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The Stoning of the Organist

January 10th, 2012 | Posted by Annette in Music | Perspectives

I have often laughed at this poem, and thought oth­ers might enjoy it too. I think only an organ­ist can truly appre­ci­ate just how funny this really is. We’re told by var­i­ous con­gre­ga­tion mem­bers, who are all talk­ing about the same song, “That was too loud. It was too soft, too slow, too fast.”  Hahaha. Just makes me laugh. Espe­cially the part about the vari­a­tions. Just let me say this now … I’d love to throw in a lot more of that, but as writ­ten below, it just “con­fuseth” everyone.


Acts chap­ter 29 By Gar­ri­son Keillor.

1. And it came to pass, when Paul was in Corinth, he and cer­tain dis­ci­ples came upon a mob that was ston­ing an organist.

2. And Paul said unto them, “What then hath he done unto thee that his head should be bruised?”

3. And the peo­ple cried with one voice, “He hath played too loud!

4. Yea, in the singing of the psalms, he maketh our heads to ring as if they were beaten with hammers.

5. Behold, he sit­teth up high in the loft, and mighty are the pipes and mighty is the noise thereof, and though there be few of us below, he none the less playeth with all the stops, the Assyr­ian trum­pet stop and the stop of the ram’s horn and the stop that soundeth like the saw­ing of stone, and we can­not hear the words that cometh out of our own mouths.

6. He always tos­seth in vari­a­tions that con­fuse us might­ily and he playeth loud and dis­cor­dant and always in a mil­i­tant tempo, so that we have not time to breathe as we sing.

7. Lo, he is a plague upon the faith and should be chas­tised.” Paul, hear­ing this, had him­self picked up a small stone, and was about to cast it, but he set it down, and bade the organ­ist come forward.

8. He was a nar­row man, sal­low of com­plex­ion, with dry skin, flak­ing and thin of hair.

9. And Paul said unto him, “Why hath thou so abused thy brethren?”

10. And the organ­ist replied, “I could not hear them singing from where I sat, and there­fore played the louder so as to encour­age them.”

11. And Paul turned round to the mob and said loudly, “Let him who has never played an organ cast the first stone.”

12. And they cast stones for a while until their arms were tired and Paul bade the organ­ist repent and he did.

13. And Paul said unto him, “Thou shalt take up the flute and play it for thirty days, to cleanse thy spirit,” and after­ward they returned to Corinth and sang psalms unac­com­pa­nied and then had cof­fee and were refreshed in the faith.

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