The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #32: Church Music

General Introduction
– How did we spend Halloween?
– Mad Dog Gilmour is on the prowl
– What’s on the blog?
– Listener feedback

Let’s Talk Churches
– The praise-band “worship” model
– Eastern Orthodoxy
– The vast number of churches in Omaha
– The acapella Church of Christ
– Small ensembles
Sacred harp singing
– Casting Crowns fail
– Spanish-language congregations
– The deaf choir

Hebrew Sacred Music
– The Rabbinic tradition and the Psalms
– Nearly lost words
– Surviving Samaritans

New Testament Worship
– What the Bible says
– The Christian life as opera
– Songs as teaching aid
– Greco-Roman hymns
– The Ballad of Jesus

The History of Hymnody in Five Moments
– Martin Luther’s one-bar blues
– Fanny Crosby’s sixteen hymnals
– The Jesus Movement, man
– Cædmon’s call
– The oldest non-Psalmic hymn

Doctrinal Content in Church Music
– Get ready to hear us yell
– Changing the words of the hymns
– Why music is so individualizing and communitarian
– The red hymnal vs. the blue hymnal
– How rock ‘n’ roll can get in the way
– Charles Wesley’s insufficient specificity
– The Voice of the Ugly Calvinist
– How doctrinal are choruses?
– Manwich, manwich, we adore you
– And now we will complain about praise choruses
– A Calvinist argument and an existentialist argument (that doesn’t come from Michial!)
– The place for emotional language

A New Kind of Service
– Arguments for and against contemporary worship services
– Does contemporary worship even sound like pop music?
– Our argument about Third Eye Blind
– The seriously anti-rock people
– Nineteenth-century circus music
– An ex-cathedra pronouncement
– Standing in a long line

The Rock-Concert Worship Service
– Why Michial attends a PCUSA church
– The guitar solo monitor move
– Liberal theology, conservative music
– Do rock services make you rude?
– Karaoke church music
– Let’s get our worship on!

Closing Thoughts
– Be ready to hear reasons from the other side
– Wait before you fight
– Develop some empathy, for crying out loud


Bede. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Ed. Judith McClure and Roger Collins. New York: Oxford UP, 2009.

Callimachus. Hymns, Epigrams, Select Fragments. Trans. Stanley Lombardo and Diane Rayor. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1988.

The Homeric Hymns. Trans. Susan C. Shelmerdine. Newburyport, Mass.: Focus, 1995.

Norris, Kathleen. The Cloister Walk. New York: Riverhead, 1996.

Wetmore, Robert D. Worship the Way It Was Meant to Be: 15 Biblical Principles for Knowing and Loving God. Camp Hill, Penn.: Christian Publications, 2003.

19 comments for “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #32: Church Music

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *