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Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'

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Joe Offer 05 Oct 02 - 10:33 PM
khandu 05 Oct 02 - 10:47 PM
masato sakurai 05 Oct 02 - 10:51 PM
W y s i w y G ! 06 Oct 02 - 08:38 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 06 Oct 02 - 01:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Oct 02 - 02:02 PM
Mary in Kentucky 06 Oct 02 - 02:43 PM
Mary in Kentucky 06 Oct 02 - 02:49 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 06 Oct 02 - 02:54 PM
W y s i w y G ! 06 Oct 02 - 03:58 PM
wilco 06 Oct 02 - 04:27 PM
W y s i w y G ! 06 Oct 02 - 04:30 PM
Joe Offer 06 Oct 02 - 06:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Oct 02 - 06:29 PM
Joe Offer 06 Oct 02 - 06:35 PM
Jeanie 06 Oct 02 - 06:42 PM
Phil Cooper 06 Oct 02 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 06 Oct 02 - 07:32 PM
Mary in Kentucky 06 Oct 02 - 08:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Oct 02 - 08:08 PM
Joe Offer 06 Oct 02 - 08:13 PM
raredance 06 Oct 02 - 08:35 PM
Heely 06 Oct 02 - 09:28 PM
Mooh 06 Oct 02 - 10:52 PM
Jim Krause 06 Oct 02 - 11:34 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 07 Oct 02 - 12:32 AM
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W y s i w y G ! 07 Oct 02 - 08:11 AM
pattyClink 07 Oct 02 - 09:19 AM
W y s i w y G ! 07 Oct 02 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 07 Oct 02 - 09:47 AM
MMario 07 Oct 02 - 10:01 AM
IanC 07 Oct 02 - 10:11 AM
Joe Offer 07 Oct 02 - 10:12 AM
wilco 07 Oct 02 - 10:15 AM
Jim Krause 07 Oct 02 - 10:33 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Oct 02 - 01:54 PM
Wesley S 07 Oct 02 - 02:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Oct 02 - 02:13 PM
Wesley S 07 Oct 02 - 06:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Oct 02 - 06:47 PM
Bobert 07 Oct 02 - 08:48 PM
GUEST,trying to learn patience 07 Oct 02 - 09:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 07 Oct 02 - 09:38 PM
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Subject: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 10:33 PM

This article was in today's paper in Sacramento. I'm so glad somebody agrees with me about the poor quality of "praise music," which I think is the Christian equivalent of bubblegum music.
Yummy, yummy, yummy,
I've got God in my tummy...
I thought that as a Catholic, I wouldn't be subjected to that stuff - but even many Catholic churches have picked up "praise music" in recent years. they think it speaks to tody's young people, but it sounds like bad country music to me.
-Joe Offer, irreverently-

Old-time hymns get an altar call
"There is music in my soul today, for when the Lord is near,
The dove of peace sings in my heart, the flow'rs of grace appear

—From the gospel song "Sunshine in My Soul," written in 1887 by Eliza E. Hewitt
By Eric Gorski
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS (5 October 2002)

Other than the occasional "Amazing Grace," the hymn is dead at many Protestant churches these days.
As church music evolved to fit the times, the hymn book has been tucked away in favor of pop-influenced praise songs whose lyrics are projected on big screens.
A 64-year-old music minister picked up a microphone at Radiant Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and brought the old songs back to life on a recent Friday night, if only for two hours.
The Rev. Paul Ferrin began holding these "Old-Fashioned Hymn Sings" three years ago. Now he has quit his job as national music director for the Assemblies of God denomination to stage the revivals across the nation.
The churches aren't always equipped. At Radiant Church, there is no organ. So Ferrin and his wife, Marjorie, borrowed an old Hammond in town.
The 500 people who took up hymn books that Friday shouted out requests for "Blessed Assurance," "Kneel at the Cross" and "I'll Fly Away," songs about sin and salvation, grace and the Gospel, pearly gates and blood- stained crosses.
Does this mean hymns are making a comeback? Will hymn sings become a retro phenomenon? Probably not, experts say..
The audience, after all, was "almost all white hair," as one participant put it. But the success of Ferrin's roadshow speaks to a desire to at least preserve a few traditional favorites in the new church music canon.
"We miss singing the old hymns," said Ruth Kenyon, 68. "I feel more worshipful singing them. It just seems they have more of a message."
To many people of faith, music is more than a soundtrack to their spiritual lives. It can remind them of family, teach them about church beliefs or make them feel closer to God. Music has been called "the vocabulary of American religion."
The early evangelical Protestant hymns, penned in the 18th and 19th centuries, typically run three to several verses, sometimes with no refrain. Often written by pastors, they are heavy on church doctrine.
That style gave way in the mid-1800s to gospel hymns with multipart harmonies and testimonial lyrics about Jesus' power to transform.
"Praise music" became popular in evangelical and Pentecostal churches in the 1970s. This is church music stripped down to the chorus. The lyrics are repeated over and over to soft rock played on guitar backed by drums and bass.
"The pattern is very clear: The music keeps up with popular music tastes or it doesn't work," said Stephen Marini, chairman of the religion department at Wellesley College and author of the forthcoming book "Sacred Song in America: Religion, Music and Public Culture."
To many evangelicals, praise music is the only church music they've known. Many mainline Protestant churches, from Methodists to Lutherans, have adopted praise songs in an effort to reverse declining membership rolls. Some churches mix hymns and praise songs.
Ferrin, who grew up a Baptist, staged his first hymn sing at Radiant when the interim pastor invited him to plan a Thanksgiving service. He will have 20 nationwide this year.
He doesn't expect hymns to replace praise music, but doesn't see why the two can't co-exist.
"We have a tendency to do this in life in general the new things come in, and we don't retain the old," Ferrin said. "I just feel like a balance is so very important."
Brandan Vargo, 25, a college student and one of the few young people at the sing, sees hymns as a way to unite people of different ages and faiths.
"I personally like the contemporary music, but if you have A mix of the contemporary and the old hymns, it's a church everyone can go to," Vargo said.
The biggest challenge to hymn loyalists is winning over people such as Vargo.
Praise music lyrics are easier to grasp, said Barry Liesch, a music professor at Biola University and author of "The New Worship: Straight Talk on Music and the Church."
On a practical side, the hymns' frequent chord changes don't lend themselves to guitar, today's preferred instrument.
Liesch fears the church is "losing some richness here, and intellectua depth" in abandoning hymns. But he doesn't see them making a comeback.
At Radiant Church, hymns were the rule, not the exception. Before closing with "Like a River Glorious," Ferrin took a moment to reflect.
"Isn't this marvelous?" he said. "this has got to be a glimpse of what heaven is going to be."


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: khandu
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 10:47 PM

Thanks, Joe. Pardon me if I creep a wee bit.

A lot of the "praise music" seems to be staged. Many times, it is a vehicle to showcase the performer, rather than true praise.

Even in the Southern Gospel quartets, it seems to be more of a "show" than exultation.

I suppose that it always comes down to the attitude of the heart more than anything. I have seen instances where someone is singing along in a genuine act of praise while the one performing the song is doing just that...performing.

I am disturbed by a multitude of activities that go on in church groups, including the self-promotion of many who "preach" selflessness.

But,I seek to "mind my own business" and "work out my own salvation..."

khandu


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Oct 02 - 10:51 PM

A "Praise versus Hymns" story.

~Masato


Passage copy-pasted from the link cited above, just because I like it.
-Joe Offer-

Praise versus Hymns
I forget where I picked this piece up. It is not mine, but I thought it was worth sharing with you. If the pew fits - sit in it : )

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended a large church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. "Well", said the farmer, "it was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.' "Praise choruses", said his wife, "what are those?" "Oh they're okay. They're sort of like hymns, only different," said the farmer. "Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife. The farmer said well it's like this ... If I were to say to you: "Martha, the cows are in the corn, "well, that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

" Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, Martha, Martha, the cows ,
the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows and white cows, the cows,
the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn,
are in the corn, the CORN, CORN, CORN, "

then if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well, that would be a praise chorus."

Coincidentally, the same week, a young businessman from the city who normally attended a church with contemporary style worship, was in the old farmer's town on business and visited the farmer's small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. "Well," said the young man, "it was good". They did something different however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs. "Hymns?" said his wife, "What are those?"

"Oh they're okay. They're sort of like regular songs only different", said the young man. "Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife. The young man said, "Well, it's like this ... If I were to say to you,

"Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry. Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth ,
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by to the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.
For the way of the animals who can explain there, in their heads, tis no shadow of sense,
harkenest they in God's sun or his rain unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed,
Then goaded by minions of darkness and nigh they all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by, where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animals make my soul cry and I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.

Then if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn."


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 08:38 AM

I think people who like praise music will tell you that it isn't the music, it's what they experience via the music, Joe.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 01:02 PM

I've heard a lot of "Praise" music in black churches, and I hesitate to knock it, even though I find that it doesn't move me like the old hymns and gospel songs. The "message" seems to be stripped down and generalized, so that people can get into the feel of the song. I think, for example of a current major hit in the Praise Music catalogue which keeps repeating "We fall down, but we get up." I keep thinking on my kids when they were little and the said, "We fall down, go boom!"

There certainly is a lot of performing going on in churches (and probably always has been.) But, I know people who love Praise music who seem to be very sincere in their faith. Not knowing what is in anyone's heart, I sing what moves me, and leave it to others to sing what moves them.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 02:02 PM

But for a lot of people "what they experience via the music" is precisely what they find difficult about "praise music", as opposed to hymns which are more traditional in their community.

In many Catholic churches at any rate, we have a weird situation in which the word "folk" actually means the opposite of "traditional".

A"Folk Mass" is likely to mean large numbers standing silent looking irritated or bored, some people dutifully reading out of the book, and some people really into it, clapping away in solitary exhuberance. And then maybe they'll give us one of the old hymns, and people who've been silent or reading from the books wake up, or put down the books and sing the words they know from the heart.

Trying to take what works wonderfully in one setting, and impose it on another setting can be very damaging indeed, and can cause real hurt to people.

And there are of course some great new songs/hymns - Sydney Carter, Luke Connaughton, John Glynn, for example, but they aren't the ones I'm talking about.



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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 02:43 PM

I agree, Joe. I have a question for you. I've heard that the song "Shine Jesus Shine" is not in line with the theology in some of the churches that use it. I know you have opinions about "On Eagles' Wings" and Michael Joncas (careful about theology), but do you know the specifics about why this other song is not "correct" theology?


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 02:49 PM

A couple of weeks ago my church went to the black church two blocks away for a joint service. THEY DIDN'T NEED HYMNBOOKS! It was fun singing the old hymns together, but the folks from my church were lost past the second verse of the hymns.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 02:54 PM

Most black churches I go to have hymn books, but they are chock full of old hymns and spirituals... great fun to sing. That said, many folks sing from memory, and never open the hymn book.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 03:58 PM

I suppose that it always comes down to the attitude of the heart more than anything. I have seen instances where someone is singing along in a genuine act of praise while the one performing the song is doing just that...performing.

But, I seek to "mind my own business" and "work out my own salvation..."


Good post, Khandu.

One may or may not have sufficient spiritual gifts of discernment to know what is or is not genuine in someone else's heart. But to judge without openness to the truth of what others are experiencing is to come mighty close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I think Khandu has the best attitude about this I have ever seen-- think what you think and prefer what you prefer, but judge only yourself.

Hardi and I minister in a church where, years before our time, people forgot the importance of that and almost destroyed their parish and their own spiritualities in the process. At its saddest, people got to a place from BOTH sides of the division (a division they had allowed and deepened), where they could say to each other, "Something is wrong with you because of the way you worship. My way is right and you're just too weird/fake/saccharine//dead/archaic/formal for any true faith to be present at all."

I think both sides have equal bragging rights to being stuck in wrongness. Over and over we learn not to judge... yet we never seem to tire of needing to learn it.

"Oh, it's only the music we're talking about, Susan, lighten up." No. I don't think it IS, not if you think about it a bit.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: wilco
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 04:27 PM

    This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I wasn't raised in a church that played any of the old hymnns, and I didn't hear most of them until I was about forty years old. I fell in love with these old hymnns, and, now I know hundreds of them. We'll play them for hours at festivals.
      In the Catholic church, we wnent from the latin gobbldygook of the fiftys to the "folk" junk of Vatican II. Mostly uninspiring, uninspired pap.
    My 22 year old son plays organ and piano in several churches, including Catholic and Baptist and Methodist services. He is given a lot of latitude to pick his own music, and he uses a lot of the old Protestant hymnns in the Catholic Church. They love it!!!! All of the other denominations love it too!!! You can see the lights come-on in peoples' eyes, and hear thenm really sing out with the old hymnns. I think, that if people had a choice, they would like the old stuff.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 04:30 PM

I'm with you there, wilco. Our Saturday night service has shown that. It's a wacky mix of any and every form of gospel, from any and every source, done acoustically in an almost oldtime stringband way. We include a few pieces of praise music, but we don't get stuck in any subgenre for long.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 06:16 PM

OK, so here is a link (click) to the lyrics and a very insipid MIDI of "Shine Jesus Shine." For this particular song, it's just this particular arrangement that strikes me as typical of the worst of "praise music." The lyrics and tune aren't bad, and a congregation can sing them quite well - I'm not big on the power/majesty/kingship theology, but I suppose it's within the mainstream of Christian practice.

I suppose that may be what irks me most - when the musical accompaniment sounds like a MIDI, particularly if it's a MIDI with synthetic hand-clapping. That, and tunes and lyrics that sound like really bad country music or a cheaply-made television commercial. Face it - much of what is called "praise music" sounds like a sales jingle.

I happen to disagree with Kevin about the newer hymns used by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans - the ones who used to be called "mainstream Christians." Many of the texts are straight from Scripture, and it's hard to argue with them. Some of the tunes are good, and some not-so-good - but I've seen congregations sing many of them quite well if they're led by a musician who believes in the music.

And I think many of the old anthems deserve to die. They may be easy to sing - but if they have no message, drop 'em.

-Joe Offer-


Here's "Shine Jesus Shine. I don't mind verse one and the chorus -they have somewhat of as Scriptural basis - but verses two and three make me gag.
Shine, Jesus, Shine
(Words & Music by Graham Kendrick, 1987)


Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining;
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us,
Set us free by the truth You now bring us,
Shine on me, Shine on me.
    [Chorus]
    Shine, Jesus, shine Fill this land with the Father's glory;
    Blaze, Spirit, blaze, Set our hearts on fire.
    Flow, river, flow, Flood the nations with grace and mercy;
    Send forth Your Word, Lord And let there be light.
Lord, I come into Your awesome presence
From the shadows into Your radiance;
By the blood I may enter Your brightness,
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness.
Shine on me, Shine on me.
[Chorus]

As we gaze on Your kingly brightness
So our faces display Your likeness,
Ever changing from glory to glory,
Mirrowed here may our lives tell Your story.
Shine on me, shine on me.
[Chorus]


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 06:29 PM

I might well agree with me on the new hymns I like, and the old hymns I could do without, Joe; and you might agree with me on the new ones that wouldn't be missed, and the old ones that would be (and are.)

I believe that tradition matters a lot in songs and music, and that songs often mean more than they seem to mean on the surface, whether in the secular or religious context.

And I get nervous about reformers around stained glass windows and such like, as much in the 21st century as in the sixteenth.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 06:35 PM

You're right about reformers, Kevin. They can tend to throw the baby out with the bath water.

I was reading yesterday that in the 1940's, the ornamentation on the Tower Bridge in London was considered gaudy. It was proposed that the stone sheathing be taken down, and the steel superstructure be covered with glass.
Yuck.
-Joe Offer-

Oh - allow me to add that to me, much "praise music" sounds like "It's a Small, Small World."
Yuck, again.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Jeanie
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 06:42 PM

An intentionally hilarious book was published last month by, of all people, the SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge): "My Ministry Manual" by the Rev. Gerald Ambulance (alias of Stephen Tomkins). The wonderful Reverend has a whole chapter on : "How to write worship songs". He recommends "a vacant head and vacuous lyrics" - some examples of his work:

O God, you're really Lord.
Jesus, you're really Lord.
Spirit, you're really Lord.
I'm glad you don't get bored.
And Lord you really are just really Lord (x12)

The Rev. says: "Don't worry if what comes out sounds a bit banal or meaningless to you. When you think about it, the whole human race must seem banal to God, so who are we to judge ? And with a bit of providence the punters singing it will be too out of their heads and into the heavenlies to mind." (He recommends using "O'l Romanian celestial strength incense to achieve this effect).

My favourite line from another of the Rev's masterpieces has to be this one:
"Jesus turned my trudging into skipping,
He turned my unchastity to zipping"

The whole book is so very close to the truth, it's brilliant !

I've also come across another superb aid for the budding modern worship songwriter: Fridgemagnets (like the one-word-at-a-time poetry ones). Create your own worship song in an instant by looking here : (this is my first attempt at a blue clicky, so forgive me if it goes wrong)http://wibsite.com/wibblethorpe/fridgemagnet.htm

Many blessings !
- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 06:43 PM

Some of the old hymn tunes are just plain good tunes. When I was in the post confirmation Luther League in late High School and early college days, we had a Chicago folk service (borrowing heavily from the Catholic folk masses, I believe). As one of the guitar players, I helped lead a lot of services back then. Many of the new songs had fairly wimpy tunes (remember this is just my opinion). It seems like some of the new hymn composers had just discovered suspended chords. I was also heavily leaned on by others in the group "to just play like everybody else" (they frowned on finger picking) and everything was done of what I now refer to as a "luther league strum."

These days I have a more Unitarian outlook in the spiritual realm, but don't think they are any better in the strong music and meaningful words department either. Just noodling on the guitar these days, sometimes old hymn tunes like "This is my Father's World" come out. And even without the words, it's a great tune. "Children of the Heavenly Father" is a mainstay of our live performances, even though we don't generally do religious numbers (it's folk for us, because my grandfather used to sing my mom to sleep with it in Swedish). I'm not implying that my perception that the newer church music was wimpy drove me away from regular church habits, but I think it was a general symptom.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 07:32 PM

So Joe - you object to a college group's lyrics forSing Hosanha to the Lord

Give me wax for my board
Keep me suring for the Lord
Give me wax for my board, I pray
Give me wax for my board
Keep me surfing for the Lord
Keep me surfing till the break of day

Give me salt for my Freetos
God is neato, neato, neato

Give me gas for my Ford
Keep me truckin' for the Lord.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 08:02 PM

Another thought here...bit of thread creep...

Last year I attended a dedication service for a PIPE ORGAN! in a very small Episcopal church. One of the priests mentioned that music was what brought many people into the church and this particular instrument would belong to the community. I started examining my feelings and beliefs and discovered that many were blurred with memories and emotions of music. Kevin mentioned that tradition matters a lot in songs and hymns...got me to thinking. In so many of the hymns I love (like Christmas carols and nursery rhymes), I really don't understand the words!


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 08:08 PM

Myself, I think one test for whether a new hymn (or whatever you call it) is a good one is whether you could imagine it sounding good in a folk context, sung by someone like Coopes Boyes and Simpson, or Waterson Carthy. And I mention them because, one way and another they sing a fair number of old hymns.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 08:13 PM

I have to say that I once loved pipe organs. Recently, I've started to change my mind. The organists play so loud, you can't hear anybody sing. Do they think sforzando is the only way to play a pipe organ?

This is in high-class joints, mind you - churches that ought to be able to pay a decent organist. We had big pipe organs in the seminary, and they were wonderful - but the organists played to accompany the singing, not drown it out.

-Joe Offer-
    Gargoyle, I think you and I come from different parts of the world. Surfboards aren't a big thing in Milwaukee, where I grew up. People who try to surf Lake Michigan are called "idiots."
We sang this one.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: raredance
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 08:35 PM

The folk process works in stories as well as songs. The following is from "Snappy Stories that Preacher's Tell" compiled by Paul E Holdcraft (1932, the Stockton Press). Compare to the story that Masato found and note that Holdcraft didn't write this in 1932, he got it from some other preexisting source. It appears we're not as familiar with breeds of cattle as we once were.

THE ANTHEM

Elder Watkins, just back from the city, was telling his wife of the church he had attended.
"Did you know any of their songs?" asked she.
"No," replied the elder, "they didn't sing anything but anthems."
"Anthems!" exclaimed his wife. "What on earth is an anthem?"
"Well", answered the elder, "I can't tell you just exactly, but if I'd say to you, 'Betsy, the cows are in the corn,' that wouldn't be an anthem. But if I'd say, 'Betsy, Betsy, Betsy, the cows, the cows, the Holstein cow, the muley cow, the Jersey cow, the spotted cow - all the cows are in, are in, the corn, corn, corn. Ah-men!' why that'd be an anthem.


rich r


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Heely
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 09:28 PM

Just a thought from an old organist /choirmaster: my choir members say that a hymn is what you remember when you are lying on a guerney outside of the operating room. A praise song is what you recover to.
I have choir members who have recalled the hymns they sang in their minds while under the white sheet waiting for the operation in the cold waiting area. Think about it; HIS Eye IS ON THE SPARROW or LORD I LIFT YOUR NAME ON HIGH> I know what I would sing. When my dad died of cancer my family circle his bed and sang for the whole night. What did we sing? The good old hymns. Heely


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Mooh
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 10:52 PM

Born of personal bias and experience, my taste runs to hymns. I like the general melodic lilt and majesty of hymns, but I especially like sung harmonies like that of the hymns of my Anglican upbringing. Many newer hymns appeal to me too, but generally those which have arrangements for up to four parts. I like a descant, fauxbourdon, alternate tunes, alternate verses, and other variables at times, so I don't see hymns as being static.

(I have a guitar student who had me help him with a piece of praise music which repeated the word awesome so often it almost made me renounce my faith...okay, I exagerate...but the lyric was so unimaginative, banal and uncrafted that I can't imagine a congregation of anyone but halfwits enjoying it. It was so simple as to be insulting, but God forgives, right? Anyway, I prefer a bit more intellect in my worship.)

Good organists (someone above mentioned pipe organs) are hard to find these days for parishes with limited budgets. My small town church happens to have one of the finest pipe organs anywhere, and a wonderful man behind it who knows how to lead a congregation and direct the choir. We are lucky and blessed, but given that he's quite beyond normal retirement age, we will someday have to ponder his replacement. Because he's so good however, there's no real movement to get "happy clappy" with the churchfolkguitarstrummersmelodyonlysingers. Maybe someday, but not now.

Lest one wonders, I really like hymns based on old folk tunes (and vice versa) and regularly play mandolin and fingerstyle guitar arrangements of them for my own amusement. As solo performances they are very nice, but one couldn't lead a congregation with them like an organ.

There are hymn naysayers around who haven't heard enough hymns to make an informed decision. For those I recommend some research (I have a small collection of hymn books and like to peruse the web for hymns). There is such a wide variety sung at the churches of one faith alone to give a good idea, but if one is tired of the same old hymns, try attending something other than the same old church (maybe in addition to your regular one).

Every so often I try to experience "praise music" by surfing the net or the cable TV Sunday broadcasts, but so far I'm underwhelmed. I do like to think that "praise music" is in a very early period of evolution and will mature someday, though I doubt it will in my lifetime. We live in hope.

Just some thoughts from a hymn snob. Thanks for listening.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Jim Krause
Date: 06 Oct 02 - 11:34 PM

Myself, I like the music of The Sacred Harp. Four part harmony, a capella; straight and neat.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 12:32 AM

There is probably no greater thrill for a key-boardest than to play a full-fledged pipe-organ. Your experience encompasses the entire orchestra from the conductor to the kettle drums and picollo....what a rush!!!

The pipe-organ is an instrument not well suited for the accompaniment of small vocal groups, unless they "take turns" on center stage.



I LOVE the great hymns of the faith. They have tempered me through the most jubilent and difficult times of times.

It is strange to attend Mormon/LDS services and find the same time honored, cherished tunes with different words.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,Bo in KY
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 12:57 AM

As a pastor I just had to jump in on this one. The question for me is the definition of an "old hymn". When a parishioner wants to sing the "old hymns" in my congregation, they invariably mean gospel songs from about a 40-year period in the late 19th century (Old Rugged Cross, In the Garden, etc.) Anything outside of that, even if it be from the 6th century, is a "new song" to them. Apparently 3 or 4 generations ago, at least in this part of Kentucky, these were the gospel songs (at the time probably 'radical') that were embraced, adopted and taught to children as the "traditional" music of the church. If you go back further historically, in the Reformed churches the hymns themselves were considered suspect - any human poetry set to music was inferior to the Psalter, i.e. singing God's word. For a couple hundred years the Psalter alone was used in worship (and to my mind they were on to something). I find some of the old Psalms (of which the "Old Hudredth" is perhaps the best known today) to be very moving and even timely.

Unfortunately American culture is so overwhelmingly individualistic it has affected the radical communitarian nature of the church, and this comes out in discussions of worship music, as we tend to "I'm OK you're OK" and "whatever makes you feel good is right" kind of thinking rather than really grappling with how to worship God as a community of faith and what part music plays in that. Striving to be "non-judgmental" sometimes boils down to an attitude of "keep the customer satisfied" rather than challenging people to new levels of faith and understanding.

That being said, I have introduced my congregation to "canting" the Psalms (as was done 500 years ago or so - radically new!!) and the worship style of the Taize community, in which the music is often guitar-based and repetitive, but in a way that is almost chant-like and conducive to contemplation. I also find some of the old monastic plainsongs to be incredibly haunting when played on the bowed psaltery. But my community would probably be just as happy singing Fanny Crosby hymns every Sunday!


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Hrothgar
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 06:22 AM

There's a hymn singing session at the National Folk Festival in Canberra every year. The material chosen tends to be driven by popular taste, and that usually means the older material, with a leavening of spirituals and odds and ends like "Drop Kick Me, Jesus, Through the Goalposts of Life."

This could be a reflection of the age group that turns up, too.

BTW, Joe, did you ever use this verse:

He's six foot two, eyes of blue,
Walks across the water too,
Has anybody seen my Lord?

I see a couple of similar bits in your link...


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 08:11 AM

Hear old gospel, black and white, here:

The Roots Music Listening Room

Have fun!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: pattyClink
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 09:19 AM

On a more positive note, I know one church which does both styles to overwhelming response. The music director loves and does both styles. There are two services, one is praise-y, one is hymn-y. Multiple small choirs, including an oldster group and a kids group. As a result, the place is standing room only with a vibrant community of all ages. The key is getting good musicians involved in the church and giving them some latitude.

Yeah, people like the old hymns. But many don't MEAN a whole lot to the modern mind. For people raised post-animal sacrifice, what does 'washed in the blood of the Lamb' do for you? It's so creepy and out-of-place it encourages people to just ignore the words and sing the notes. I've seen crowds 'get into' old hymns too and it's wonderful, but I've seen more cases of people mentally 'checking out' on verse two of some boring old tract.

Here's hoping we can keep the best of both breeds and lose the chaff.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 09:28 AM

Perhaps the discussion might turn to the situation for the person responsible for choosing and leading the music for a worship service-- I know several of us here hold that responsibility, and can speak about that.

When we began our Saturday night service several years ago, and ever since, that person is me. We had been asked to start a new service with contemporary music. I had heard and sung some, and agreed it would be a good idea. It was never planned that I would do the music, or engage someone-- but no one on the committee covered that base. The week arrived of the first scheduled service, and I found myself, autoharp and all, plunging in. We found, within a few months, that the service had attracted not mostly young people, but mostly older couples. My own musical journey at that time was turning to old hymns of other denominations-- like someone who posted above, I didn't grow up hearing them. They were easy on the acoustic instrumentation and very singable, and they made a greater impact with people present than the praise pieces had. They began to influence our mix.

Since then my musical journey has stayed just a half step ahead of our people... they gladly try anything I sing, and it's obvious which pieces work and should be retained for longterm use. As I have explored we have gone through patches of praise, old hymns, southern gospel, spirituals, black gospel, blues gospel, oldtimey Carter gospel.... bluegrass gospel...

If God inspired it, we sang it.

Hardi and I have spent many hours over the years trying to figure out why it is working so well. We are not that good, and we never do a piece so often that we get good, so good that it's lost its spontaneity. We are restless musically, and we move on rather than refine. We decided, in consultation with some of the people, that this is a large part of why it works for them. They aren't that good either, but they are happily willing to try something if we are trying it too.

My conclusion after several years of this, week in and week out, is that what we must do is choose music that meets a number of criteria. These are ours. What are yours?

Good theology. If it's absent or wrong, insert it or edit for it.

Singability. If it can't be sung upon hearing, it's not for us.

Instrumentation. Can a folkie pull it off?

Memorability. It needs to linger into the week, even if only the melody, to keep the heart lifted up.

Who is it About? Is it me, me, me, or is it about our Lord?

Results. Does it ask the hard questions and show a way to the answer? (Do lives change?) Does it support someone in something difficult? Does it return them to the sense of God that they had when they first met Him? Does the people say that it's come to mind when they have something to grieve or to celebrate?

Culture. Does the tune and language spring from the cultural gut of anyone present?

The Word from Outside. Does it bring in, from another culture, something good that we think our people's spiritual backgrounds are lacking, and that our congregation needs?

Respectful Inclusion. Not the PC kind-- I mean, do we include on a regular basis that which is familiar in sound and language to everyone present? Does everyone get their turn with what works for them, so that they can embrace what is new without a feeling of loss?

Desire. Do we love it so much we have to sing it, even if it isn't perfect? Has it been calling to us all week?

Inspiration. Is there a voice different from our own desires, beyond logic, telling us THIS is the piece we must present?

Affirmation. As we rehearse it, and after we do it, can we see that God brought us through it and has blessed it?

Redemptive JOY. Does it lead to a release of joy as the service ends, that we can see in the way the people relate to each other as they are leaving? Does it go beyond feeling good, to helping people become the person Christ says He created and can redeem them back to?


I think that's most of it. Mmario simplifies, and says it's like a good dish-to-pass supper complete with real strawberry shortcake.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 09:47 AM

Thats not very positive.
Pattyclink RE: what does 'washed in the blood of the Lamb' do for you?

The understanding of blood atonement for sin is the foundation of Christianity.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: MMario
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 10:01 AM

pattyClink - " For people raised post-animal sacrifice,..."? Most of those hymns were probably written by people raised post-animal sacrifice.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: IanC
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 10:11 AM

Garg

not mine it aint.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 10:12 AM

Well, maybe it means something to some people, but bloody lambs and military and regal imagery are foreign to my idea of what religion ought to be. There are songs I like to sing that use this imagery - but I won't use 'em in church.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: wilco
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 10:15 AM

The hymnns that i use, as well as the types of music that I enjoy, point to a common theme:
I'm not a ministe; I just like old music. My aim is to give people a feeling of "roots," knowing that these songs (rather secular or sacred) are somehing that their ancestors enjoyed. Imagine that you can take a hymnn or secular song, and give it some meaning beyond a bunch of lyrics that sing well. Amazing Grace comes to mind immediately. I'm always looking for old hymnns' histories. It is tough though to get around a bunch of songs from two or three generations ago: I'll Fly Away, Uncloudy Day, Farther Along, Angel Band, A Beautiful Life, Mountain Railroad, Dust on the Bibel, This World is not my Home, Great Speckled Bird, In The Garden, Lily of the Valley, Church in The Wildwood, Peace in the Valley, Drifting too far, Swwt by and by, Sweet Hour of Prayer, Firing Line, Swing Low, Were You There, When They Ring those Golden Bells, Will the Circle be Unbroken, etc.
I would like more old hymnns that have a history of several hundred years, that have possibly been re-set to different melodies or different lyrics. Any ideas?


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Jim Krause
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 10:33 AM

I'm a big fan of the 16th and 17th century German chorales. They seem to be very singable by the average person, and can be done beautifully by a congregation a capella, even though many of them were harmonized by J.S. Bach and meant to be played on the pipe organ. That said, I come from a church tradition steeped in four part a capella congregational singing. So we sing them well.

Singing four part harmony is for me a metaphor for life on Earth; all the people blending different voices, and different vocal lines to create real harmony. Sometimes, as in Lowell Mason's setting of The Doxology vocal lines act independently, yet give a sense of purpose, strength, and a common goal.

Singing in unison (eenstemme) is a metaphore for everybody doing the same ol' thing the same ol' way as everybody else, and done badly is just uninteresting. Praise music that I have heard qualifies for this category. Taize, on the other hand can be and is in our church sung in four part harmony, sometime a capella, sometimes with instrumental accompaniment.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 01:54 PM

The problem is when the people who make the choices blindly abandon the old because its old and adopt the new because it's new. Or the other way round.

There are wonderful new hymns,including some which are very simple and involve a lot of repetition, like some of Sydney Carter's. And there are others that are dire, so bad you feel they must have been written by some dedicated enemy of religion as a way of driving people out of church. Unfortunately these often seem to be the ones that get wheeled out time and time again. (They still drive people away.)

For some reason I find cheerful songs are generally particularly depressing. I think that's probably because they feel like they're lying. Life can be pretty grim at times, and you have to find a way of getting through it and a way being joyful in the face of it. Cheerful happy stuff doesn't help with that, and that's where a lot of older hymns are better - they understand that; and the good new ones do as well.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 02:07 PM

We have a great pipe organ at our church - and someone who knows how to use it. She treats it like a Jag XKE which is a little much for my taste. We're always saying to each other " Sounds like Janet has been watching Phantom of the Opera" again. When she met with us to talk about our wedding we convinced her that we loved piano music.

I keep being reminded of disco when I hear praise music. Disco was very popular for a while but it didn't last. There just wasn't enough substance. If folks like it it's OK with me. But I'm not going out of the way to hear it.

Our group plays a lot of old hyms. Currently in our playlist are - What a friend we have in Jesus, Nearer my God to Thee, Just a closer walk with Thee, Are you washed in the blood of the lamb, You can tell the world, Fight on, and a lot of others. We've been known to NOT do a song because off the thelogy or to even tell folks on rare occasions that we like the song and not the message. Of coruse our musical director/ banjo player is a Harvard grad that teaches thelogy and can read from the ancient greek ect so we tend to trust his feelings on the subject.

Whenever we play in services we get a great reaction from our church members. But there always seems to be someone down in front that just glares at the banjo or mandolin - as if those instruments aren't supposed to be in church. Same with the bohran we used once. Anyone else have that problem ?


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 02:13 PM

So is the banjo played along with the organ? That'd make an interesting combination, and quite practical with a bit of amplification, or an organist who knows how to play relatively quietly.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 06:07 PM

No - the banjo and the organ play at different times. However she's been known to give us some bombastic lead-in music.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 06:47 PM

Ah, go on and try it Wesley - you could offend both lots at the same time. I think it could be a rivetting new sound. Genuine musical ecumenism.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 08:48 PM

Well, having had my own music influenced by the likes of Emmy Lou Harris, the Bryds, Mason Proffit, Son House and the like, there is a large part of me that goes for the "Praise Music". Songs like "I Like the Chistain Life", "When He Calls", "Jesus is My Rock", etc. are songs that are very much part of me and my relationship with the Lord. *But* it's my medium and it is what I have to sing praise...

Hymns, for the most part seem a tad stuffy in their composition thou in the hands of trained singers are absolutely beautiful and rival any of the stuff we "folkies". And some folkie praise songs are actually lesser known hymns. If I am not mistaken, "I'll Fly Away" is found in some Catholic hymnals.

But bottom line, if you're singing praise, then God is 'a hearin' you...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,trying to learn patience
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 09:03 PM

For years now, we've used a praise hymnal that only gets worse with every new edition. I think the musical inspirations come from summer camp singalongs, the worse kinds of broadway shows and TV commercials. But I notice that the latest edition irritates me because of the gender-inclusive language. Not that I necessarily object to it in principle, but just that I now get whiplash trying to recover from my last-edition habits, in which the Deity is a He, a Father, the Savior is a Son, and all that. But note: I'm getting annoyed with them for trifling with those good old songs that have always annoyed the beejeebers outta me. Then when I compare the lyrics of the great old hymns I love, well, some of THEM are pretty banal. So let's acknowledge that 90% of the music (poetry, film, TV) of any time period is junk, that the good stuff stands the test of time, and that we love has less to do with intrinsic quality than that it's the soundtrack to a large chunk of our lives. C'mon, haven't you caught yourself humming along with an oldies station and suddenly realized, "hey, I always thought that song was garbage..."


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 09:38 PM

Banjo and organ duo... that'd be like a cricket singing underneath Niagara Falls. I used to go to a Lutheran Church that ended up installing a church that was a little too large for Yankee stadium. When the organist played, every one's hair blew forward ... it was at the back of the church. After a few Sundays trying to sing, when I couldn't even hear myself, I gave up. It used to irritate me that all the music that was played in the church was by DEC... Dead European Composers. I can just about abide strummed nylon string guitars and the new songs at folk services, but when songs are in keys that can only be sung if you're a tenor, and the organ makes you feel like you're in a wind tunnel, I give up. (I did play banjo and lead old hymns in that same church, by the way. But only when the choir and the organist were on vacation..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 10:54 PM

IianC and Mr. Joe - if your "Christianity" is not based on Christ's blood sacrifice for your sins....I can unequivocally state that you ARE going to Hell....because your "christianity" is not "Christianity" .... for all of the other religions.... that's up to God to sort out the details.



Sincerely,

Gargoyle



WYSIWYG - as a Christian preacher's wife - please explain the basic tenets of Christianity to this flock of song-birds.


Sorry, Gargoyle, but I can't buy the idea of a lamb, or a Christ, or anyone or anything being sacrificed to appease an angry God. How can we say that God is good, and then feel forced to appease Him by killing something?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 11:43 PM

I really identify with what mooh wrote (even down to the fact that I too play fingerstyle hymns for my own enjoyment).

I do feel like the music in the church is just symptomatic of changes that have made me feel like a stranger in church these days. I think that though church music has been moving toward a personal, relational Christianity, in the last few decades it's made a mad rush toward that exclusively.

A case in point -- if 50 years ago you had asked the typical conservative/fundamental/evangelical Christian if he was the "bride of Christ", he would have answered unequivocally that he was not. He would respond that the church is the "bride of Christ"

If you ask the same question in the same kind of church today you would almost certainly get an affirmative answer.

The music now is imitative of pop love songs because that is the kind of relationship the modern Christian is being told is true Christianity/the goal of Christianity.

If you listen to the individual voices in these praise services I think you'll find that it sounds like hundreds of solo singers singing the way they've heard their pop-christian music icons sing the song.

The beautiful (and very Christian) image of voices submitting to one another in harmony is missing. But then, the theology has moved toward the heightened importance of the individual.

It isn't that easy for both types of music to coexist. We use the arts to help us express our understanding of an invisible God and, though we know our imagery is imperfect, we take comfort in some sort of concrete picture of the God we envision in our imaginations.

With the modern praise expressing an image of a God so vastly different conceptually from the God of the hymn, it's no doubt going to cause a conflict.

I think that the new praise music is also not conceptually as related to the hymn as it is to chanting. This is a period in the protestant church where gnosticism is seeing a huge revival, and the praise music is filling the functional role of a chant -- that is, its intellectual content is secondary to its practical function of manipulating emotion.

Even when scripture is directly lifted for use in the music it is usually not becasue of the intellectual content of that scripture -- rather, it is used because it "sounds religious" and therefore is effective in manipulating the singers to "feel religious".


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,John Hardly
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 11:45 PM

'twas me above. I didn't realize I was cookie-less


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 07 Oct 02 - 11:51 PM

The blood of the lamb, and blood of sacrifices goes back to a very primitive time when the blood was thought to be the life of an animal. When the blood was drained from an animal, it died, so I suppose that it was natural to associate the "life" as being the blood. The reference to the blood of the Lamb is more easily taken as meaning the life, or soul of Jesus.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: TNDARLN
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 12:02 AM

Several thoughts here:

Wilco, you know what my ideas are about old hymns and where to find 'em!

McGrath says "For some reason I find cheerful songs are generally particularly depressing. I think that's probably because they feel like they're lying. Life can be pretty grim at times, and you have to find a way of getting through it and a way being joyful in the face of it. Cheerful happy stuff doesn't help with that, and that's where a lot of older hymns are better - they understand that; and the good new ones do as well."

Well said!! I think that may be one of the reasons I love the minor/Dorian Sacred Harp tunes-- this life is full of troubles, but there's A Better Land a'comin' [and Burke, I know that's a major tune, but it makes the point] I draw strength from the knowledge that these old minor tunes were a source of strength for those gone on before- many of whom suffered more hardships than I'll ever know...

And Susan, I love the criteria you set forth. That's really what it's all about.

Today I was driving home from a weekend with my folks, and was still out of range of my favorite Moody Bible radio station, and had to [or did, for awhile]settle for a local Christian station's take on praise music. "Our God is awesome" over and over, and I about gagged. Now, I love "Our God is an Awesome God" [Rich Mullins] which has rhythm, rhymes, and presents a strong statement. I wondered how much difference was due to the placement of the word awesome in the line? Then, a bit later, they played several Brittany Spears-type jingles in a row...arghh.

OTOH, I have found myself singing the words to Confidence [270]in the Sacred Harp today, anticipating the President's speech. [and, not to go political, but to explain that, while he has my support, my faith is in One Much Higher] "Away my unbelieving fear; fear shall in me no more have place. My Saviour does not yet appear; He hides the Glory of His face. But shall I therefore let Him go, and basely to the tempter yield? No, in the strength Jesus, no, I never will give up my Shield"

These days we need strong words....or at least, I do.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Kaleea
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 01:04 AM


I've been a church musician since before I was in school. When I was a youngster in a bible belt church, I wanted to abandon the old hymns--well, most of 'em--& move into what was at that time the beginnings of praise music. Now that I approach mid life, I want to hear & sing hymns, chorales, & old time gospel such as Mahalia Jackson used to sing. Funny that in the early 1960's a little white gal such as myself would have records of Mahalia Jacoson, Ray Charles, the Beatles, Count Basie, Glen Miller, (& lots of other swing bands!), Duke Ellington, Strauss, & a host of other genres of music. When I am asked to sing for a wedding or funeral, ordination, rosary (funny thing is I'm not Catholic-but who cares?), they want to hear the good old HYMNS!! As a (civilian) choir director for the Army way back when I was a young woman, A Chaplain told me that in the 3 wars he had worked as a Chaplain, there were 3 particular songs which were most always requested in the fox holes & under bridges: What a Friend We Have In Jesus, Just a Closer Walk With Thee, & Amazing Grace. They are still on the top of my list of most requested hymns.
I've never had anyone request "praise songs" for a funeral. With the recent events, & sad economy which has many scrambling for their livlihood, I am seeing a resurrgence of the good old Hymns. They bring us great comfort, & remind us of where we come from--our early church training--, something solid to hold on to so that we can make it through the times of uncertainty & need. I agree with WYSIWYG--the folks who sing only the praise genre are looking for an emotional experience. I can tell you from experience that those groups who travel & sing, as well as traveling evengelists are as all other groups of humans. Some are good people who are doing what they think is right. There will always be a certain percentage who are looking for the money which can be lucrative if they really get the congregation feeling the "guilt" so that they'll be more susceptable to opeing their wallets & purses wider to empty them out. Some are actually immoral (or make the attempt) with the young girls (or boys!) of the church who are told "it's what God [allegedly] wants us to do, it's "God's will!." That is very sad. And, yes, there are some lyrics which sound ridiculous: "Eat my body, drink my blood." Once about 10 years back, after a black Friday service (Friday before Easter when Jesus dies on the cross which is usually described in utter detail to help bring on the guilt)) Some kids asked us if we were in a "cult." They thought that it was quite similar to the activities of some practicing "wicca, candle magic, or whatever."
We explained to them the meanings of things, & then they thought that was " not as cool." Go figure.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 04:20 AM

From 40 years with the same church choir, I have tried most hymn styles. We switched hymn books from "Hymns Ancient & Modern" to "Hymns Ancient & Modern - Revised" in 1974. Not a great change, but some of the words had been up-dated, and in momentary lapses if I'm singing without checking I still sometimes revert to the old words.
We do use 'Modern' hymns, "20th Century Hymns" and will soon be changing our hymn book Again.But I trust we will continue with most of the old standards.
Quite a few messages above give the impression that the same 'standards' are used almost week-in-week-out, this could get boring (although you do learn the hymns!). A good organist, or the vicar, (depending on who chooses) will select hymns to match the church's seasons. So a good selection can be seen over a period.

'Canting' (Chanting?) was mentioned above, so a quick cross reference to Metrical Psalms is needed here.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: IanC
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 04:35 AM

Garg

Glad you think I'm going to hell (along, presumably, with all the other Quakers). Somehow it's a comfort.

Tell me where you think that the concept of "The Blood of The Lamb" appears in the historical new testament.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 04:38 AM

IanC: Matthew 26 vv27-28

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:12 AM

Slipped out of the pedant thread have you, Nigel? Always messing up opinionated arguments with uncomfortable facts.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Bagpuss
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:24 AM

What are "old hymns"?

I used to play is what would probably be called a "folk group" at church. One day an old lady came up to us and said she liked listening to us play, but wished we would play more of the old hymns. I asked her which old hymns she particularly liked and we would see whether they could be arranged for the instruments we used. She mentioned two very old hymns, and two fairly new hymns our group had introduced several years earlier and had been taken up by the organ (which played at another service). So now because they had been played at the more "traditional" mass with the organ and sung enough times, they were now considered "old hymns".

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:37 AM

"Banjo and organ duo... that'd be like a cricket singing underneath Niagara Falls."

That's a good analogy Jerry, and that's what I like about the thought of that combination. Have to turn down the volume of Niagara Falls, and turn up the cricket, so that it could just be heard, bravely making its voice heard. It'd be easier to do that with an organ and banjo.

I've heard a mountain dulcimer successfully played along with a hurdy gurdy (not in church), and if you can do that you can do anything.

This distinction between "praise songs" and "hymns" seems a strange one to me. All hymns are praise songs. There are different types of hymns, and all the different types of hymns include some great ones and some terrible ones. And a lot of ones which are part good and part not so good, like most people.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:44 AM

Interesting how this discussion exactly paralles all those "what is folk music/what happened to folk clubs?" threads. Half the people want to stick to time-tested material, the other half want to try out New Improved Relevant stuff to entice back the Young People.And each group blames the other for the remorseless leakage of audience. Intriguingly, however, not all Mudcatter take the same sides in the arguments; we seem to have soe people who are all for the New in churches but like the Old in folk-music.
   On a purely persomal note:
(1) At my funeral you'll get "Abide with me", "Cwm Rhonnda" and "The Day thou gavest" and you can bloody well put up with it. Guitars and Ned Flanders unctuous smiles can be left outside.
(2) The other day I inadvertently tuned in to a Christian Radio Station in Stoke(UK). Up to then I had innocently assumed such things were a trans-Atlantic phenomenon. After a couple of songs and a bit of inspirational chat I was in desperate need of one of those brown paper bags they thoughtfully provide on planes.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:53 AM

The organist at the church I used to go to explained the difference between hymns and gospel music for us once. He said that gospel music is about a personal experience with God(which is true) and that hymns are songs of praise. He gave as an example of a song that is not a hymn, In The Garden, and added that he was taught never to play that song because it is dangerous. I found that amusing. I told him that it was Mother's favorite hymn, and asked why it was not a hymn. He answered with rather circular reasoning, "Because it's not in our hymnal." When I pointed out that it is in most hymnals (and refrained from making any wisecracks about Dead European Composer) he just brushed it off. When I asked him why it was "dangerous", he quoted a line from the song.."And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known." He said that it makes it sound as if the singer is the only person who has ever known joy with Jesus. I said that it doesn't say that... it says "the joy WE share," and that each person has a unique relationship with Jesus, because each person is unique. He didn't buy that at all... stuck to his guns. It made me smile to think that my Mother is dangerous in his eyes, because that is probably her favorite hymn.

When I was asked to do a song during the summer service, when the organist and choir toook a vacation, guess what song I did? You got it. And McGrath, I did it on banjo, and to the credit of the Assistant Choir Director who was definitely into DEC, he said he couldn't imagine anyone doing it as well on the organ. A man with a not completely ossified mind... Good for him!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Mooh
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 09:15 AM

From my Dad's distant past:

The Church's one frustration,
It is the chancel choir.
T'will never sway the nation,
Nor set the world on fire.
While organ's pedals thunder
and fill us all with ire,
We all with scornful wonder
From services retire.

Tune: Aurelia
Words: unattributed

Given that the old boy remembered these words from his childhood in the 1920s, I suppose that there has always been uncomfort in the pews regarding the music.

I had occasion recently to visit a small rural parish church which had both a modern(ish) electronic organ and an old pump organ, the latter with no visible evidence of current use. Being that there was no one about that weekday except my family and I, I tried both organs. The new(ish) one sounded like crap, every single stop. The old pumper however, sounded like angel's wings. Except for obvious bellows work there wasn't much wrong with it. I'd love to have one of things in my home! It seemed to me another indication of where the sound of church music is going. The timbre is not right to my ears. Compared to that weepy electronic abomination, I'll take a folk band or any day. And therein is the rub. We make do with what we can afford in our churches, assuming that much of what we give is for the glory of God in "outreach" rather than in worship, and it seems of late that outreach and worship grow apart.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 10:09 AM

1Peter 1:19 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look! The Lamb of God!"

Rev 5:6 Then I saw one like a slaughtered lamb standing between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth.

Rev 7:17 Because the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them; He will guide them to springs of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Rev 19:9 Then he said to me, "Write: Blessed are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb!" He also said to me, "These words of God are true."

Rev 7:14 I said to him, "Sir, you know." Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Mat 26:27-28 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.

"Christ takes the punishment we deserve. He bore the curse laid on us for having broken those principles which in our mind we accept....Recipients of grace follow Christ as Lord by taking up the Cross, by enduring hardness, by joining in the Lamb's war...." QUAKER Commentary - From Robert's Reflections - Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends http://www.nwfriends.org/RobertsReflec/arobertaug02.html

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: IanC
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 10:57 AM

garg

Only the Matthew and John quotes are from the historical New Testament (i.e. "The Gospels") the rest are commentary. None of them suggests that believing in "The Blood of The Lamb" is a prerequisite of being Christian.

As regards the Quaker quote you provided, individual Quakers are entitled to their own viewpoints (we are non credal), but it is very far out of line with the experience of the vast majority of Quakers in the UK.

Here's the abstract from a very old, traditional, quaker view from Barclay's Apology - Proposition 13.

THE THIRTEENTH PROPOSITION

Concerning the Communion, or Participation of the Body and Blood of Christ.



The communion of the body and blood of Christ is inward and spiritual, which is the participation of his flesh and blood, by which the inward man is daily nourished in the hearts of those in whom Christ dwells; of which things the breaking of bread by Christ with his disciples was a figure, which they even used in the church for a time, who had received the substance, for the cause of the weak; even as "abstaining from things strangled, and from blood;" the washing one another's feet, and the anointing of the sick with oil; all which are commanded with no less authority and solemnity than the former; yet seeing they are but the shadows of better things, they cease in such as have obtained the substance.

:-)




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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Burke
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:30 PM

My direct current contact with the Praise music is pretty limited so I have a certain hesitation about joining in. The church I go to does Episcopalian hymns & does them well.

I go to church with my sisters on occasion. They both go to churches of the denomination we grew up attending. One goes to a traditional church & everything about it, including its hymn singing, is just deadly. The other goes to a contemporary format church, they do it well. I'm not crazy about it, but given a choice between the two, I'd take the contemporary church.

I think what has happened is that there have always been churches that could not get good organists, etc, & their hymn singing could be pretty bad. They may have switched formats to fix the problem, but still do it badly so there's been no real gain & a loss to the people who at least liked the old music. This practice of developing new music because of perceived problems with the current practice is very old. Read sometime about the mid 18th cent. singing school music that replaced the 'old way' of hymn singing.

It just seems to me that some of the older hymns & songs are being somewhat idealized. I love singing "In the Sweet Bye & Bye" or "Unclouded Day," but I can't credit them with profound religious thoughts. I only recently realized that some choruses I feel like I've known forever actually have verses. "Oh How I love Jesus" or "At the Cross, at the Cross" as stand alone chouses are much the same as the new choruses.

One simple song I thought was a modern praise song is "There are angels hovering 'round." (sing 3 times, that's it) Imagine my surprise when I found it in an 1890's hymn book. I think 2 notes were different from what I learned orally & there were a few more one line verses, not much different.

I'm an avid Sacred Harp singer. I find some words very moving & expressing the hardships of life & faith that we don't sing anymore. I also really like songs like Weeping Pilgrim. The whole text is pretty much, I'm a mourning pilgrim & I'm bound for Cannan. Older idea, but just a simple & repetitive as modern songs. (no link due to connect problems)

To me the critical issue is appropriateness to the setting. I like bluegrass Gospel, but don't want to sing it in church. In a formal, liturgical service a certain formality to the music also seems right. In an informal setting more informal music works.

Informal worship settings have always used very easy to learn choruses & been distained by the music establishment. The Sacred Harp is full of choruses adapted from the Camp Meetings. D.L. Moody found great evangelical success with gospel choruses. Billy Graham gave us a different bunch. The ones we have now are coming from Cursillo retreats & Promise Keeper rallies. People that 'get religion' in these kinds of settings often want the same music when they go to church. Traditionally the more independent churches would adopt them while the ones controlled by hymn boards would not.

There's nothing new in any of this debate, only some of the specifics.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:42 PM

"...the ones controlled by hymn boards"



I thought hymn boards were those boards where they stick up the hymn numbers just before a service.




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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:49 PM

Here's one by TS Eliot I've always rather liked (praise song or hymn? Couldn't say.) Some might say it's got some cryptic meaning, but I prefer to read it as just about a hippopotamus.

The broad-backed hippopotamus
Rests on his belly in the mud;
Although he seems so firm to us
He is merely flesh and blood.

Flesh and blood is weak and frail,      
Susceptible to nervous shock;
While the True Church can never fail
For it is based upon a rock.

The hippo's feeble steps may err
In compassing material ends,         
While the True Church need never stir
To gather in its dividends.

The 'potamus can never reach
The mango on the mango-tree;
But fruits of pomegranate and peach      
Refresh the Church from over sea.

At mating time the hippo's voice
Betrays inflexions hoarse and odd,
But every week we hear rejoice
The Church, at being one with God.         

The hippopotamus's day
Is passed in sleep; at night he hunts;
God works in a mysterious way—
The Church can sleep and feed at once.

I saw the 'potamus take wing         
Ascending from the damp savannas,
And quiring angels round him sing
The praise of God, in loud hosannas.

Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean
And him shall heavenly arms enfold,         
Among the saints he shall be seen
Performing on a harp of gold.

He shall be washed as white as snow,
By all the martyr'd virgins kist,
While the True Church remains below         
Wrapt in the old miasmal mist.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,Pooby
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 10:40 AM

When I saw Kaleea's reference yesterday to "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" being one of three favorite "foxhole songs," I thought of how a friend and I have occasionally reworked that song from its traditional hymn styling to be almost a bluegrass breakdown. Don't know how it would work in the cozy confines of my Lutheran church, but around the campfire at retreats, it totally kicks butt. Start it out with an easy a cappella intro based on the last two lines of the first verse, then crank it up into a cut-tempo, preferably with standard BG instrumentation (banjo, mandolin and dobro would work big time), three- or four-part high lonesome harmonies, and an instrumental break or two in between the verses.

OK, so maybe the purpose of hymn singing isn't exactly to "kick butt," but at the same time let's not overlook the Psalm's encouragement to "make a joyful noise to the Lord." Personally, I hope the world of organized religion is big enough to have room for both the trad hymns and the more contemporary praise songs. (Sure, there are examples from both genres of songs that suck, ones that make you either want to gag or giggle. But why should church music be any different from the rest of the musical world?)


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Genie
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 07:18 PM

My sister's church, which leans heavily toward the praise choruses, did a Christmas Cantata last year.  
During a slide show, they sang excerpts from traditional, well-loved Christmas carols, and the congregation sang
two or three of them during the service.   But during the main part of the cantata, I suddenly found myself wanting to scream!
On reflection, I realized that the drum beat reminded me of the old disco days, when the same beat would be played continuously for hours.  
Every one of the new Christmas choruses they sang had the same moderately slow 2/4 (maybe 4/4) beat, with a strong back beat and a latin-ish sounding syncopation. This was so overpowering that it distracted me from any differences in the words or melodies of the various choruses.

On a similar note, I heard a parody of a very popular praise chorus
("I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever") a while back.   It went:
"I could sing the same line forever,
I could sing the same line forever,
I could sing the same line forever,
I could sing the same line forever..." (repeat, fading out).

I'll admit that many of the old hymns had unnecessarily flowerly language (characteristic of the poetry of their time),
many of the tunes/arrangements were befitting a marching band, and the theology was sometimes questionable at best
(e.g., one line of "God Will Take Care Of You" asserts "...Nothing you ask will be denied...")--
many of them, that is, would not pass muster on Susan's well-thought-out critera.
But many were set to tunes by Haydn, Bach, Beethoven, beautiful old folk tunes, or other muscially interesting and pleasing melodies.
(FWIW, I can play most of the melodies on my guitar, and I'm not a regular user of "jam buster" chords.)
 

If the classic songs of Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Ellington, and others can be revived (after the de rigeur hiatus of the adolescence
of the offspring of the first generation of folks who loved them), if classical music survives across generations in the secular arena,
and if some of the old spirituals and Gospel songs are also appreciated by multiple generations, why should this not also be true of Sunday morning church music?
I thought the idea was that over succeeding generations, we tend to discard the poor and mediocre songs of an era and keep the gems.

Genie

BTW, John Hardly, I think you're onto something, there.
 

One more comment:  There was a time when "awesome" was the kind of word one would use for God and not for a new skateboard or for Britney Spears's navel.  Given its overuse in Valley Girl parlance, I find the word rather irritating in the context of most praise songs.  In "How Great Thou Art," the line "Oh, Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made ..." expresses the truer meaning of the word -- I am filled with awe, my wonder is full of awe.  As an adjective to describe the object being considered, the term seems a misuse.  God is awe-inspiring (and maybe the skateboard is, too, but I have yet to see a skateboard that good).  It is my feeling for God that is "awesome"--not God."  [Yeah, yeah, go on and give me the lecture about language being a changing, living thing.  But I've told you why the contemporary use of "awesome" in praise choruses rubs me the wrong way.]


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 07:40 PM

Well the even older usage would have been "awful", with pretty well the same meaning as awesome, and I suppose we'd be hesitant of using that in that kind of context these days. Mind you, it might be quite an appropriate word to apply to some reputedly "awesome" performers.

It occurs to me that since most people probably do that much flitting around between churches, it's easy enough to fall into the trap of generalising from limited experience. "Why does no one ever sing such-and-such these days" - and in the next parish (or congregation) they're still singing it as a matter of course.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Genie
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 07:54 PM


Heely  said "Just a thought from an old organist /choirmaster: my
choir members say that a hymn is what you remember when you are lying on
a guerney outside of the operating room. A praise song is what you recover
to.

 I have choir members who have recalled the hymns they sang in
their minds while under the white sheet waiting for the operation in the
cold waiting

 area. Think about it; His Eye Is On The Sparrow 
or Lord, I Lift Your Name On High.   I know what I would
sing.

<a href="http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=50011#798715">
Here </a> is the story of what happened to me last Monday while doing
music therapy in a convalescent/rehab. center.  It strongly echoes
your point.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 08:01 PM

I'd probably sing "Star of the Sea" - "Pray for the wanderer, pray for me"...


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Genie
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 08:04 PM

take a look here: www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=50011#798715


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 05:10 AM

Just wondering how many "praise songs" would rank among the world's most beloved sacred music pieces, in comparison to the number of "hymns" that would.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 06:45 AM

Now does Handel's Hallelujah Chorus count as a "praise song":

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Penny S.
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 07:05 AM

Shouldn't think so - it requires complex harmonies, and people singing different parts of the text simultaneously.
Penny


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Cubs
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 04:20 PM

Pardon a new poster, but there are too many interesting points in this thread for me to leave it alone. I have been heavily involved in church music much of my life. More than thirty years ago, in the church in which I was raised, the first church my family attended that did not use my mother as an accompanist, I sang in the Chancel Choir and was part of the folk group the did the Episcopalian's Folk Mass for the Service of Communion on World Communion Sunday in 1966.

For the past twenty years, in the church in which my son was raised, I sang in the Chancel Choir and was the constant member of the Praise Team. The last ten years we had an integrated service, praise opening, worship for communion and three hymns. Last spring the new pastor fired the Praise Team.

A couple of questions have been asked in this thread that I can address and will.

"How many "praise songs" would rank among the world's most beloved sacred music pieces, in comparison to the number of "hymns" that would."

That is for history to decide. Charles Wesley wrote about 6,000 hymns. There are 51 hymns by him in the current United Methodist Hymnal down from 77 in the hymnal that preceded it. There is an editing process to history. Some of the modern songs will undoubtedly be added to the pantheon and some of the older songs will be removed. (IMNSHO prime candidates for addition include "Spirit Song", "Shine, Jesus, Shine", "Shine On Us", "For The Glory Of Your Name" and "The River Is Here.")

"Hallelujah!" certainly qualifies as a Praise song. It is essentially a three-chord song (with an occasional hint at a Major super-tonic and a very brief foray into the relative minor necessitating a minor sub-mediant and a Major mediant), it repeats one word incessantly, and has an unusual ending (sub-dominant to tonic).

One last comment, then I will close. A previous poster wrote that at one point early in Praise songs composers had just discovered suspended chords. The discovery of the nineties was half-diminished chords (minor 7th, flat 5). Pity.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,Genie
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 08:42 PM

No way is Handel's "Hallelujah!" Chorus the same genre of music as what we currently know as "praise songs." I don't care if it does repeat phrases and has few chords. It's still musically much more complex -- and interesting -- than any "praise chorus" I've yet to hear.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: pastorpest
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 11:56 PM

I have enjoyed this thread! I do not like praise whatever it is either. Somehow it is like OD'ng on cotton candy. When it comes to hymns, we are living in the era of church history in which the most hymns are being written. There are so many new hymns to choose among that just finding the new good ones is a task.

I recently attended a workshop on the history of the denomination to which I belong, The United Church of Canada, through the hymns we sing. What a stimulating way it was to understand the issues, and ways of believing for generations past, and appreciate those who went before.

but I am glad to have new hymns that leave behind the heavy duty god who is high and lifted up. Give me hymns to help experience the compassionate One in the here and now. I cannot handle the blood and sarifice images of the past and even worse, the military images. I am grateful for new hymns that include heart with head.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Mooh
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 05:57 AM

pastorpest...I like your hymn book, Voices United. It, and the new Anglican Church of Canada's Common Praise, are both much better than the previous jointly owned The Hymn Book. I have a soft spot for The Hymn Book though, because of hymns like Every Star Shall Sing A Carol, and because I used the book throughout a happy period of my family's life.

Voices United also has one of my Dad's hymn tunes in it, though arguably not his best, just his best known. The folk process applies to hymns as much as anything.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 09:18 AM

So it's a good praise song, as opposed to a dismally bad praise song. There's plenty of musically "complex" religious music sung by ordinary people, such as the "village carols" sung in pubs round Sheffield. Lots of Gospel music is complicated enough. Sacred Harp, West Gallery, Latin American...

I suppose it wopild me posible to define "praise songs" in a way that requires that it has to be be very very simple and uninspiring, but I don't think that would be a useful or valid definition.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Genie
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 12:44 PM

My objection is not to having new church songs or simple choruses but to the tendency of some churches to do the new "praise choruses" almost exclusively, with only a token nod now and then to the older (and sometimes very beloved) old hymns.  This mirrors the commercial secular music industry too much -- let's focus on the music of the teens and 20-somethings and on "what's hot."  Throwing out all "praise songs" is equally unfortunate, since there are some lovely ones, and musical tastes will evolve with new generations.

Re: the "Hallelujah Chorus" as a praise song, let me clarify that it is the choral elaborations that set it apart from the way I usually hear praise songs done in church.  "Shine, Jesus, Shine" could, of course, be arranged for a choir as a complex piece of the same sort.  And, McGrath, even before your post about complex music done by "ordinary people," I was thinking that in a really get-down Gospel church, the spontaneous 'arrangements' of the music by the congregation are quite complex and interesting -- multiple harmonies, countermelodies, call-and-response, melodic variations, etc.  Choir arrangements are often even more "jazzed up" and elaborate.

The praise songs I've heard most often are not simpler than a lot of spirituals,Gospel and religious folk songs and "camp sing-along songs" such as "Do, Lord,"  "I've Got The Joy, Joy, Joy," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Standin' In The Need Of Prayer," "Give Me Oil In My Lamp," "Let Us Break Bread Together," "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," etc.  But I've usually heard these songs sung with harmonies, "echo" parts, counterpoint, etc.  And when the piano (or even organ) was used to accompany the old hymns, folks could usually hear the bass, tenor, and alto lines, so it was not unusual to hear 2-, 3-, and even 4-part harmony from the congregation.  The harmony parts are seldom that clear when the guitar is the back-up instrument, and I usually hear the praise choruses done almost exclusively in unison.  Maybe it's just the churches I've gone to.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 12:58 AM

God is happy to receive praise in whatever form it comes..Hymns/Praise songs/Prayer.... does it really matter what individuals think?


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 01:39 AM

Yes, it does make a difference, Georgiansilver. "Jesus Is My Boyfriend" songs are shallow, and promote a shallow spirituality. I think a hymn text should have substance, preferably with roots in Scripture - something that's theologically sound, not just sentimental feelgood music.
A lot of old anthems don't meet the criterion of theological soundness, either. Having a catchy melody just isn't enough.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 09:27 AM

joe
it,s interesting that you think they should be theologically sound and i agree.however you earlier said that you have a problem with "blood of the lamb" theology ,and as i know you have theological training,i,m sure you know where it comes from.maybe i,m cheeky but does theologically sound in your book mean ok with a liberal perspective?.

i think a lot of the songs are shallow but there are notable exceptions eg in Christ alone by stuart townend.
is repitition necessarily bad?how will we do in heaven with endless "holy holy holy..."

a good example of an old hymn revamped well IMO is "and can it be" by phatfish,i think on youtube.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 13 Nov 11 - 04:58 PM

Please forgive me if I'm breaking any rules, but this thread seems an ideal place to shamelessly plug my website, www.Music-Folk-Play-Hymns. The site features "play-along" videos of traditional hymns played on folk instruments by myself and assorted other amateurs. Chords and lyrics included, also sheet music, tab, hymn stories, etc. A good way to add to your hymn repertoire. Everyone is invited to participate by contributing hymn videos of your own playing and singing.

Thanks!

Nathan
    No rules broken that I can see, Nathan. One of the purposes of Mudcat is to promote anything and all things related to music.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: blind will
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 12:06 AM

The distinction between hymns and praise songs is a modern distinction, that has nothing to do with the original use of the term "hymn".

The term "hymn" as used in the bible, simply refers to a "song of praise". But today, hymns usually refer to a certain group of old church songs, irrespective of weather they actually praise God or not. For instance, all the congregational songs of Fanny Crosby and Isaac Watts are considered hymns today, even though some of them aren't songs of praise. Meanwhile, the entire genre of what we now call "praise songs" is typically thrown out of the hymn category, even though many of them are true songs of praise (and therefore hymns by the more traditional use of the word).

The apostle Paul in the bible, refers to three types of song to be sung by congregations, hymns (songs of praise), psalms, and spiritual songs. There is however, a fair bit of overlap between these three categories and some songs can fit into all three at once. Some of the Psalms are very much hymns (songs of praise), but not all of them.

One should not totally dismiss the entire repertoire of modern "praise music" as shallow or "Jesus Is My Boyfriend" (a term that I disagree with). Neither should one totally dismiss the older congregational songs (hymn or otherwise). Their are spiritual gems and dross from both the modern and old. Sound theology is important, but I disagree with the notion that all or even most of modern "praise music" is promoting bad theology (less theological content would probably be more accurate). I also don't agree with throwing out all references to the blood of Christ or to his sacrifice (which some church hymn books are guilty of). Christianity without the cross of Christ is neither true Christianity or sound doctrine.

Quite often today's "praise music" is criticized for being emotional. But is it necessarily more emotional than the way the Israelites sung their songs in the bible? Just check out the Psalms for evidence, with references to dancing and shouting for joy (considered irreverent by some church traditions). I have heard some old time African American hymn singing, that is just as emotional in expression (often coming out of a very genuine faith in Christ). I'm not saying, we should throw our brains out, but I don't believe much of this criticism is coming out of anything biblically valid. A lot of it comes across as pharisitical to me.

There is much in the modern "praise" genre that I find distasteful. The strong lack of good poetry or well written artistic lyrics is common place (I often prefer hymns for the lyrics). But simple songs and repeated lyrics like chanting "holy, holy, holy" do have their place, and are often a genuine and biblically sound expression of faith. Yes, even if it's not to my musical taste (There is some praise music to my taste, though a lot of it sounds like drivel to me).

As for modern praise song borrowing from popular music, there is nothing new about this. The old gospel song or gospel hymn style of Fanny Crosby, Ira Sankey and others, was very similar and sometimes no different than the old parlor ballads (which was mostly a secular form of popular music, especially common in the 19th Century). The gospel song "In The Garden" is essentially just a sacred parlor ballad, sharing the same musical and lyrical form as the secular. It has very sentimental lyrics (common to the parlor songs) and very little theological content.

One might think that the "classical hymns" (based on the melodies or style of European classical composers) is free from any kind of popular music influence. But if one actually digs into the roots of classical music (as author Peter Van Merwe did in his book "Roots Of The Classical), one finds that it was partially based on older forms of European popular music. To put it simply, European classical music would not exist without the contribution of popular music, and thus the "classical hymns" are "tainted" by pop music.

That's my 2 cents.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 12:24 AM

...and well said, blind will. I think that you and I would disagree on characterizing broad categories of religious songs, but we might well agree on songs when considered one-by-one.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: blind will
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 12:37 AM

I wish there was an Edit button for my last post. Referring to the lyrical quality of modern "praise song", I said I often prefer hymns for the lyrics. I should have said "old hymns" instead, since I consider many of these more modern songs to be hymns (as far as the biblical use of the word goes).

Is there no way to edit your own post? It kind of ruins what I was trying to say in the earlier part of my post.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: blind will
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 12:43 AM

Just saw your post now Joe (after I wrote my second).

There would probably be some individual songs we could agree on. Your probably right about that.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 01:24 AM

Hi, Blind Will-
For a number of reasons, we don't have "edit" buttons available to Mudcatters. The best thing to do is copy the entire post and paste it into a message box, make corrections, and submit the corrected message. Our moderators are supposed to delete older versions of duplicate messages, but it's a good idea to ask a moderator (like me) for help.

If a song text comes from Scripture, I'm likely to like it. If not, then otherwise. I know the "blood of the Lamb" imagery comes from the Book of Revelation. The oxymoron of being washed in the blood of the Lamb is very powerful, but some songs get too bloody and warlike. The whole idea of the Book of Revelation is that the meek, gentle, loving Lamb conquers over the forces of violence and hatred - by shedding blood. I see no place for aggressiveness in Christianity, but many of the hymns with blood and warfare images, are very aggressive.


-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 02:00 AM

Joe, you say the difference does 'make' a difference..but who to? I personally believe that Jesus will be as accepting of praise from any scource and in whatever form. There is nothing in scripture that suggests He prefers a certain kind of song/hymn.... I think we should just leave it to Him... I am sure He will be happy with it all.. where we as humans/the flesh/ the sinners.... have personal preferences largely due to our framework of learning/growth/maturity in life.


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Subject: RE: Hymns vs. 'Praise Music'
From: blind will
Date: 14 Nov 11 - 10:41 PM

Thanks for the info Joe. I think I'll just leave my post as it is. My little explanation should be good enough.

You said that you see no place for aggressiveness in Christianity, and that many of the hymns with blood and warfare images, are very aggressive. Can you give me two or three examples of hymns that you feel are errant in promoting aggressiveness? I'm assuming Battle Hymn of the Republic would be in your list, though it's not the most typical hymn.

When I think of old hymns or congregational songs that refer to the blood of Jesus, there are a four that come to mind: There is Power In the Blood, Are You Washed In the Blood, There is a Fountain filled with Blood and Just As I Am (which is a favorite of mine). Neither of these four songs are aggressive, though maybe you see them that way?

There is also an old Sunday school song that refers to being in the Lords Army, which is obviously about a spiritual army battling a spiritual enemy (like that found in Ephesians 6). It hardly is errant in promoting aggression, certainly not an aggressive song in the normal use of the word (eg. murder, rape, losing temper at fellow Mudcatters, etc).


PS. Non of the four "blood hymns" I mentioned are hymns in the original use of the term, though one of them has a small portion of praise in it (so leans in that direction, but overall does not qualify).


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