Words on worship

I agreed with every word in Derek Walker’s article ‘6 lies our worship songs tell us’ (February). It was very apt, funny and absolutely true! What sort of an impression does our singing make on any newbies or outsiders? I’ve also kept a past offering from the hilarious Rev Roger who had a rant about modern songs with their repetitive lines and lack of meaningful content (October, 2016).

Being of the older generation, I feel that we need to use the lovely old hymns more often. They are a rich treasure trove, now largely ignored and unmined.

Mrs K Tindall


I disagree with Derek Walker. I and thousands of others have been so inspired and helped by songs written by the likes of Matt Redman, Stuart Townend and Brian Doerksen, to name but a few. Sometimes we need to have an emphasis on ourselves (eg ‘I am a child of God’) to reinforce whose we are. And in the appropriate context it’s right to sing “I surrender” as an act of worship.

We need the whole spectrum of songs to carry us into God’s presence, and I value each one as a gift, even if some are viewed as “light”. I am so grateful to those with the gift of composing the huge variety of worship songs the Church has been blessed with.

Karen Sherman  


Abuse and exorcism

‘Exorcism unmasked’ by Graham H Twelftree (February) really struck a chord and I want to thank you for raising this much misunderstood topic. What I felt the article didn’t highlight were the issues around the abuse of these practices, especially the harmful experiences of children who suffer at the hands of those seeking to exorcise demons from them using physically, emotionally or sexually abusive methods (eg Victoria Climbié and Kristy Bamu).

As executive director (safeguarding) at Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), the Church’s leading independent safeguarding charity, our research has revealed the urgent need to develop child protection in this area, and provide a foundation on which to build more effective identification of cases, policy and intervention. Increased awareness and discussion of this topic is crucial in engaging the UK Church in confronting and preventing this form of abuse.

Justin Humphreys, CCPAS


Luddite’s lament?

Jamie Cutteridge’s – ‘How the internet killed the water cooler’ (Culture, February) sounded like a Luddite’s lament. His argument was the sort you might have heard when the telephone was invented and people no longer gathered at the horse market to exchange news and gossip from the next village. It’s not true that our shared experiences are fading away due to modern technology. It’s quite the reverse! Come on, James, keep up at the back!

While there are undoubtedly dark areas of the web, the internet has enabled a huge increase in social interaction; it’s just different to Jamie’s view of social interaction, which seems rooted somewhere in the 70s. One person’s community-killer is another’s community-hub. The Zeitgeist hasn’t died, it has simply gone digital.

Dave Peddie


Resolved to read

I wanted to say how much I appreciated Krish Kandiah’s article ‘The believer that books built’ (January). Reading has always been a key part of my life, and I love the thrill of dipping into an old favourite and discovering it still has new things to teach me about my Christian life.

Making time to read challenges us to slow down and reflect on the words in front of us in a way that flicking around a screen can’t do. Seeing Krish’s list of best books has inspired me with ideas to help me reach my target of 55 books this year.

Fiona Lloyd


Bothered by Brian

I was happily reading through the January issue of the magazine when I came to the Q&A with Brian McLaren who has been at the forefront of “progressive Christianity” for the past decade – whatever that is.

He said, “The interesting thing, though, is the number of evangelical pastors who’ve confided in me that they’re not sure they believe in God anymore is higher than a lot of people would ever guess.”

We have to defend ourselves from militant atheists and regimes that hate Christianity, but surely we can rely on our pastors to get the basic principles right?

Margaret Wilson


Elrond Hubbub

I see no problem regarding the Catholic woman who accidentally prayed to a statue of the Lord of the Rings character, thinking it was St Anthony (News, February). Apart from the fact that, as a non-Catholic, I would not address my prayers to a saint, if she had St Anthony in her mind when she was praying, I think that’s all that matters. The statue in itself is just an object, it is not to be mistaken for an actual person. I think the lady in question can be comforted that her prayers were heard by God.

Masha Woollard


Hacksaw ridge

Thank you for your review of the film Hacksaw Ridge (February). Any truthful representation of a faithful follower of Jesus in war is likely to be challenging. It is hardly surprising Mel Gibson has taken on such a tough topic given his earlier role as director of The Passion of the Christ - another film well worth watching.

Derek Redman



Roger writes…

Dear editor,

According to Mr Trump, we now live in a world of “alternative facts”; a phenomenon upon which you seem to have based your recent article ‘6 lies our worship songs tell us.’ I have therefore decided to correct your piece by putting forth the real lies told to us by worship songs:

All modern worship music should sound the same Are only three chords audible to the Almighty?

All modern worship songs should contain only three lines that must be endlessly repeated.

Did the Lord not hear us the first time?

All modern worship songs should contain lyrics apparently written by a toddler.

What happened to “Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime?”

All modern worship songs should contain words that are not actually words.

Where in the Bible is the phrase “Woah Woah”?

All modern worship songs should declare that I am “so in love” with Jesus.

Should I be buying him dinner and going to the pictures? I think not.

No modern worship songs should be played on an organ.

Whatever happened to this wonderful instrument of God’s glory? If it’s good enough for Jubal (Genesis 4:21), it’s good enough for me.

I look forward to the now inevitable article on the ‘6 lies told to us by modern sanctuary décor’.

Yours in truth, Rev Roger D Votional