Covering ears fotosearchcom‘Why aren’t you SINGING?’

You really want to know?  Because I’m fed up to the back teeth with this feminised brand of Jesus and its moratorium on any hymns that hint at spiritual strength.  I’m also sick and tired of hymns that sound like bad pop tunes.  I’m also tired of churchy songwriters making a mint off of royalties for heretical lyrics and awful melodies. 

Please — leave the Church alone!  How much would I have to pay you to JUST GO AWAY?

Is it any wonder that attendance is falling?  Even more surprising is that neither Catholic nor Protestant clergy can figure it out!  (I make sure I go to a service with no music.)

What can’t we sing anymore?  The list is endless, but for starters, ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’ and ‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God’. 

One Reformed blog addressed the issue recently:

… what do we do when some people—especially blokes—won’t even open their mouths in the songs? (I am talking about committed Christians.)

Answers range from encouraging song leaders to adopt a lower profile to emphasising the reasons why we sing in church.  However, other readers write in to say that many people just don’t know the music and resent being told to sing loudly by an overly-enthusiastic song leader. Emotion and men don’t mix — and rightly so.  I would have added my comment, but they won’t accept pseudonyms.

Strangely, not one of these male commenters — godly and well-versed in theology though they are — suggested that these modern compositions are simply wussy.   That worries me quite a bit. 

Meanwhile, at Reformation 21, a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Dr Carl Trueman, shares his thoughts about modern church services (emphasis mine throughout):

I heard recently of a church service involving dressing up in costume and music taken from a Tom Cruise movie.  Now, if I go for my annual prostate examination, and the doctor comes into the consulting room dressed as Coco the Clown, with `Take my breath away’ from Top Gun playing in the background, guess what?  I’m going to take the doctor out with a left hook, flee the surgery, and probably file a complaint with the appropriate professional body.   This is serious business; and if he looks like a twit and acts like a twit, then I can only conclude that he is a twit.

You can tell a lot about someone’s theology from what they do in church.  Involve [pop] music in your worship service, and I can tell not only that you have no taste in music but also that you have nothing to offer theologically to those who come through the church doors; indeed, what you do have can probably be found better elsewhere … More seriously, however, why certain orthodox churches strive to look like them, worries me intensely. Look, it’s rubbish.  So let’s just call it rubbish, shall we?

Back to men, taking into account Dr Trueman’s comment.  The Telegraph (UK) reported on a survey taken earlier this year which found that men don’t like modern church music or any of the other touchy-feely elements of today’s services:

A majority of men, 60 per cent, said they do not like flowers and embroidered banners in church with 52 per cent saying they do not like dancing in church.

Comments gathered from the survey of 400 UK readers of the men’s magazine Sorted also showed many did not like hugging, holding hands or sitting in circles discussing their feelings in church.

Nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed said they enjoyed singing – but added comments showing they preferred anthemic songs and ‘proclamational’ hymns as opposed to more emotional love songs.

Nearly three quarters, or 72 per cent, said their favourite part of a service was the talk or sermon.

My late father would have been in sync with these findings.  I remember clearly the day that Sister Rosemary (who seemed to appear in our parish out of nowhere) and a new liturgist (ditto — but he looked like Carlos Santana, so he was ‘cool’) strode down the side aisle just before Mass one Saturday evening so gosh darned pleased with themselves.  This would have been 1971 or 1972.  All of a sudden, we had Sister on the piano (!) and ‘Carlos’ on electric guitar.  I watched my dad and the other dads visibly stiffen.  ‘C’mon, join in — everybody!’  From that moment forward, it really was just mothers and daughters singing.  After a few weeks of this, it wasn’t long before Dad said to Mom and me afterward, ‘I wish I were a Baptist.  At least they sing real hymns.’  Every other guy was probably thinking the same thing.

Please feel free to circulate this post to your clergy and liturgists.  This cannot be said too often.  Let us restore a sense of gravitas and propriety to our church services, especially if we wish to attract and retain our men.

More on music soon, after I recover.