Monday, April 27, 2015

Which Hymns Should We Forget About?

A friend posted a link on Facebook to "Which Hymns Should We Forget About":
I get many comments accusing me of elevating, even worshiping, the hymn tradition itself. “There are bad hymns, too.”

Of course there are bad hymns.

That being said, I think we traditional worshipers do have a distinct advantage over those which only sing contemporary and commercial music. Much of the dross from the hymn tradition has burned away over the years, leaving us with a higher percentage of good, solid texts that have stood the test of time. ....

When Should We Forget our Favorites?
  1. They are theologically vapid. ....
  2. They are poor examples of poetry. ....
  3. They have become idols. ....
And he provides examples with which you may or may not agree, but he gives reasons. Good hymns, he argues, are:
  • Songs with substance
  • Songs that clearly tell the Christian story
  • Songs that refocus the lenses through which we view God and the world around us
  • Songs with words we believe
  • Songs that bring the witness of saints from other times and places into our own vocabulary, lest we’re tempted to commit sins of chronological and geographical snobbery
  • Songs that make us uncomfortable with our selfishness and apathy
  • Songs that turn our eyes to Jesus....
If a hymn measures up, great. If it doesn’t, shouldn’t we drop it, no matter how much we like it? .... [more]