A colleague in Grand Rapids, Michigan sends out a weekly email to all the ministers in her jurisdiction, and one of my friends there is kind enough to forward it too me every Monday.
It is one of the regular emails I really look forward to.
This week was no exception as she confessed that her least favorite (sic) hymn is "How Great Thou art." In response I sent her this YouTube link to Eddi Reader's fabulous rendition of this old standard (I should warn you that she employs some weird hand movements but it is beautiful all the same).
Anyway... her confession set me off thinking about my least favourite hymns... after all, how could I possibly restrict myself to just one, given that I could rant at length on any number of them...
To help me restrict my list I first decided on some broad categories of the hymns and worship songs that cause me to inwardly (and sometimes audibly) groan:
1) The gore-fest "washed in the blood" stuff of the 19th and early 20th century revivalists, that really needs to be translated for a modern non-church goer lest they think they have wandered into some kind of sadistic sect.
2) Most hymns/praise songs written in the 1960s and 70s - trite & theologically illiterate
3) The macho-marching songs of the 1980s... too triumphalist for my tastes, so only to be used sparingly.
4) The cloyingly personal "Jesus is my heavenly boyfriend" stuff that has characterised so much that has emerged in the 1990s and 2000s, especially from Hillsong etc. Again, OK in small doses, but any more than that likely to cause a spiritual diabetic hypo!
That said (and if those opinionated sweeping generalisations don't generate some comments I don't know what will), I will leave my list of specifically hated hymns until tomorrow. Bet you cannot wait...