Psalmody: A Taxi Driver Speaks Out!
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Rodney Trotter (pseudonym of Carl Trueman)
Ref 21 has once again drawn on the deep theological waters of the London cabbie community by inviting a leading Reformed taxi driver to comment on psalms in worship. Today’s guest columnist is Ian Anderson – no, not the lead flautist with folk-rock sensations, Jethro Tull, but Driver no. 56430 with Thick-as-a-Brick Cabs, Walthamstow. Ian, what do you think the role of the psalms in worship should be?
`Well, mate, I ‘ave to say I’m not sure that the psalms ‘ave any place in modern worship at all. I mean, all that lamentation and “Oh, Lord, where art thou?’ malarkey. People don’t go to church to ‘ear that. They go there to be made to feel better about themselves, to be cheered up, to sing a few nice choruses and admire the strobe light spectacular up the front, like. I mean, they get enough real life Monday to Saturday; last thing they want is real life in the context of a church service. You know, I ‘ad that Bonio and his mate, The Wedge in the back of my cab the other week, and they woz telling me ‘ow the psalms were the blues of Bible and ‘ow we needed to put that deep element of tragedy back into church life in order to truly understand grace. Well, I told ‘em that woz a load of old pony. Young people want iPods and lattes; they don’t want tragedy and grace. Ow miserable is that, then, eh? I mean, ‘oo is this grace when she’s at home, anyway? That bird on the TV program wot forecasts the weather?? Nobody’s goin’ to turn up to church to see ‘er with her bleached ‘air and ‘er stiletto ‘eels. I told em – if we’re talking tragedy then look at those albums wot you’ve done since The Joshua Tree. Truly tragic criminal records, they are, criminal. Let’s face it, mate, psalms in worship are a non-starter; and, quite frankly, it’s a good job that the church decided to dismiss 1800 years of its own tradition with comparatively little exegetical or ecclesiastical discussion and all that. Also, I ‘ave ‘eard it said that the psalms is the ultimate ecumenical hymn book cos all Christian ‘ave the book of psalms. Well, that shows you, dunnit – we all know the ecumenical movement is out to set up a world government under Hillary Clinton and that Hugo Chavez geezer wot eats babies, know wot I mean? Psalmody’s all part of the great conspiracy; that’s why sound geezers like you and me, gaffer, don’t do it no more. No, mate, let’s keep real life experiences and biblical poetry out of the church. And, I ask you, who really wants to sing more of the word of God in worship anyway? I read a Barna poll somewhere wot says more people would go to church if David Bowie or the Stones woz leadin’ worship and nobody mentioned the Bible, and my pastor, Rev. Dave Trendy, told me via podcast that them Barna polls is some of the wisest and most reliable sources of doctrine after scripture. I mean, we’ve gotta draw the line somewhere, `aven’t we, mate? – they’ll be stickin’ religion into Christmas and Easter next. And I ask you, if you woz a church leader and started singin’ stuff like the psalms in church and tellin’ people that life’s hard coz we’re sinners, and we need grace more than we need worldly possessions, you know what they’ll do to you, mate? They’ll crucify you, that’s what, crucify you. I mean, if I ‘ad a quid for every time I went into church and …. ‘ (Enough! The Reformed Church may not sing psalms anymore, but I’m sure we have better reasons than this. Er, don’t we? Anyone out there with a good reason? Speak up now. Please.– Del Boy Thomas)