Take a minute and read this brief letter of Jonathan Edwards’ (Letter to Benjamin Colman, May 22, 1744). Writing to a pastor friend, Edwards recounts the details of a disagreement in his church–viz., the inclusion of hymns in their meetings (as opposed to the exclusive singing of Psalms).

Observations from Edwards’ account:

  1. Faced with something new that we like, we have a tendency to adopt it exclusively, a move that is not always healthiest for us.
  2. Faced with changes we don’t agree with, we tend to clam up and leak our thoughts to precisely everyone except the people we should be taking our concerns to.
  3. Faced with a “he-said/she-said” situation, it’s always best to go ahead and check with he and she.

I think a lot of pastors can empathize with Edwards as well (“I thought everything was OK, but apparently some people were bothered–they never said anything to me!”). Remember, this was coming to Edwards’ attention almost two years after they started introducing hymns.

In the end, though, Edwards seems to take it all in stride, and the introduction of the new music seemed to be a generally welcomed and healthy addition to congregational life. Their example encourages me.

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