Quentin Letts, columnist for the UK’s Daily Mail, has published a list of 50 People Who Ruined Britain. (HT: Nick Mackison).
Happy-cr*ppy hymns are a pestilence. They demean adult worship, dragging it to a level even lower than that of Mrs C. F. Alexander’s All Things Bright And Beautiful (1848). They are self-obsessed, babyish, cliched, simplistic.
Several authors have written these appalling hymns. The daddy of them all when it comes to such gloopy nonsense, however, is Graham Kendrick, author of Shine, Jesus, Shine.
Kendrick, who has a personal website complete with an efficient shopping section, is the nation’s pre-eminent churner-outer of evangelical bilge. Imagine Pam Ayres without the humour.
He started writing hymns in the late Sixties and has now written 400 of the ruddy things. Should it not be a strength of Anglican worship that it does not move with the times and instead provides continuity at a time of baffling change?
But no. It’s out with the harmonium! In with the electric guitar! Out with the hymns sung by our forebears, such as He Who Would Valiant Be and Hills Of The North. In with the roughagerich Bind Us Together or the negro spiritual cum grammatical solecism It’s A Me, O’ Lord.
The sturdy hymns of England, musical embodiment of the stoicism, resolve and undemonstrative solidarity of our nation, are in severe peril, and all thanks to ill-shaven remnants of the late Sixties – grinning inadequates who have never got over the fact that they weren’t Cat Stevens.
Of course, if Christians adhered to the regulative principle the harmonium and hymns would also be right out but I take his point.