, page 7), Paul Cain jokingly expressed his wishes to have his men’s only singing group featured on NBC’s
I told him I’d do my best to make his dreams come true and that I’d start by bringing my video camera to one of their Sunday evening
My wife assisted me during the trip, and we hadn’t been inside the church for 3.48 seconds before Paul warmly welcomed us to St. Hildegard’s and introduced us to his legion of farmers, ranchers, oil field workers, sons, grandfathers and brothers called the ChrEasters.
It was their first rehearsal since Easter, so they were a little rusty, to be honest. But after listening to the group of about 20 men trying to grasp the 6/8-meter of “O Holy Night,” I was whole-heartedly convinced that the ChrEasters “have it.”
No, they won’t win “
” any time soon, but that’s because they don’t have to be great singers to make an impact. In fact, the ChrEasters epitomize many important things all of us should strive for in living out our faith.
First, as a man myself, I respect every one of them for “stepping up to the plate,” as Corrine, their accompanist put it. I’d estimate at least 97% of the men in the ChrEasters are not comfortable 1) being in front of crowds, or 2)
in front of crowds. It’s so easy to adopt the “somebody else will do it” attitude, especially when it comes to church leadership. But their witness challenges all of us to step up, even if it means stepping out of our comfort zones.
Second, there are many members of the ChrEasters who didn’t willingly volunteer their vocal cords. Reports show that Paul even engaged in some “begging” and “threatening” to attract new members. (Heck, I even got an invite to join.)
“There were probably six or eight new members here tonight,” one ChrEaster told me. That’s evangelization at its finest…and simplest.
The strategy is ingenious: start a group where everybody is equally
, ask/convince friends to join (not forgetting to mention the adult beverages and Sunday Night Football available immediately after rehearsal) and bam! You’ve got a group of men rallying around their faith, generating friendships and becoming leaders in the Church. Exactly what our Church is thirsting for.
Maybe Matt Lauer won’t be there to see their next “performance” (although I know the editor of the diocesan newspaper would be glad to make arrangements). However, their children, brothers, mothers and wives will see. If you go online and watch
, look deeper than the group of self-described non-musical men singing Christmas carols. Then you’ll see.
Most importantly, God sees. And smiles.