Monday, August 07, 2006

God Bless Africa

"Born in song, gods people are always singing" An immortal line from an ever popular hymn and a "tag" that has been oft applied to the Methodist People. yet this week radio 4 reminded us all of the lasting legacy of a more modern day Methodist. Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika is one of the main contributers to the current south african anthem and it was written by a teacher at a Methodist Missionary school. It's first public outing was for the ordination of a methodist minister and less than 50years later was used at the very first ANC meetings and many subsiquent meetings since then. It was a song that provided one of the major rousing and lifting tunes for the anti-aparteid movement on a road to national self-realisatoin and liberation. So, where is all this going? Well a thought I have been having recently... where are all the good songs and hymns gone? As Methodists we are blessed to have a rich and varied history of hymn writers. These were people who influenced more than just the denomination they helped found/ were part of (People like Charles Wesley or Fred Pratt Green or even Freda Head. Yet of late there seems to be a complete lack of fresh young writers. It would seem that the evangelicals have all the good tunes really. Whilst people such as John Bell and others do a stirling job of the other theological viewpoints there just isn't the real diversity out there. That said... Maybe I am wrong.... Let me know Take Care Y'All John


  1. and charles wesley wasn't an evangelical?

    you are right though, there is a dearth in the writing skills of some of the more recent songs, despite them having a 'nice tune'.

    I remember listening to a guy at greenbelt (methodist i believe) called marc catley who has a great satirical album called make the tea, where he tries in earnest to make his lyrical content appealing to the masses by never using unfamiliar adjectives. It's really quite amusing.

    That said, I usually like the content of Matt Redman songs, and he himself says that he often reads from ancient hymnals for inspiration.

  2. Anonymous6:24 pm

    you were always wrong

  3. lurrrrrrrve hymns.

  4. and yes charles was an evangelical christian.... bring it on! :D