December 15, 2014

…and it’s not because I hate it. Responsive Reading I read a post today from this group called “The Fools,” entitled “Why I Lead the Worship Music You Hate, and Why I’m Going to Keep Leading It.” Normally, I wouldn’t pay a whole lot of attention to this kind of thing, but it’s receiving some notice on social media, and in a way, I was actually a bit intrigued by it. This well-meaning fellow appears to be dead serious, but… Read more

October 7, 2014 Opening Sentences I think now it’s easier to write worship songs which are basically like teenage love songs, and there’s a lot of worship songs which are basically about me and Jesus falling in love. That’s fine, but as I’ve often said to teenagers, the point of falling in love is it’s like striking a match, which is a very exciting thing to do, in order then to light a candle with it. A candle is not as initially… Read more

September 30, 2014

Introit Why is contemporary worship obsessed with the second person? Opening Hymn of Third Person Praise I was reminded of this strange phenomenon recently while working on a comparison of traditional hymn and contemporary texts. It’s true. When you look at the top contemporary songs, almost all of them speak directly to God instead of about God. In fact, out of the top ten songs on the current CCLI chart, only one, “Cornerstone” by Mote, Liljero, Myrin, Morgan, and Bradbury… Read more

September 23, 2014

I’m always a bit frustrated when I see articles like this one from Cathy Lynn Grossman on the Religion News Service, entitled “Many church choirs are dying. Here’s why.” They never tell the whole story. It’s accurate that many churches have traded the traditional choir for a more contemporary ensemble in their services. I don’t think we can argue with that. But what the article doesn’t say is that there are many churches in which the choral art still grows… Read more

September 15, 2014

Feel-Good Nostalgia No. 349 And now, let us rise and sing no. 349, “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus.” All three stanzas 28 words. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace. -Helen H. Lemmel, 1922 When I was growing up in what amounted to an early megachurch complete with contemporary music, I used to look forward to the end of… Read more

August 4, 2014

Prelude After reading my 15 reasons, many of you chimed in with your own. Here’s what some of you had to say… Hymns of Response We should use hymnals because… “…hymnals give a a sense of unity as a body. This goes beyond the corporate worship of the local church. When I am able to travel and visit different churches, the hymnal, even if it is not the same one I am accustomed to, gives me a sense of unity… Read more

July 22, 2014

Unfortunately, many churches have done this with their hymnals, but I think they are important symbols for worshiping congregations. Here are some of the reasons why. Hymnals actually teach music. We’re making less music than ever before. Oh, to be sure, there’s lots of music going on around us, but very few people are actually making it. We’re just consuming it, or at the very most, singing along with music someone else made first. But even an untrained musician can… Read more

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