I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hot topic: Hymns!

What?? How could something so gentle and sweet as a hymn be controversial?

After all, no one can deny that the Bible promotes singing and making melody in our hearts. David wrote hundreds of Psalms meant to be sung. The disciples sang a hymn with the Lord at the Last Supper. Paul and Silas even lifted a tune in while in prison!

But I've met some folks who think hymns written  less than 50 years ago just aren't right. Some may even insist on going back 100 years.

Well, I have to admit I do love some of the old hymns like the one in the picture. I can sing that one and "Amazing Grace" at the top of my lungs...unless the words really get to me. Then I reach for a Kleenex and wipe away a few tears. And don't get me started on "Holy, Holy, Holy" or "Just as I am".

But do we really need these new, modern hymns? Well, certainly not if they're accompanied by drums! (Just kidding! I need a little help with the beat.)

So why should anyone write a new hymn? Don't we have enough? No, we never will have "enough" hymns. As long as the love of the Lord Jesus inspires the hearts of His people, we will never have too many. In fact, if there are no new hymns, I think it would grieve the heart of our Savior...as though His love no longer inspires our hearts.

As much as I enjoy both the new and the old hymns, I do look forward to one hymn in particular. "And they sang a new song, saying 'Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.'" (Revelation 5:9)

Now that's a choir I look forward too! And no one there will object to the tune or the rhythm.

What are some of your favorite hymns or spiritual songs? Do you have favorite Christian artists?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Funny Things Happen on our way to Written English - “Though the written word may stay you, the spoken word can slay you.”

Delores E. Topliff
If the above words aren’t already a famous quotation, they should be, since correct word pronunciation often trips us up. I remember being a dreamy sixth grader who loved practicing new words. One morning as I looked at the sunrise through our classroom window, I described, “winter’s roseate dawn!”
       My longsuffering teacher patted my curly head and said, “You’re been eating Coleridge’s poppies and honey-dew.” I didn’t know what she meant, but continued repeating and reusing any word I loved until I wore it (and my hearers) out. I ran into trouble though by learning words through sounding them out if I didn’t know how they were said. I once waved a hand and described something as “gigantic” using hard “g” sounds. When no one responded, I assumed they hadn’t heard me so repeated “gigantic” even louder with stronger hard “g” sounds.
         “Oh, you mean ‘gigantic’ like the word ‘giant’!” someone hooted. My face burned with shame as I noted that word, but I still have to stop and think each time I say it in public.
That experience made me sympathize when a bright college freshman I taught years later had also learned words based on how they look instead of how they sound. Kathy had written her essay on “Origins of the English Language” and confidently shared it out loud. Describing England’s transition from speaking English to French after 1066 she had written, “King Edward the Confessor died without an heir” but we heard her say, “died without a hair.” We swallowed our smiles as she continued. “And that’s why William of Normandy came to ‘press his suit.” That’s when we lost it and roared as we pictured a bald-headed man standing at an ironing board pressing his royal robe. She became a gifted writer and speaker, but that day we all learned a lesson in taking greater care to pronounce words by how they truly sound, not by how they appear
          For me, others words easy to stumble over include yacht, colonel, isthmus, aluminum, and Worcestershire.
I’m sorry for non-English speakers who have to learn our language and figure out our words and phrases that do sound quite different from how they appear.
What words challenge you or turn your face red as you mispronounce them? What tips can you share to make learning new words more manageable?