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David Rogers

Holy Horrors

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Holy Horrors

 

Sometime in 2004, BBC Radio 4 conducted a survey from a thousand people of their regular 8.10 am Sunday Worship audience. The aim was to identify which three hymns were most disliked. An interesting test is for a reader to jot down his or her pet hates before continuing. After doing so, I myself was slightly surprised at the result of the survey. ‘All things bright…..’ and ‘Lord of the Dance’ were at the top of the list. Royal Oak is a fine English folk song that deserves a good set of words and musically it surely cannot be faulted. W.H. Monk’s more familiar tune is not easy to sing well. There are many leaps and the chromatics call for careful tuning so it rarely gets the performance it deserves. The hymn’s text is shallow to the point of being untrue. All things are not beautiful and life is tough for many. True, the last verse preaches thankfulness but otherwise the theological content is nil. Could it be that congregations and respondents to the survey object to singing what is in effect a lie and for that reason they dislike the hymn?

 

Sydney Carter’s well-known adaptation calls for a controlled, accented dance rhythm; it rarely gets it especially when it is included as one of the six ubiquitous wedding hymns that nowadays do the rounds. The message in Carter’s text, it seems, not to appeal to many.

 

The inclusion of the ‘Shine’ thing in the list offers hope for public taste. Clearly this ditty showed itself for what it is: semi-literate, pseudo-pop coupled to and weak theology. Not surprisingly it hardly survived a decade. Sadly, though, thousands went crazy over it in the 1970s. I haven’t been asked to play it for years, so haven’t made use of the comment occasionally employed by one colleague who simply says: “I don’t play that”. Maybe we should say this more often. It’s worth noting that all three cited tunes use the verse-refrain format.

 

Seven years on where do we stand? What are the current hates? Mutual agreement is unlikely but most would surely join me in condemning ‘The Peace Channel’ as among the worst pieces of versification since C. Frances Alexander mangled St Patrick’s Breastplate. Initially in the 1960s ‘Be Still’ was innocuous, but extreme repetition has certainly invoked contempt for me. Is this not the crux of the whole issue: that over-familiarity breeds not just indifference but real dislike unless the material has integrity? Those who select from our fine hymn-tune heritage have been responsible for unimaginative, over-repetition. The result is regrettable.

 

David Rogers

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A Room 101 is always fun to compile. :P

 

I try to bear in mind that most people singing the hymns are not too musically aware and merely like what is familiar. I concur with the 'Peace Channel' - that is near the top of my hate list, as is Dear Lord and father of Mankind.

We have a lady in the choir who loves the pseudo-pops, -the slower the better, because she finds them more 'spiritual' than the 'dead, 19th century stuff' she is normally asked to sing. Another word springs to my mind but it does no harm to slip one in for the sake of good relations and compromise.

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I Watch the Sunrise - bad tune which is never sung properly and words which hardly constitute a hymn.

 

The Servant Song (From heaven you came....) with abominable word setting in the refrain - ....humble offer-RING we bring them TOOO the Servant King. This caused one well known liturgical musician to question whether English was the writer/compposer's first language.

 

Bring Flowers of the Rarest

 

If I were a wriggly worm

 

The Lord looked down from his window in the sky

 

Which Be Still do you mean though? Be Still and Know or Be Still for the Presence of the Lord? If the latter, I think this one of the best comtemopary hymns.

 

The Lord's my Shepherd to Crimond with that awful pause between lines 2 and 3 (though I can never play the other tune without imagining Edward Woodward in The Wicker Man!)

 

More to come I hope!

 

Peter

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'Give me joy in my heart'. I'm always tempted to substitute the third word for 'despair' whenever it gets picked. That with 'All things' is one of the worst duos possible for weddings, although the latter is improved a little when sung to 'Royal Oak'. 'The purple-headed mountain' causes giggles among the less mature at our place.

 

I don't mind 'Lord of the Dance' too much. Our vicar likes it, and there was a time when we sung it so often it got very wearing. Some fun registration is possible with the whipping and stripping in verse 3, and we tend to sing verse 4 (I danced on a Friday...) at a slower pace before picking up the speed at 'but I am the dance and I still go on'. It is incredibly cheesy, but I don't mind!

 

'Shine Jesus Shine' I like. It is very far from the worst Graham Kendrick song - it is memorable and gets a congregation singing (and rather well, in my experience). Compare it to 'Beauty for brokenness' and 'Meekness and majesty' both of which are much harder to accompany and to sing - the former is downright confusing! I don't mind 'The Servant King' as Peter refers to, although the points he makes are valid.

 

'Be still for the presence of the Lord' is good - and a couple of subtle harmonic alterations make it more interesting all round. It is simple but well-conceived and not at all difficult to sing.

 

I agree on 'Make me a channel of your peace' - I think it's dreadful. I also dislike 'The Lord's my shepherd' to Crimond, and when a paraphrase of Psalm 23 is required I would always opt for 'The King of Love' (to Dominus Regit or St Columba) which is much more satisfactory.

 

I could add Jerusalem and 'I vow to thee, my country' wholly because of the words which are far too nationalistic for my tastes and have very little to do with faith whatsoever - such a shame when both are marvellous tunes.

 

I'm shocked 'Dear Lord and Father' gets anywhere near this list though - its one of my favourites and (like 'Love Divine') is one of the wedding/funeral hymns which actually makes me pleasantly surprised.

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I always find 'Cruger' a very poor tune, and around here it often starts with the words 'Hell to the Lord's Anointed'

 

Another worship song 'Jesus be the Centre' always makes me think of Quality Street.

 

Meekness and Majesty, Sickness and Dysentery, need I go on.

 

AJS

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Dear Lord and Father is a beautiful hymn, an almost perfect match of words and music (though some irreverent people refer to it as the constipation hymn.) Does anyone know/use Charles Ives' setting of one of the verses, Serenity?

 

I don't care for Immaculate Mary, which a bit sectarian in this ecumenical age, and the refrain has a once again dreadful example of word setting - a-VEEH, a-VEEH, a-VEEH Mari-AHHH....

 

How Great Thou Art, as I have remarked elsewhere, promotes a questionable expatiation theology, though the tune is very strong and it is always well sung.

 

I am unsure about Amazing Grace. Knowing the circumstaces which propmpted is composition (and having seen the excellent film) helps in how moving this can be, but I can't also help feeling the tune is lacking something, and a succesful hymn has rto be a marriahe of good words and good music.

 

Make me a Channel is anodyne. I canot see anything actually wrong with it and certainly the sentiments cannot be faulted but the music is simply not very interesting.

 

Morning has Broken. Why do wedding couples want to sing a Christmas Carol at 3.00 on a Saturday afternoon in July?

 

Peter

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PS on The Servant King (not Song, sorry) - there is also that ghastly tritone in the refrain.

 

(and a suggested descant which sounds like it is from the soundtrack of a 1960s sc-fi B movie.)

 

P

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I can often be seen clenching my fists at the console. There are many times when I just want to punch the hymnal through the music-desk; so bad is much of the content. (I haven’t done it yet, and it would be expensive to replace the mechanical action behind).

 

 

Some of the worst hymns in the world are found in catholic hymn-books, and even good hymns are ruined by poor harmonisation . The same applies to many of the Mass Settings, which often demonstrate a level of musical skill which, in terms of harmony & counterpoint, would barely challenge a Grade 5 theory pupil. Thank heavens I don’t have a choir to worry about, because if I did, I would spend most of my life re-writing things, correcting mistakes and improving the harmonies. Due to the fact that everyone sings unison, I am able to freely re-arrange the harmonies to good effect on the fly.

 

However, although I agree with many of the “pet hate” hymns listed thus far, I wonder if organists aren’t their own worst enemies, and hymn arrangers utterly incompetent?

 

 

I shan’t address my comments to particular individuals, (THEY know who they are), but picking up on a few points and “pet hate” examples.

 

Being into light music almost as much as classical music, when I see the hymn book version of “Make me a channel,” it is the absolute guarantee of a truly awful result.....but why?

 

Has it ever occurred to anyone that it’s basically a slow Latin American number?

 

Try it using one of those keyboard thingies with a rhythm unit, using the Bossa Nova rhythm, or maybe the almost interchangeable Samba rhythm for variety, but slowed down considerably. Now play just the melody and feel the beat! When you get to those long notes....DO something with the left hand by way of a counter-melody, or perhaps add a tiny bridge section above. This is the ONLY way of making it work without a rhythm box......and frankly, it’s still going to be a cheap tune, but not quite as bad as before. This is how it should be sung and accompanied:-

 

 

Here a better tune:-

 

 

Thank God for the Brazilians!

 

A lot of these so-called “worship songs” are either quasi-rock numbers, or just as often, closely related to 1950’s and 60’s film music and popular ballad music; many to Latin American music as above.

 

“Amazing Grace”.....horrible really.....unless.......

 

Try really dense, lush harmony, with lots of harmonic movement. Alternatively, use an Oboe and just hold the tonic and dominant notes in the bass right the way through, like the drone of a bag-pipe; a 4ft Flute picking out the melody. Lush to plaintive at a stroke, and a contrast which adds considerable interest.

 

“Lord of the dance”....a damned good tune...cheesy yes....but a true “Shaker Community” classic. I like the half-speed penultimate verse, but you need to warn people beforehand. When it’s Friday and the sky’s turned black.....lots of dissonant chromatics.....very powerful in effect if it’s done well.

 

“Immaculate Mary”....gorgeous tune to rival almost any classic Christmas Carol. It’s no more sectarian than saying that Jesus was born in a stable surrounded by wise-men and donkeys. I just invent a descant in the style of David Wilcocks; running all over the place....everyone loves it when I do that.

 

Moving swiftly on the “Jerusalem” and nationalistic fervour; nothing could be further from the truth, and here’s why.......

 

William Blake may have been as mad as the hatter’s tea-party, but he wasn’t a fool. His beef was against the “logic” of Sir Isaac Newton and the sweat-shops of early industrial manufacturing industry. To Blake, this amounted to atheism by any other name.

 

Now the source of “Jerusalem” may be one of two things; either a popular religious myth, or a way of writing poetry which has its origins in ancient Greece....the two could not be further apart.

 

First the background to the “faith based myth and legend,” which can be found here:-

 

 

 

http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/jerusalem/features/and-did-those-feet

 

 

Note the passage which reads:-

 

There is also the story of Victorian metalworkers who cast the pipes for church organs. As they poured the molten metal, they would say for luck, "Joseph was in the tin trade." Asked to explain the custom, one foreman explained, "We workers in metal are a very old fraternity, and like other handicrafts we have our traditions amongst us. One of these... is that Joseph of Arimathea, the rich man of the Gospels, made his money in the tin trade with Cornwall. We have also a story that he made voyages to Cornwall in his own ships, and that on one occasion he brought with him the Child Christ and His Mother and landed them at St Michael's Mount."

 

 

This myth is probably nonsense of course, but it could be the origin of the words to “Jerusalem.”

 

 

A far more likely explanation, which makes absolute sense, is the use of a style of ancient Greek poetry, (and a way of public speaking), which requires a response, thus:-

 

“As your Prime Minister, do you think I want to bankrupt the country?

 

“As your Prime Minister, do you think my job is to let the country down?”

 

 

The expected answer is, “No,” but it doesn’t need to be answered at all, and this is very like certain Greek poems, of which the proper style-name evades me at the moment.

 

So Jerusalem really goes like this:-

 

And did those feet in ancient time.

Walk upon England's mountains green:

And was the holy Lamb of God,

On Englands pleasant pastures seen! (“No!”)

 

And did the Countenance Divine,

Shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was Jerusalem builded here,

Among these dark Satanic Mills? (“No!”) (Blake is being sarcastic, as he often was).

 

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;

Bring me my Arrows of desire:

Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!

Bring me my Chariot of fire! (“Yes!”) (Blake’s call to arms)

 

I will not cease from Mental Fight,

Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:

Till we have built Jerusalem,

In Englands green & pleasant Land (“Yes!”) (The triumph of faith over reason)

 

 

In other words, it is a plea to the hearts of believers, and NOT a nationalistic song at all. It is saying that England lacks faith and true direction....the very essence of the conflict between “reason” and “faith.”

 

 

End of lecture........sorry!

 

 

MM

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“Immaculate Mary”....gorgeous tune to rival almost any classic Christmas Carol. It’s no more sectarian than saying that Jesus was born in a stable surrounded by wise-men and donkeys. I just invent a descant in the style of David Wilcocks; running all over the place....everyone loves it when I do that.

 

MM

 

MM are we talking about the same Immaculate Mary here? The one I refer to is in 3/4 and contains such priceless sentiments as "We pray for God's glory, may his kingdom come! We pray his Vicar, our Father and Rome" .

 

Now Mary Immaculate, star of the morning to Bach's harmonisations, that's a different thing entirely.

 

 

 

Peter

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MM are we talking about the same Immaculate Mary here? The one I refer to is in 3/4 and contains such priceless sentiments as "We pray for God's glory, may his kingdom come! We pray his Vicar, our Father and Rome" .

 

Now Mary Immaculate, star of the morning to Bach's harmonisations, that's a different thing entirely.

 

 

 

Peter

 

 

=============================

 

 

Same tune; different words.

 

It is the "Lourdes hymn" essentially, but there is a longer version, which is the one you quote I believe.

 

You know what these 19th century Catholics were like......but who can blame them after being banned for so long?

 

Anyway, this is the version I had in mind:-

 

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing.

You reign now in Heaven with Jesus our King.

 

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

 

In Heaven the blessed your glory proclaim;

On earth we your children invoke your sweet name.

 

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

 

We pray for our Mother, the Church upon earth,

And bless, Holy Mary, the land of our birth.

 

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

 

 

If we sing the extended version, I think we chop some of the verses.....it's a while since we had it, and my hymn book is at church.

 

MM

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Pleasing to note we've already got some excellent bases covered here. As a suggestion, might we agree to stipulate that so-called 'worship songs' be excluded from consideration entirely, since they can almost all be assumed to be loathed by default? It might be a way of keeping all our blood pressures down*.

 

 

Sticking, therefore, to proper hymns in NEH and AMR in no particular order may I nominate three:

 

 

1. I've always hated 'Tell out my Soul' (more the tune and its strangely bare harmonies than the words though. Maybe it's something to do with trying to get to the mediant major and back in four phrases?).

 

2. 'Onward, Christian Soldiers' - who are they supposed to be? When was the last Christian crusade? The Templars were disbanded almost six hundred years before this horrible, pugnacious hymn was written. Also, it goes pom-pom, pom-pom. Hymns should not vamp; Flanders and Swann songs may vamp, but hymns: no.

 

3. 'We plough the fields and scatter' - no we don't, we get Tesco's delivered. And it is not fed and watered by God's almighty hand, it's so intensively farmed that it has to be fed by inorganic fertilizer from a factory, and the climate veers between flash floods and hosepipe bans. Surely this one is now meaningless and is ready to be put down. Also we find here the pom-pom, pom-pom again; most unpleasant.

 

Honourable mention goes to the Lord of the Dance because, like MM, I actually quite like it (at least with its original text), but it's so obviously not a hymn - it's a solo folk song (albeit a relatively recent one), to be danced to, and dance for the last thirty years has been so vulgarised that songs like this are almost impossible to appreciate in their intended context. A shame.

 

 

I must say I can feel a certain degree of sympathy for Whistlestop's old lady and her observation of 'dead nineteenth century hymns', though few are as bad as the average baby-boomer worship song. Surely the hymnal golden ages were the ancient gregorian period (Veni Creator, Vexilla Regis Prodeunt etc), post-reformation Germany (examples probably unnecessary) and twentieth century England (All my hope on God is founded, My song is love unknown ...).

 

Is there a way to set up voting poll on this board? We could do our own survey; I bet it would be more interesting than the Beeb's!

 

 

SC

 

 

* As just one example of why this is necessary, I'm already convulsing with distaste at the memory of 'We are marching in the light of God', which I have - thankfully - not heard for a good five years or so. It's so repetitive that for me it gradually moves beyond mere hatred into actual panic: I simply have to get out the building about the time I hear the fourth verse kicking off. Quick, Gin.

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It's so repetitive

My memory may not be entirely accurate, but I have a dreadful recollection of seeing in a book of that sort of thing a "hymn", song or chorus which consisted of about a dozen repetitions of the name "Jesus", and no other words at all, laid out over four or five lines - followed by about ten lines of copyright information.

 

Paul

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My memory may not be entirely accurate, but I have a dreadful recollection of seeing in a book of that sort of thing a "hymn", song or chorus which consisted of about a dozen repetitions of the name "Jesus", and no other words at all, laid out over four or five lines - followed by about ten lines of copyright information.

 

Paul

 

 

I've seen that one.

 

The organist at Lisburn Cathedral, Co. Antrim, where they go in for that sort of thing, once left a set of hand-written parts on the console of a setting of the word 'Amen'. Underneath, she had written 'Learn the lyrics!'.

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Surely the hymnal golden ages were the ancient gregorian period (Veni Creator, Vexilla Regis Prodeunt etc), post-reformation Germany (examples probably unnecessary) and twentieth century England (All my hope on God is founded, My song is love unknown ...).

 

 

 

SC

 

 

=========================

 

I think the Victorian era produced some fine hymns and quite a lot of rubbish at the same time.

 

I would never dismiss Methodist hymnody.

 

MM

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Holy Horrors

‘All things bright…..’ and ‘Lord of the Dance’ were at the top of the list. Royal Oak is a fine English folk song that deserves a good set of words and musically it surely cannot be faulted. W.H. Monk’s more familiar tune is not easy to sing well. There are many leaps and the chromatics call for careful tuning so it rarely gets the performance it deserves. The hymn’s text is shallow to the point of being untrue. All things are not beautiful and life is tough for many. True, the last verse preaches thankfulness but otherwise the theological content is nil. Could it be that congregations and respondents to the survey object to singing what is in effect a lie and for that reason they dislike the hymn?

David Rogers

I fail to see what is wrong with the words of "All things b & B" - it's a hymn for children and goes through various wonders of nature - "God made them all". What on earth is wrong with that? It does NOT say that All things are beautiful; but those that are - God made them. The one objectionable verse (the rich man in his castle etc.) is not in any hymn book nowadays.

 

It amazes me that adult congregations sing so many children's hymns these days: Once in Royal, O little town of Bethlehem, It is a thing most wonderful, There is a green hill, etc. All for children, not to be solemnly sung by adults. I wouldn't expect a hymn for little Sunday School children to be full of weighty theology, myself.

 

I also don't see what is wrong with the versification of St Patrick's Breastplate. Wonderful words, I think, and probably give a flavour of the original, although I know no Irish.

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I think the Victorian era produced some fine hymns and quite a lot of rubbish at the same time.

 

 

MM

 

I'm not sure what catagories you would put "Christian seek not yet repose" (Vigilate) and "Christian dost thou see them" (Gute Bäume bringen ) into?

 

At my church school in London, the Headmaster lead the daily hymn singing with the fanatical fervour necessary to ensure that everyone was cleansed from wickedness. We seemed to sing these hymns throughout the year, without regard to the church calendar. The consequence of this was that I spent most of the day wondering about the words- (from the first hymn) "thou art in the midst of foes", "thy unguarded hours", "the evil one"; and from the second hymn ".. troops of Midian, prowl and prowl around.. Christian up and smite them..", ....how they work within, striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin...". I spent most of the days wondering how wicked I was and if there were devils in the corners, under the stairs.... The only hymn that seemed to

distract me from these issues, which also came up often, was "Hushed was the evening hymn" where the line "O give me Samuel's ear" always made me wonder just how exactly you would do this.. Fortunately we did not sing it to Sullivan's "Samuel", but to respectable tune whose name I have now forgotten.

 

Anyway with all this day dreaming going on, while I watched a weather vane through the classrooom window, it was just as well that it wasn't until thirty years later that I came across Clough's "Say not the struggle naught availeth" (Weisse). Once I'm reminded of it I'm afraid all the words from the hymn whirl around in my head - "struggle naught availeth", "enemy faints not", "hopes were dupes, fear may be liars", "yon smoke concealed"... the whole thing!!!... think I had better lie down now... :P

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There was a new hymnbook launched in New Zealand last year that goes under the name Hope is our song. Found amongst the pages can be found such favourites as the new Hymn 'Jumping Jesus'. The third and final verse of which is:

Jumping Jesus, Jumping Jesus,

puts the bounce into my life,

takes my hand and whispers softly,

'love's the thing, not war and strife'.

We will leap together so:

jumping, jumping, here I go!

Learning how he does that trick,

bouncing on his Pogo stick;

off he goes - I'd best be

quick - Jumping Jesus.

 

There are other examples of a similar standard of work, however every time I try to type them in here, I find myself lying in the corner in a foetal position, whimpering to myself.

 

 

CTT

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There was a new hymnbook launched in New Zealand last year that goes under the name Hope is our song. Found amongst the pages can be found such favourites as the new Hymn 'Jumping Jesus'. The third and final verse of which is:

Jumping Jesus, Jumping Jesus,

puts the bounce into my life,

takes my hand and whispers softly,

'love's the thing, not war and strife'.

We will leap together so:

jumping, jumping, here I go!

Learning how he does that trick,

bouncing on his Pogo stick;

off he goes - I'd best be

quick - Jumping Jesus.

 

There are other examples of a similar standard of work, however every time I try to type them in here, I find myself lying in the corner in a foetal position, whimpering to myself.

 

 

 

CTT

 

I sympathize with your distress. This reminds me of a Blackadder sketch from long ago. Lest it find its way over here, I wonder if you can give us an idea of the tune so that we can wave garlic at it?

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This is one of the most entertaining threads I have read for some time!

 

Thank you, all.

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This is one of the most entertaining threads I have read for some time!

 

Thank you, all.

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I'm not sure what catagories you would put "Christian seek not yet repose" (Vigilate) and "Christian dost thou see them" (Gute Bäume bringen ) into?

 

At my church school in London, the Headmaster lead the daily hymn singing with the fanatical fervour necessary to ensure that everyone was cleansed from wickedness. We seemed to sing these hymns throughout the year, without regard to the church calendar. The consequence of this was that I spent most of the day wondering about the words- (from the first hymn) "thou art in the midst of foes", "thy unguarded hours", "the evil one"; and from the second hymn ".. troops of Midian, prowl and prowl around.. Christian up and smite them..", ....how they work within, striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin...". I spent most of the days wondering how wicked I was and if there were devils in the corners, under the stairs.... The only hymn that seemed to

distract me from these issues, which also came up often, was "Hushed was the evening hymn" where the line "O give me Samuel's ear" always made me wonder just how exactly you would do this.. Fortunately we did not sing it to Sullivan's "Samuel", but to respectable tune whose name I have now forgotten.

 

Anyway with all this day dreaming going on, while I watched a weather vane through the classrooom window, it was just as well that it wasn't until thirty years later that I came across Clough's "Say not the struggle naught availeth" (Weisse). Once I'm reminded of it I'm afraid all the words from the hymn whirl around in my head - "struggle naught availeth", "enemy faints not", "hopes were dupes, fear may be liars", "yon smoke concealed"... the whole thing!!!... think I had better lie down now... :blink:

 

================================

 

 

My headmaster was bad enough; he was an enthusiastic lay-reader and disciplinarian. However, it was the Rector of the parish church who preached all manner of warnings and implied, Godly retributions. At confirmation classes, we learned that almost most things in life were bad, sinful and immoral; everything else being illegal.

 

What he didn't realise was the sort of conversations we had afterwards, sitting on various grave-stones in the rather extended and overgrown graveyard, where we kept a stash of cigarettes and a few bottles of stout. I believe there were also magazines, but we'll draw a veil over that!

 

The unfortunate Rector underestimated us. One of my peers ended up being a nuclear scientist, another ended up running a broadcasting station in the far east, another became a top barrister, and so on.

 

So while he was droning on about scripture, we were seeing everything from a quite different perspective of science, logic and junior philosophy.

 

The eventual conclusion was that he was ill-educated, (MA Oxon), a tartar, lonely (single), thoroughly miserable and bad-tempered, but to please people we got confirmed anyway

 

Had it not been for the music, I doubt that any of us would ever have remained churchgoers for very long, so negative and hostile was the whole experience. Some year later at a re-union, it was our experience in the choir which somehow bound us together; certainly not the religion.

 

The charismatic approach and worship-songs had not the slightest appeal when they were introduced, and merely served to inform us that good music comes from the soul, and bad music from somewhere else.

 

MM

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I fail to see what is wrong with the words of "All things b & B" - it's a hymn for children and goes through various wonders of nature - "God made them all". What on earth is wrong with that?

 

 

=========================

 

 

There's nothing wrong with it all, until you reach the outer edge of the atmosphere, just an hour's drive away going vertically.

 

Beyond that, things become much less certain.

 

MM

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I agree with Stephen on St Patrick's Breastplate, which is one of my favourite hymns - pity we can't sing it that often. 'It is a thing most wonderful' I also find expresses the story of the Passion very personally and simply. It is well matched to 'Herongate', although John Ireland's choral setting for upper voices is also very lovely.

 

I enjoyed MM's interjection on Jerusalem, although it still doesn't make me like it. Bring me my bow, spear, chariots etc - I can do without all of these. Unfortunately, most people like me just make assumptions about its meaning and any sarcasm would be lost on them. Its not a hymn I would ever sing with any conviction (if at all), and it still doesn't say very much to me as a Christian.

 

I agree about 'Amazing Grace'. The words are superb, but the tune is utterly dire and uninspiring. You can do some good bagpipe effects if you have the right kind of reed stop, but that's no good leading a congregation on a Sunday morning. 'Morning has broken' is another wedding hymn which is on the list of those I will groan inwardly at if picked. We have not sung it on a Sunday morning since I started picking the hymns.

 

'You shall go out with joy' is another that occured to me. It's always more amusing if you actually have someone called Joy in the congregation - one of our basses always remarks that one of his relatives did as instructed, and later married her! Our vicar also likes 'Jubilate, everybody' in a similar repeat and get faster fashion. I grit my teeth when I put those on the hymn list. Graham Kendrick's 'Make way' is uninspiring but a little more bearable.

 

There are relatively few traditional hymns which I dislike quite so much as those I have listed. There is some quite dreary stuff out there, but thankfully most of it doesn't stand the test of time and gets removed from our hymn books. For instance, I dislike 'The strife is o'er' but don't quite know why. 'Forth in thy name, O Lord I go' never leaves me feeling inspired at the end of a service, probably because I dislike the Gibbons tunes (several of which find rather dull).

 

There are a multitude of hymns such as the Jumping Jesus one below which are so bad they are just funny. Hymns Old & New contains several which I've been encouraged to include for a joke one Sunday.

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God is good to me

God is good to me

He gave me lips

To eat my chips

God is good to me

 

 

Thankyou very much, goodnight.

(By the way, this really IS a hymn. No, really, it is)

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