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Ministering with My Generation

The young woman standing before us looks a lot like Morticia Addams. Like the classic TV character, her hair is long, black, and stringy. Her skin is typing-paper white, except for her lips, which are painted black, matching her floor-length sheath. She is pierced. She is the worship leader.

In this incarnation, Morticia's warm contralto is replaced by an intense soprano that hugs a melody line of only three or four notes. Her tango is a rich, rhythmic amalgam of classical, grunge, and funk, produced by the band behind her: cello, bassoon, violins, flute, keyboard, guitar, bass, and drums. The sound is neo-classical funk, a little bit Celtic, a little bit rock-and-roll; Isaac Watts' hymns set to new tunes. To untuned ears, it is strange, stirring, not that singable, and in this setting, very right.

This is Seattle.

The place is a Seventh-Day Adventist sanctuary, rented on Sunday for two services. The congregation—numbering about 150 in the early service—is mostly under ...

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