What started as a spiritual practice soon became something more – a resource, an analysis, a much needed examination of our hymns – our living, sung theology.
On October 4, 2016, I began a daily practice of singing each of our currently published 490 hymns, one a day, and writing about them at my personal blog, FarFringe.com. At the beginning, I wrote only personal reflections. But soon I was also writing about usage, history, theology, and setting.
Over the course of the practice, I wrote about gendered language, the language of Empire, cultural misappropriation, calls to justice, meandering lyrics, and awkward rhymes. I waxed poetic about favorite songs, composers, favorite lyricists, favorite messages. I sang through the darkest days and the brightest. I shared personal stories and collective ones. I linked to dozens of video versions, and I bemoaned the lack of tune recordings. I discovered some new favorites and those I would likely never use. I considered just how far we’ve come on this arc of justice – a journey reflected in our theological and linguistic choices.
In the process, I learned that Unitarian Universalists care deeply about our hymns too – and are over and over again looking for more information that helps them use our hymnals more proficiently and lead our congregations in song more adeptly. May these posts – some incomplete, some personal and meandering – offer you information, insight, and inspiration.