Ok, so Methodists are like, so totally crazy about some Charles Wesley hymns. OMG Charles Wesley out-Tomlinned Chris Tomlin as (should be) the Guinness World Record Holder for most hymns written in a lifetime: clocking in about 8,989 total hymns, writing around 10 lines a day for 50 years, publishing 56 collections of hymns in his lifetime (more on that here). While he was alive, many of these hymns would be sung in Methodist gatherings, but never in the Anglican church, which wasn’t really into accepting new song applications at the time.
But if you’re a fan of prolific artists, like say, Ryan Adams, Bill Mallonee, or Will Willimon, there comes a point where you’re like…dude, I love your stuff but do you really have to publish EVERY thought? (says the webcomic/blog writer). Truth be told, Charles Wesley wrote a lot of duds, usually the ones blasting Calvinists (The Horrible Decree), Catholics, Latitudinarians, or Muslims (one of which dubbed the ‘stupidest hymn ever written’ here)... You have to get through a lot of duds to create something huge, something amazing, something that truly grips the imagination of centuries. Like Raining Tacos, by Parry Gripp, the song-a-week youtube sensation and Nerf Herder frontman (if you internet, you know his stuff…you just don’t know that you know it).
For everyone else who didn’t understand the last two paragraphs, let’s just talk about worship. Why on EARTH do Christians value weekly worship together, as opposed to just singing some praise songs alone in the car, or on a nature hike. It’s great that you can worship God and experience deep existential meaning in those solo-times. But regular communal worship with other people allows you to share that experience in the context of relationships with others… Worship together is meant to both lead towards transcendence AND connect us with each other in a way that grows us towards better community. My church is one of many that has that long history of mainline white “traditional” worship (you know, Word and Table, organ-based hymns, stuff that was contemporary in the 1950’s but we pretend it’s the way Jesus did it), AND “contemporary” worship (which is already the new traditional). Is Worship connecting us to each other as much as it is to God? Or are we just looking for the next spiritual high, complaining about what we don’t like, separating ourselves from inconvenient people?