Gail Ramshaw

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Which words shall we use on Sunday morning? Shall we speak Aramaic or Greek, Latin or German, seventeenth-century British English or twenty first- century American English? Shall our scriptural translation be as literal as possible or as accessible as possible? Shall we concur with the editors of our denominational news magazines and employ a sixth grade vocabulary, or can we hope to engage the brains of also our learned members? Who decides which words we speak or sing: the organist, the pastor, a congregational committee, a national staff of liturgical experts, or an international theological bureaucracy? We are alive in a time of some considerable debate about the words of our worship. Not since the Reformation, and probably never before then, has there been such rapid and continuing changes, such creativity, indeed such rancor, over the language of our praise and petition.

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