Hymnody and parody
Last night I spoke to a “Theology on Tap” group in Brooklyn on the topic of “Religion and Politics.” You dotCommonweal readers will not be surprised to hear that I did my best to convince those in attendance to subscribe to our fine magazine — and to visit us online (hello there, Brooklynites!).
Among those who were kind enough to come and listen to me was a man named Patrick, who identified himself as the proprietor of a blog called “Making Light.” He told me that, having seen my name in a notice about the talk, he’d Googled me and found a humor piece I wrote for McSweeney’s some years ago: a list of “Rejected Titles for Hymns.” (You will find that it is irreverent and immature and probably very much beneath your dignity. If that’s OK with you, go on and click.)
If you find that amusing, I recommend heading over to “Making Light,” where Patrick has challenged his commenters to compose hymn texts to go with my titles. They have risen to the challenge, and have proven themselves a dauntingly talented group (not to mention intimately acquainted with the ins and outs of worship music). The hymns they’ve composed have exceeded all my expectations, and have found far more humor potential in my suggestions than I have any right to take credit for. Their compositions are generally affectionate, occasionally biting, and thoroughly hilarious. A few have even managed to turn my silly joking into something approaching insight. My applause and admiration to all.
I’ll accept further submissions here, if you’re feeling inspired. (I am not accepting disapproving remarks about my irreverence and/or lack of wit. Please phrase your disdain in the form of a silent prayer for my soul. Thank you.)