Saturday, December 17, 2016

Certainly Not a Secularized Handel

My mom went to see George Frideric Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ and the maestro went off on an anti-Trump rant. Is nothing sacred anymore?

There are a lot of traditions about "Messiah" that I've never understood, mainly as it's an Easter piece rather than Christmas, but it stops being "sacred" when it becomes a lightweight substitute for actual worship.

The reaction to the last exercise in democracy has made everything political, although I would argue that's been the case for the last decade or so.  Recently, at the annual meeting of our diocese, a retired bishop, who takes credit for beginning a ministry to aid Middle-Eastern refugees, claimed that it was begun not because of scriptural direction or careful theological reasoning, but in order to take a slap at the vice-president-elect, who had signed a "religious freedom" act when he was governor of Indiana.  An elderly collection of attendees applauded, of course, as they appreciated the virtue signalling of an equally elderly cleric.  That generation was particularly fond of drawing lines between people and calling the lines "inclusive" and "diverse".

I couldn't help but wonder, though, were I a Trump supporter, or a believer in religious freedom, if that would have convinced me that the greater church did not welcome my perspective, my devotion, or my life; that I was somehow intellectually and morally inferior to them.  Indeed, that approximately half of the U.S. population was inferior to them.

It's a real puzzler as to why the church is dying, isn't it?