Coming up in just three weeks, not only is T. David Gordon speaking to my kids’ schools Parent Academy, on the following evening (Sat Apr 14) he will address Hoagies & Stogies, on the topic of his recent book, Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal. Any readers of this blog are invited to come out and join us for a great evening (just drop a comment and I’ll contact you offline).
In preparing for this upcoming Weekend O’ Gordon, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately at tdgordon.net. The media ecology and theology tabs have great collections of articles, but I also discovered that, tucked away at the bottom of the theology tab is a link to a whole ‘nother section of articles on Ecclesiology and Worship!
If you are familiar with Why Johnny Can’t Sing, or interviews he’s done, or other lectures, you may have heard him describe how he culled the entire Trinity Hymnal (700+ selections) down to a mere 150 that he found actually suitable for congregational worship. Well in this newly discovered treasure trove, I have discovered The Actual List! (Why was this not included in the book as another appendix?)
I don’t want to reproduce the entire list here (this post would end up five miles long), but you should go take a gander, it’s quite interesting to see what made the cut and what didn’t.
Christmas carols didn’t fare very well. It’s easy to see why “Away in a Manger” got the axe, but “Joy to the World”? “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”? My personal favorite hymn didn’t make it (“because it is so intensely personal” — perhaps also the reason for omitting “It is Well with my Soul”?), but the hymn with the best tune ever was surely a shoo-in. Also the W2K anthem (and perhaps overtaking as my favorite hymn) “Father I Know that All My Life” did make the grade.
So let’s hear in the comments what you think of Gordon’s list. Is it really the best 150 from TH? Is 150 the right number at which to draw the line? I’m sure there will be plenty of griping that favorites were passed over, but did Gordon pick any stinkers? (You might find this link a helpful reference...)