by Steve M. Schlissel
Originally posted January 7, 2020
Notice, in this Lamb classic based on Psalm 47, how Joel Chernoff sings a psalm with strong syncopation, yet with not a single line of text rhyming with another. Despite the complete absence of rhyme, there is no sense or even suspicion that the poetic character of the psalm is missing or has been lost or compromised in any way. I leave the conclusions, if any, to you, but this much I cannot resist saying: the indifference to rhyme colors virtually every Coghil & Chernoff song, many/most of which are true to their underlying Scripture source, but the non-rhyming is an utterly unremarkable element, which is to say, it is unnoticed or, if present it is subliminal, beneath consciousness or expectation. Compare that to the relative CLUMSINESS of goyishe Psalm settings– which are the most likely settings Christians will encounter, especially if they have come to the Psalms under the contrived fictional demand which imagines God turning His ear away from all non-psalm singing as a sub-worship exercise, or pretentious blasphemy. Could it be that there is a connection between “Have to sing ONLY Psalm-ism” and “Want to sing Psalm-ism” and their respective updated versions which render them available to moderns to get sung? I suspect there may be. It may turn out that “Regulativists” who slavishly labor under human-manufactured, quite arbitrary, rigid requirements which they suppose will FORCE Western people to the Psalms, employ a formula which, however exalted the advocates’ motives may be, almost guarantees a mangling of elements sure to keep the depths and breadth of Psalm-joy (and sorrow) from the intended beneficiaries. There is something like the problem of road and vehicle incompatibility happening. I cannot quite articulate it, other than to suggest that, if Lamb (for example) is showing us one fine path to Psalm-adoption by modern lovers of God, it is a certainty that Regulativists will produce a host of objections to somehow reject the path. In so doing, it could be that their real interest was showing through. It would appear (to those who know the RPW trick book) that their concern looks less like Psalms than it does power. What can you do?