...have no place in Spiritualist services/meetings!

Substituting sacred songs, aka hymns, for popular songs with pseudo spiritual secular lyrics is no more spiritually uplifting than attending a Karaoke evening in a pub. Worse, the popular songs most frequently used in the church type gatherings promoting them, are very often not even currently heard on any media playlists, but what we might term as ‘dated’. Hence the allusion to the sing along in public, words and backing track electronically provided activity... Among the titles chosen you will invariably find ‘Spirit in the Sky’ (Norman Greenbaum) ‘I'm loving angels instead’ (Robbie Williams) and ‘I want to heal the world’ as performed by Michael Jackson for instance!
The mere fact that these lyrics include the words; angel/s, healing, spirit or even God seem, to the less aware shall we call them, to therefore fulfil some spiritual criteria.
Some Spiritualist organisations, particularly the one that actively discourages any association with, ‘other religions’, as the rules have it, actively encourage this kind of musical secularisation.
When this practice is queried, one excuse often used is that only older people know the hymns and ‘younger’ people prefer the popular songs that they know.
The fact is that the use of these common ballads, apart from coming from a lower plane of consciousness in the mind of the composer, exposes our own organised Spiritualist denomination to denigration and even ridicule by other religious bodies or from those individuals who may be more used to the more orthodox established churches religious musical presentations when they visit our meetings.
Two young and dare I say it, well read, women, who recently sat in the congregation of a Spiritualist church were first asked to join hands with their neighbours – so far not a problem – and were then asked to sing ‘Spirit in the Sky’. They told me that they had to stifle their surprise and subsequent laughter at the incongruity of its inclusion in what they understood was to be a religious service.
It’s true that most know popular tunes of the day, even if they are strangers to the melodies accompanying sacred hymn lyrics, so coupling those together could be a good option. In fact it was the Salvation Army that first had the bright idea of putting sacred texts to popular tunes. They did not reproduce those sentimental and pseudo religious lyrics of the music halls however that sometimes may have contained allusions to angels among other things...
As the Salvationists said, ‘Why should the devil have all the good tunes’.
Now while we disagree in particular with the Salvation Army’s section eleven, that declares all who are not believers in Jesus will be damned forever to a hell for eternity, and while we would also disagree that popular music is devilish – we also understand that the concept of the devil as the progenitor of bad things is almost universal, and so this makes the rhetorical question they posed and its tuneful resolution simple to grasp by all.
Now the devil is being discussed again in 2014.
On the subject of what may be called devilish questions, having considered the whys and wherefores of less than spiritually inspired musical offerings in religious services, we can take a look at the Church of England that has changed its baptism service to replace reference to ‘The Devil’ with ‘evil’. Like one answer to that first previously pondered conundrum, it’s apparently an attempt to modernise and be more generally people friendly. That is, people who don’t generally regard themselves as religious, or who attend churches sporadically...
Some may opine that both of these proposals could be viewed as the start of the slippery slope to popularism, and the mediocrity that goes with it; the condition that many a thoughtful soul would consider to be the hellish place over which that ‘devil’ is reputed to hold sway. Diabolical situations that exist here on earth, that mimic those on the other side...
This move to leave the devil, we assume as an entity, out of the spiritual equation was recently discussed on radio by a group consisting of an evangelical Christian, an atheist and a bishop with members of the listening public phoning in.
As we know God, because we see what that Great First Cause created and imbued with all goodness, so we can know there is a devil – because we can see the effect a malignant force has had in that same Creation. If we are going to imagine a Divine Spirit as an anthropomorphic entity then the generator of malevolence may be perceived by human beings as having a human type form too.
Ancients state that we are ‘made in God’s own image – male and female made He them’.
Then we learn that into this primary, and primal, condition of human life, a malevolent intelligence that is obviously plotting the downfall of the human race is introduced.This intelligence has been portrayed down the ages in various physical forms. Serpents and dragons, goats and birds...
The accounts in the testamentary manuscripts may be simplified and the imagery basic, but although there are stories passed down that were only told orally, by word of mouth, until someone managed to write them down, they are in essence truthful, give or take a few flights of fancy involving animals as repositories of evil, according to our Spiritualist understanding.
For instance the six days of creation are found to be scientifically correct in progression and chronological order although each ‘day’ is measured outside of the sunset to sundown segment of time in our own modern understanding.
The advent of evil is also made obvious by its subsequent on-going impact on the lives of the earth’s human inhabitants. The collective name for all this doing evil – is the devil – initial ‘d’ for doing prefixing evil. It’s a simple evocative name for basic wickedness that everyone can understand if they understand English. A degree in theology is not required.
CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE