Academic journal article The Hymn

Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians

Academic journal article The Hymn

Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians

Article excerpt

Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians by Jann Aldredge-Clanton with composer Larry Schultz. Austin Texas: Eakin Press, 2006. 196 pp. ISBN: 978-1-57168-860-6. U.S. $21.95

Some years ago some colleagues and I began collecting songs and hymns with female images for God and positive images of black, dark, or night. Our collection, though never published, was an attempt to redress an imbalance we perceived in the texts of much of traditional Christian hymnody.

But this was before Jann Aldridge-Clanton and her collection of 116 new hymns. She has cast a wider net than we: in the topical index of hymns under the heading "Divine Images," I counted 83 names for God found in these texts. Many, if not most, are biblical.

Aldredge-Clanton provides an extensive introduction to her work which serves as an apology for her hymns and also as a theology of new creation. She says, "The lyrics of these hymns draw from the prophetic, liberating tradition in Scripture . . . Biblical themes, phrases, and images form the foundation . . ."In reference to the mostly traditional tunes, she writes, "The familiar tunes and Biblical imagery in this collection of hymns root participants, while the inclusivity and diversity of the lyrics invite us beyond the divisions, prejudice, and narrowness that have plagued churches and society."

The hymns are organized by topic and by church season, with some overlapping. It is easy to see what is available. …

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