Behold the awfulness!

My parish must have been really bad, because today we were forced to endure “All are welcome” by Marty Haugen as our opening hymn.  You think you’ve heard bad church music before?  This is like the Platonic Form of bad church music:  sentimental and meaningless, a mess of “churchy” words and phrases glued together without intelligibility.  It makes you cringe just hearing the thing–I’m embarassed for anyone who has to sing it.  It’s that awful.

Let us build a house
where love can dwell
And all can safely live,
A place where
saints and children tell
How hearts learn to forgive.

Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
Rock of faith and vault of grace;
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
And words are strong and true,
Where all God’s children dare to seek
To dream God’s reign anew.

Here the cross shall stand as witness
And a symbol of God’s grace;
Here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:

Let us build a house where love is found
In water, wine and wheat:
A banquet hall on holy ground,
Where peace and justice meet.

Here the love of God, through Jesus,
Is revealed in time and space;
As we share in Christ the feast that frees us:

All are welcome, all are welcome,
All are welcome in this place.

“all God’s children dare to seek To dream God’s reign anew”  What does that even mean?

9 Responses

  1. Yeah. “Gather us in” gives it a run for its money, though, Platonic-form-wise. ‘Cause if you are looking for a rhyme for “hist’ry,” only “mist’ry” will do! And isn’t there one about singing a new church?

    In the category of things I hate that I like is the hymn “I am the bread of life.” It has the whole singing-in-God’s-voice thing going for it. But somehow, I like it anyway. Makes me want to flagellate the weakness out of my flesh.

  2. There is much in the church that needs reforming.

  3. Oh yeah, “All are Welcome” is a bad one, but it has stiff competition, to wit “Gather us in” (indeed); “We are the Light of the World” (if only) sucks pretty bad too. I heard tell, by one of my Confirmation students, of a Catholic (well “Catholic”) School teacher who shared with her students how she refused to sing “All are Welcome”, because, in fact (in her mind), all were not welcome in the (presumably homophobic and sexist) Catholic Church… Good for you, girl!

    I actually learned “I am the bread of life” as a Protestant… and I always loved it. Then I became RC and found out that someone in the past 20 years or so had neutered it. Now I hate it too, because the only thing more uplifting than singing the exact words of Christ is singing the exact clumsily bowdlerized words of Christ.

  4. “Gather Us In” is absolute musical potatoes in my parish, served up at least twice a month. It’s a weird song. I seem to recall Christ saying that he would cause division, not end it, but maybe he was misquoted. And I, too, have wondered about that “all are welcome” business. I’m not just thinking of Act Up demonstrators or vagrants stretched out on the pews. Is a proud and defiant atheist really “welcome” in the Church? Sure, he’s welcome to enter the building, even to join in singing “Gather Us In,” but does the Church actually welcome a man without faith or a contrite heart?

  5. There’s more than enough tripe for everyone. The protestant world is awash in it. Not too long ago we used to sing songs like “Soldiers of Christ, Arise”, “Onward Christian Soldiers”, things that stirred a man’s soul to get off his can and do battle with evil. Now I’m forced to wallow in sentimental romances, like I’m some sappy lovestruck chick. I can feel boobs growing.

  6. I’ve never understood what’s so terrible about “divisions,” anyway. Presumably if God had no use for different kinds of people, He would not have allowed those differences to arise in the first place. To say nothing of the fact that there’s something vaguely Satanic in the notion that all divisions are horrible and to be avoided; the tongues of men were confounded for a very good reason.

  7. The Church welcomes such a man to repent and believe. Christ is more welcoming than the proud atheist would want. I imagine the case of a Protestant or atheist who goes with a Catholic friend to Mass one week and is offended that he can’t receive communion. “How dare they exclude me!” he says, “Christ wouldn’t have been so stuck-up and mean.” But we don’t exclude anyone. We won’t allow him to mock our sacraments by making a sign of a union that doesn’t exist, but we beckon him to make it exist. I know, that’s not the welcome he wanted, but what he wanted was actually less generous.

  8. I kind of like “I am the bread of life”; at least it’s solemn. “Gather us in” doesn’t bug me as much as “All are Welcome” for some reason. Maybe because the music isn’t as bad.

  9. All this hatred of divisions and differences is a metaphysical sickness.

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