A very special H&S has now come and gone. T. David Gordon was his typical incisive self, and gave a very thought-provoking overview of his book Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal. A little different format than usual, the main course kind of blended straight into the Q&A, so I left it as just a single .mp3:
- Download (15mb) (previously corrupt, it should be better now, please drop a comment below if you have problems)
If you want to read some more, there’s a ton of great material on Dr. Gordon’s website, especially the articles on the Media Ecology and Theology tabs (note in particular the articles about Worship). Also, if you want to hear more on Gordon’s views on worship, I highly recommend this four-lecture series: Reformed Worship in the Electronic Age (and of course, you can’t go wrong with either of his popular books, Why Johnny Can’t Preach, and the sequel Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns!)
And some more audio from Dr. Gordon’s same trip. Thursday he lectured at WSCAL, Friday he lectured at the Cambridge School Parent Academy, Saturday he was with us, and Sunday he preached at Christ URC, Santee.
Here is my introduction:
If you were diagnosed with cancer, and a 25% chance of survival, what would you want to say to the world? Tonight’s speaker, T. David Gordon, was faced with just that question, and the result was the remarkable little book Why Johnny Can’t Preach: How the Media have Shaped the Messengers. With clarity and urgency, Gordon diagnoses the cancer that has reduced the landscape of contemporary homiletics to a wasteland, and even offers an effective cure, which if I can oversimplify, boils down to three elements: learn to read (to deeply engage texts of all kinds: sacred and secular), learn to write (to retrain the mind into the habit of composition), and preach Christ (resolve, like Paul, to know nothing but Christ and him crucified). Every preacher should read this book. Moreover, every Christian should read this book, to learn what preaching should be, and to encourage and pray for their pastors to attain to it. (Incidentally, you can’t imagine the pressure I am under, trying to compose a text to introduce a man who wrote a book lamenting the scarcity of the craft of composing text)
(Anyways), thanks to God’s smiling providence, Dr. Gordon survived, to turn his critical attention to the state of worship music in the church today, in the book about which he will speak tonight, Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal.
At this point, I could bore you with a litany of Dr. Gordon’s scholarly achievements, publications, and positions; but such biographical data is readily available online, and I would much rather allow more time for Dr. Gordon to speak, than waste anymore myself. So please join me in welcoming Dr. T. David Gordon.