by Anthony Esolen
Here is some good advice from the editors of the Service Book and Hymnal of the Lutheran Church in America (1958):
The hymns should be devotional rather than didactic or homiletical, and their direction Godward, not manward; the hymnal must be ecumenical in character, expressing the continuity and catholicity of the life of the Church; the final criterion is not Lutheran authorship, but agreement with the teachings of the Word of God; the hymnal must have the highest standards of literary excellence, and each hymn, being an act of worship, should be exalted in language, noble in thought and reverent in feeling.
I could now fill a large book with flagrant violations of these standards, across all . . .
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Anthony Esolen is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. His many books include Sex in the Unreal City: The Demolition of the Western Mind, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a regular contributor to Chronicles, Crisis Magazine, The Claremont Review, Inside the Vatican Things, The Catholic Thing, and American Greatness. He has translated Dante's Divine Comedy. He is a Roman Catholic and lives with his wife in New Hampshire. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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