Hymns for the Sexually Repressed

I have a lot of hymns stuck in my head from over twenty years of singing the same things over and over again three times a week. Every once and a while, something will draw a hymn to the surface of my memory.

I take it as a sign of progress that rather than cringing when I remember songs I sang as a child, I am more inclined to laugh. So many of them sound so…sexual. I’m a little surprised that fundamentalists haven’t picked up on it before, but then again the sexual repression in the IFB is quite spectacular.

Since I’m feeling blasphemous and silly, I decided to compile a list of some of the hymns that bring up quite vivid images for me. The first one is from “He Touched Me” by Bill Gaither. The lyrics are creepy or hilarious or maybe a little of both, but the video of the Gaither band actually singing the song is priceless.

He touched me. Oh, he touched me.
And oh, the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened, and now I know!
He touched and made me whole. –He Touched Me

Yes, that’s a video of a bunch of men singing about the joy of being touched by Jesus…homoerotic much?

For many hymns there seems to be an S & M component. The first and last verses of “Have Thine Own Way” with words by Adelaide Pollard sound like they could be a fantasy role play out of a porno:

Have Thine own way, Lord, Have Thine own way;
Thou art the Potter; I am the clay.
Mould me and make me After Thy will,
While I am waiting, Yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord, Have Thine own way;
Hold o’er my being Absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit Till all shall see
Christ only, always, Living in me.

Insert the breathy voice of Marilyn Monroe into this song, and you’re all set for quite the sexy spiritual experience. Apparently Jesus is a fan of dominance and submission…although I don’t recall ever learning what the safe word was.

And then there are those that just sound like the Christian version of Cleveland’s “Boom goes the dynamite.”

 All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all. –All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name by Edward Perronet

Take note, Christians, Jesus is upright and powerful. Crown him…yes crown him. If you don’t know what that means, imagine. You’re probably pretty close just from the way the song sounds. And seriously, who puts “prostrate” into a song? As a kid, I didn’t know the difference between “prostrate” and “prostate,” making this song incredibly problematic for my pure little mind!

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson used to be one of my all-time favorite hymns to sing. Now as I look back, I can’t even hum though half of the first verse without losing myself in laughter. It taps deep into the junior high in me.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

It’s a little bit like when I realized that Ezekiel 23:20 was referring to horse ejaculation and a donkey penis. There’s just no way to erase those images from my mind!

Lastly this chorus, from the song by the same name, is one of my favorites. I don’t think I’d be able to sing this with a straight face if I ever found myself in a church again. It’s nice to know that multiples are within the realm of possibility for God. that’s hard for even women to achieve!

He is coming again, He is coming again,
The very same Jesus, rejected of men;
He is coming again, He is coming again,
With power and great glory, He is coming again! –Mabel Camp

For some of these, I’m sure you could say my mind is just too dirty and finds gutter thoughts in the most innocent of lyrics. For others, I’m pretty sure the sexual repression of the ages was seeping out into the songs. At any rate, I hope it’s given you as many giggles as it’s given me. If you know a hymn that sounds inappropriate, post it below.