ere are two mails. A second from 10 minute email. The response to the subject was totally unexpected. It reached an unexpected high, which is a good thing really. It makes us aware, it makes us think. And another from Hope Eternal (addressed to Jon Snow, the Resurrected). Interesting pseudonyms, para tayong mga characters from Warcraft. 🙂
We’ll start with Hope Eternal –
“I understand the church’s concern for copyright issues with borrowed hymns but my point is why unnecessarily replace the tune and lyrics when they can simply come up with new numbers for new tunes/lyrics. I liken the old hymns to the old pop songs some of which date back before or during WWII but are not forgotten and instead get played on the air every now and then. Another favorite old hymn of mine turned out to be Israel’s national anthem with Tagalog lyrics which always made me cry and helped make the worship service very spitirual. Anyway, hymn changes are but one of the many glaring differences between Ka Erdy’s administration and the current one which continue to adversely affect our services to God.”
[Israel’s National Anthem “Hatikva” (meaning Hope). Ours is “Kay Hesus ko Aking Sasabihin” (“Hymn 48 sa lumang himnario,” says my wife. And I don’t argue with my wife 🙂 )
And his position on the issue of “blind followers”. Very well said. Actually, it all sums up to the individuals appreciation of his own faith. – William]
“And contrary to what the vocal defenders are accusing those who choose to remain inside the church, majority are not “blind followers” but simply practical INC members who would rather utilize the INC as their means of serving God (our top priority) and just wait for His judgment on the current crisis than deliberately get out of the church with no comparable alternative for serving God. The challenge though is to try our best to continue rendering a meaningful service to God while finding ways to show the current leadership that they do not own the church and we also have a stake in ensuring its holiness and purity as lovingly ingrained in our hearts and minds through the teachings of FYM and EGM.”
And from 10 minute email (reply to Brad Peet)-
It’s true that there were many old tunes that were borrowed from Catholic/Protestant hymns. (For example, the old tune of 24 is straight from a Christmas song.) Because of this, Bro. Erano approved the composition of new musical scores. However, composing new and original songs is one thing, and making them incredibly complex and difficult to follow along with or sing is another matter entirely. (Not to mention that one of the Thanksgiving hymns in 2015 sounded ripped off Disney’s “The Virginia Company” from the movie Pocahontas.)
The messages from the choir leaders, as I recall them, are to sing with all our hearts, and to sing with whatever feeling or emotion a hymn calls for. There are many different types of hymns, after all, including prayer hymns, offertory, recessional, processional, and so on. With that in mind, it’s mainly opening hymns that are especially “theatrical” with their impressive introductions and powerful entrances. They are meant to be majestic, to herald Our Almighty God’s glory and might as we sing praises to Him… or so I’ve been told. Though I personally have no problem with these hymns, it seems brethren are struggling to keep up or simply observing them, which takes away from understanding and/or fully participating in our duty to sing hymns of praise. But as your choir leader has mentioned, it’s also true that the choir sings whatever hymns they are given. It’s not as if they have any choice or alternative.
In regards to the English hymns, well… I’m born and raised in the U.S., so English is my first language. There was a point in my life where I used Tagalog with some frequency, but I’m definitely rusty and pretty horrible at it, which is why I’m not using it in any emails or responses. With that in mind, I feel very strongly about having translations that make sense and can easily be understood not only by our brethren but also by our visitors. All my life, church leaders have taught me that God is a music lover, and that people can appreciate INC hymns even when they don’t understand the language or words. But if people understand the language (in this case, English), and a hymn has lyrics that don’t make sense, uses unusual vocabulary, or is grammatically incorrect, I think it’s a distraction that takes away from the hymn singing. It’s like if I say something strange in Tagalog, a listener usually asks me to repeat myself or clarify whatever I said. The same applies to lyrics and their translations.
Besides, how are native English speakers like me supposed to react when our leaders say that Tagalog (or any other language) is God’s true and authentic language in these last days? More than that, we also are told that we shouldn’t complain about or correct these translations–literal and direct word-for-word translations are not always the best ones. Grammatical errors can easily change the meaning of a sentence or confuse the message that is supposed to be conveyed. While using a thesaurus helps people find words with similar meanings, it doesn’t always show us how those words are supposed to be used. Not to mention that not all English speakers have the same level of vocabulary, so the meaning is lost on people who might not know advanced words.
As you could imagine, I’m really bothered by the fact that all we could do is accept these translations. It’s like we’re supposed to content ourselves with something defective or inferior, even though we’re offering these hymns to Our Almighty God. To me, that seems… really weird. And it’s also very similar to when the Roman Catholic Church declared Latin the authentic language of God in the 1400s. Back then, they used only a specific Latin translation of the Bible, and only sang hymns in Latin. It took the Protestant Reformation to break through this exclusivity and make available the variety of Bible translations that we use today. That the INC did something similar in declaring the authentic language of God is Tagalog in these last days seems really backward when they supposedly want the whole word to know God’s glory.”
- 10 minute email