No More “Hymn” Books

Mainline denominations can now promote greater gender equality with an alternative to the masculine-sounding “hymn” book. The new collection of sacred songs put out by the United Lutheran Church of America is called the “HerBook. “We thought about it a lot,” says Rev. Deborah Granville-Chin-Rodriguez, the editor for the Her Book, “and we tossed around some other names. I mean, what can you call a feminine hymnal? ‘Hernal’ just wasn’t doing it for us. You know?”

The new set of hymns—(or “hers”?)—actually includes no gender-neutral language, unlike other attempts to right the theological sexism of the past. Instead, Ms. Rodriguez actually feminized every single pronoun and name in the whole Her Book. “Let Us Bow Before Him,” predictably, has become “Let’s Give it Up for Her.” Even “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” had to be adjusted, replaced with “Yeah, Yeah, You Go, Girl!”

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.


  1. Serufener on August 19, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    That is so sad and of the wall it is downright hilarious

  2. timjoiner on September 5, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Mark, this is great. You really had me going until the last sentence, and I thought, “there’s no way a Lutheran denomination would destroy ‘Joyful Joyful’ with ‘Yeah, Yeah.'”

    So, I followed your link to do a little research, and was relieved at the resultant destination. ; )


  3. Mark L Ward Jr on September 6, 2008 at 7:59 am


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