COMPROMISES!—Protestantism is reaching her hands across the gulf toward Catholicism in various ways. One of these is through laudation and employment of Catholic chorales and other music in vogue prior to the great Protestant revolt, not only against Rome's doctrines, but her music. Now, be it noted, Protestant schools of music are lauding medieval music, extolling its virtues, and incorporating its gems into their formalizing worship. That is to be expected. But for this subtle sophistry to seek entrance into our own schools through those who have unconsciously adopted it from the schools of Babylon is cause for concern. VVe must be on the alert, and resist every encroachment upon the music of the church as verily as in doctrine. We are to come out from the compromisings of apostatizing Protestantism, not to enter into them. Sound Fundamentalists, who have broken with compromising modernism, sometimes have a clearer grasp of such issues and a sharper differentiation in such matters than sonic of us appear to have. Let our ministry and our musicians brace against such encroachments.
FUMBLING!—When you go before the public in the proclamation of present truth, have every man assigned to his task and every man at his post. Rehearse in advance, so there will be no fumbling, no awkward pauses, nothing forgotten, no pitying smiles or expressions of disgust from a sophisticated public, no unfavorable verdict on the truth because of an unrepresentative setting. If you are using mechanical devices, such as an amplifier, still, motion, or sound pictures, try them out in advance. Get your distance and your focus ahead of time. Be all set to go. Have everything click. See that your screen is big enough for your audience, the wattage high enough to make the picture seen with ease, and your amplification sufficient to make it heard by all—including the hard of hearing. Make your devices aid, not hamper, the presentation of truth. Open-air work calls for even greater preparation and perfection of details. Watch your lighting. Avoid makeshifts. Keep things neat. The better the community, the greater the care needed. When we enter a professional field, let us not do it as amateurs. Let us not cheapen our glorious message by lack of preparation and by inefficiency, thus handicapping it by the clumsy touch of the novice. Let us avoid hasty makeshifts and guard against breakdowns. We have no right to experiment on the public and distract people from the truth. The public has a right to an impressive presentation when we issue a public invitation. Prepare, rehearse, perfect!
Display!—Is the solo, duet, trio, quartet, or choir number provided for the worship service rendered as an aid to divine worship, or as a display of human accomplishment ? If the latter—all too oft with a smirking smile, effected pose, dramatic tone, and ostentatious artistry—it were better never given. If it detracts from, instead of augmenting, the spirit of worship to God, it were better omitted. if the singer obscures the song and attracts attention to himself ; if attention is diverted to the performance and away from the purpose, and is centered on voice training and skill of rendition, instead of the message, it has missed the mark. That is why ornate numbers, frenzied conductor gesticulations, and not a few standard anthems belong elsewhere than in the Adventist church. The voice should be the transparent medium for a message, and the song the representative expression of the church at worship. Here is scope for the highest art. Here is challenge to uplift Christ through sacred song.
Discussion!—Discussion on representative committees at an Autumn Council or a General Confexence is one of the greatest unifiers and safeguards in the operation of the church in action. There the ripened study and experience of our varied leadership is brought to bear upon a given problem. Sincere questions are asked and answered. Weaknesses are pointed out and remedied. Doubtful minds are satisfied, and most recommendations are materially strengthened in the process. Then, when agreement is reached, unity in emphasis and application is achieved. It is one of the finest and most practical forms of education ever devised. Those just beginning in ,lines of work that take them to Autumn Councils learn how policies are formulated, how recommendations are devised and perfected, how budgets are distributed with equity, how transfers and adjustments are effected, and how balance is brought about between the various interests of our multiform work. This is the most democratic aspect of our work. Let freedom of discussion be preserved and sacredly protected.
L. E. F.