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Date Posted: 10:44:54 09/05/04 Sun
Subject: Role of music in UBF
One aspect of UBF that hasn't been discussed so far is the role of music in UBF.
I think music plays an important role in UBF. Most Koreans are good singers and particularly the 2nd gens are musically talented and often very good in playing musical instruments.
Music is used for several aims in UBF:
- at all Sunday services, the singing creates a vivid atmosphere, much better than in traditional churches where you often only hear a bad organist, and nobody sings
- at conferences, music is one of the main tools to create a very emotionally loaded atmosphere
- the use of hymns creates the impression that UBF is based on very orthodox Christian theology
- the use of contemporary Christian music creates the same impression of being part of mainstream Christianity, plus it makes UBF more attractive for young people
- music if also used as an instrument for training of members and children
I must say that I let myself be blinded to some extend by the striking use of music in UBF, and I contributed to blinding others with music.
In Germany we have a saying: "Where there's singing, you can settle down. Bad people don't sing songs!" I think there is some truth in this saying, and subconsciously we all believe in it. But the problem is, even bad people can abuse singing to manipulate people, because singing touches directly the heart. Singing and music was a strong element in Hitler's 3d Reich, too.
When I first came to UBF, one of the Korean women members gave a piano concert. Before I had been invited, I had been still criticial about UBF, because everything was so strange. But when I had heared that woman play piano so wonderfully, I believed UBF must be something good and stopped looking at UBF with a cautious mind. There was another Korean woman who was a singer. Both of them were extremely impressive for me, first because I am very receptive to music, and second because they were nice and gentle in character. So I thought, how can an organization be bad that has such "angels" as members?
Please don't get blinded. These two fine ladies had been also deceived and abused by UBF. The pianist had married a man who became a UBF member. He forced her to stay in Germany and end her carreer as pianist and join UBF, against her will. If she had not obeyed, he would have divorced her, though they already had children. They had been 20 years in UBF. Her husband recently came to his sense and left UBF. She was so happy, but she is still somewhat bitter about UBF that stole 20 precious years of her life and made her life and marriage miserable. They said that in the time when they were in UBF they fought nearly every day. Of course, outwardly, everything seemed to be perfect. The other woman I talked about, she was married to a man who allegedly abused her. She suddenly was told to go to Korea, she was told to marry that Korean man she never had seen before, and as always, she absolutely believed in and obeyed the orientation of UBF. But the marriage was a failure from the beginning. After some bad years, in which they lived separated from each other most of the time, they divorced. She stayed some more years in UBF, but meanwhile, she also has left UBF, disappointed.
I also contributed in manipulating others with music. In Heidelberg, we had the problem that nearly nobody attended the Sunday services, though many made 1:1 Bible study. This was no wonder, since everybody knew that attending the Sunday service was the first step to become a member and get sucked into the organization. Also, the services were very boring, and most newbies couldn't understand the strange German pronounciation of the chapter leader. Also, attendants were forced to speak about "what they learned" and pray in groups, and nobody liked this. Even the free lunch couldn't lure many people in our Sunday services. Therefore, the leader had the idea to make the services more attractive by starting the services with singing of contemporary music, animated by front singers and accompanied with electronic keyboard and other instruments. My role was to play the keyboard. We tried hard to create an emotional (and as we believed "spiritual") atmosphere, but after that part, the keyboard and the front singers were cleared away, and the traditional service with boring hymns and much more boring 6-page-read-off-badly-pronounced sermon started. One of our shepherds always dozed off when the sermon started, sometimes snoring, then he would be nudged and get angry looks by his Korean missionarin shepherdess. Anyway, I am starting to ask myself why I ever engaged in that game of deceiving others to believe the service was spiritual and attractive by the use of music.
Another observation was that the lyrics of the singing was often in striking contrast with the reality in UBF, but nobody seemed to care. Even when there were misprints in the singing, nobody seemed to notice that the lyrics made no grammatical sense or contained non-existing words...
Maybe you can share your thoughts about the role of music in UBF. How much did it influence you?
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