Tag Archives: hymns

Coming Home

It’s strange how the songs we sang back when can take on such different meanings after a departure from fundyland. If we sang the dirge-like straing of Lord I’m Coming Home once we probably sang it a thousand times. But now whenever I hear it, it sounds a bit like this:

I’ve wasted many precious years, (spent in legalism and judgment thinking I was better than others)
Now I’m coming home;
I now repent with bitter tears, (tears of regret over my ignorance and blindness to my fellow man)
Lord, I’m coming home.

I’m tired of sin and straying, Lord, (tired of pride. weary of hatred. exhausted with judgmentalism.)
Now I’m coming home;
I’ll trust Thy love, believe Thy word, (because now that I’m actually reading your words I’m surprised to learn that You love everyone.)
Lord, I’m coming home.

My soul is sick, my heart is sore, (sick when I look back at who I was. sore when I see those who still labor under that burden)
Now I’m coming home;
My strength renew, my home restore, (It’s s scary world out there beyond the walls of fundyland but now I look for a city made not with hands.)
Lord, I’m coming home.

My only hope, my only plea, (not me. not my rules. not my perfection. not my standards. not my cleverness.)
Now I’m coming home;
That Jesus died, and died for me, (Jesus? Funny how we always sang about him but never talked about him. He’s wonderful if you really get to know him.)
Lord, I’m coming home.

How very new and strange those old words seem now.

Celtic Music

Many fundamentalists (especially those of college age) have a love affair with all things Irish that borders on obsession. This yen of fundies for Ireland is a bit confusing on its face. After all, fundies don’t approve of liquor, Roman Catholics, dancing, luck, or kissing people merely based on their ethnic heritage. In fact, they think so little of Ireland that it’s a fairly popular missionary destination. But regardless of all these flaws, what many fundamentalists do approve of is traditional rhythmic folk music played by white guys. And the Irish have plenty o’ that. (So do mountain-dwelling banjo-pickers but that’s a post for another day.)

Now this is not to say that fundamentalists will listen to all Irish music or singers. U2, The Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly’s music would never pass music checks at any Fundy U worthy of the name. But when it comes to the instrumental folks songs or hymns played in “Celtic” style, many fundamentalists have love for it that borders on obsession. You’ll rarely find a church bookstore without at least a few CDs of “Celtic Hymns Played Slowly and Drearily Volume III.”

But what is Irish music really but songs of love and loss and oral histories that are sung to variations on tunes as old as time. Are they really that different from the folk music sung by people in Botswana, Kyrgyzstan, or Poughkeepsie? What sanctifies the Irish to sing and play what would cause others to fall from grace with God?

Perhaps it does all come down to color. And I’m not talking about green.

Favorite Hymn Night

In many fundamentalist churches there is a phenomenon known as “Favorites Night” which is code for “the pastor is taking the night off.” The bulk of these services consist of church members chortling in sadistic glee as they search the hymnbook for obscure songs in hopes of making the pianist lose her sanctification.

In aid of this noble goal of torturing the accompanist, the well-versed fundamentalists can consult the handy Index of Songs By Meter found in the back of the hymnal and select something like “What Hath the Lord Done for Thee?” in 7/12 meter. Pianists love it when people do that. They laugh and laugh.

Favorites night is also a great time to dust off one of the following favorite numbers of leather-lunged fundies everywhere:

– Wonderful Grace of Jesus
– The Awakening Chorus (if you’re a PCC grad)
– The Church In The Wildwood
– Son of a Preacher Man

Throw in a few minutes of Testimony Time and the pastor can rest easy until next week. Men on the First, Ladies on the Second, and All together on the last!