One of my kin has furnished me with a page from the student newspaper of a metropolitan seminary featuring the words for a new hymn by an anonymous author. The writer, having learned of the success of Arius in popularizing his heresy in song, feels that his seminary should not lose this wide open opportunity to spread its theology.

Old Tune, New Sentiment

His contribution to a great new movement is set to the tune of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and begins:

“What a myth we have in Jesus

O how meaningful to me,

Existentially confronted

In artistic liturgy.

Though in life we often languish

Mid its ambiguity,

Jesus points to the solution,

Transcending all symbolically.”

This may have to be taken with a grain of salt, but it suggests what some of these newer movements in theology could do for (or to) the grand old hymns.

Rosy-Tinted Lyrics

Something of the kind has been tried in the past; you may remember the rosy-tinted lyrics:

“Just as I am, young, strong and free,

To be the best that I can be

For truth, and righteousness and Thee …”

This was substituted as a reversed version of the original:

“Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need in Thee I find.…

Existential Replacements

Since this substitution was not very successful, perhaps my kin can provide more existential replacements. Contributors may become charter subscribers to my monthly choir collection, Incognito Chorales. You may have a paradoxology in mind, or perhaps you can add to such new numbers as:

“A critic snips the sacred page …”

“Angels, from the realms of story …”

“My hope is built on less and less.…”

Psychotherapeutic psalmody is also desired; e.g., “Relax, my soul, calm every nerve.” Address all entries to:


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