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maggi

I don't know 'Men of Faith'. From the title I started thinking it must be some Victorian hymn, but your rewrite of verse 3 mentioning women gives it away - it's a 1980's charismatic one - am I right? (They always start off with macho and then go for a "let's-include-the-girls-and-give-them-an-echo-to-sing" formula)

Either way about - I already like your version better. Just sitting and being (either in Church or back home on the sofa) is about all I can manage at the moment...

ande

Thank You, i hae just come back from church early feeling increasingly down, and reading that has just made me feel so much better.
Thank you again.

maggi

doh! just noticed there is a link - I could have saved myself all that thinking and checked it out for myself.... :~

Michael

i've been in that same chair. "jesus, every molecule of my body oozes worship to your glorious name" thay all sing, and i sit there, desperate to have something to give to god, but in no way can i sing what they are singing and have it be true.

and other times, somehow, i am caught up, and i am taken to a place where i can join in, and in a miraculous moment, i can sing something with 100 people that i could never sing by myself.

i like the redemptive and creative re-write of the song -- instead of sitting there grumbling in a black cloud, to write what you could sing ... i might have to try that next time.

richard

Thanks - just wonderful!
Can we nomiate other 80's worship songs for you to have a go at?
How about 'Jesus, we celebrate you victory, with that line "and in his presence, our problems disappear"

Lloyd Nichols

'Awesome God'

Can you find me a new line for "when he rolls up his sleeves he ain't just puttin' on the ritz"?

will

What a great rewrite. I didn't know the song before, but I like your version. I especially liked the opening, about doubt as an important part of faith.

imagine

There's a potential stream of correspondence here as we unearth truly dreadful chorus lyrics. Vineyard had one a few years ago that, for some reason, didn't travel well in the UK. It had the belly laugh inducing line: "I've got a great big throbbing love". I think that one was irredeemable.

Serena

Oh dear ... and I'm about to spend the afternoon writing songs - suddenly they seem irredeemable!

I agree with richard though - I like the song "Jesus, we celebrate your victory", but in my experience "and in his presence, our problems disappear" is a whopping big lie - living for God brings at least one whole new set of problems to deal with, surely?!

Erdman

I've often enjoyed "Men of Faith"...especially the verse about the church with broken wings. In my tradition which avoids all expression of genuine pain, this song was a start...but I think you're right about this. It simply doesn't go far enough. Your rendition moves us closer to Jeremiah's wail of grief--his brutal honesty--in 9.17ff. If there is a song, says Jeremiah, let it be a lament, or silence in the presence of death. This I think, "plucks up and tears down," so that one day we might "build and plant" (Jer. 1.10).

robbymac

Some churches I have been to or attended over a period of time went the opposite direction and all their 'worship' focussed on their pain, complaints, and gripes about how God wasn't giving them the nice comfy life they thought they deserved.

They spent most of their time celebrating their pain and any positive songs were derided as "dishonest".

I went to another church which had some God-focussed worship songs, and couldn't help but think "yeah, life sucks sometimes, and I don't have all the answers, but God rocks and I'm going to celebrate that!"

Ben

I particularly like the last verse. Nice Work!

Lloyd Nichols

re: imagine's post

I've found that throbbing love song. And all I can say is... What the hell? (pardon my english!)

http://www.worship.co.za/tfh/tfh-2610.asp

jonny

wow! thanks for all the comments....

i should add a few things - the service it was part of i thought was pretty good. there was a baptism which was led very well, was warm and relaxed and full of faith. i had no objection to the song per se or to people singing it and being into it. i hope i didn't come across as too miserable - i wasn't. i just didn't want to sing the song. in fact it's a problem i have with a lot of worship these days - i often don't want to sing! but i spent the time trying to articulate something i did want to say or at least i felt there should be sapce to say...

serena songwriting is a fantastic art - don't be put off by my comment on that song! i actually write songs as well - i'm sure people want to sit down and deconstruct them at times - which i have no objection to!!!!

and to the suggestion that i should do some more song rewrites, i don't think i have the motivation or time - it was a spur of the moment thing but love to hear anyone else's attempts....

cheers

Andy

I often come back to the fact that most of the psalms are less focussed on triumphant and victorious living but seeking God’s help in the midst of pain and problems. One thing that annoys me is when we hear people in church say “we’re here to spend time in worship so let’s put to one side all the worries, troubles and niggles of the day and focus on God.” What message does this send out? Simple answer: that God isn’t interested in the nitty gritty of my life and I can’t worship him unless I first learn how to disengage with how I’m feeling right now and pretend to be something I’m not. In defence of delirious and their ‘men of faith’ song that jonny cleverly rewrites, a lot of their recent material is less celebratory and more fragile and tender.

stephanie

we are doing shout to the north next sunday...and i totally cringed when i heard it was in the line up. thank you for these words, for allowing yourself to be used to get His message across. it is very comforting. maybe i'll bring a copy to service and step outside to be with Him when the "real" version is being sung...blessings to you~

Adam

Yeah, his comments have a lot of truth. And yet there's the question of how much we let our emotions impact our worship. If we're feeling down what does that mean about how we should relate to God and what we do in worship with him? On one hand, I'm sure he wants us just the way we are and he wants us to be totally honest with him about where we're at, but on the other hand God deserves glorification and praise and uplifting all the time, not just when we feel excited, He deserves it just as much when we don't feel like giving it to Him. Yes, he wants to comfort us when we feel broken, but he also deserves our praise in those times, not just our tears on His shoulder. Don't get me wrong - I'm not implying that we should just buck up and get excited, we need to find ways to glorify God in our brokenness - look at what Paul managed from prison!

lou

I love your rewrite Jonny, thanks for that :)

I've always liked the third verse of MoF, that always felt really promising, but I never had much truck with the first two (well it's just the verse about women really - it reminds me of all those how to be a good christian (stepford?) wife books).

It's a song that always make me giggle though because it once prompted one enterprising member of our church to post a compass on the wall, so that when we shouted to the north, we wouldn't be looking east by mistake!

Ang

I've never been a fan of MoF-among other worship songs I find to be like adding lemon juice to a paper cut. However, I have been challenged recently in my thinking. As I tend to be overly critical-thinking certain songs as so much "better" then others-the thought keeps running through my mind-does God really have a favorite? Probably not.

Lucy

Well Jonny, God doesn't want performance. If we're feeling lousy or bored or not in the mood, I think he prefers to know the truth, than have us pretend.
I remember one time though I was unable to worship with a group because they had not received something I had given from my heart. The unity of the fellowship had been broken. So sometimes there can be other reasons we don't feel like worshipping.

And of course, most of the Christian songs are awful:) I particularly loathe the ones where women have to respond to the men in song, but that's another story....

Lucy

jonny

lucy i think you get to the heart of the matter when you say most christian songs are awful!!!!! or at leats not to my taste.... maybe that's why i struggle to sing them :-)

Chris P.

The original song is called Shout to the North, and was written by Martin Smith of Delirious around 1995. Your re-write will make a welcome addition to the Unitarian hymnal.

richard

This is probably not what you had in mind but we used your rewrite as a brief opening meditation at the start of our prayer meeting last night. It was a great way to settle in after the usual pressures of a working day. Thanks.

jonny

you're right it isn't what i envisaged! but great - hope it went well....

joan

I have just come across your website for the first time and have read your re-write of Men Of Faith. Thank you it expresses very well what I am sure a lot of us go through at times and are almost afraid to admit to in church, periods of doubt and confussion. I really loved the reminder in the line "Be yourself, be real - you are loved. Christ is with you" How true, thankfully
I am now going to spend time exploring the rest of the site.

Casey

Though i dont disagree with the rewrite...i am confused by peoples need to make worship conform to there personal expectations...for example the real name of the song "Shout to the north" - is birthed from scripture and meant to acknowledge God in that particular way. Many other songs say other things and evoke other emotions. But this one chooses to do go with the "I am excited enough about GOD (maybe not my circumstances) but about GOD to Shout..." - the same way i or anyone would at a sports game - i have many times been having a rough day, but in the moment of a touchdown...found myself momentarily forgetting my sorrow and oppression...my persecution in this world of having a "bad" day...and found the energy to CELEBRATE!!!

I do realize i have stumbled onto this site 3 years later...upon looking for the scripture to this song for a men's retreat i am leading worship for...but found it necessary to inlight anyone who might read this and be mislead by everyone's worship comments....as if worship was for them...not GOD!

Who are we to define His worship...and make it meet US where WE are at!

Maybe before people lead worship they should take a poll of the morale of an audience....it would be just awful to sing a song that doesnt reflect the attitude of EVERYONE in the room.

Ok ok...i am going off a little and being kind of intense i realize. And like i said this comment is nearly 3 years later...so i believe from then till now a lot of WISDOM has been gained on this "Worship" topic.
People are hopefully a little more educated on the topic of worship, who it is for and what it really is, (hindt: a lifestyle)
There are nearly 5 times more worship songs now than there were 3 years ago...and a good thing that is as well...how could we ever say that we have written enough songs about God! (we have reached our worship song quota...time to switch topics)

So in closing i say....Men and women of faith or doubt or whatever your circumstance....praise God...find joy in Him however you feel lead to. If they sing this song one sunday and you arent feeling like it...than pray...or worship God in that moment however you are able. One thing is for sure....one day you will - like it or not! I think you'll like it!

Jesus is Saviour....He is Lord...i need to be reminded whatever my circumstance....and so for now...i am NOT shouting it.....I am typing it!!!

CASE

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