Conservative and Liberal Mennonite Debate Church Music

Let’s face it. Religious and political discourse is in serious decline these days. People prefer sound bites and memes to intelligent well-argued dialogue. In an effort to elevate the conversation, the Daily Bonnet has arranged this debate between a liberal and conservative Mennonite on the topic of church music. To represent the liberal position, we have Bethany Friesen of Peace Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. On the conservative side, we have Peter Wall of the Reinland Old Colony Church. Thanks for joining us!

The Daily Bonnet: Thanks Bethany and Peter for coming. Today we’re going to discuss church music. So, Peter, start us off. What do you think a worship service look like?

Peter: Oba, well, I think it should be just like in the old days before our churches were corrupted by all this modern thinking. Why change it if it ain’t broke?

Bethany: Hmmm….you’re entitled to your opinion, of course, Peter, but I really think churches should adapt with the times and not be stuck in the past.

The Daily Bonnet: Well, it seems like you’re pretty far apart on this issue.

Peter: Oba yo, but what do you expect? I’m a Bible believing Christian, not some liberal Mennonite from the city!

Bethany: Yeah, you can’t expect a sophisticated university-educated woman like myself to have anything in common with a rube like him. No offence, Peter.

Peter: None taken. I’m proud to be a rube.

The Daily Bonnet: So what, specifically, do you think a worship service should consist of?

Peter: Oba, that’s easy. A brief sermon. An offering. A few hymns. As they say, if it was good enough for the Mennonites in Molotschna, it’s good enough for me.

Bethany: Wait a minute, Peter. You’re into hymns?

Peter: Of course. Always have been.

Bethany: Hymns are the hottest thing right now.

Peter: Really? Will wonders never cease?!

Bethany: They just don’t write songs like they used to. Nothing beats 606 and 4-part harmony.

Peter: You’re right there, Bethany. Ach, too many churches with drums and electric guitar these days. That’s just too weltjlich!

Bethany: What you’re saying really resonates with me…

Peter: I don’t know what that means. Sounds like hippie talk to me.

Bethany: It means I agree with you. Church should not be for entertainment.

Peter: Agreed. What are your thoughts on responsive readings?

Bethany: Love them! I’m totally down with a good responsive reading every now and then. They’re all the rage these days.

Peter: Are they? Well, we’ve been doing them out in Reinland forever.

Bethany: Are you sure you’re conservative? Your church sounds pretty hip.

Peter: You like hymns and responsive readings. Are you sure you’re a liberal?

Bethany: Yeah, hymns are great! So much better than the modern repetitive worship songs created by large multinational corporations.

Peter: Yeah, those modern songs have no place in church. Nothing but hymns for me!

Bethany: Totally! Nothing but hymns.

Peter: Great! See you Sunday?

Bethany: I’ll be there.

Peter: You’ll have to sit in the women’s section.

Bethany: Oh, $&@!

(photo credit: Juliana Dacoregio/CC)

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