You know how it goes. You have some free time and you go online and a click here and a click there and pretty soon you are somewhere where you never thought you would be. Well, that happened to me and I encountered an Episcopal congregation with a praise band and, well, suddenly I was rather frustrated. I am accustomed to praise bands and contemporary Christian music in Lutheran circles but I guess I had hoped that the folks who gave us Cranmer and the Book of Common Prayer were somehow insulated from the rather mundane stuff of church growth, CCM, and conforming to an evangelical model to pack them in. You can just for yourself.
It is an Episcopal congregation and the building looks impressive enough (though plain) and the priest had a half-way decent sermon (well, perhaps better than halfway). But. . . there was that praise band and the terrible sound of it all (makes you hope that it was better in person). And, well, it was so. . . mundane. I have heard decent praise bands but still would not recommend them on the basis of the ability of a praise band to lead congregational song -- which is the most essential duty of parish musicians -- much less the theology and quality of the music and the musicians. But it does go to show up that Episcopalians, usually thought to be higher up the food chain of culture and erudition, may not be all that much different than the rest of us. I still recall the apt title of that devotional classic -- My Utmost for His Highest -- and wonder whether we are still seeking the best or settling for what comes easy or what is popular.