Why I Don’t Like Singing Hymns

Part of the reason hymn-singing is dying in the church is because of the way we sing said hymns.

All of this is to say that I encourage you to sing what you mean. To sing to the Lord the glory and honor due His name. You’re not going to do that muttering your way through whatever hymns your church uses. You’re going to do that by praising Him the way He calls for us to sing: with our whole hearts.

 

I don’t like praise music in church. I don’t like about 90% of Contemporary Christian music.

Sorry.

Actually, not really.

Okay, now that those statements are off my chest, let me also confess that the title of this post is mostly clickbait. I love hymns. Good hymns, that is (good-bye, El Shaddai and your poor Hebrew and your almost-violation of the Westminster Confession). I love the power their words hold. I’ll take an off-key version A Mighty Fortress on an untuned piano surrounded by kids and elderly saints any day over twenty emotional repetitions of Ten Thousand Reasons with dry ice and lights.

I promise this isn’t another “praise music sucks” rants. There is some good praise music. Enough digital ink has been spilled on those rants, anyway. Rather, this is a plea.

Part of the reason hymn-singing is dying in the church is because of the way we sing said hymns. It’s not that I don’t like hymns. It’s that I don’t like how we Christians sing them.

Sure, sometimes the tunes are unfamiliar. Sometimes the thees and thous get mixed up with the me’s and mine’s and (guilty) you find yourself singing “Take Thy feet and make them mine.” Sometimes your church building just doesn’t have good acoustics, or in the case of my storefront home church, you have competition with your Charismatic next-door neighbors blaring their praise music through your walls.

But it breaks my heart when I’m in a good Reformed church, or any hymn-singing church, and the congregants kind of mumble through the whole song. For a long time, I used to match my dynamic with the congregation’s, even if it was barely audible.

Then one day, I decided I needed to stop that nonsense and praise God.

Yes, I’m that loud, untrained mezzo-soprano in the front. But I would encourage you to join me. Take a moment to actually contemplate the words you are singing. In my experience, praise music has one emotion, which is some sort of weepy over-hyped limbo. Good hymns cover every area of human emotion. Trial, joy, awe, sorrow, passion. Find the emotion and the theology in your hymns and sing according to the power found therein.

Read More