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Holy Horrors


David Rogers

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If you think they're ghastly, you're obviously doing them too fast and too loud!

 

And what about the major ones, like... um, Penlan, the most unjustly neglected Welsh tune I know. And Cwm Rhondda. I mean, how many more do you want.

 

 

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

 

It was a joke!

 

A bit like the percussionist who went to the Eisteffod and played "Saucepan Bach."

 

MM

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

 

This is why your infant school teacher was an infant school teacher.

 

But I feel that I am digressing from the awfulness of word usage in modern worship songs. <_<

 

MM

 

Talk about patronising!!

 

If it wasn't your mother who taught you to read - I wonder who it was!!

 

rolls eyes!!!

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I'm sorry if I have diverted this thread into theology rather than music, and I know and respect the fact that there are many different points of view on the subject, but the phrase does raise the questions, "Who demanded the price?" and "To whom was the price paid?"

 

Some early theologians said that the price was paid to the devil - one of the theories of the atonement which few would accept today.

Nor did Cecile Francis Alexander say that. I admit that this is a difficult area. However I can't think why you pick out this hymn for its theology when there are so many others!

 

From the 39 Articles:

 

Article XXXI: Of the one oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross

The offering of Christ once made is the perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual, and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone.

 

I think the word "price" covers that adequately. Especially since it was from a book of "Hymns for Little Children".

 

(I am straying out of my comfort zone here!)

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Nor did Cecile Francis Alexander say that. I admit that this is a difficult area. However I can't think why you pick out this hymn for its theology when there are so many others!

 

From the 39 Articles:

 

Article XXXI: Of the one oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross

The offering of Christ once made is the perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual, and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone.

 

I think the word "price" covers that adequately. Especially since it was from a book of "Hymns for Little Children".

 

(I am straying out of my comfort zone here!)

Also well outside my comfort zone...

 

I remember Martin How (Devizes c.Easter 1975) explaining to 150 choristers that the essence of Mrs Alexander's hymn lay in the third lines of each verse:

 

Where the dear Lord was crucified...

But we believe it was for us...

That we might go at last to heaven...

He only could unlock the gate...

And trust in His redeeming blood...

 

And Martin's grandfather was a bishop!

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Actually Martin How's father was a Bishop.

 

I don't think I've ever met anyone, clerical or lay, who admits to believing the contents of the 39 Articles; I most certainly never have. If they did, a large number of Anglican priests who this morning (or on Thusday evening) rightly caused the consecrated host to be "lifted up, carried about and worshipped" would be in trouble with their consciences!

 

A verse that I consider utter sanctimonious c**p is

"O mysterious condescending

O abandonment sublime.............."

as well as several other gems from that same work. The music is just about bearable; the words try to turn the Passion into pathos instead of Our Lord having things done to him whilst he was being passive.

 

May I suggest, seriously, that the words of Mr Kendrick are no worse than those of the Revd E Sparrow-Simpson.

 

Malcolm

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Talk about patronising!!

 

If it wasn't your mother who taught you to read - I wonder who it was!!

 

rolls eyes!!!

 

 

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

 

It must have been Holy Mother Church at a guess..........

 

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed."

 

(King James Bible)

 

I repeat that there is no actual rule in English Grammar which prohibits the practice, even though in common usage, such things are rightly frowned upon.

 

In the right context,(especially that of prose or poetry), all sorts of unwritten rules are regularly broken.

 

MM

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He only could unlock the gate...

This could be understood to mean "the only thing that he could do was unlock the gate" or "only he could unlock the gate".

 

Which meaning would occur most naturally to a child?

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

 

It must have been Holy Mother Church at a guess..........

 

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed."

 

(King James Bible)

 

I repeat that there is no actual rule in English Grammar which prohibits the practice, even though in common usage, such things are rightly frowned upon.

 

In the right context,(especially that of prose or poetry), all sorts of unwritten rules are regularly broken.

 

MM

Superfluous commas?

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This could be understood to mean "the only thing that he could do was unlock the gate" or "only he could unlock the gate".

 

Which meaning would occur most naturally to a child?

Given that the children who sang this line were extremely likely to sing other songs extolling the power of Jesus's love they might well choose the intended meaning. In fact I remember being pleased I'd worked it out myself aged about 6. So not much harm done.

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This could be understood to mean "the only thing that he could do was unlock the gate" or "only he could unlock the gate".

 

Which meaning would occur most naturally to a child?

Perhaps children in 1848 were more intelligent! I'm sure the words would have been read over to a young child first anyway, and the stress would make the meaning clear.

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Superfluous commas?

Comma usage changed during the last century. It's partly the fault of typing pools (remember them?). Typists were instructed to leave out all except the most essential punctuation in the interests of saving time and so getting more work done. (I can't imagine it really saved that much time, but there we go...) However, the simplification process started well before then. Nineteenth century writers used far more than even I was taught to use.

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This could be understood to mean "the only thing that he could do was unlock the gate" or "only he could unlock the gate".

 

Which meaning would occur most naturally to a child?

I never had any problem with this line. However, I did misunderstand the opening two lines until someone explained the obsolete meaning of "without".

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Superfluous commas?

 

We could all pick at grammar and spelling, and it's frequently tempting to do just that. Life's too short. But MM is right that there's nothing wrong with beginning sentences with 'and'. And that's all there is to it, as Bill Bryson summarised in his authoritative book on English usage, Troublesome Words.

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We could all pick at grammar and spelling, and it's frequently tempting to do just that. Life's too short. But MM is right that there's nothing wrong with beginning sentences with 'and'. And that's all there is to it, as Bill Bryson summarised in his authoritative book on English usage, Troublesome Words.

 

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

 

 

At my grammar school, I had an elderly, white-haired English teacher who was a Quaker; a quiet, very deep and thoughtful man who upheld the highest standards.

 

When asked to write a poem for homework, I felt very proud of myself for a while when he singled my efforts out for praise; the marks he awarded being nine and a half out of ten, with the comment 'Outstanding work.'

 

I was arrogant enough to complain about the marking, and asked why he hadn't marked my effort ten out of ten if it was that good.

 

I have never forgotten his reply:-

 

"I would have awarded William Shakespeare nine and a half also, because only God is perfect. My task is to teach you how to learn, and your task is to learn how to learn, but God teaches both yourself and myself humility. Nine and a half out of ten, it is, boy!"

 

That's a teacher!

 

MM

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Comma usage changed during the last century. It's partly the fault of typing pools (remember them?). Typists were instructed to leave out all except the most essential punctuation in the interests of saving time and so getting more work done. (I can't imagine it really saved that much time, but there we go...) However, the simplification process started well before then. Nineteenth century writers used far more than even I was taught to use.

 

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

 

I've never regretted being immersed in the Bible and the BCP from the age of ten, but it does tend to single one out in society from time to time.

 

MM

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Perhaps children in 1848 were more intelligent! I'm sure the words would have been read over to a young child first anyway, and the stress would make the meaning clear.

I don't think that children now are in general less intelligent or less well educated. It is simply that language has changed, and our familiarity with church language can make it difficult for us to recognise that people who have not been brought up in the tradition often find the language difficult. Modern vernacular and modern formal speech are often very different from that of 1848.

 

A hymn for children should convey a clear message; it should not be a lesson in decoding contorted syntax or the semi-obsolete alternative archaic meanings of common words.

 

May God prevent us in all our doings!

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Arthur Sullivan's tune 'Golden Sheaves' always points me in the direction of G&S more so than any of the others he wrote - it's great with an oompah beat and a policeman's bent knees 'ello ello what's all this then' at the end of each line. It could almost have been written by Lefebure-Wely.

 

AJS

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I don't think that children now are in general less intelligent or less well educated. It is simply that language has changed, and our familiarity with church language can make it difficult for us to recognise that people who have not been brought up in the tradition often find the language difficult. Modern vernacular and modern formal speech are often very different from that of 1848.

 

A hymn for children should convey a clear message; it should not be a lesson in decoding contorted syntax or the semi-obsolete alternative archaic meanings of common words.

 

May God prevent us in all our doings!

 

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

 

First sentence.....I agree absolutely. When I have a problem with the computer, I have a local expert available to help. He is 12!!!!!

 

Second sentence.....disagree.

 

Language always shifts and develops of course, but actually, most children are exposed to very adequate, and often excellent English on TV. What we perceive as "changed language" is the usual thing that kids do.....they develop a private world of peer communication. So when I play music, and one of the local oiks tells me it's "Sick," I have to accept that as a compliment apparently.

 

Language is now very divisive, and children from better educated families are now quite separate from those with parents who are less well educated.

 

If one thing struck me very forcibly as a teenager back in the 1960's, it was the sheer eloquence and literacy of even quite ordinary people. I have letters from an old man in the Yorkshire Dales which I treasure, because they are just a joy to read. He was perhaps 70 or more years of age when he wrote them, back in the mid 1960's. His education must have been around the turn of the century, but never progressed beyond a tiny village school and whatever he learned at church as a choir-boy. After reading just a few lines, even now, I find myself sitting on a limestone wall forty miles away, watching and listening to the quiet cacophony of the countryside. A bit like Flora Thompson, with wool-shawls and stalactites.

 

It was possibly that eloquence which enabled and empowered people; giving them the means of social mobility, and I fear that this has largely been lost.

 

As for dumbing down, what is the point of encouraging children to climb out of the gutter, only for them to land on the pavement?

 

MM

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Disregarding the worship song "favourites", 'Teach me my God and King' to Sandys is the one that causes me to break out in a rash. Yes, I know the words are Proper Poetry, but I always have to stifle a snort at "makes drudgery divine", and the quavers on "makes that AND THE action fine" just sound trite. I'll probably burn in hell for this. Sorry.

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We could all pick at grammar and spelling, and it's frequently tempting to do just that. Life's too short. But MM is right that there's nothing wrong with beginning sentences with 'and'. And that's all there is to it, as Bill Bryson summarised in his authoritative book on English usage, Troublesome Words.

Well, so he did - and, whilst I respect his learning, I am not sure that his work is either all-encompassing or definitive. After all, he did start his career in the UK by working for the Bornemouth Echo....

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

 

First sentence.....I agree absolutely. When I have a problem with the computer, I have a local expert available to help. He is 12!!!!!

 

 

MM

Hmmm.... I bet even he cannot locate the missing printer files which I cannot find. I have searched the registry of my computer's hard-drive, but there are clearly still a few stray files left, which are preventing me from re-installing my printer. (Following an abortive part-install, where I remembered too late that, even though I have a USB-port printer, I am not supposed to plug in the wretched thing until after running the software installation disk.)

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Since the King James Bible often starts sentences with 'and', it must be OK. I would suggest that the danger lies in inappropriate use or over-use.

 

Regarding 'Teach me, my God and King', it's a thing of its time and needs to be respected as such. When I was at school, the headmaster (a noted English scholar) thought it a particularly fine piece of work. Criticising poetry in hymns is a tricky business. A good poem does not always make a good hymn, and some undeniably effective hymns are mere doggerel in poetic terms. Scottish metrical psalms are a case in point - tremendously effective but often poor in pure poetic terms.

 

In terms of language, anyone who has worked with a choir of men and boys will know that an eight-year old boy will very quickly learn to find his way about (and to quote from) the Book of Common Prayer, so I don't think dumbing down is to be commended.

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