Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Favorite hymns and Idol Moments

Over at ePiscoSours, there is a post Fluffy Bunny Syndrome which says:
I had a old-time hymn sing at church tonight, with a few hymns whose titles I at least recognized (”Bringing iHymn Board T-Shirtn the the Sheaves” among a very few others) and others billed as being well-loved but which I just didn’t recognize to save my life.

And I just wasn’t moved. It was all tweeting birds and babbling brooks and how God saved me and walked with me and boooooooring. I mean, it was fun singing with people I love, and there are some really lovely voices there, but nothing spoke to me and I don’t get why these hymns in particular are so well-loved.

I know why “Amazing Grace” moves me, because my own “hour I first believed” wasn’t that long ago. I’m not sure why “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation” makes me a weepy puddle, but it does. (If I remember the incident correctly, I think I started breaking down at the line, “If with his love he befriend thee,” but it’s a bit hazy and muddled, and I think part of me wants that to be where I started crying.)

I think what I need right now is a religious psychoanalyst, because I’m really not understanding why I find certain things just corny and other things terrifying and wondrous to my soul.
What hymns or other Christian songs speak to your heart and which leave you out in the cold?

If your looking for a more Pop sound, the folks at BeliefNet are offering their Top Ten Religious Moments on American Idol noting,
Church choir training is a hallmark on "Idol," as is thanking God for one's vocal ability.
Or if that doesn't work for you, there is the satire at Tom in the Box called Church Idol Gains Momentum.

Finally, there is the old post here Praise Music vs. Hymns where each genre is defined by someone familiar with the opposite.

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  • At 5/23/2007 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In November 2003, Anglicans Online asked their readers to choose ONE hymn that they would take to a desert island. The top five are as follows: I Bind Unto Myself Today, Amazing Grace, Be Thou My Vision, Come Down, O Love Divine and All My Hope On God Is Founded. (If you go to the Anglicans online website and put in hymns in the search engine, you can see the top 20). I love so many of the hymns in our 1982 hymnal. Crown Him With Many Crowns, Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones, Alleuia Sing to Jesus, and Immortal Invisible God Only Wise are some of my favorites. What makes them so, why do they speak to my heart? I find it hard to say, except that many times I feel the music is much closer to worship than the sermon for that day. Oftentimes, we will have a hymn which, even though the music might be a bit difficult to sing, the words will often be very moving, There's A Wideness In God's Mercy, is the song that comes to my mind. (Read those words and go and stand by the ocean!) Kay G.

  • At 5/23/2007 11:56 AM, Blogger anything but typical said…

    Personally, I find value in all different sorts of music, but then again, I'm a musician. I think my beloved husband, who is not a musician, finds it tedious.

    I agree with a poster on another blog who said that hymns had more to do with your childhood in church. The songs that ususally elicit the greatest personal response are the ones you've sung enough through the years that you can sing them without the words - and get annoyed when some hymnal committee decides to mess about with them. For me, they are the ones that make me feel connected to my past, my heritage, and the church's past. They remind me of my journey to, from, and back to God. They connect me to God's community.

    At our church there are so many people from different demoninational backgrounds, that regardless of what you sing, some will know it, and some won't. And we are all richer for sharing the sounds.

    And what hymns and songs move you spiritually are varied.

    Personally, I can't stand the 1982 hymnal. I know very few of the songs and they are not structured with smaller congregations in mind. There have been major alterations in the texts of the hymns rendering some of them unrecognizable from the original poetry. For some reason there are no time signatures (very annoying), and you really need a large trained choir to provide enough support for a congregation to be comfortable singing them (once again, not helpful for church planting or small congregations).

    My favorite hymnal is 1956 edition Baptist Hymnal because it's what I grew up singing and first played in church. Most of the hymns can also be found in the most frequently used hymnals for other protestant denominations as well. It allows me to immerse myself in the spiritual lessons of text and tune and not worry about the technical aspects of the music. And the SBC, for all it's faults, has the best support system and resources for church music ministries. I have not been able to find anything as helpful from The Episcopal Church publications although the Lift Every Voice and Sing hymnals seems to be where they stashed all the songs I know.

  • At 5/24/2007 8:28 AM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    Hymns make us weepy because in singing we open ourselves up and edge a little closer to God. "Those who sing pray twice."

    Two hymn texts that have this effect on me are "Come my way, my Truth, my Life" by George Herbert and "O for a thousand tongues to sing" by Charles Wesley.

  • At 5/29/2007 11:06 PM, Blogger Kit said…

    Just as long as I never, ever, ever ever have to sing "Earth and All Stars" again.

    YOU sing "loud praying members" with a straight face!


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