September 30, 2022

Here is a follow-up to my last post about the hymns I want my children to learn. There are some hymns that I try to avoid as much as possible. Personal Testimony Hymns There are some hymns, like “There Is a Fountain” that essentially use this format as a vehicle for proclaiming the gospel. But there are many, many others, mostly in the gospel hymns category that use flowery language to cook up some sort of ultra-dramatic, sappy account of... Read more

September 28, 2022

In response to my recent series of posts on hymns I’d like to ban for all etenity, someone asked me to talk more about what hymns I would never want to block. Rather than a list of what I think are the best, which would be difficult and unnecessarily subjective, I thought I would list some general criteria for the kind of hymns I find most valuable. First and foremost, I believe that music should serve the liturgy of the... Read more

September 27, 2022

I rewatched the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II the other day. Another thing hit me. There were no eulogies, by the grace of God. At my funeral, I want someone with good aim sitting in the front pew holding a barrel full of overripe tomatoes. Anyone who dares to say, “We’re here to celebrate his life,” shall be pelted with tomatoes. The same goes for anyone who tries to give a eulogy. Eulogies are a recent phenomenon, particularly in liturgical... Read more

September 23, 2022

This post started out as an installment in my “Hymns I Would Block For All Eternity” series, maybe it still is, but I wanted to broaden it just a little bit. Someone in one of the fun, snarky church music Facebook groups of which I am a card-carrying member mentioned Catholic boomer hymn-writer Marty Haugen’s ditty, “All Are Welcome,” sometimes known as “Let us build a house.” Haugen is not actually Catholic, a mainline Lutheran, I believe, but he spent... Read more

September 20, 2022

Apparently 4.1 billion people watched funeral of Queen Elizabeth II yesterday, making it the most-watched broadcast of all-time. That’s pretty interesting. As one Facebook poster said, “That…63% of the world’s population were glued not to a runway or an awards show or a lip-syncing boy band being obliterated by light effects, but to Anglican chant, the strains of Howells, Weir, Parry, and Harris; not to words like “you hoes be trippin’,” but to “My soul, there is a country” and... Read more

September 15, 2022

One of the things one must understand about the gospel is that it is not primarily concerned with ethics. That might seem like a scandelous statement. I’m not saying that Christian ethics do not exist, only that they are an outworking of the gospel in the life of believers, not the gospel itself. The gospel is this: Christ crucified to save sinners. It is God’s work through Jesus to reconcile fallen humanity to him. We the fallen are quick to... Read more

September 13, 2022

Here’s another hymn that, were I given the chance, I would pay good money to ban forever. This one is different than “Woman of the Night,” or whatever it’s called. It’s from a sub-genre of hymnody that I like to call Catholic Boomer Hymns,” and I should mention first off that the text of this hymn is superb, because it is largely taken from the wonderful John 6, with the final stanza based on John 11. But that’s also a... Read more

September 12, 2022

“There are a lot of hymns that are terrible.” That’s a pat answer used by every pop worship apologist I’ve ever known. Generally, it’s incorrect when talking about hymnody as a whole. Yes, there have been some terrible hymns written in generations past, but most of those have long been dropped. There might be some remaining that you don’t like, but most remaining traditional hymnody is solid, especially if one knows the difference between a hymn and a gospel song.... Read more

April 21, 2022

I get comments like this all the time. The article misses the main point. In the big picture, the question is where is our heart at when worshiping and much less about form. Talking about the “heart” this way is a common trope in discussions about worship, particularly when questions of form and style arise. Usually, it’s intended to give carte blanche for anything anyone ever wants to do in corporate worship. After all, if someone is worshiping from the... Read more

February 21, 2022

Jon Graham Daker, son, brother, faithful Christian, and accidental internet star, reportedly passed away yesterday, February 20, 2022, in Peoria, Illinois. Born in 1939, he was 82 years old. For most of you, he needs no introduction. If you’re new to the internet, let me tell you how the world came to know Jon Daker. Peoria resident Reva Singley Cooper Unsicker taught voice, piano, and organ lessons for some six decades until her death in 1995 at the age of... Read more

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