(In the Stuff Christians Like book, I confessed I sometimes find typos in the worship music. I don’t want to, it just happens. But when I read this great guest post from Julia Rhodes, I knew I wasn’t alone and had to share it with you. Enjoy!)
Proofreading your way through worship – by Julia Rhodes
I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way up front: I’m a professional editor. It’s what I get paid to do. So I’ll concede that I’m pretty much a big mouth-breather when it comes to punctuation and plural possessives.
But I’ll bet that even if you’ve got the grammatical sense of Snooki, you too have noticed a glitch in the Matrix on a given Sunday or two. There you are, in a moment of intense worship and reflection, singing along in the aisle of your mega church, holding your chai, reading the lyrics on the big screens line-by-line for comfort and security (because do you REALLY need to be reminded that the phrase is “you are holy” when you’ve just sung it for the eight-thousandth time?), and then all of a sudden WHAM. WHAM! Somebody spelled it “Jesus Chris.” You’ve just been punk’d by spelling. And I don’t mean Tori.
This actually happened at my church a while back. Jesus apparently had two first names, like Kevin James.
And the really awful thing was that the phrase “Jesus Christ” was repeated over and over again like a mantra, except on the screens it was “Jesus Chris,” “Jesus Chris,” which after a while began to sound like all of us were angry with a man named Chris.
It wouldn’t have been so terrible except that the mistake wasn’t corrected until the third service.
I’m sure you’ve been there, too. You’ve experienced the horror of getting mugged in a grammatical alley when all you were trying to do was to connect with God at church. You probably tried to downplay it later with your friends at Wendy’s, like, “Yea, heh, did you catch that ‘your’ in ‘You Are Holy’? I mean, puhleese! Heh.” Painful crickets dying slowly. “So…wanna talk about my aunt’s fungal infection?”
But let’s step back for a moment. I want to give worship service producers the benefit of the doubt. I’ll bet they got those Power Point slides from their 20-something worship pastor who typed them in a hurry the night before while in an intense spiritual reverie.
Plus, shouldn’t we be more interested in the MEANING of the words and not get hung up on adorable little aberrations?
A few points:
1. What Would Jesus Proof?
I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t fashion a whip of cords to drive the sloppy Power Point producer out of the service for demeaning his Father’s house. He has bigger concerns. Like the salvation of all mankind. But I’m sure he wouldn’t be opposed to the correct spelling of “Ebenezer” at Christmastime either, as in “here I raise my Ebenezer,” a phrase that has nothing to do, incidentally, with tiny people named Tim. (This just confuses the yule out of me — another holiday word I don’t understand, and because I don’t understand it will use as a stand-in for swear words when convenient.) But yea. Back to that salvation of all mankind thing.
2. Mr. Essene Monk, I Presume?
The Essenes were guys who transcribed the Scriptures meticulously in caves, and who would burn an entire scroll if they found even one letter off on any given page. A whole scroll. That they had just spent 84 hours penning with a jagged ostrich feather. Let that sink in for a moment. If the Essenes had been in charge of Power Point at your church, the whole building would have been burned to the ground long ago. Multiple, multiple times. I have only one thing to say about this: we Christians used to have standards.
So, what’s the appropriate level of outrage? An important question, a question we love to ask because we evangelicals love us some outrage.
My answer is, I DONT KNOW. Wait, I DON’T no. Wait, I dunno.
Their. Reed it and weap.
What are some crazy screen typos you’ve seen in your worship service lately?
(For more great stuff from Julia, check out her blog, Wet Behind the Ears.