Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Narcissistic Self Worship--is it in your hymnal?
The idea for this next post was shamelessly stolen from Overheard in the Sacristy. It hit me, not only because banal lyrics for "church songs" (can't really call them hymns) is one of my pet peeves, but also because the contrast between some of these songs and the hymns from my previous post is glaringly obvious.
Ok, on to the post. Most "modern" church music is badly written, musically, and close to heretically written, lyrically. Many of these songs are virtually impossible for large groups to sing, having been written by and for solo guitar and voice.
The lyrics are even worse. Besides the confusing habit that new church songs have of letting the congregation sing from the point of view of GOD (gee, do you think this is UNINTENTIONAL?!), there are lyrics in the Eucharistic section of our "hymnal" that insist on talking over and over about the "bread and wine" and how we are "gathering" at the "table". People, if it's just bread and wine--if it's just a table--it's NOT a Catholic Church!!! You can do that at home!
The Worst of the Narcissistic Navel Gazing Offenders
In his article Ritus Narcissus: Why Do We Sing Ourselves and Celebrate Ourselves, Father Paul Scalia talks about a number of the worst of these songs.
"Bread of Life" by Rory Cooney has some of the most anti-Catholic lyrics you will come across in a Catholic Church.
I myself am the bread of life.
You and I are the bread of life
taken and blessed
broken and shared
that the world may live.
Similarly, "The Bread that we Share" by Dominic MacAller says the following:
We become for each other
I DON'T THINK SO! If "you and I" are the Bread of Life, then we are in big trouble and all that the Church teaches is in vain. If you want a totally symbolic Eucharist, there are many, many Protestant churches to choose from. You can even start your own!
This next one, I think, should be the Narcissistic National Anthem. It is, appropriately enough, called "Anthem" by Tom Conry.
We are called,
We are chosen.
We are Christ for one another.
We are promise to tomorrow while we are for him today.
We are sign.
We are wonder.
We are sower.
We are seed.
We are harvest.
We are hunger.
We are question.
We are creed.
NOoooooooooooo! Tell me this song is not "all about me"! This song DARES to take images from Scripture that are about God Himself, and turn them into a song all about human beings!! How many times can one song that we are supposed to sing in church, in the very Presence of God, put the word "we" in it?!?! The audacity makes me speechless.
The Church is not "all about me". We do not go to church to discover ourselves, to celebrate ourselves or to feel good about ourselves. We go to church to worship. The very concept of worship means that we are worshiping a Higher Power--higher than ourselves. Higher than we could ever be. We are not the Bread of Life. We are not Christ. We are not The Sower. We are not Creed.
Sadly, generations have now grown up on this anti-Catholic crap. Many have no idea of the musical and lyrical beauty that is the heritage of the Catholic Church, and, as a result, many do not know the very teachings of the Church, because the "hymns" they sang at Mass every week went completely against those teachings.