Monthly Archives: February 2009

Rock of Ages

I feel a little guilty. I’m as committed as anyone to writing new tunes for hymns to help them find a voice today and, yet, I don’t really care for what is probably the most famous of the “new tunes” out there. It’s the only one that I know of that made it into the Trinity Hymnal. That, of course (after reading the title of this post), is Rock of Ages.

It’s not that I have an undying love for the tune TOPLADY (Trinity Hymnal #499), it’s just that the tune for #500 has never thrilled me.

(Of course, there are plenty of people out there who love the new tune and to them I say, “More power to you!” This is clearly a taste issue, not one that is theological.)

Last week, I ran across two YouTube videos which contained settings of the traditional tune, TOPLADY, in a no-so-traditional manner. I commend them to you if you, like me, have never been able to embrace Trinity Hymnal #500.

Chris Rice –

Fernando Ortega –

Read Sally Morganthaler and then reread

Sally Morganthaler’s article is too thought-provoking to only read once. I ran across it again this week and am still blown away by her assessment of the situation that we are in.

As negative attitudes toward conservative Christianity among the unchurched increased in the late ’90s and early 2000s, most large-congregation growth efforts became more focused on the churched consumer, even as their written and spoken vision remained focused on the unchurched. And these star performers became masters at what the churched wanted. They raised the bar several times over for what could be expected out of a Sunday morning experience, and they worked tirelessly to develop the high quality, practical programs the churched now demanded. Having excelled at making theirs the best churched experience on the market, they were perfectly positioned to absorb the windfall of disgruntled attendees from dwindling mainline congregations and failed, contemporary start-ups.

Read more at Allelon.