The Christian practice of hymn singing, says renowned biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann, is a countercultural act. It marks the Christian community as different from an unforgiving and often ungrateful culture. It is also, he adds, an “absurd enterprise” in the midst of the hyper-busy, market-driven society that surrounds us. In this helpful and engaging volume, Brueggemann discusses both why we sing and what we sing. The first part of the book examines the Psalms and what they can teach us about the reasons that corporate song is a part of the Christian tradition. The second part looks at fifteen popular hymns, including classic and contemporary ones such as “Blest Be the Ties That Binds,” “God’s Eye Is on the Sparrow,” “Once to Every Man and Nation,” “Someone Asked the Question,” and “We Are Marching in the Light of God,” and the reasons why they have caught our imagination. “To know why we sing,” Brueggemann writes, “may bring us to a deeper delight in our singing and a strengthened resolve to sing without calculation before the God `who is enthroned on the praises of Israel’ (Ps. 22:3).
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