12 April 2008

No more chariots of fire please. . .

It seems that many Britons enjoy singing William Blake's Jerusalem, set to Hubert Parry's rousing 1916 melody. Now the Very Rev. Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark Cathedral in London, has banned the use of this song in his church. My response? Good riddance! I agree with Slee and Tim Footman that Jerusalem is not really a hymn at all and has no place in the church's liturgy. Whatever criteria are used to determine what belongs and does not belong in the liturgy, anything based on William Blake's quirky combination of "mysticism, Manichaeist dualism, anti-industrial pastoralism and Enlightenment radicalism" is highly unlikely to pass muster.

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