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No, I don’t mean the big screen at the movie theater. You know, that big screen your church spent $30,000 to install a couple years ago…the one up in the front of the church sanctuary.

What do I think of those screens? Well, I suppose that’s best left to another post. I have noticed one thing that I just don’t like about them, though. Have you noticed that they can’t put the music up on the screen, but only the lyrics? There are copyright laws that govern that, I understand.

I used to sing tenor, back in my high school and college days. I wasn’t too bad, either. Recently I have noticed first my speaking voice has lowered considerably, and now when I sing I can’t get anywhere as high as I used to. Anything above “middle C” causes great pain in my throat and great anguish among those within earshot of me! On the other end of the scale, I have some difficulty getting below a low A, and a low F is almost impossible. I guess that basically makes me a baritone.

And so in recent years I have been using the hymnal at church and trying to familiarize myself with the bass parts of the hymns we sing. I have finally gotten used to looking at the bottom notes, but I still have trouble seeing both the notes and the lyrics on songs whose lyrics I am not familiar with.

At any rate, this means that while most people in the congregation are staring up at the screen, I’m burying my head in the hymnal trying to sing the proper notes for my voice. I have also noticed that a lot of folks don’t know the hymns we’re singing, at least not well enough to sing the right notes and the right rhythm. Of course, a lot of them can’t read music anyway, so it’s really no different than if they didn’t have a screen and had to use the hymnal.

Well, I guess that shoots my argument to heck, doesn’t it?

Even so, we still need hymnals for those of us who want to sing parts, and want to sing the hymns correctly. The rest of the congregation will just carry on as they always have, I suppose.

It’s all moot, at this point, because our churches have United Methodist hymnals, and they can still get United Methodist hymnals. I believe the supplement “The Faith We Sing” is still readily available, too. The UMC did recently decide to table plans to make a new hymnal ASAP, because of the economy and a lack of funds, but it’s not like we don’t still have hymnals in our churches.

But if we’re going to continue spending mega-amounts of money on those big white screens in the front of our churches, something should be done about making it possible to put the music up there as well, and not just the lyrics. Maybe some senator or congressman/woman can work on modifying the copyright laws to allow it, at least in our churches. Otherwise, I think the screens are kind of silly, and a waste of money.

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