Thursday, December 3, 2020

Why change the words?

Jonathan Aigner argues against changing the words of traditional hymns in "7 Reasons to Stop Changing Words to Beloved Hymns." An example:
“Archaic” language is beautiful and thoroughly understandable.
“But won’t it make worship awkward for young people?!?”

This is one of the stupidest arguments imaginable. My parents don’t use “thee” and “thou” in conversation. Neither did my grandparents or great-grandparents, that I’m aware of. But singing text such as, “Thee will I honor,” wasn’t too difficult for them to understand. So, pray tell, why are young people too stupid to understand this today, while previous generations understood it intuitively?

In reality, at the time when many of these texts were authored, this so-called “archaic language” was not in common everyday usage. While undoubtedly being influenced by the King James Version, it also preserved a sense of distance and awe before Almighty God. Jesus isn’t your buddy, and God isn’t your “daddy” (no, Abba doesn’t mean “daddy”). While it is certainly not an absolute requirement to use deeper English in prayer and praise, the fact that some of the most beautiful and profound hymn texts use it should not be a hindrance. This isn’t a foreign language. It’s not even “old” English.

In trying to make church easier, we’ve made it both dumber and more complicated for ourselves. .... (more)

7 Reasons to Stop Changing Words to Beloved Hymns

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