Hymn Replacement Therapy

I’ve admitted here before that I have a rationally insupportable soft spot for Christian music, both good and bad.  But sometimes a strong Christian theme just won’t cut it, it jars too much with my current disbelief.  So I’ve begun finding decent replacements for some of my high school go-to Christian songs.  These were the songs that got so over-played at youth group that our poor adult leaders had to put them on forced hiatus until their ears stopped ringing.

This song was all about fun.  Our youth group band played it in a decidedly less dorky way than this youtube version, one where everyone basically sang/screamed as fast as they could to keep up with the music.  It was fun with a uniting message:

(watch for the picture that goes along with “sadist”)

Gays and lesbians, demagogues and thespians
The disabled, preachers, doctors and teachers
Meat eaters, wife beaters, judges and juries
Long hairs, no hair, everybody everywhere!

(emphasis traditional)

But the chorus is a kind of sappy that I find harder to bear nowadays.  This is my new version, still all about uniting all kinds of people under a banner of justice.

This is Dan Bern performing his own song, which he calls the, “closing hymn,” of this particular protest rally.

From the halls of Montezuma
Down to the coal mines of Beaver Falls
Socialist workers, moveon.org
Green Peace, the Capital Mall
International Brotherhood of Electical Workers
United Fruit, the PTA…

This next song set is less similar in spirit, but so reminiscent in melody that I often find myself mumbling the words to the Christian song while listening to the Pixies’ song.  Look what an adorable version of “Big House” I found for you to watch.  Keep an eye out for Jesus spinning on his head then having a flashing-light-induced seizure and for Newt Gingrich getting pummeled in backyard football:

It’s a big, big house
With lots and lots a room
A big, big table
With lots and lots of food
A big, big yard
Where we can play football

And this is the Pixies’ “Gigantic”:

Gigantic, gigantic, gigantic
A big big love
Gigantic, gigantic, gigantic
A big big love

The similarities are probably pretty obvious at this point.

Do you have any good hymn substitutes?

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3 Responses to Hymn Replacement Therapy

  1. Among other things, I may be showing my age with this comment. So be it.

    To begin with, you need hymn replacements because you weren’t exposed to the best of Christian hymnody. There are hymns that I find moving even when I am feeling least religious. Some favorites: [1] O love, how deep, how broad, how high. Read the words, however, here. (The last verse is a wonderful summary of the poem.) [2] At the Lamb’s high feast we sing [3] Welcome, happy morning

    As for replacements, here are some suggestions: [1] We shall overcome [2] This land is your land [3] Because all men are brothers (Sorry if this sounds slightly sexist today.) [4] The times they are a-changing’

    • Although I had not heard of the bach song before I had just sort of assumed it would be to the tune of the chorale (because all men are brothers has the same number of syllables as Befiel du deine wege, one of the chorale versions). I really love the Bach chorale, but I’m beginning to think he was a one trick pony.

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