A Reformation Week conundrum: what to do at my first Catholic gig?

Happy Reformation Day week to you all. Here's a question for my wise and dear readers:

Next Wednesday, November 5th, I have my first Catholic gig! I'm playing for a Catholic school assembly in the afternoon, and later that evening I'm playing an annual youth rally for 500 kids. (The parish youth leader saw me at an inter-faith service last year, liked me, and booked me.)

Questions for you:

+ My main CD of youth event music and group-participation songs is called "Protestant Rock Ethic"....it's a joke title, of course, playing off of the sociological term "Protestant work ethic." But is the title of the album gonna sound weird to a Catholic audience? Will they be insulted? Should I put the CD on my sales table?

+ One of my most signature tunes is called "Workin' My Committee," and features a verse about Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door. Should I play that song? Or skip that verse?

+ I have some songs and stories about my (Lutheran) understanding of vocation. From what little I know, the word "vocation" has some different connotations in the Catholic world. What should I do about that?

Maybe Catholics are really chilled out and flexible and cool, and none of this stuff would bother them. But I don't want to be a jerk! I love the Catholics, and I don't wanna diss 'em!



Karl Aho said…

I go to a Catholic university (Boston College), and I think that thy would be fine with you talking about vocation. I actually saw a question about "What is your definition of vocation?" on a job application, so I'd guess that at least some of the Catholics here are open to the less specific to Holy Orders senses of calling.

I think that they'd get the Protestant Rock Ethic, although you could explain it as a take-off of Weber if you'd like. Maybe say "Don't worry, it rocks for Catholics too."

The Lutheran Liturgy is pretty similar to the Catholic liturgy (the Reformers were really big on keeping it, actually) so they'd probably be into the Heartland liturgy.

I'm not sure about the Luther verse in 'Committee, though.

Hope it goes well! I know some of my friends from back in the UP were really pumped for your Escanaba show. grace + peace.
Anonymous said…
You said the youth leader heard you at an ecumenical gathering: what did you play there?

I also think vocation is universal.

My vote is for you to be yourself, and perhaps to leave out the Luther verse in 'Workin' my Committee'; it won't diminish the impact of that song.

My take on this is that God is bringing you to this gathering for a reason. We are diverse, we are different, and yet, we are all children of the same God. We can trust that.

Sometimes naming the elephant in the room helps, so I agree: explain the title of the CD after you sing something from it. Kids won't care, and the leaders will appreciate your honesty.

Lisa Herlocker said…
I agree with both of these posts. Matt's an ex-Catholic (mainly because of my strong Lutheran influence, not a newfound anti-Catholic bias) and enjoys your music.

Most of your songs are universal considerations of people's lives and and relationships with God. So most of them would be well received by anyone. Also the Catholics I know don't see themselves as Christians in the blatant, "in-your-face" way that many Evangelicals do, so a song like "You Don't Speak for Me" or "I Love You With All of My Mind" would be appreciated too.

Matt likes to think of his faith as more intellectual than emotional and that seems to hold true at least for Catholics here in California.

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