Friday, October 05, 2012

A Debt of Gratitude to Jeffrey and CMAA

I want anyone reading this to know that the circumstances that culminated with a parting of the ways between myself and Chant Cafe, and perhaps by extension to relationships to certain colleagues and friends in the CMAA family, do not reflect anything other than a fundamental philosophical difference of opinion concerning the content of Jeffrey Tucker's article, "Why we must chant," in which he articulated quite passionately about the act of sacred chanting proving a potent force for personal and communal transformation. I can and have testified to that truth and reality in the six plus years of my association with CMAA, and have Jeffrey, Arlene, and particularly William Mahrt among so many others to thank for helping light the path to my personal revelation that, among all the ways one can pray and praise to one's Creator, most Beloved and arbiter of my soul's destiny, "chant" is paramount in my heart.
I have to say that though I understand there may be much from Islamic chant traditions that, besides still sharing "DNA" strands among the history of sacred song in the Holy Land among peoples of the Book, I am personally disabled and distracted by the larger dissonances that differentiate so many profound and irreconcilable dogmatic problems between Judeo-Christianity and Islam as "belief systems." I can't and won't apologize for this confession, just as I would not demand from the Imam who stood before a packed audience in our parish hall and blithely, if not blatantly, expiated how Islamic theology subsumes the Person of Jesus Christ to a revered, but penultimately all too human culmination of prophecy that would be fulfilled finally elsewhere in history and time immemorial.
This is no criticism of Islamic theology nor belief, nor ritual practices of which Jeffrey rightly extolled. But I would think that someone might just ponder the irony of how we Catholic Christians verbally eviscerate each other within many circuses of media every hour of every day, and then once in blue moon pause to remind ourselves to consider the true meaning of "in all things, charity," then there's more quiet murmuring about the rhetoric of "charity" and we then resume our internecine warring. Yet and still, we are commanded by Christ, the Logos present before time, to be tolerant and charitable to all who give offense. I accept that, even as it relates to very large existential dynamics between the human instrumental institutions that guide each and all of us towards achieving true discipleship. But as I mentioned elsewhere, the eschatological "endgame" of our respective theologies are fundamentally and I fear permanently at odds. Our "lex orandi, lex credendi' as I perceive the discipline has a much different resonance than with other religious belief systems and practices.
Chant is huge to most all of the great traditions, as natural and necessary to living as breathing. And there might be much to be gained and learn from following those sinews of commonality. But what texts we sing amount to much more than "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony....It's the Real Thing..."
Again, Mr. Jeffrey Tucker is a gentleman and scholar, both qualities I seldom exhibit. I think that I will  breathe a bit easier out of the "echo chamber" here and there, and likely others will also sigh in relief as well. Thank you, Jeffrey.


Liam said...

Historical background: in the medieval era, Islam was considered more as a profound heresy about the nature of the Trinity than an unrelated faith like, say, Zoroastrianism or paganism.

What I objected to in JT's piece was this:

Karl · less than 1 minute ago
I missed this conversation, but it seems to me that " But strangely, people use this fact -- and I heartily approve that the clerics do not run the government! -- as an excuse to not practice their faith at all except in the most superficial possible way" is a dangerously piece of rhetorical overreach. The temptation to grandiose superlatives is hard to resist, it seems. Anyway, considering how many Catholics for so many centuries have lived a deep faith without experiencing much chant in their live, this statement is just flat out untrue, and does a deep disservice to the cause of chant.

I know that's not what leapt out at you and smacked you, but that it is what did to me.

And the cause is the usual one: a need to find a grand concept for everything. The thing is, we love and worship persons, not concepts, and concepts are subordinate goods, and for people of an intellectual character, we have to constantly detach from our need to shove everything into grand concepts. (This is not theological Ludditism, btw.)

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry about this.

Mr. C said...

Thank you both.
I know that this will all come out better in the long run for the Cafe. I'm hoping some relationships will also be inspired to repair that were strained long before the flap.
I'm happy just to be a speck of dust in the cosmos of the Lord of the Starfields!
Peace to G and KLS

Hidden One said...

I still don't understand what the disagreement is actually over.

Steve said...

I agree with Hidden One - I don't really understand what the disagreement is about and why it is such a big deal.