Boys in the Hoods

Last week, I went on a small rant of sorts regarding the low esteem Gospel/CCM seems to get from the so-called music establishment and media, specifically the Associated Press. I went on to describe how certain albums that were listed far down on the Grammy awards results actually were more popular than albums given a more prominent position, based on Amazon sales rankings.

Apparently I left something out myself.

Presenting the 41st most popular album on Amazon as of July 28" Chant:Music for the Soul. This compilation of twenty-nine Gregorian chants in ecclesiastical Latin is produced by the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz. This record is also #9 on Barnes & Noble, who apparently sell more classical than Kayne West.

I bring this up to point out that sometimes we need to look beyond what we are used to. Now, I'm not suggesting that any of us evangelical worship leaders kick up some ecclesiastical Latin next Sunday, sliding it in after a Hillsong tune. But as contributor Paul Basden points out in the excellent Exploring the Worship Spectrum:Six Views, formal liturgical worship is very vertical. Perhaps it's my Catholic upbringing, but there is something about a hymn or chant in Latin that transcends all the arguments about worship styles, what instruments are appropriate, et cetera, ad nauseum.

Fred McKinnon wrote a post about singing in church, asking "Aren't we supposed to sing?" Imagine now, singing, not just basic I-IV-V chords and a catchy if syrupy hook, but a pure, vertical worship in a language that has little value except enriching the mind and worshipping God. No one swears in Latin anymore. No one curses their brother, says words of hatred, or lies. People speak Latin to bring understanding, precision, enrichment, and worship. Latin is the language of law, medicine, and teaching. A hymn or chant in Latin has an etheral spirit about it.

The chants are surprisingly soothing as well. I'll admit it; modern hip-hop/rap makes me angry. Rock music causes my heart to pump faster. Jazz sets my toes a-tappin. These chants, though, make me want to sit back and close my eyes and contemplate God who made me.

It's cheating, I know. The years of Latin I took in high school and fourteen years of Catholic education allow me to read those complicated titles and understand, and even recognize what some of the songs are. But I'm not even saying to buy this record; just to open yourself up to something new, different, and a little bit classic.


  1. MIchael,
    Thanks for the link. I love this article - it's really eye-opening. I wonder if you'd give us permission to copy part of it and re-publish on TheWorshipCommunity.Com, giving you credit, of course?

    Let me know,

  2. In the words of Jack and Gibbs, "Take what you can, give nothing back!" If you think this can be significant to someone, copy away. And thanks for noticing.



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