Friday, September 26, 2014

Tweaking the tunes?

Last night, during my Christology lecture, we were discussing the various theories of atonement and got onto the use of atonement words/images in the songs we sing at church.

This famously reared up as an issue around the song "In Christ Alone" back in 2010 due to the actions of the Presbyterian Church in the US.

To be frank, I'd never heard the different words, "the love of God was magnified" used for the song.

But, we did discuss if you should ever change the lyrics of a song.

I don't think, with integrity, you can.

Unless the song is in the public domain, the song isn't yours to change. You don't own the lyrics. You don't own the tune.

The song is someone else's intellectual property. This includes the words. Unless they give permission, you don't have the right to change them.

Beyond this, your CCLI license says here that you can't.

If something in a song bothers you...

a) See if it rubs others up the wrong way, especially the leadership of the church. Maybe you're the only one with the problem.

b) Don't use the song. Der. There are plenty of other songs to use.

c) Grow up. Exposing your church to alternate (but not erroneous) views isn't the worst thing in the world.

d) Use the song as a teaching tool. Give an introduction to the song about the words used. This shouldn't sound shocking, but the worship leader should be occasionally doing this for new people anyway and is a part of LEADING the singing.

Sure, I'm flexible enough to tweak a pronoun or modernise pronunciation, but even this can be covered under the fourth point above.

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