You chose ‘C) Take your unused capo out and chuck it at the worship leader to remind him never to play in capo 1 again.’

(This is part 3 of the ‘Choose Your Own Ending Series.’ Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.)

Unfortunately, you’re a musician, which means you don’t use your arm muscles for much else besides sculpting your hobbit-half-beard and pressing rewind countless times on the ‘Where the Light is’ dvd to get the ‘Neon’ fingering right, and with a flick of the wrist like a schoolgirl throwing with her left hand, the capo lands harmlessly at the worship leader’s feet. Never has so much passion and effort produced so little result.

You finish the set, even without the assistance of your capo. You know your bar chords…you’re a real musician. The worship leader ends with a prayer/transition for the media team to get the ‘our church is cool’ video cued up, as you skillfully pick out delay-washed chords underneath his prayer louder and louder until he is forced to stop his own clashing finger-picked chords. (Yours are better anyway.) And in the cover of darkness during the video so that when the lights come back on everyone will go, ‘Whoa! How’d the worship team get off stage?!’, you fall in with the rest of the worship team into the green room, with that almost imperceptible saunter that says, ‘I’m not gonna say anything…but I pretty much just rocked it out there.’

You sit in the green room (you’ve heard this message before), and chat with the worship leader about the shortcomings of his Fulltone Fulldrive, and how your Fulltone OCD (version 3, of course) is clearly superior. You eloquently explain your stance on the matter, and then disinterestedly look around the room while the worship leader voices his opinion on the matter. In between various nods and mumbled affirmations so that he knows you’re still listening, you continue to not listen. The drummer and the bassist talk about the good old days when they were allowed to solo in church, the vocalists confirm your tone by talking to each other about how little they can hear themselves, and some guy you’ve never seen before sits on a chair towards a corner of the room. No, wait…maybe you have seen him before. Something about him being on stage with a weird white and black instrument that he plays with two hands or something? Oh wait…you think maybe you’ve heard it in between songs, but once the song gets started… Suddenly you are broken out of your confused trance and obligatory nods to the worship leader’s words. You’ve heard it. It has happened. The other electric guitarist just told the bass guitarist that solid state amps ‘can have their place.’

You begin to feel the rage swell up inside you. You get up to confront him. The Fulldrive versus OCD can wait. Quickly your eyes scan the room for a suitable place to hide the body should this get out of hand. Just then the pastor walks in while his video illustration plays on the screens. He glances at the team and says, ‘Hey, my friends’, convinced that by awkwardly calling people ‘friends’, they will automatically come to the conclusion that he knows them personally. Pastoral duty now done, he leans down to the worship leader and whispers something in his ear. You see the worship leader’s face go ashen. The pastor stands back up, gives a quick smile to his friends, and gets back on stage just in time to make a killer entrance after the video.

The worship leader has not moved. He just sits there, staring straight ahead as if transfixed by the glowing logo of a Bad Cat amp. You can tell something is wrong. The solid state battle will have to be postponed until next week. As fast as a Steve Vai solo but with much more soul, you are at the worship leader’s side. ‘What’d he say, man?’

The worship leader can barely get the words off his lips. ‘The pastor says that he feels the Spirit moving in the message this morning. He needs…a few more than our revered planning center schedule calls for. And we’ve…’ the words came even more slowly now. ‘…we’ve…been asked…to cut a song.’ The last phrase rings out like a death knell. You can see the worship leader start to get shaky. He’s at a mental, spiritual, and as always tonal, impasse. His pleading eyes look up at you for the answer. (Hey, we can dream, can’t we?) With the cold, hard, and weighty decisiveness of a Mercury Magnetics power transformer, you…

A) Remind the worship leader, that this is in fact a ‘worship service’, which can of course only possibly mean ‘music’, no matter what Isaiah, Amos, and John say, and therefore the pastor is lucky that we even give him time to preach his little sermon at all. Let’s storm out on stage with righteous indignation, and reclaim in victory what is ours!

B) Tell the worship leader that even if he has to cut a song, it’s not to worry; you’ve got a guitar solo specially crafted for this situation and which can be adapted to any song in order to make it longer than what the set would have been before the last song was cut. (You don’t mention the number of times you may or may not have dreamed about this exact scenario.)

C) Yell out, ‘Cut the Lincoln Brewster song! Cut the Lincoln Brewster song!’

D) Get lunch. When pastors, who all have this unwritten blood pact somewhere together that they must go long, actually warn you that they’re going to go long? Well, let’s just say find a place with a sit-down menu. And maybe some live jazz.

E) Encourage the worship leader to stand his ground and go have a Bible-verse-flinging session with the pastor. Always good times for everyone involved.

F) Get all stoked, and rally the team to definitely cut a song. Now you guys have something to lord over his head when you make the ‘church needs to buy us all Taylor’s’ push.

G) Go back to the solid state versus tube conversation. That is clearly much more earth-shattering.

H) Tell the worship leader to do the full set of songs anyway. Ya. The congregation loves those awkward staredowns between the worship leader and the pastor while they’re trying to worship.

I) Say that you’ll go along with cutting a song, but only on the condition that the one remaining song is changed to ‘Beautiful Day’. Yes. It’s a very original idea, too.

J) Pick up right where you left off, and use this lull in the conversation to drive home your point that the OCD is, in fact, better than the Fulldrive.

K) Encourage the worship leader to go ahead and cut a song, and in so doing be the first church leader in history to not think that their individual ministry was the be-all-end-all of every ministry in the church.

And you can’t choose ‘K’.

Splendid.
Karl.