What We Gained When We Lost Our Hymnals

A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals and was rather surprised to see 300,000 people stop by to read it! I meant to point out that there are consequences in shifting from one medium to another—in this case, shifting from hymnals to PowerPoint projection. (I use “PowerPoint” to stand in for all forms of projection.) It is true of every new technology that it brings benefits and drawbacks. Neither hymnals …

What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals

I don’t think we should go back to using hymnals. But I do think there’s value in considering what we lost when, over the course of a relatively short period of time, we gave up hymnals for PowerPoint projection. Not all of us, mind you, but most of us. It’s worth considering because it helpfully shows what we stand to lose when we switch from one media to another, and especially when we do so quickly and without due consideration. …

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Why I Didn’t Sing When I Visited Your Church

It was a joy to finally visit your church a couple of Sundays ago, and to worship with the believers there. You know I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Just as you promised, the pastor is an excellent communicator and a man who loves God’s Word. His sermon was deeply challenging and led to some great conversations with my children. Now, you asked me why it looked like I wasn’t singing. I know that was probably a …

How Well Do You Know Your Hymns? (A Quiz)

As Christians, we are blessed with a long legacy of great hymns. As contemporary Christians, we are blessed with many modern-day hymn writers who are carrying on the art. So how well do you know your hymns and their authors? This little quiz is designed to find out!

How Petra Rocked My Soul

When I was a teen, I didn’t know much about Christian rock music, but I did know that it was for losers. Big losers. Big losers who were probably barely Christian at all. Those sad, sorry people listened to those sad, sorry bands playing their silly, shallow little ditties. But not me. No way. My best friend became a loser right around age 14. I had hopped a Greyhound from Hamilton to the far side of Toronto to spend a …

Sojourner Songs

I do enjoy poetry. My few attempts to write it have not gone particularly well, but I have often benefited from reading and memorizing the work of real poets. Poetry has the ability to convey feelings and emotions in a way prose does not. Both genres communicate truth, but poetry has its way of being quicker to reach the emotions. I enjoy that at times. I need that at times. Most of the poetry I enjoy is the kind you …

3 Errors of Musical Style that Stifle Community

It is ironic that music, an element meant to draw Christians together in mutual love and service (see Colossians 3:16) has become a force for significant division within the church. It just goes to show, I guess, that we can make a mess of pretty much anything. In their book The Compelling Community, Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop point out 3 common errors of musical style can stifle local church community: Music that’s difficult to sing corporately. If your music …

Jerusalem (A New Song)

Every now and again I like to share a new song I’ve found. Recently I’ve really been enjoying one titled “Jerusalem,” written by Jonny Robinson, Rich Thompson, and Tiarne Kleyn. What do I like about it? I like that it is written in the present tense rather than the past tense; I like the constant calls to action: See, Hear, Feel, Lift; I like the progression from the streets of Jerusalem, to the cross, to the empty tomb, to the New …

Seems So Long Ago, Nancy

In 1969 Leonard Cohen released a record entitled Songs From A Room. The fifth track on that album is “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy.” The song has become one of Cohen’s more popular ones; it has found its way onto one of his live albums and has been covered by several other artists. It is a dark, haunting song that speaks of a young woman named Nancy. The poetic words are difficult to interpret, leading many fans of Cohen’s music …

Christian Music for Children

There is a vast amount of Christian music targeted at children. The problem is that there is a lot of junk as well–stuff like this. My kids are not particularly drawn to music so we have probably overlooked a lot of the great resources out there. Nevertheless, there are a few that we’ve come across that they continue to enjoy. So here are some of our favorite kids’ albums. I’d love you to read through and add your own suggestions …