Monday, September 11, 2006

Three Fun Things from This Weekend

  1. Watching THE Ohio State University "mess with Texas."
  2. Singing "Come, Christians Join to Sing" at church. (In my life there has been a strange coincidence in which the hymn that shares the tune of THE Ohio State University alma mater has been sung the day after key games.)
  3. Chatting with an author and speaker on the topic of Christian music about how the Majesty Hymnal contains about 180 songs by people named Hamilton or Garlock and only about 30 by people named Watts or Wesley.

12 comments:

Larry said...

The 30 by Watts and Wesley is about typical of hymnbooks I believe. I just looked at five on my shelf and they all had around 30. I would imagine they are probably the same songs.

After several hundred years, the winnowing process has taken its toll, and these are the ones that have survived, for better or worse.

Ben said...

I suspect that says more about the people participating in the winnowing process than about what was left behind.

I know there are rich hymns that have been buried. I've sung them. Not very often, and only in one church to this point, but they are out there.

Oh, and the Trinity Hymnal contains 36 by Watts and 19 by Wesley.

Keith said...

Is Ohio State your alma mater? I earned an MA masters there almost 15 years ago. Had great season tickets in "Block O" at Ohio Stadium.

Go Bucks and go Hymns.

Keith

Don said...

Would you offer a similar criticism of the Olney Hymnal? Nothing but Newton and Cowper.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ben said...

Sorry, Don. I'm totally unfamiliar with Olney.

Chris Anderson said...

Some game, eh?

Top this: we open every Sunday morning worship service with "Come, Christians, Join to Sing."

Don said...

Just to clarify, the Olney hymnal is the product of John Newton and William Cowper while Newton was the pastor of the church in Olney. My point is that the musicians who produce hymnals are likely to include mostly their own works. This is ever the case and I don't particularly see anything wrong with it. Those who wish to be cynical can designe ulterior motives, but if you don't like the musician, don't buy their wares.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ben said...

Keith,

No, I'm just a native Ohioan and rabid fan.

Ben said...

Don,

I would vigorously defend anyone's right to publish a hymnal consisting entirely of their own works, and I would likewise vigorously defend anyone's right to say it is an inferior hymnal.

Don said...

"I would likewise vigorously defend anyone's right to say it is an inferior hymnal."

Right, but that isn't what you said. Your post said that you were chatting with someone on how the Majesty Hymnal contained a preponderance of songs by Garlock and Hamilton vs. only about 30 by Watts and Wesley as if this fact alone made it inferior. You may think that the Majesty Hymnal is inferior and you may say so. But if you do so based merely on this fact, your reasoning would be wrong. Most hymnal publishers tend to favor their own crowd, and this is likely as it should be.

I was objecting to the way the argument was stated, not to the rightness or wrongness of the argument.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ben said...

If you're examining what I said, pleas note that I didn't argue that it was inferior. I did two things:

1. I made an quantifiable observation of its contents.
2. I affirmed people's rights to publish whatever they want and also to critique what others publish.

Never have I said MH is inferior. Inferior is relative. Unless it's the best hymnal ever published, it is inferior to some other hymnal. Unless it's the worst hymnal ever published, it is not inferior to every other hymnal.

Robert said...

I'm familiar with the Majesty Hymnal, and I have the same criticism. Too much Garlock and Hamilton--though both are good men, and the book has its merits, in my view. It's best if a church hymnal gives the congregation a broad view of Christian hymnody down through the years. Olney Hymns was a special case. (I have a replica copy in my library.) It met a need for the lack hymns and hymn books in that day. Now, there are many more options.