Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vogon Hymnody

As every reader of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy knows, the Vogons write the third worst poetry in the universe. Well, there's competition, initiated by the Anglican Communion gathering in Jamaica, for the most uninspired verse of doggerel every penned by human hand.

Andrew Brown quotes the opening stanza of the offending item, as sung in Jamaica last week to the tune of 'Ode to Joy' (which I must admit I can't remember off the top of my head):

Lord of our diversity,
unite us all, we pray;
welcome us to fellowship
in your inclusive way.
Sanctify our listening
and help us get the sense
of perplexing arguments
before we take offence

It's enough to make me want to puree my own internal organs and imbibe them through a straw. Anyone who uses the word 'inclusive' in a hymn deserves to be locked inside an organ for 2 weeks whilst a family of hippos dances on the keyboard. Several of Andrew Browns commenters have attempted to surpass even this, my favourite is freewoolly's, though it's a bit rude to reproduce here.

On a related topic, Nick Baines posts about 'girly worship'
According to an online survey of 400 UK readers of the men’s magazine Sorted, the majority of blokes who responded said they ‘enjoyed singing – but added comments showing they preferred anthemic songs and ‘proclamational’ hymns as opposed to more emotional love songs.’ They also dislike flowers, embroidered banners, hugging, holding hands, dancing and ’sitting in circles discussing their feelings in church’. Oh dear.

The whole piece is worth reading, together with a very good follow up post on what worship is, and what part songs play in it. Interesting that the original report is penned anonymously by a 'daily mail reporter', and that in the comments women have the same complaints as the men.

I did pick up a copy of 'Sorted' at Spring Harvest, but can't find it, so I can't tell you whether the magazine is any good. It certainly looked ok from the cover (apart from the title, which seems a bit 20th century...?). End of useless magazine review.


  1. Shame on you - "Ode to Joy" is the well known theme from Beethoven's 9th, also the EU Anthem

  2. I am going to sue you- whilst reading that hymn I ground all the enamel off my teeth and broke the bones in both my hands whilst pounding the walls...

    Someone wrote that? For real? Have they no sense of humour/irony/ do they spend all their time in church gatherings and never speak to anyone in the real world?

    I have to go, my blood pressure monitor has just broken...

  3. Many years ago I came across one in the Church and School Hymnal which had us in fits of laughter:

    Through meadow and wood
    the cattle are good
    the rabbits are thinking no evil
    the anenomes white
    are refined and polite
    and the primroses all very civil.

    But I think your example takes the cake for sheer banality and bathos.

  4. Sorry about the typo in the hymn, but I think you can get the gist - anemones.