Thursday, April 9, 2015

George Orwell, call the head office of your Hymnody Division

Yo, God, I did you a favour and came to church; 
you're welcome.

Anthony Esolen. Oy, but this guy is brilliant. And funny (to wit: "Muddlesome broke out in hives at leadeth and feedeth.") He had me laughing out loud at, "Fetch the smelling salts, Nellie..."

"Rescuing Hymnody from Stupidity":

To Muddlesome, “the vernacular” meant the colloquial: an office memo ending with an amen. That’s all. He’s no linguist; just as the people who vandalized our churches were not painters or sculptors. He can’t imagine that a mother tongue might “contain multitudes,” including the register of the sacred. He’s a subtractor. If peasants want to be courtly in their oral poetry and folk hymns, too bad for them. Drag them into Future Church for their own good.
 So he had to eliminate those pronouns...

Thus openeth the first Can of Worms.

And my, how far those worms can travel. I actually heard an ordained personage (who has been through like, a hundred years of university and everything) say (out loud) from the ambo: "God calls us to Godself." (Not "himself". Godself.) So allergic was he to masculine pronouns, even referring to GOD THE FATHER (is Jesus' testimony in that regard not enough? Gee, I don't think the chain of authority for Christianity goes any higher than that, but whatever), that instead of uttering a grammatically correct statement, he was willing to sound as though he was having a stroke. But I digress. That was a homily, not a hymn. But church "music" has fared no differently. Read Mr Esolen's article if you share my frustration that we began the century* with hymns like this:

 To Jesus Christ, our Sov'reign King,
Who is the world's salvation,
All praise and homage do we bring,
And thanks and adoration.

Christ Jesus Victor, Christ Jesus Ruler!
Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer!

2. Thy reign extend, O King benign,
To ev'ry land and nation,
For in Thy kingdom, Lord divine,
Alone we find salvation.

3. To Thee and to Thy Church, great King,
We pledge our hearts' oblation,
Until before Thy throne we sing,
In endless jubilation.

--by Msgr Martin Hellreigel
ex-pat German priest, *1941, so... a comment on Fascism

And ended the century with campfire songs like this:

Thank you, God, for giving us us.
Thank you, God, for giving us us.
Thank you, God, for giving us us.
Riiiiiiiiiiiiii-ght where we are!
--ex-Rev. Carey Landry

Peace out.


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