Zinging the Living Tradition

Back in the mid-1960’s, Rev. Christopher Raible issued a little pamphlet with parody lyrics to familiar hymns in the then-current hymnal, Songs for the Celebration of Life. His booklet, titled Songs for the Cerebration of Strife, included such classic parodies as “Coffee, Coffee, Coffee” to the tune of “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and “God Rest Ye, Unitarians,” with its refrain of “Glad tidings of reason and fact.”

It is time for new parodies of Unitarian Universalist hymns. I do not have the skill of Christopher Raible, but I offer these four parodies in the hope that I’ll challenge someone else to write something that’s actually funny….

“Spirit of Strife”
to the tune of #123

Spirit of strife,
come unto me,
live in my soul,
give my life the shape of conflict.
My mind is closed,
my heart’s a stone;
I will not feel
any friendship or compassion.
I will not yield!
I will not budge!
Spirit of strife,
come to me, come to me.

“Where Is That Blasted Church?”
sung to the tune of #113

Where is that blasted church?
I cannot find it, though
I called them up and asked them: Please,
do tell me how to go.

Where did they build their church?
Out on the edge of town;
so visitors, and newcomers,
can never track them down.

Where is our holy One?
Perhaps she’s lost like me;
that Unitar’an Univers’list
church she’ll never see.

Wake Now, My Husband
sung to the tune of #298

Wake now, my husband, you’re snoring too loud
The man in front of us just turned around,
Minister’s staring, I’m turning bright red.
But you won’t wake up, t’ the world you are dead.

Your head has rolled back, you’re starting to drool;
I whisper in your ear, “Wake up, you fool!”
You stir and straighten, and then try to fake
That through the sermon, you’ve been wide awake.

Lest I be accused of gender bias, I will say that the only reason I chose “husband” is because it scans better.

“We Are a Gently Doubting People”
sung to the tune of #170

We are a gently doubting people
And we are doubting, doubting all our lives.
We like discussions never-ending,
But a firm answer — well, answers give us hives.

We will consider ev’ry viewpoint,
And we will never, never let things rest;
We won’t reach a firm conclusion,
We’d rather argue, argue with great zest.

If you want to be obscure, you can substitute “We are an aporetic people” for the first line.

3 thoughts on “Zinging the Living Tradition

  1. fausto

    Hm, this sounds like a fun challenge. Will have to ponder.

    There’s so much unintended irony when we sing “Gentle, angry people” as written that I don’t see the need to satirize it too. IMO, it satirizes itself.

  2. Scott

    “My Life Flows on…”

    My rev goes on in endless drone
    Oh all this lamentation!
    I hear the real, though far off yawn
    that hails a new statement.

    Through all the tumult and the strife,
    My ears are ringing!
    It sounds like hell in my soul
    How can I keep from screaming?

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