April 03, 2004

The Difference Between Hymns & Choruses

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. "Well," said the farmer, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns."
"Praise choruses," said his wife, "What are those?"
"Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like hymns, only different," said
the farmer.
”Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife.
The farmer said, "Well, it's like this - If I were to say to you:

‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,' well, that would be a hymn. If, on
the other hand, I were to say to you:

“Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA,
the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows,
the white cows, the black and white cows,
the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn,
are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,

Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that
would be a praise chorus."

By coincidence, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from
the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. "Well," said the young man, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs."
"Hymns," said his wife, "What are those?"
"Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like regular songs, only different,"
said the young man.
"Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife.
The young man said, "Well it's like this - If I were to say to you:

'Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well, that would be a regular
song. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

“Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain ?
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God's sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn”.

Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key
change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn."

Posted by pencils at April 3, 2004 10:08 PM | TrackBack

4. The publicity given to the cinematic contents of the film is explicit. Even last night on British television, Rick Wakeman was presenting a programme on the BBC called "Jesus Who...?", an examination of Christianity in modern Britain.

He saw the film as part of his research, described its levels of violence, and made this telling quotation:

"Presumably Mel Gibson's intention is that people will go to church after watching this film. I think that they are more likely to want to go to a bull-fight".

Such quotations can be endlessly multiplied. I think it is hardly necessary for me to expose myself to the film in order to get the general drift... Reading the gospels shows a deliberately modest description of the 'suffering scenes' - that is extremely significant. God deliberately covers the primary suffering of CHrist for sin with darkness. God chooses that it should not be seen by blotting out the sun. Mr Gibson does not emphasise that 3 hours - his Catholicism gives him a different agenda - but instead of penal substitution, he focuses on nails and whips. Please correct me if I am in error.

In comparison, and again to quote a British journalist who has seen the film, it is a 'bloodfest' with an erroneous emphasis.

It would be inaccurate to suggest that I 'have not bothered to see the movie'. I have made a deliberate decision not to see the movie. There is quite a difference.

Posted by: pencils at April 7, 2004 12:43 PM

2. Although I have not seen the film, I have read the book on which it is based. That gives me the ethos, agenda and setting of Gibson's film. I am not, therefore, commenting blind.

3. My decision to avoid seeing the film is based not only upon the content of the postings made thus far, but primarily upon the conviction that it breaks the 2nd Commandment. The overwhelming testimony of Protestant Christianity is that representing Christ visually is sinful.

By all means, go and see the Passion. Use it as an evangelistic tool – but in doing so, recognise that although many current voices favour such a film, you are out of fellowship with the historic Christian church - without a single exception. You draw your lines and stand your ground alongside Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. You are out of step with the Puritans, the Continental and British Reformers, and the whole history of evangelicalism defined and developed during the Great Awakening under the Wesleys, Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards.


Posted by: pencils at April 7, 2004 12:30 PM

Thanks for your openness! However, your post raises certain issues that you perhaps haven't considered.

1. It suggests that as believers we may only comment on what we have seen. Although in certain circumstances that has validity, in others it does not.

For example - I don't need to go to see Trainspotting to know that the language is obscene and coarse, and therefore objectionable. Nor do I need to go and watch 'Debbie Does Dallas' in order to know that it is hardcore pornography and unsuitable for Christians.

Bringing it closer to this example, I don't need to see The Last Temptation of Christ in order to object to its showing. The same would be true of Bruce Almighty with Jim Carey. It is a blasphemous film. Our authority as Christians to comment springs from principles.


Posted by: pencils at April 7, 2004 12:25 PM

Well, the thing is, although you have a lot of interesting things to say in relation to the movie, it's hard to give your ideas a lot of credibility when you haven't actually seen it.

For instance- "Not only does Mel Gibson seek to uncover what God has deigned should remain hidden, but he ends up majoring on the minor – the physical rather than the spiritual. What is completely absent from the Passion of the Christ is the whole point of the Passion of the Christ! It is glossed and shrouded in the pounding of nails, the spattering of blood, and the gut-wrenching brutality"

These are your words? How would you possibly know what's there if you haven't bothered to see the movie?

And this- "The first thing to realise is that problems with The Passion..." Your only knowledge of any problems there may be is based on someone else's opinion. You have no authority here. You are making judgements based on what is essentially gossip.

Posted by: Ben Williams at April 6, 2004 05:34 PM

Good humour should be frequently resurrected! No, it isn't mine, and yes, you can use it!

I haven't seen the Passion, and if sickness ever allows me to actually finish my blog series, you will find out why! You have probably gathered that I am using my blog as a sounding board to get all my thoughts together - hence the sometimes higgledy-piggledy or long-winded posts!

If only I had more time....


Posted by: pencils at April 6, 2004 02:18 PM

That's an old one!

Posted by: Jon at April 5, 2004 10:08 AM

That's very good. Is it yours? & may I quote it?

You have some interesting perspectives on The Passion Of The Christ, but i didn't see anywhere that you said you actually saw it yourself- did I miss that?

Posted by: Ben Williams at April 5, 2004 01:22 AM


Posted by: Stephen at April 5, 2004 12:42 AM

We often quote that coming back/from church on Sunday. Its a very good joke and quite true sometimes :-)

Posted by: Andy at April 4, 2004 05:04 PM
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