June 19, 2007

Gratuitous Episco-Blogging, Political Hymnody Division

We missed attending church this past Sunday, not getting home in time from our mini-vacation. However, a friend and fellow disgruntled parishioner was good enough to save the program for my amusement.

As I believe I've mentioned before, my church generally takes the Uncle Owen it's-all-such-a-long-way-from-here tack regarding the various political issues roiling the ECUSA today. However, I've noticed in recent months a slight strengthening of what might be called the feminist chord. You know, a heightened emphasis on the role of the women surrounding Jesus. We haven't yet reached the women-were-the-real-early-heart-of-the-Church-but-were-quashed-by-the-Patriarchy stage yet, but we're not all that especially far off, either. I strongly suspect that all this ties in with the elevation of Her High Priestessness, and that if peremptory orders about this sort of thing weren't handed down straight from the ECUSA's 815 HQ, then strong hints were.

But back to this Sunday. Also as a general rule, we don't wander very far away from the standard hymns. Yet this time, either because it was Father's Day or in spite of the fact that it was Father's Day, somebody felt compelled to insert into the service a little ditty from "Voices Found," a 2003 addition to the O-fficial repertoire which, in the words of the Church's publishing branch:

is a rich collection of hymns and spiritual songs by, for, and about women. The music is written overall in congregational hymn style and is intended for normal parish use. Some music is arranged for women's voices and is useful for women's groups or small choirs of treble voices. The book is a unique compilation of contemporary and historical materials that crosses boundaries of geography, time, and culture as it represents the diversity of the gifts of women and seeks to affirm and expand the spirituality of all women and men as they find new voices in the church's song.

The particular affirming and expanding hymn that was selected is entitled "God of the Women." I won't reprint the whole thing, but the third stanza is an award-winner:

God of the women long put to the test,
left out of stories, forgotten, oppressed,
quietly asking: "Who smiled at my birth?"
in Jesus' dying you show us your worth.

If the Crack Young Staff over at the Hatemonger's Quarterly ever hold a bad hymnody contest, I'm certainly going to use this one as a model for my entry. The rest of the stanzas, though not as blatently political, are equally clunky, artless and full of that kind of passive-aggressive whininess that gives me what Mr. John Keats would have called the guts-ache.

It strikes me that choosing to serve up this particular hymn on Father's Day sends a very clear message to the male members of the congregation: Okay, you can have your little celebration. But don't forget that you're still a bunch of misogynistic, patriarchal, pig-dogs. I am Woman. Help! Help! I'm being -

Oh, you know the rest.....

Posted by Robert at June 19, 2007 11:02 AM | TrackBack