Let me sing my hymns

By Jimmy Cochran


It’s a tough thing to be a religion writer. I’m not speaking of the deadlines for a newspaper column, but the fact that we are expected to give advice, encouragement and share the happy life of the Christian person. And, speaking for myself, sometimes we just don’t feel it. And it’s a struggle.

My writing style has always been one of transparency; to let you folks know what I’ve been through in an attempt to encourage you that you are not alone. God has always been with me in the darker times and with His help and presence, I have managed to pull through without harm to my faith. And so can you! In recent years, it seems the discussion centers around contemporary vs. traditional music and services.

I am a traditional worshipper at heart. I prefer the traditional hymns of faith, organ, piano and maybe an acoustic guitar and a flute. I like handbells and candles. I like using a hymn book, responsive readings, the Apostle’s Creed, the Doxology and the spoken prayer and scripture responses. However, before I alienate most of you, there are some contemporary praise and worship songs that I like because they speak to my heart and create calmness in my spirit. But, generally and personally speaking, that’s not my usual worship preference.

Many times, we more traditional-type Christians will be made to feel as “less” because we don’t enjoy all the electrical instruments with repetitive words and loud and louder sounds with almost indiscernible words … even though those words are repeated over and over.

“How can you as a Christian, Jimmy, not be moved by the emotional feelings that loud music with a thrumming drumbeat can evoke? How can you worship without jumping up and down with your hands raised and your eyes closed?”

And, on the other hand, perhaps we more traditional worshipping Christians have spoken too quickly and judgmentally for those who enjoy the contemporary styles.

“How can you not worship God in the more quiet and orderly ways of worship? What’s wrong with enjoying classical music and beautiful hymns being sung that have given God praise for hundreds of years? At least they don’t say the same four or five words over and over and over.”

Folks, understand what I am trying to say. If the contemporary style of worship is your style, then that is great. God is in it. And, if traditional worship is your style, then that is great. God is in it, too. But, don’t judge or diss those who prefer a different style than yours. When it all shakes out, God is the same God for all who worship Him whether liturgical, traditional, blended or contemporary. None of us, me included, have the spiritual right to discount another’s style of worship. It only causes harm in the fellowship.

And the funny thing is that all this above comes from a very traditional guy who totally loves to worship in a bar church on Tybee Island. And we do hymns on occasion, just with a calypso/beach music beat. Go figure? Our God is a great God … but, hey, He definitely has a sense of humor!

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, a musician, a minister and the author of Being God’s and Staying God’s, both available at Amazon.com. Being God’s is also available at Moye’s Pharmacy in McDonough.