I had the the pleasure of meeting T. David Gordon, author of the excellent new book Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns, a few weeks ago at a conference. He was as engaging in person as he is in his book, and I enjoyed our conversations.
During one of his workshop sessions, he mentioned that more work needed to be done in the area of aesthetics and musical meaning, which, of course, are areas that I have been concerned about as well. Last summer when I read his book, my first thought had been how well his book and mine supported each other, so after hearing is comments, I knew I need to get him a copy of my book to get some feedback from him. I gave him a copy and he promised to read it.
Last week, I received the following e-mail from Dr. Gordon:
I owe you a double thanks. First, thank you for the generous gift of your book; and second, even moreso, thank you for writing it. It is genuinely wonderful; a comprehensive coverage of so many pertinent matters. . . . I’ve already recommended this book to a number of people, and I mentioned it Friday night publicly when I spoke to over 200 people at a conference in Denver. Thank you for writing such a helpful, thorough, and biblical book!
Dr. Gordon was also kind enough to send the following endorsement for the book:
- Its teaching on the integration of mind, will, and affection/emotion within the human, and the consequent demand for discipleship that challenges us to think, act, and feel appropriately;
- The clear discussion of the distinction between passion and affection (and the consequent distinction between true sentiment and sentimentality);
- The emphasis on cultivating right affection as a matter of discipleship and sanctification;
- The distinction between those affections that are right for some objects (e.g. wife, pet, God) but not for others, which calls us to recognize that some affections are disordered, and out of accord with created nature;
- The instruction regarding how the music we listen to outside of sacred assemblies influences us when we are there;
- The distinction between four levels of meaning, and the clear articulation of the “intrinsic” meaning of music; which is critical for our moment;
- The helpful appendices, including those on categorized hymns and a “basic” classical list.
Special thanks to Dr. Gordon for this endorsement!
If you haven’t purchased your copy yet, check it out!