What others are saying

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Problem lines in problem hymns
From Premier.Christianity this amusing-but-serious look at the words we sing (but perhaps shouldn’t) in worship. Mark Saunders tackles the issue of what our hymns sound like to those with no knowledge of our faith and traditions, and identifies five problem areas (including hymns that are theologically divisive and what he calls “Me, me, me songs”).

Perhaps surprisingly, Mark focuses almost solely on “worship songs” (by Keith Getty, Stuart Townend, Graham Kendrick, Matt Redman et al). Surely, the issues he highlights apply to all traditions of our hymnody. Nevertheless, his thoughts have whipped up quite a discussion, as the comments below his article demonstrate. And certainly he offers food for thought with such comments as: “Sadly for the egos of most preachers, the average Chris Tomlin chorus is a lot more memorable than the average sermon.” He concludes: “If worship is an act of total devotion, then it demands our minds as well as our hearts.” Go to Theology test your worship songs.

Re-writing Hymns …. Should we?
Barry McCormick is a musician and youth worker based in Scotland. In his blog, he asks what’s wrong with writing modern melodies to old words. There’s a YouTube link to one of his examples (‘The Saviour’s name’) – though perhaps sung on an off-day. Go to Re-writing Hymns… should we?

Keith Getty on writing hymns
On The Gospel Coalition website, popular hymn writer Keith Getty reveals an unexpected personal hero – the German reformer Martin Luther (“Martin Luther is one of ten people from history I would want to have coffee with”). Ten thoughts and ideas on writing contemporary hymns from an expert.  Go to Keith Getty on writing hymns. (Did you know, there’s a Keith Getty Fan Club page on Facebook?)

John Newton on writing hymns
Some interesting blog entries at Reformed Praise. The site was established in 1999 (which makes it OLD!) by David Ward – who’d been inspired by the hymns of C.H. Spurgeon. So – strongly evangelical, strongly biblical and strongly male (the contributors). Will irritate some and be music to the ears of others. Try this little piece on John Newton and William Cowper for starters.

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Preaching to the choir
A short sermon based on one man’s experience of singing in a choir. It turned up in the Las Vegas Review Journal. Go to Preaching to the choir.

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