John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Sing, Sing a Song

Most people do not like to sing. I have no research on this, and my personal circle of friends has kept me believing otherwise all these years. But this morning, as I was staring at a blank white page on my computer monitor, distracting myself with the Internet and drinking coffee (ah, the life of a big time author!), that sentence formed in my head and would not leave me alone.

Most people do not like to sing.

In fact, when asked to sing, most people come up with any and every excuse imaginable. They hate the sound of their own voice. They don’t know the words. Can’t remember the tune. Have a sore throat. Recently had surgery. They'd rather let you measure their body mass index than burst out singing in public.

Now, maybe if you’re out with some friends, throwing back in some margaritas in a dimly-lit bar near the airport and some tragic Muzak arrangement of a Billy Joel song comes on, your inner “Piano Man” will come out. Or if you’re in Japan, where the mysterious fascination with Karaoke still hasn’t subsided.

But most people – regular people – do not like to sing.

I grew up among singing people. Our church had no piano, no organ, no guitar. We had people, and the people raised their voices in song every Sunday, singing in four-part harmony. We knew the harmony lines to everything from "How Great Thou Art" to "Jesus Loves Me" to "Happy Birthday" to "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow". Seriously, we flocked to four-part harmony like geese take to a V-formation; it was instinctual.

I think there was a time when it wasn't just in church where you found yourself singing. People used to sing at baseball games and Rotary club meetings. Obviously, singing "congregationally" was part of pub life in a lot of places, and patriotic songs galvanized people in a way speeches never could.

To my knowledge, though, church is now the only place where most people might find themselves expected to sing. Is that weird?

The Bible not only commends singing; it commands it -- several times. Now, if most people do not like to sing, why in the world would God command it? Is it good for us somehow? Are we missing something by not singing?