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What does Donald think he's doing?

An introduction to five articles.
Sometimes it seems that the church is trying to end the hymn tradition, and start again - with rather prosaic results.  Maarten and I are trying something different - to grow from the tradition and extend it.

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1. A hymn must be poetry
But what is poetry?  The language of emotion?  Structured language?  Or is it language seeking to point beyond itself?  The third seems to offer theological as well as literary interest.  The language of worship strives to say the unsayable.
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2. What sort of language change?
What has really changed in the last 350 years?  The language itself?  Or the way language is used?
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3. Poetry: the language of ordinary people
There are bits and pieces of poetic language around us all the time.  And we love it.
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4. The poetry of worship in a prose age
How did prose supplant poetry as prestige style?  The move towards the prose end of the style spectrum.
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5. Hymns and songs
It's not a difference of style.  Songs may teach or preach, but hymns recall and celebrate.  An important, if blurred, theological distinction.
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