Singing For Their Supper

It’s time now for another visit with a Traveling Musical Family. Unless you’ve been in a missionary family who was expected to perform (whether you were any good or not) you may not appreciate this quite as much as those of us who have been on the other side of the microphone.

On a side note, I’m not sure this style of performance was exactly what Patch the Pirate had in mind when he wrote this song.

89 thoughts on “Singing For Their Supper”

    1. Is 4 a record for “first” comments on a post? I’ll be watching for when we get our “fifth first” on a single post! 🙂

      I think Don knows how to celebrate that!

  1. my ex has soooo many nightmareish stories of being dragged around to her dad’s supporting churches. not to mention tales of having to wear skirts over her snowpants as a missionary kid in northern Canada in order to keep with BIMI’s standards!

    1. Ahhhh yes, skirts or culottes over the evil snowpants. I can sympathize with that. For a couple of years, we girls were allowed to wear fashionable leg-warmers under our skirts to school in the winter (in subzero Wisconsin), until the new youth pastor declared that they too closely resembled pants. Appearance of evil and all that… 🙄

      1. I’m still trying to digest the idea that this comment is not a joke. The idiocy is beyond belief.

  2. How do they plan on learning to speak a new language when they can’t even pronounce English words properly?

    1. It’s a shame they believe that tongues have ceased. They could really use the help. 🙂

  3. The congregation appreciated the words and the effort, if not the actual sound. I thought the little girl was cute, practically jumping to get off the platform. It has to be hard for kids, getting up and singing in front of strangers in unfamiliar churches week after week.

      1. Just checked out your blog. Enjoyed what I saw. I want to read “The Greener Grass Conspiracy.”

  4. Yes, I imagine that type of thing is tough for the whole family. That range totally doesn’t work for the kids though, if he wants the whole family singing, rather than just standing there. It is too low for them, or too high if they sing up.

    1. SFL exists to give us all a swift kick in the gizzard right when we are least expecting it! 🙂

      1. I welcome any and all swift kicks such as this as a reminder of why I left and why I am NEVER going back!

  5. A couple of seconds was enough for me. I feel sorry for the congregants, and especially the kids who have to get up there and perform, er, I mean, worshipfully sing… that stuff so often.

  6. I was always happy if they did this if they were good and seemed to enjoy it. I know probably were faking it if they did seem to enjoy it. The thought of them being ordered to embarrass themselves week after week for “the mission” was just horribly depressing. Feel so bad for especially the kids.

  7. I feel really sorry for the kids. The music really wasn’t “all THAT bad”…. I’ve heard worse! But those children……… they are constantly watched and criticized and expected to PERFORM all for the “glory of God” and they must be HAPPY about it. I know it all firsthand. I WAS one of those missionary wives, with four children!

    The music (nor the family) is not what is under criticism here. It’s the stupid notion of what constitutes missionary work and/or “God’s service” in the IFB circles! I really feel for this family they have a lot of stress and unhapiness ahead of them.

  8. My IFB dad played guitar and regularly sang “specials” (pronounced “spatials”) for all kinds of meetings and revivals and was pretty popular wherever we went.

    When I was about six or seven he got the idea that I should join him occasionally, and began intense rehearsals of revival songs. He insisted that I memorize the lyrics and not sing off the sheet because that’s the only way to guarantee that I really meant what I was singing and was taking it to heart. I hated, hated, hated it.

    I hated rehearsing until my mouth and throat hurt. I hated getting in front of people. I hated the songs. They were so effete and sentimental and saccharine.

    But I’m thankful for the overdose of revival music in that it drove me as an adult to a church that sings the Psalms. Hearty, masculine, war songs. Yarrrghghh.

    1. jwnevin: “specials”…pronounced “spatials”

      The funniest thing I’ve heard all day!!!! 😀

  9. First! God, that looked miserable. Do you know these people, Darrell, or are you assuming they’re missionaries because they have 5 kids?

    “I like my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth every once in a while.” – Groucho Marx

    1. The video is titled: “The Lawson Family- Missionaries to Brazil”

      So that’s what I’m going off.

  10. Unless it was for the purpose of having each of them read Scripture I think it is funny that they are each up there w/ a Bible in hand. Plus, dads voice is so loud!

    1. I’m guessing that maybe they were reading something from the Bible earlier before the song started because otherwise, it does look really silly or super-pious to be singing while holding Bibles.

  11. The mannequin delivery really makes me wonder whether these kids in travelling musical families truly enjoy doing this stuff. Or is this just another example of the IFB propensity toward animatronic performance, draining every song of emotion, dynamics and life?

    Jim K.

    1. I’m so glad I got out of the IFB early enough that my kids can be encouraged to SHOW physically the meaning of the words they’re singing.

      You described well the type of singing fundies approve of.

    1. It’s not all bad. The audience is usually very kind and you do get lots of attention. 🙂

      1. But look at the poor little girl in the front! She might just as well be wearing a burka. do you suppose she’s meant to grow into that horrible sack she’s wearing?

  12. Wow, it even had an unaccompanied section. You know it’s a high quality performance when the instruments stop playing.

  13. This reminds me, I brought a used copy of “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver. I should add it to my summer reading list.

    1. Barbara Kingsolver says it was a work of fiction. I swear I had those girls in my class at the Christian school I attended.

  14. This post has Supper in the title. The last post had Breakfast in the title. I am getting hungry. :mrgreen:

  15. As a former MK, I HATED performing. Not only would I get the bejesus beat out of me if I didn’t have “light in my eyes and a smile on my face” when I was singing, but I was normally in a matching outfit complete with lace bloomers sticking out of the bottom of my dress along with all of my other sisters. My parents BANKED on the fact that we looked like the perfect Barbie & Ken family with submissive godly daughters that they could some day auction off in a betrothal relationship to a pastor’s son. Yikes. Ok, I’m better now 😆

    1. Were they planning on auctioning ALL of you off to a pastor’s son?

  16. Haha. That was cute really, they sang with Gusto and I’ve never heard it with such — twang. I think they all looked like they may have liked it except the two in the middle. Is the one clutching the Bible the wife or a teenage daughter?

  17. On my goodness, I’ve been in churches with this family. This is getting to close to home. I hope that you never find my family.

    Understand that some of us are trapped in the system.

    By the way, I normally hate to hear missionaries sing. In the ifb system you do much better if you are a jack of all trades so people TRY to do everthing.

    1. I never have tried to conform to the ultra spiritual and haven’t been the most separated. I think God is strong enough to get missionaries out without the foolishness.

  18. Not bad. They didnt seem forced into it. Some kids like the attention-some don’t.

    We arent critical of teachers when they “make” a child give an oral book reprot etc. –it’s good to be taught to present yourself publically. We all need to do things we may not necessarily enjoy at first.
    But beating your kids for not doing it is just wrong.
    The dad sounded like the only one who can’t sing

    1. You’re definitely right that some kids enjoy this.

      However, I don’t think the comparison to oral book reports is the same. Oral reports are relatively rare, perhaps once a quarter, and they’re done by EVERY child in the class, not just one, and they’re done in front of a classroom of students that you know very well, often having been with them since kindergarten. Not quite the same as standing in front of a church-full of strangers week after week.

    2. It IS good to be taught how to present yourself publicly. It’s a shame then, that Fundies have no clue how to do it, let alone teach their children.

      Take the video of the other day, railing against John Piper. That was one of the worst preaching styles I’ve ever seen – and I work for the Church of England. It was like he knew how he thought he should preach, because that’s how he’d seen it before, except, a) it’s an awful way of preaching, fundy style, and b) he was even doing that badly.

      One of the Church’s (y’know, catholic with a small ‘c’) biggest problems is not knowing how to present themselves. It frustrates me no end. No wonder everyone else thinks we’re boring or completely nuts.

  19. It’s the Duggar hair once again (of course, I’d be looking at the hair first).

    And, thanks Darrell for making me sing that song in my head for THE REST OF THE NIGHT!


  20. When I was a teenager my mom volunteered me to be the church pianist. I begged and pleaded not to, but was told that it was for God and that I didn’t have a choice.

    I played every service for several years and hated every second of it. My stomach would start hurting on the way to church and continue through the message. I’d feel my face get red every time I hit a wrong note.

    I’m not for pressuring kids to do something like that if they dread it every time.

  21. I have to go back on You Tube to listen to more Abney Park. That awful earworm has got to go 😀 😀

  22. The amusing part about this to me is that I know a missionary family that sings, but they both enjoy it and do it extremely well… and they sing plenty of non-hymns, too! I always feel a bit bad for them, because it’s true, anytime they’re anywhere around other people they’re begged to sing.

  23. Having sung this song rather often myself, I think the last few notes of the chorus have been changed. Did the missionary do his own thing with a couple of the notes?

  24. Oh my. This did bring back memories of being hauled around by my parents when they went from tiny church to tiny church in the ’70’s, singing for Jesus. At least my family could actually carry a tune. But invariably, my sister and cousin and I would be dragged up there with them to sing “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.” Dance, monkey, dance!

  25. I know this guy! I endured a couple of semesters with him at this baptist educational bastion… It makes me sad that that’s the first RH song I’ve heard since breaking into the frozen chosen.

  26. There HAS TO BE an easier way for missionaries to raise support, than for families to go from church to church and put on this dog and pony show. I always felt sorry for the missionary families that had to travel from church to church on deputation and then do it all over again for furlough (when they should be enjoying rest and time with their relatives.)

    Most teenagers would rather die than sing with their whole family, but then again then first born, usually goes along with the program. Let’s see how the others act on the next furlough.
    This kind of stress would have broken up my family.

  27. We know the Lawson family! And they actually have more than 5 children, it’s more like 8 (or 9?). I knew him from TBC, and the irony of him picking this song (they think that anything even slightly associated with BJU is the devil) is quite humorous.

  28. I know them. Haven’t seen them in over ten years, but I know them. They were a hoot when we were young couple just starting out. I wish them the best!

Comments are closed.