The place of poetry in Christian music.

Two conversations today sparked a couple of related ideas.

Conversation one involved the alleged divine inspiration of those unfortunate Christian songwriters (I may be one, but I don’t claim divine right) who produce a lot of well meant material but overlook the minor fact that at least some of it is total pants.

Conversation two revolved briefly around the lyrics the other person had recently written. While neither Christian nor yet set to music, the lyrics were reasonably well formed, rhymed easily and were actually fairly decent. I’m no great wordsmith, but I liked them.

So…

It’s an accepted fact that hymn books contain hymns. These are books which can be judged more or less by their cover. However, not many people read them regularly. This was not always the case. In an age before t’Internet and mass distribution, hymns were bought and read for their poetry and content as well as for singing. Well constructed lyrics which are easy on the tongue and effectively convey the writer’s intent are easily the most important ingredient in a good hymn from the old books. How easily do our modern attempts compare?

I concluded without too much mental agility that the place for poetry with regard to Christian Music is right in the middle of it. It must be good poetry, and it should be subject to the same scrutiny that all other material for modern worship undergoes, but it has its place.

Take the plunge – write a new hymn.

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