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Quote by Annie Dillard

June 15, 2005

Do you ever think how scary some of the songs we sing in church are?

Annie Dillard must have thought about the songs at her church. She is quoted as saying this about worship services, “Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? … It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews” ~ Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), pp. 40-41.

Fortunately for us God would rather woo us with His love than overwhelm us with His power. But it certainly makes you think, do we real mean what we sing?

by Susan Barnes
4

Susan Barnes

~ writer of insightful posts about God and faith

4 thoughts on “Quote by Annie Dillard”

  1. He had some kinds of scary (or maybe just not completely nice and safe) songs at the SU advanced leaders weekend last year. I wrote a little bit of stuff based on what I learnt from that here.

    Mmmm… For different reasons I don’t sing some of the songs (or some bits of songs) in church services. Usually because I don’t understand the words, or I think they’re silly and don’t have anything to do with the rest of the song (for example this song that starts going on about how if one would fly if one had wings, because God is all that we need). Or sometimes I don’t sing the words because I don’t agree with them. Sometimes I just don’t agree with them at that specific time.

  2. He had some kinds of scary (or maybe just not completely nice and safe) songs at the SU advanced leaders weekend last year. I wrote a little bit of stuff based on what I learnt from that here.

    Mmmm… For different reasons I don’t sing some of the songs (or some bits of songs) in church services. Usually because I don’t understand the words, or I think they’re silly and don’t have anything to do with the rest of the song (for example this song that starts going on about how if one would fly if one had wings, because God is all that we need). Or sometimes I don’t sing the words because I don’t agree with them. Sometimes I just don’t agree with them at that specific time.

  3. There are a couple of lines in a couple of hymns that I don’t sing because I find them theologically incorrect. Then there are songs I have to sing in faith because although I know they are true I don’t always feel like it is true (eg. “I’m surrounded by the favour of the Lord”). Then there are songs that are testimonial and my testimony might be different to theirs but I understand where they are coming from. I know a while ago some people objected to the line in a song which said “I’ll never let You go” because theologically it is God who never lets us go. Nevertheless I understand the sentiment behind the words and have felt that way myself so I sang it anyway. I think the important thing is that we think about what we sing (or what we don’t sing).

  4. There are a couple of lines in a couple of hymns that I don’t sing because I find them theologically incorrect. Then there are songs I have to sing in faith because although I know they are true I don’t always feel like it is true (eg. “I’m surrounded by the favour of the Lord”). Then there are songs that are testimonial and my testimony might be different to theirs but I understand where they are coming from. I know a while ago some people objected to the line in a song which said “I’ll never let You go” because theologically it is God who never lets us go. Nevertheless I understand the sentiment behind the words and have felt that way myself so I sang it anyway. I think the important thing is that we think about what we sing (or what we don’t sing).

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