Church Music

Having endured many years of less-than-amazing music at church, these observations by Anthony Esolen are interesting.

Why Traditional Hymns are Superior to Modern Ones

A congregational hymn is for the congregation. Its music is written so that the congregation will want to sing it and will be able to do so with ease. This includes men, women, and children—from basso profondo to treble. Since they are not trained singers, the intervals should be easy to negotiate, the range should be comfortable, the key should not be too high (both men and women are shakier on the high end of the scale), the rhythm should be straightforward, and the melody should be, well, something you could hum after you hear it a couple of times, because of repetition…

Most contemporary hymns fall afoul of one or more of these desiderata.  (Read More Here)


More from Esolen here: Poetic Traditional Hymns Put Alternatives to Shame

I often hear that since most of what is produced in any age is garbage, the quality of the hymns in a compilation such as the Hymnal 1940 is partly an illusion, because the bad stuff will have been tossed aside. This observation is by way of excusing the bulk of church songs composed since 1965. Time has not yet done its winnowing.

There are four reasons why I reject this conjecture…


Read the words of the Supreme Court

Reading the words of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade  in this article makes me sad. The explicit acceptance of sexual immorality from the highest court shows how corrupt our culture has become. And our church has not fought against it enough.


The End of Debate


Steve Bannon had to be smuggled into the Oxford Union because of the protesters trying to stop him from speaking. One of the protesters had a sign saying, Fascism is Wrong, End of Debate.  Oxford President Horvath had the guts to stand up to this anti intellectual snowflakery. He argued that allowing the event to go forward “would encourage students to properly justify their own views.” That would be an intellectual exercise, something apparently foreign to Oxford University students today.

You would think that in the age of relativism there would be more debate, not less. Everyone can have their own truth and we can discuss it. But instead of there being a live and let live attitude, there is a fear of the other’s truth. It is as if another person stating their truth obliterates my truth. Relativistic truth is fragile and that is why people seem to need a herd to reinforce their truth. They need lots of people loudly proclaiming it to make it strong. It has no strength on its own. It is as if those who are relativists know that they are really vulnerable to logical reasoning, as if they know they are really standing on quicksand.

The problem is magical thinking. Magical thinking is if I believe it enough, it will be true. Something will become true, if enough people believe.  Reminds me of Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. If we say that words are equal to violence, then they are and we are justified in using violence to stop people from speaking. Those who opposed letting Bannon speak said, “The Oxford Union once again is giving a platform to the far right to speak and by doing so legitimizes racism.”   Why does one man saying something legitimize racism?Does this mean that if one person says something it becomes true and anyone hearing it will believe it is true?

I am just an old fogey who believes in absolute truth. I think reality is like the Rock of Gibraltar. You can’t just wish it away. I can’t understand how people can think otherwise.



The Bigot’s Charity

The current internet explosion centers around Ethan Ralph and his livestream known as the KIllstream.  A few weeks back, Ralph did a “Healstream” using the Youtube feature which allows superchats to go directly to a charity of their choice.  St Jude’s Children’s Hospital was the recipient.  Superchats, for those who haven’t heard of them, are a way for streamers to make money on Youtube.  A commenter donates money and the streamer, usually, reads the chat comment on the stream.  It makes streams a lot like talk radio with superchat breaks instead of advertisements.  These comments range from innocent questions to various repetitions of “kill the Jews 1488” and worse.

The Wall Street Journal decides to do an article about hate and superchats, contacts Ralph for comment, then the next thing you know, all the St Jude’s superchats have been refunded and Ralph has all his channels deleted.

TL;DR has a good run down of the timeline and events surrounding this:

A few sources reporting on this debacle have characterized the Healstream as essentially virtue signalling:

Killstream is known for both its controversial guests and similarly toxic chat. Users have been known to take advantage of YouTube’s Super Chat system to buy and pin toxic messages in the live chat, further defaming the stream’s reputation.

This prompted show host Ethan Ralph to fight back by holding a charity stream to benefit St. Jude’s, a research hospital for children with catastrophic diseases. However, YouTube’s new policy on harmful Super Chats has caused a major rift between Ralph and the platform, as well as the Wall Street Journal – which he is now accusing of taking money away from sick children.

This isn’t exactly accurate.  The superchats for charity idea was originally proposed because Sargon of Akkad refused a debate on Ralph’s channel because Ralph would be getting the money for it.  Ralph offered to give all the money to charity.  Sargon, no doubt because he didn’t want a repeat of the Spencer debate and have someone tell him he’s not as smart as he thinks he is, refused anyway so they had it without him.

Ralph and co. have moved to a different site and promptly crashed it by bringing too much traffic with them.