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Expert to Participatory and back to Expert


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Psalm 98 - O Sing a New Song - Anglican Chant - Protestant Reformation in England, circa Elizabethan Era

Rise of Participatory Music

Psalm 98 - O Sing a New Song - Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland Airdrie - Puritan a cappella style, circa Cromwellian Era (takes them a verse or two to get warmed up)

I'm Going Home from the 1844 a cappella hymn book Sacred Harp - modern Irish enthusiasts in Cork - Mid Victorian a cappella style - chapel not church.

Same theme, same hymnal, same enthusiasts from Cork - Wayfaring Stranger

Wayfaring Stranger from the same hymn book sung by a modern American congregation

Return of the Experts

Johnny Cash - Wayfaring Stranger - spare, Appalachian, blue grass, gospel

Trace Adkins - Modern Gospel - Wayfaring Stranger - all the production elements

And finally Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill - How Great Thou Art - because it is in my opinion the best example of the modern Gospel tradition
Despite the Hollywood Nashville glitz and a commercial audience full of Experts they can't prevent themselves behaving like a congregation.

And there you have 500 years of cultural continuity.
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This scene

Abide with me, fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens Lord, with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me

A group of common grubby soldiers have a religious experience. They take comfort in a dirge and each other's company singing a hymn that that ALL know. It is as familiar to them as any Top 40 chart topper. When there were such things and before everybody isolated themselves from each other with their ear buds and Spotify.

"Abide with Me" is a Christian hymn by Scottish Anglican cleric Henry Francis Lyte. A prayer for God to stay with the speaker throughout life and in death, it was written by Lyte in 1847 as he was dying from tuberculosis. It is most often sung to the tune "Eventide" by the English organist William Henry Monk.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, a Welshman surrounded by the Methodism of Wesley, the nationalist Celtic revival of the Eisteddfod and the Mabinogion and the socialism of Ayrshireman Keir Hardie and his Welsh coal miners of Merthyr Tidfield, wrote that in 1947. Almost exactly 100 years after Abide With Me was written.

No comforting God for Dylan.

But even when Abide With Me was popularized there was a counter culture view to death and dying.

Farewell, vain world! I’m going home!
My Savior smiles and bids me come,
And I don’t care to stay here long!

I’m glad that I am born to die,
From grief and woe my soul shall fly,
And I don’t care to stay here long!

Bright angels shall convey me home,
Away to New Jerusalem,
And I don’t care to stay here long!

God wasn't just a comfort. He was a goal.

For the people singing this hymn there was nothing to tie them to this life, this world. They wanted to get to that place where people didn't suffer and die. And they didn't believe a New Jerusalem could be built in this world. They would find their New Jerusalem, their Zion in the next world.

They had nothing to lose and a world to gain by dying.

Hail the day so long expected,
Hail the year of full release.
Zion’s walls are now erected,
And her watchmen publish peace.
Through our Shiloh’s wide dominion,
Hear the trumpet loudly roar,
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

All her merchants stand with wonder,
What is this that comes to pass:
Murm’ring like the distant thunder,
Crying, “Oh alas, alas.”
Swell the sound, ye kings and nobles,
Priest and people, rich and poor;
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

Blow the trumpet in Mount Zion,
Christ shall come a second time;
Ruling with a rod of iron
All who now as foes combine.
Babel’s garments we’ve rejected,
And our fellowship is o’er,
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

They had their faith to carry them forwards. They ran towards the peace of the bright light.

Some of them ended up losing their faith, after the fashion of Dylan Thomas.

Some of them chose to convert their efforts to creating a New Jerusalem, Zion, in this world, after the fashion of Diefenbaker and Tommy Douglas.

All of them would have understood the Taliban and the Wahhabi much better than modern people.
Even as they perceived them as barriers to their New Jerusalem - whether the were building Zion in Israel, in Manchester and Saskatoon, or in the next world.
A definition of terms

The Awokening (2014) - Ferguson Black Lives Matter Awakening

Fourth Awakening (c. 1960–1980) - The Billy Graham Awakening

Lead Belly's "Stay Woke"

Third Awakening (c. 1855–1930) - The Sacred Harp Awakening

Wide Awakes - In early March 1860, Abraham Lincoln spoke in Hartford, Connecticut, against the spread of slavery and for the right of workers to strike. Five store clerks, who had started a Republican group called the Wide Awakes. The Wide Awakes were a youth organization and later a paramilitary organization cultivated by the Republican Party during the 1860 presidential election in the United States. Using popular social events, an ethos of competitive fraternity, and even promotional comic books, the organization introduced many to political participation and proclaimed itself as the newfound voice of younger voters. The structured militant Wide Awakes appealed to a generation which had been profoundly shaken by the partisan instability in the 1850s, and offered young northerners a much-needed political identity.[1]

Second Awakening (c. 1790–1840)

The Old School–New School controversy was a schism of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America which took place in 1837 and lasted for over 20 years. The Old School, led by Charles Hodge of Princeton Theological Seminary, was much more conservative theologically and did not support the revival movement. It called for traditional Calvinist orthodoxy as outlined in the Westminster standards.

The New School derived from the reinterpretation of Calvinism by New England Congregationalist theologians Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Hopkins and Joseph Bellamy, and wholly embraced revivalism. Though there was much diversity among them, the Edwardsian Calvinists commonly rejected what they called "Old Calvinism" in light of their understandings of God, the human person, and the Bible.

Later, both the Old School and New School branches split further over the issue of slavery, into Southern and Northern churches. The latter supported the abolition of slavery. After three decades of separate operation, the two sides of the controversy merged, in 1865 in the South and in 1870 in the North. Two Presbyterian denominations were formed (PCUS and PC-USA, in the South and North, respectively).

First or Great Awakening (c. 1730–1755) - The Wesleyan Methodist Awakening

The terms Old Lights and New Lights (among others) are used in Protestant Christian circles to distinguish between two groups who were initially the same, but have come to a disagreement. These terms originated in the early 18th century from a split in theological approach among Calvinist denominations concerning the nature of conversion and salvation
The Old Side–New Side controversy occurred within the Presbyterian Church in Colonial America and was part of the wider theological controversy surrounding the First Great Awakening. The Old and New Side Presbyterians existed as separate churches from 1741 until 1758. The name of Old Side–New Side is usually meant as specifically referring to the Presbyterian Church. When one is referring to the debate as a whole, Old and New Light is usually used.

The American Enlightenment (1732-1845)

The Scottish Enlightenment (1692-1815 ) - Carstares-Dunlop and the Purge of the Universities

Scientific Revolution (c. 1543-1687) - The Copernican Revolution


The Lutheran Reformation (1517) - National Catholicism
The English Reformation (1534) - English Catholicism

The Genevan Reformation (1536) - National Presbyterianism
The Scottish Reformation (1560) - Scottish Presbyterianism

I’m never trusting 'experts' again​

Now that the ONS has massively revised its own growth figures, it’s time to rely on the evidence of our own eyes
ROBERT TAYLOR5 September 2023 • 2:56pm
Robert Taylor

One pound coins

We’ve had enough of experts, said Michael Gove in June 2016, cueing the normal outrage reserved for Tory Brexiteers. How dare he defame learned economists in this way? How dare he not bow and scrape in front of Treasury mathematicians?
But Gove was bang on. Those clever Treasury people said Britain would be pitched straight into a recession, no sooner than we’d voted out of the EU. They said there would be half a million job losses and diving property prices (by 10% no less). The trouble is none of it happened.
Yet we still believe the experts. It’s what the psychologist Robert Cialdini calls “directed deference”. We instinctively trust people with fancy titles and a uniform, whom we perceive to have status and authority. That scientist in a white lab coat must know what she’s about. That reporter from the BBC must be telling the truth about Coutts and Farage. That epidemiologist must be right about the potential Covid death toll. And one for the oldies: Michael Fish must be correct when he says no hurricane is on its way.
However many times they fall flat on their faces, we carry on trusting. Such is the power of directed deference.
But last week’s massively revised growth figures might finally convince us that experts are fallible. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has performed an extraordinary flip-flip of the sort that even Sir Keir Starmer might be proud. Only a year ago it proclaimed us to be the sick man of Europe. Unlike Germany, France, Japan and the rest, Britain, shamefaced and alone, had failed to recover to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity. As a consequence, many read into this that meant that Brexit must be to blame.
I should, of course, have smelled a rat. I should simply have trusted my own experience of travelling around Britain in late 2021, and seeing in vivid detail that, despite a ruinous lockdown, Britain was getting back on its feet and revving towards fifth gear.
I should have recalled my visit to Bonn and Dusseldorf that October, and seeing two cities devoid of meaningful activity, with the streets half empty, and people still pulling masks tightly around their faces. The offices were deserted, the shops and restaurants mostly deserted. Unlike Britain, Germany was still in hibernation.
But I chose to trust the ONS over the evidence of my own eyes. I chose to accept that Germany was pulling ahead despite my experience of the complete opposite. For the umpteenth time in my life, I suffered an attack of directed deference.
Yet I now find out that the ONS figures were off by a country mile. The British economy, far from being 1.2% below its pre-Covid size in the final quarter of 2021, was actually 0.6% above it. Far from being behind Germany, France, Japan and Italy, Britain was actually ahead of them. Far from the UK being the sick man of Europe, it’s actually Germany.
This latest evidence of expert fallibility has cured me. Never again will I trust official reports over the evidence in front of me. Next time the ONS says Britain is falling behind, I’ll treat it with a fistful of salt. Next time the ONS says it’s raining, I’ll just look outside. And next time they say Brexit is a disaster I’ll just point at Germany.
Have we had enough of the experts? Gove got it right seven years ago. I’ve finally caught up.