Saturday, February 10, 2018

Yes! We need the hymns

There's an interview with Fleming Rutledge over at Jesus Creed that is worth reading, if only for this paragraph:
I believe that the church is worthy of the best hymn texts and the best hymn tunes, and if we don’t treasure them, we become impoverished. I have attended a great many churches over forty years that feature praise bands and praise music, and I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we are robbing the next generations of the deep memory of texts that are not only doctrinally and biblically rich, but also emotionally stirring and communally enriching. My observation is that—generally speaking—praise music trades on repetition, individualism, and theatrical emoting by solo singers. I don’t mean to sound overly critical, but I don’t think there is anything quite like the voices of choir and congregation joined together in the words of a hymn with a text that has a plot—praise and proclamation followed by destabilization and then a powerful, upbuilding resolution with a sense of struggle overcome in the triumph of God—all of it rich in biblical imagery.
<idle musing>
Amen and amen! Don't get me wrong, I like the choruses and sing along with them, but we need to keep the hymns of the church alive; they contain the real core of Christianity. We should supplement them with the choruses, not vice versa. Or, as happens far too often, substitute the choruses for the hymns.
</idle musing>

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