Songwriting and Theology Ephrem 2

In this weeks assignment we continue to look at the hymns of St. Ephrem.  Examining the hymnody of this early orthodox saint is helpful because the historical distance forces us to really read and reflect on his hymns with less cultural assumptions about what he is saying and how he is saying it. Dr. Ruth... Continue Reading →

Songwriting and Theology – full song

Each week in our Songwriting and Theology course we look at a specific theme in the history of hymnody and attempt to write something ourselves that mimics this topic.  Last week however we were asked to write a complete song building on what we have been learning all semester. The assignment was to write a... Continue Reading →

Songwriting and Theology Week 4 Trinity

In week four we examined the hymn texts of Charles Wesley and how he spoke of the Trinity. This topic is a particular passion of Dr. Ruth's.  Some years ago he published an article examining and lamenting the general absence of the Trinity in CCLI's top 25 song lists from 1989-2004.  In his research he found that... Continue Reading →

Songwriting and Theology Week 3

In week three we discussed hymn texts that place the writer or 'us' into the narrative.  In class Dr. Ruth called these "Inside-Out" poems. If you have never taken the opportunity to approach a biblical text in this way then you should.  It opens up a lot of different avenues as we seek to understand... Continue Reading →

Songwriting and Theology Week 2 Paradoxes

In week two we discussed how poetry has the ability to transcend the paradoxes of theology in a way that prose often fails too.  "Saying that someone, Jesus Christ, is both fully God and fully human, is something that rests uneasily within the bounds of ordinary theological prose but flies naturally when expressed in the expansive... Continue Reading →

Songwriting and Theology

This is not a joke. I am actually taking a class at Duke this fall called "Songwriting and Theology."  Dr. Lester Ruth, a new professor to Duke, is teaching this course which he crafted while a professor at Asbury Seminary.  To address what he felt was a severe deficiency on the part of seminaries and... Continue Reading →

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