What do we do about old hymns – cont’d

I wrote yesterday on this topic having read part of a book in preparation for a discussion group.  At the group the discussion took an unexpected direction (good) and I thought it worth continuing the discussion.

Having asked what to do about old hymns we digressed onto statues of people who have fallen into disrepute (at least in some circles), sparked by the debates in Oxford about Rhodes.  Just as Brian McLaren suggested including comment about the, now unacceptable, hymn verses we thought that that approach would work well for statues – add an additional plaque explaining the circumstances.

We also discussed whether all the Bristol buildings funded by the slave trade should be pulled down, and thought this overkill.  What we didn’t mention, but I recalled afterwards, was that in Bristol there is the Slave Trail.  Whether this was created with this approach in mind I don’t know, but keeping the history visible, whilst explaining the context and problems with it seems a better approach to me than removing it and leaving future generations in ignorance of our less than perfect past.

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