While I’m no expert on any religion not even my own I have made a rudimentary observation. The Amish seem to have determined that it was best to stop time. The inventions of some specific time in the past (ties and wheels) may be used at will. But the more recent ones (zippers and electricity) are somehow inappropriate.
In much the same way, certain Christian groups seem to have frozen in time claw-style bangs, denim jumpers, and blouses with big collars. Somehow 80 ?s fashion is acceptable (even though it was “modern” just a couple of decades ago), but updating to a current style is wrong.
In much the same way, our hymns seemed to have stopped in time. While I never took the time to research the average age of our hymns as I had planned, I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s somewhere way back in the olden days. Somehow “reverent” and “sacred” in the Mormon music world has become synonymous with “old” and “slow.”
What was it that Gladys Knight said to President Hinckley at the priesthood celebration performance? Something like, I really love the gospel, but the music could use some kick”? I’m sure the words are wrong, but that was the feeling I got and I couldn ?t agree more.
Would it really be a sin to pick up the beat? To sway a little in the pews? To throw our hands toward heaven now and again?
The two songs (both of which, incidentally, I sang in BYU ?s A Cappella Choir) I feel most connect me with God are:
The Path of the Just
A very dissonant (16 parts if I remember correctly) scriptural hymn written by a Jewish man ?in his head ?in a concentration camp during WWII.
Ain ?t Got Time to Die
A boisterous, joyful, negro spiritual (probably my #1 favorite genre if I have to choose just one).
After those two pieces, just give me something I can sing at the top of my lungs that makes me want to dance. That is pure religion.