The Chickens of Change

Let me get this out of the way right now. I think chickens are stupid.

peepsNow….before some of you get your feathers fluffled, let me give you my chicken credentials, so that you know…that I know these fowl dummies.

I grew up in the era of getting little purple, pink, and pastel-dyed chicks for Easter. No…
not the marshmallow kind..


The live kind.

Oh…stop gasping!!!  Remember, this was the era of no seatbelts, leaving kids in the car while you went into the grocery store….and people smoked in every closed building.

Live chicks were no big deal. After they grew their coming of age-pullet-feathers, we put them with the other chickens. The weather-hardened ones. The ones who stood around, gawping as a chicken hawk soared down and took them for a little road trip. The ones I put in a box and they’d go to sleep because they thought it was night. The ones who couldn’t figure out how to get back on the other side of the fence to their chicken buddies—even though they were standing in front of the open gate….You know…the  stupid ones.

Maybe if I wouldn’t have put the purple or pink chicks with the dumb ones, they would’ve grown up to be geniuses. By the time I was old enough to stop receiving baby chicks for Easter and start asking for a chocolate stash, I was convinced that chickens didn’t have the good sense God gave a whisk broom.

That’s why this trend of urban chicken farming, amuses me. I have a friend who waxes on for fifteen minutes about the pleasurable sounds of chatty chickens. For her, it’s a whole brilliant, new world of discovery as she talks about when they roost and how to get an egg that doesn’t break in her hand.

I keep my mouth shut. Why?

“Stardust Melody” 1927
One of the most recorded songs of the 20th Century

Because years after I became too cool to raise color-tinted chickens, I discovered “good” music. I once went on and on about this great new song. I even sang a couple of verses for my Dad. He let me have my moment of discovery. It was a while before he told be that “Stardust Melody” was a hit when he was young. It was just making the rounds again.


Things change. Things stay the same…kinda the same…

I still think chickens are stupid.

White People Trying to Clap

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the Tell-Me  poll

What Bothers You About Church Music?

 Here are the results (some logical; some hilarious)

  •  50% of folks feel the music is too loud.(No it’s not okay to arrive early and unplug the speakers as a solution.)
  • 40% are tired of singing all the verses.(C’mon, c’mon…let’s get to the sermon and get out of here.)

And then there were the Other answers

  • Coyote singing

One person felt it was a sin for her husband to open his mouth because he sang so

Let ‘er rip, Granny.

off-key.  Ohhhh….I understand that one. You know how a coyote in pain yowls?  I’m sorry to say that’s just how my granny warbled.  One note covered 6 scales and she belted it out with a gusto that made little kids climb under the pews. She put her whole heart into: “Make a joyful noise.”

  • Morgue Music

Another person couldn’t stand music that sounded like there was a half inch of space between the notes. Tooooo slooooow. And it was even worse if funky instruments were added. “Did you ever shake a maraca to music slower than sunrise?
(Uh…no…maybe shaking the maraca harder will wake a few folks up?)

The comment that made me laugh out loud was:

What Bothers You About Church Music?

  • White people, trying to clap.

    The rhythm seems a little stiff to me.

I’m guessing this commenter visited a Lutheran church. And I ask that you give me a chance to explain.

I’ll admit many Lutherans are clapping-challenged.  It began long ago as little kids when we stood bored and stiff-legged in church and decided to pinch a sibling for entertainment. Even though a “pincher” could expect a swat…it was great fun.  If you did it several times, you’d even get hauled out of church, thus missing that guy yammering up front and the woman who coyote- yodeled during hymns.

So from the get-go, we were told to keep our hands to ourselves.  Fingers clenched firmly at our sides or glued to a hymnbook were the only two accepted positions.  Even if you were very old, blind in one eye and couldn’t see out of the other, you held a hymn book and pretended to sing along. Our hands never had a chance to join the tempo. All those Sunday School hand motions to “Zaccheaus was a wee, little man” didn’t help. We’re not practiced at clapping.

I’m guessing the ability to follow the rhythm ebbs and flows along cultural lines. I attended PowWows with a friend who is Cherokee. She’d spend hours, trying to teach me the Friendship Dance. It’ a simple side-step move, traveling in a circle. My problem is…without warning—the drums stop, leaving me shuffling a step or two in silence. In some mystical way, everyone else knew beforehand the drumbeat is going to stop. My friend would squint and shake her head. “Can’t you hear that slight change in cadence?”

Nope. I”m deaf from trying to learn to clap.

But the best comment came from Merril at Snowbird Press. I’m sharing her name because she also put her lovely thoughts in the comment section for all to see.
She said:

“Our church’s organ went the way of all things, and our organist is now in a nursing home. We were left with either using recorded music or no music at all. That’s when The Spirit moves. Today we have a wonderful guitar choir that was formed by a few of our members. The music brings us together joyfully… can you ask for more?”

No. You can’t ask for more.
That kind of puts it in perspective, doesn’t it?
Sometimes it takes having only a little to appreciate a lot.

Clapping Photo: Captain Kobold

Soul-Rattling Music

The audience at the Jersey Boys’ off-broadway production sighed with “oooohs” and “aaaaahs.”

It wasn’t from any pyrotechnics popping on-stage.  It came from the beginning beats of the music (Kind of like: I can name that song in 3 notes).  And when a familiar Frankie Valli tune rolled out…folks sighed, swayed, and let the music travel somewhere deep within them.

That brings me to one of the biggest complaints I hear about CHURCH (or rather REASONS NOT TO GO TO CHURCH. Often people say….

“The music sucks.”

Yes, I know that’ll offend some folks, but if you haven’t heard it before, then you should know…some people….church people, non-church, borderline church goers, young, old…have mentioned this.


When a song that people really like shows up in the liturgy…you can tell immediately.  Voices swell on Beautiful Savior. Everyone knows the words…at least to the first verse. There’s no mumbling like the buzz of the drive-up intercom at a Taco Bell. Nope. Those verses are belted out loud and clear.  Harmony blooms.


What’s a great tune for one person…drives another person to gnash their teeth.  One summer we experimented with blue grass music. Banjos, pickers, juice harps. The whole service. Every service.  Every song. For me…a little went a long way.


And while it’s dandy to explain to the MusicSucksPerson why we sing, I’ve found it does little to change attitude.  They either choose not to sing or they go to the bathroom during a song or simply don’t come.


Get it off your chest. Take the poll.

What is it about church music you don’t like?  If you looooove everything, that’s wonderful, but you’ve probably heard someone complain about church music. What’d they say? Click the poll button.  You can even enter “other” and tell me about it.  Go ahead. Vote. Then come back and vote again.

The results will be posted on the August 30.

Perhaps, together, we can find the musical way to rattle a few souls out of apathy.

Photos: altrocker_99