with attending church as someone who isn't part of the religion than the music itself. Can you find an excuse to do something else on that day (like wrapping gifts, visiting relatives, or cooking) and just get your music kick somewhere else?

Asch

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2011, 01:37:26 pm »
Quote from: Mithril;35003


I prefer these carols http://www.amazon.com/Its-Beginning-Look-Like-Zombies/dp/0061956430/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324060556&sr=8-1
 
Due to over-saturation I find most Xmas songs obnoxious or saccharine, there are a few exceptions but in general I kinda ignore 'em. Especially as I'm not a singer. However, as others have pointed out I would argue that in general they're more of a cultural aspect than a religious one for the average person.

yewberry

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Re: Singing Christmas Music
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2011, 07:18:22 am »
Quote from: Mithril;34921
This is something that I've been thinking about the past several weeks. I love Christmas carols, and can't help but wanting to sing them. On my own, I just sing them and don't think about the words, but in public (specifically, the Christmas Eve service I go to to keep my mom happy), as much as I want to sing, I can't bring myself to because I don't want to misrepresent myself as Christian.


 I sometimes sing "Baby Got Back" really loudly in the shower (and now and then after tipping a glass or two).  Even though I don't actually have any strong feelings about big butts one way or the other.

Stop worrying about what people think of you belting out some Drummer Boy.  Life's way, way too short.

Brina
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 07:19:10 am by yewberry »

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