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August 04, 2007



Thank you for this!

Powerpoint? With all the cool action in the background?

But everything else, "THANKS!"


Wow man. That's a big statement for you to make about music.

What's your take on the wording of hymns? Our church is using the Indelible Grace/RUF handbook for contemporizing hymns, but it seems like the wording is just as archane as the music itself--and it ends up that 90% of our congregation has no idea what the heck they are singing.


Hey Russ,

Here is the deal - I have finally seen "contemporized" music done very, very well by MATURE people who "get" Trinitarian worship. In other words, it isn't a poorly executed piece of schlop by some wannabe disco duders.

Music is tough because it can be so unforgiving. Execution is everything. Most contemporized stuff I have heard is a bunch of amateurish instrumentals lathered with baby-talk. Ick! See, I am still an elitist!

Here is the funny thing, Russ. I don't really mind using ancient texts with words that aren't immediately familiar if the music is good. Words can be explained to people and if the music is good they will play ball. If the words are incomprehensible AND the music is bad, then you're hosed.



One thing I learned from you a long time ago, though, is that the music has to be "sing-able". The words play into that as well. If the music is good, but I have no idea what I'm singing about, is it worship? Is it worshipful?

Even if there is some explanation, then it's not really music at that point either. That just turns into some expository "sermon-devotional" on the song.

I'm not suggesting it's all about the words. The music shouldn't be crap, just like the words shouldn't be either. But ancient words with new music is similar to the Leonardo DiCaprio-Claire Danes version of "Romeo & Juliet". Just seemed weird to say the "thee's" and "thou's" with guns and cars.

I'm not saying EVERYTHING has to be changed, but how about starting by getting rid of the thee's and thou's? No one speaks like that anymore.

Me thinks thouest post nicely. :)



You learned something from me?!?!?

Seriously. Let's get down to it. First, Elizabethan language isn't really the issue, is it? I mean, if it is I agree with you, but. The only song I can think of with a "thou" is, "Be Thou My Vision," which is just too classic to mess with!

Let's get more down to earth on a phrase like, "Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by thy strength I come." There just aren't too many texts with that kind of thing in them. So if you have to explain what an "Ebenezer" is, no big deal.

And isn't Scripture like that? Full of words that we need some help with? And that is fine as long as it fits a context we can grasp.

So I don't have a big problem with having to stop and explain some language - that happens all the time in the Christian faith. I just don't want to do it while defending crappy music at the same time. That is untenable.



I think we agree. I'm just saying...if i have to stop every song and have it explained to me, that doesn't really do it for me. A sermon is a sermon, a song is a song. I don't want an extrapolation of song i'm going to sing. It's much simply to sing what i know...and sing how i speak.

I don't pray to God that way. I don't speak to him in that way at all. Why would I sing to him that way?

I'm just reminded of Isaiah 29:13--"These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men."-- when we sing hymns that have little or no meaning today because we can't freaking understand them.

Am I saying that all hymns are that way? Not by a long shot. There are hymns that cut to the quick with me. But at the same time, I believe that hymns, including the words, are open for re-assessment, re-evaluation, and open to being redone to fit our culture.

If you want to hear some language in hymns that you don't understand, come to one of our Sunday services. Oh man!

And by the way, yeah bro. I've learned a lot from you over the years!

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