I recently gave some hints about how we can be more aesthetically engaged, so let’s pick up on that note once more.
For decades now, a certain sort of music has been popularised for Western Protestant Christians: worship music or contemporary Christian music. But in the early 2000s, something else started brewing.
The new hymns movement is something I’ve begun exploring only recently. These artists draw direct inspiration from traditions that have been obscured to us, and they take what I consider a more community-minded approach to music-making, a more folk/roots sensibility. Probably because of this influence, it has become popular to rework hymns — the famous ones, that is — but there’s even more exciting stuff around. One group that helped pave the way (and grew from a university ministry!) is Indelible Grace:
Our hope is to be a voice calling our generation back to something rich and solid and beyond the fluff and the trendy. We want to remind God’s people that thinking and worship are not mutually exclusive, and we want to invite the Church to appreciate her heritage without idolizing it. We want to open up a world of passion and truth and make it more that just an archaic curiosity for the religiously sentimental. We believe worship is formative, and that it does matter what we sing.
In this post, let me introduce you to Cardiphonia as an avenue into the new hymns movement. Cardiphonia is curated by Bruce Benedict, who gathers all sorts of musicians to create themed compilation albums. Most Cardiphonia releases are free to download and each comes with a songbook. Let’s take a quick tour through some of their releases. They’ve amassed a big collection now, so I’ve picked out just a few highlights for you to explore. Read more