Not everything produced by fundamentalism is cheesy or badly performed. I enjoyed this performance by the BJU Musical Mission Team immensely.
It’s worth taking the good where you can find it.
Posted by Darrell
Wow. I’d like to thank Jack Dorsey for inventing Twitter which allowed me to follow SFL which allowed me to have this first. I’d also like to thank Darrell for randomly posting this GOH at just the time I fired up the ol’ laptop. God is so good.
And He rewards those who tweet Him.
Third! i hope
I was in this group 20 years ago. The leaders are outstanding people. That trip did much to solidify my faith and give me direction in life.
And it was lots of fun to sing with such outstanding vocalists!
I think they feel trapped. They go to Minnick’s church, and their entire life is wrapped up in BJU.
This wouldn’t be the first time they were ordered to shut up about something. My junior year, she was offered a study tour to England. Price: $2000 per person. Great deal! Trouble is, the Department Head was already planning a study tour to England. Price: $4000 per person. All the people who had already signed up for the Department Head’s trip started canceling, and signing up for the less expensive trip. The Head ordered her to stop advertising her trip. She complied…after telling me what was going on. So I went to every single person on the Head’s list, told them what was going on, and asked them to switch or cancel just to stick their finger in the eye of that pompous ass. Everyone did. I then recruited enough people so that the cheaper tour got to happen, but the Head’s tour did NOT happen.
In England, one of our stops was at the Rock Island Diner, which is one of those ’50s diners with a 1957 Chevy Bel Air coming out of the wall over the bar, and a live DJ spinning old records. She knew every song, and we had a wonderful time. The following summer, I was on the Musical Mission Team, which had the wonderfully fantabulous mission of educating the poor, benighted heathens of Europe about the evils of Steve Green and Sandy Patti.
To their credit, when confronted on BJU’s hypocrisy regarding their use of music by men like Tschaikovsky while rejecting music by Christians, our leaders did not try to take the BJU party line. They said that sometimes, we have to follow the Spirit where it leads us. I am still a bit surprised that this declaration didn’t land them in trouble, since the wife of the current president was on that mission team.
“They said that sometimes, we have to follow the Spirit where it leads us.” Yeah, that wasn’t what God had told them to do but what they wanted to do. But the only way to justify it was to somehow believe God had a hand in it. Sad that people can’t use decent judgement but must follow the code or have to “divine” things. Logic challenged, Spirit trump card.
Actually, they were precisely right in what they said. On some issues, the Bible is silent, and we have liberty to follow our own conscience, which is guided by the Spirit if we are believers. How else to interpret passages like Romans 14?
It is quite possible for Christians to be guided by the Spirit, yet to disagree over the minutae (such as music styles, or diet, or days of worship, or clothing styles). It is the responsibility of the Christian to seek peace in such cases…not to condemn others for disagreeing with him.
And in all things, shouldn’t we seek to follow the Spirit’s guidance? Jesus said that the Comforter would teach us, and guide us into all truth.
I agree, MSK. I may just have a knee jerk reaction to the phrase “where the Spirit leads.” Absolutely, we have liberty and are informed by the renewing of our minds through Scripture which is the Spirit’s work applying to us. Though I have seen so many cases(in Charismatic circles) where this type of phrasing has been nothing more than self justification for silly things based on a feeling someone thought was from God. The people in your story may have meant nothing of the sort.
I’m not condemning them for using what they felt like, I was saying that especially in a religious institution’s framework if you are going against the rule book, it better be Spirit led. Why couldn’t you just say, “we wanted to and felt it was still in line with Scripture”?
I agree with your knee-jerk reaction. Now that they lack the power to silence me, the IFB bullies are quite startled when I roar in their face anytime they try to pull that garbage on me. How many times I have heard them say some piffle about “the Spirit’s leading” to justify why they think that everyone else should stop doing something, especially if that Something is fun. Or, “I’ll have to pray about it” when you ask for their approval to do something. “The Spirit’s Leading” is a way to stifle debate and force compliance when they have no biblical basis for their position, and “I’ll have to pray about it” means that they want to say no, but they lack the guts, and they want to appear to be deeply spiritual, so they leave you dangling for all eternity (“Still praying!”). Either way, I’m not having any more of it.
But back to the point – our team leader didn’t use the Spirit as a copout that day. Quite the opposite, in fact. Let me see if I can describe the scenario more clearly.
BJU Team Leader during our seminar: You shouldn’t listen to Steve Green and Sandi Patti because they are evil spawn of Satan, and it is a slippery slope from them to truly evil hard-core music like Barry Manilow or the Carpenters.
German dude during Q&A: Does BJU use Tschaikovsky’s music?
BJU: Yes! In fact, we have performed entire concerts of his music.
German dude: But Tschaikovsky was a blasphemer, and Steve Green and Sandi Patti are our Christian siblings. So, why is it okay for you to promote the works of God-haters, but it is NOT okay for me to listen to Christian music that was written to glorify God?
BJU: Loooooooong pause. Then, rather than dreaming up some cockamamie excuse to justify the BJU position or to make it seem somehow biblical: “You must seek the Spirit’s leading and act in accordance with that leading.”
The clear implication (clear to everyone in the room that day) was that the Spirit’s leading, in areas where the Bible is silent, is more important than the BJU rulebook. So be free! Be joyful! Worship God!
Them words is heresy in a certain small, pitiful, outwardly-beautiful-but-inwardly-desperate section of Greenville, South Carolina.
It is very, very difficult to leave. Thank you for filling out the survey.
No, I don’t think so Kreine. Your leaders are some of the most vicious, duplicitous gossipers on the campus of BJU and in the city of Greenville. Nothing sweet about these people at all.
You know, I was just going to let this one go, but it has been eating at me (and I was asked about it), and so I’m going to answer.
I lived with these people for parts of two summers, and worked with them outside of those times, and observed them for extended periods of time outside of THOSE times. I never saw one iota of evidence to support your contention regarding their character. In fact, you are the first person I have ever heard to say a word against them.
Accusations on this website are backed by evidence (websites, emails, Youtube clips) so overpowering, only those with a Kool-Aid IV could deny its legitimacy. If you have such evidence to support your accusations, please stand and deliver. Otherwise, I’m calling Poppycock (rather than the somewhat richer things that I COULD call with my Army-enhanced vocabulary).
Amazed by Gracs: Please have the courage and decency to message me about your accusations about me and my husband. How is it that we are vicious and duplicitous.
I was in McCauley’s church choir fall of 1977. He was one of the few teachers that made that place bearable. I don’t know all the ins and outs of everything that’s happened since leaving in 1978, but I enjoyed my interactions with the McCauleys immensely. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I hate BJU and pray every day for the place to close, but I do believe in the truth, and that is that not everyone who is there is bad or evil.
Did you have permission from the victim to make her account public?
If not, you’re way out of line to share this personal information on the internet.
I hope Darrell see’s it and deletes your comments outing her like this.
BTW: I know this faculty couple you speak so lowly of. The wife/mother was one of the few at BJU to show me they believed me or to show me any kindness whatsoever when she found out what I had faced in my life. The wife/mom went out of her way to visit me in the hospital and hug me instead of telling me what a terrible sinner I was for being depressed. The Mr. was kind to me too.
really good harmony!
That was good. But oh the delicious irony of BJU singers performing a “negro” spiritual!!!
This “spiritual” dates to the antebellum period, and it was a slave song of liberation. “Steal away to Jesus” was code for sneaking away from slavery in the night and escaping to Canada (or Mexico, in some cases), just as “Crossing the River Jordan” in the song by that name was code for crossing the Ohio, the boundary between “slave states” and “free states.”
Here’s a slightly older version:
“STEAL AWAY TO JESUS”
from The Books of American Negro Spirituals
by J. W. Johnson, J. R. Johnson
Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus
Steal away, steal away home
I ain’t got long to stay here
My Lord, He calls me
He calls me by the thunder
The trumpet sounds within-a my soul
I ain’t got long to stay here
Green trees are bending
Po’ sinner stand a-trembling
The trumpet sounds within-a my soul
I ain’t got long to stay here
Given this context, it’s a very ironic choice for a group of white BJU students to perform, given Bob Jones’ history of fighting against civil rights and racial justice.
I majored in Music Ed at BJU. I did not learn of the Underground Railway code hidden in Spirituals until years after graduation when I was preparing lessons and teaching classes of my own.
One would think the topic would’ve been touched upon in Music History or Church Music classes…
Yes, one would think! It’s been astounding to me to find out what basic pieces of information I am missing even though I studied hard and did well in almost all levels of school at Bob Jones. It almost seems like there was more erroneous teaching I have had to undo than the good that could remain. So, so frustrating!
Great background info, BG! Now I love those old songs even more.
You haven’t really lived until you’ve heard Reverend Pearly Brown sing this hymn. If you don’t know this version, drop everything and listen right now:
Now, I’d like to hear a black choir sing that the way it was meant to be done.
It’s not a choir, but here’s the incomparable Mahalia Jackson, with Nat King Cole:
Good stuff. Thanks.
Here’s one by a black choir that’s a good mix of the gospel and classical styles.
Also, that BJU one was superb. Some spirituals translate better for classical settings than others, and that song is one of them.
I badly needed something encouraging tonight, and this post did it.
Good acoustics. Good stuff. Where was this performed? It looks like a museum or a cathedral.
That was my first thought as well. The acoustics are the “fifth voice” in this rendition. The ceiling reminds me of Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary, Indiana, where our High School choir (Bishop Noll Institute… the OTHER Hammond building) sang the Baccalaureate Mass at my graduation. (Shout out to BNI grads…”Warriors… Come out and playyyyeeyaaay!”)
This team travels around Europe every summer, singing wherever they are allowed to sing. I don’t know exactly where this was recorded, but it was probably in Germany.
That was Germany.
Here’s my contribution to the Spirituals:
OK… Here’s the Fairfield Four singing “Po’ Lazarus in the concert for the film, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? BTW, This is from an amazing concert DVD called “Down From the Mountain”, performed at the Ryman Auditorium (Grand Old Opry venue)in Nashville Tn. Besides the Fairfield Four, it has performances by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Ralph Stanley, Alison Krause, and (my heart!!) Emmylou Harris. Many more “Roots” Music artists as well, including a trio of adolescent sisters singin “in the Highways, In the Hedges”. Another highlight is Gillian, Alison and Emmylou singing “I’ll Fly Away”. Produced by T-Bone Burnett. You NEED this DVD. Http://youtu.be/x-IiEXo5j20
Sorry… The link doesn’t work. Can someone who ‘knows how’ please post a link to YouTube “Po Lazarus” by The Fairfield Four? They are (to quote Holly Hunter) “A Nashville institution, and a National treasure!”
The link worked fine when I pasted it into my browser.
Let’s try it again:
I believe this song was first recorded by the great Alan Lomax, back in the 1930s or 40s. It is on one of his collections of prison work songs and hollers.
I assume the singers’ overalls are a nod to the field-worker origins of the song.
Right… The prison overalls (and the pick-axe swinging motions) are in reference to the song as it was performed in the movie by a chain gang working on a railroad.
If you haven’t seen “O, Brother Where Art Thou?” (A version of Homer’s Odyssey, by the Coen brothers, set in depression-era Appalachia) you really should.
Yep, I’ve seen OBWAT, and it’s great.
Ralph Stanley brings down the house in that picture.
By the way, the title of “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” is a sly allusion to Preston Sturges’ 1941 movie “Sullivan’s Travels.” Somehow I’d never seen the latter flick until this week.
BTW, I saw/heard Gillian Welch and David Rawlings in concert last year. I enthusiastically recommend them if you have a chance to see their act.
Thank you. I have several soundboard bootlegs of Gillian and David performing in small venues around the time of her first album, but I’ve yet to attend their concert. Maybe someday I’ll get the chance to see the Orphan Girl.
In the meantime:
“I want to reach that Glory Land-
I want to shake my Savior’s hand-
And I want to sing that rock and roll”.
It was a nice rendition.
Very nice; I have a fondness for a capella music, and this was beautiful
As a choral student, I’m really impressed with this. Such a rich tone, and a really great blend.
Hi, Kreine!… I’m glad you think of my family as sweet, but it does make me sad that you cannot respect a couple who has sacrificed so much. No one can understand the incredible position they were (and still are) in, and God’s grace covers it all no matter what anyone thinks.
Thank you, MSK, for your kindness!!! I’m glad to know that people from our past can love us all even if we don’t agree on everything… isn’t that what family is all about?
AmazedByGrace… I’m thankful I don’t know who you are, but your words simply do not match your screen name… I am sorry for you.
Kreine and Amazedby “grace”
First off, I’m the sexual assault victim you were referring to…thanks a lot for taking it upon yourself to share my very personal, extremely complicated story in about 6 words for all the world to see. I have indeed filled out a GRACE survey, was probably the first in line, but that is for me to tell the world- not you.
As for lacking respect for my parents and their “response” to my situation, let me assure you- you have no idea the immense time and energy they put into defending me and fighting the institution. Why they are still there is very complicated and has nothing to do with not being “supportive” of me, nor is it any of your business why they are still there. Not everyone there *wants* to be.
And amazed by “grace”- you clearly have never been amazed by grace. Someone who has experienced grace, in turn gives grace out. I’ve lived most of my life in non-grace based churches, so I am just now learning grace myself. I struggle to give grace out to others, like to you right now, for instance. But I’m not going to take the hypocritical path of giving myself an anonymous “grace” name to hide behind.
Grow a pair, and contact my parents yourself if you have a problem with them. I’ve never known my father to ever blow anyone off.
And think long and hard about your screen name. If Christ has shown you grace for all your terrible sins, show a little to my parents. Or pick another screen name.
To everyone else reading this, if you have anything at all or know of anyone else who needs to fill out a GRACE report, please do so and/or urge others to do the same. The U did great injustices to quite a few of us victims- injustices that have changed a part of us forever, but these stories need to be told to GRACE for anything to ever change.
And for the record, my parents always backed me up
And believed me, even when the school did not.
Oh yes…and let’s hide behind anonymity to talk about the “worst gossipers in Greenville”…bc that is not at ALL “gossiping”. And how does one measure how someone is the “worst” gossiper in a particular city…in inches, feet?
AmazedByGrace…you should also know, that I know who you are and there are ALWAYS 2 sides to a divorce. My parents listened to the ONE side that actually came and talked in person to them. They did not spread around the stuff they heard- trust me on that one, b/c you would be a lot angrier at them if they actually said what they knew.
So, if listening to one person tell his side of a horrific divorce constitutes them as the “worst gossipers in Greenville” then you stick by that definition.
Your families claws coming out and tearig at everyone who dares to question the situation is just proving a lot of what they heard. It was totally fine for one side of the divorce to tell everyone her side…and I mean LOTS of people, but it’s not okay for the the other side? Doesn’t sound like Amazing Grace to me.
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