Sunday, September 28, 2008


Lyn the Organ-ic Chemist has recently been attending a workshop called Do-It-Yourself Theology: Hymns. The description for the workshop is this (taken from Lyn's blog):

The aim of this series of adult classes will be to make the process both somewhat clearer and somewhat less individual; engaging in joint, do-it-ourselves, theology may help to enhance and deepen the place of hymns in our lives as Christians. During each of the four sessions several hymns will be looked at, primarily, as sources for theological reflection. At the same time, we shall try to remember that hymns are instruments of worship, and to that end we’ll consider the role of the tunes to which they are set – not by musical analysis but by singing through them ourselves. No musical ability is required or even expected.

At this workshop, one older gentleman was fearing that the hymn Now My Tongue the Mystery Telling, a translation of Pange Lingua Gloriosi set to the Mode III tune that most of us know, will disappear from the next hymnal revision, while a younger gentleman noted that chant and polyphony was making a resurgance. (I forgot to mention - this workshop is in an Episcopalian context).

Picture a version of Do-It-Yourself Theology in a stereotypical Catholic parish setting - if you dare! Picture your stereotypical CCD directors and teachers still hung up in the 1980's as they discuss their favorites from Gory and Puke and Gather Apprehensive. Picture that older gentleman who would love to see his favorite chant hymn retained in the next hymnal and get verbally abused by the "ladies of the '80's". Picture these same "ladies of the '80's" as they continue to ask the liturgical question, "What's in it for me?" "How can we entertain ourselves and each other?"

Speaking of those "ladies of the '80's", one CCD director I worked with in the early to mid '80's left the Catholic Church to become a minister who, along with one other woman, specializes in performing wedding ceremonies. It's amazing she didn't become a Poncho Lady (for you new people to the blogosphere, that's our trade name for a so-called "Roman Catholic Womynpryst") and try to claim she's still Catholic.

Getting back to "What's in it for me?" - What's in it for me is that my hunger has been spiritually satisfied by the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, that is, our Lord Jesus Christ. Good sung prayer (a la Worship and Adoremus), not music that is entertaining (a la Gory and Gather), enhances that.


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