Barth, you and I

One of the recent discussions about Christian songs is the noted shift from “we” language to “I” language. Many have expressed their concerns towards this trend, as they think that it is a sign of full-blown individualization of the gospel. What’s interesting is Barth had also had a similar concern. He noticed the shift from “he” or “thou”/”you” language in church hymns from the 16th century to the more dominant “we” songs in the subsequent centuries. The emphasis changed from the objective aspect of the gospel (God for us) to the subjective one (God for us). His concern is whether we are truly praising God when we sing or whether in the end we are singing about ourselves. So, you see, Barth won’t even be impressed with our effort to re-vitalize “we” songs in the church. What I’m saying is the options in whatever debate you are in might not be the whole options!

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