Rain City Hymnal: Available for Free on Noise Trade

Rain City Hymnal

For those familiar with Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church (different from Rob Bell’s Mars Hill Church… though it is darn confusing…), they recently launched a website called Re:Sound. Their first project is a sort of indie-rock version of a lot of classic hymns such as “Softly and Tenderly”, “What Wonderous Love Is This”, “Doxology”, “Amazing Love”, “I’ll Fly Away”, etc.

If you’ve attended a Mennonite church for any period of time, you probably have sung these hymns a lot. These re-creations are really good and I highly suggest them. Through Noise Trade for a limited time, you can pay what you want for the 12 tracks, or refer 5 friends via e-mail and get it for free. It’s pretty simple. Check it out.

Comments (20)

  1. dean

    Thanks for the link…I too have come from a similar background…I go to an “almost Mennonite” church now…one under BIC {if I may, it’s http://www.innermetrogreen}, anyway sorry, but recently as I reflect on my years in conservative mennonite church, I find myself finding many similarities, with where I am now and one of them is my love of hymns…

    Nice blog you have here…I’ll have to explore it more.

  2. joe

    There are persistent claims of abusive behaviour by Driscoll at Mars Hill.

  3. folknotions (Post author)


    I watched the video, read the post, and I see nothing wrong with it.

    It’s easy to hate on a pastor who is rebuking his people. Like a lot of emerging/emergent churches that I know, there are a lot of predator-type guys lurking around. And you need someone to yell at them, because being nice won’t hack it.

    It may not be appropriate in a lot of churches, but in his church, with a lot of sketchy 20-year old boys running around, I think it is entirely appropriate.

    Moreover, the hymns I linked to have little to do with Driscoll’s preaching in particular.

    Also, the post you linked to – referring to Driscoll as a “neo-fundamentalist”, demonstrates that the writer has little understanding of what the term “fundamentalist” means in a Christian context and applying the term here is very misleading.

  4. Alan

    While I think the reworking of older hymns is kinda cool and have even tried to do that myself, there is one thing worth pointing out on the resound website. They say that these are “a fresh approach to 12 ancient hymns” BZZZZZ. Wrong answer, try again. These are not ancient hymns! They’re maybe a couple hundred years old at best. The Psalms are ancient hymns.

    The reason this is important is because it is representative of a current stream of Christianity (namely fundamentalism and evangelicalism) that thinks that it’s the “old tyme religion” when in fact it’s maybe 170 years old at best. Just because you’re particular tradition is only a couple years old, it doesn’t mean that Christianity is that young.

    Ok, done with my rant. Thanks for the music though.

  5. joe

    See the comments to the post and this website.

    Just because you do not consider Mars Hill to be ‘fundamentalist’ does not mean that it isn’t.

  6. folknotions (Post author)


    And just because you consider Mars Hill to be fundamentalist doesn’t mean that it is.

    But my point in this post is not to defend Mark Driscoll, but to share the music. Most folks on this blog (from comments I’ve seen) would tend to agree with you. But I don’t.

  7. pat

    How about we help our American friends & neighbors change their national anthem to
    exclude any military glorification thus setting
    free the children near & far ?


  8. Freedom

    It saddens me that you do not see the overt abuse in Driscoll’s ranting at his congregation in this particular clip. I implore you to please read up a bit on spiritual abuse… it is rampant in the church as is domestic violence, see


    and take the time to read some of my posts about church/spiritual abuse and abusers. Please educate yourself on this very timely and sobering issue. Those who are abused (usually women and children, but also men–everyone is subject to abuse when oppressed by an abuser) need your awareness and support… and God is vehemently against oppressors… Psalms alone makes this clear.

    The Psalms also describe his stance toward the victim: the victim cries out to you, and you hear her; You do not despise the afflictions of the afflicted…


  9. Danni Moss

    Joe (and any of like mind) – I just replied to that thread explaining exactly why what Driscoll said was not only against the Word but dangerous. It’s not a small difference of opinion re: speaking style or whatever. What Driscoll is doing is DIRECLTY in opposition to the Word of God.

    — Danni

  10. Alan


    You’re right, Mark Driscoll isn’t fundamentalist. He comes out of the reformed tradition. In fact, I’ve heard him explicitly argue for the necessity of having a Reformed dogma as opposed to any other form of Christianity. Two thoughts.

    1) I always find it interesting when any denomination born out of the reformation, who isn’t Catholic, tries to argue that they’re the one true church.

    2) This website is titled young ANABAPTIST radicals. If you look at the history of anabaptism and the reformed tradition, on one hand they do come out of a very similar place. On the other hand, they very quickly diverged and reformed people quickly started to persecute anabaptists, along with a bunch of other groups. So my point is not that Mark Driscoll is suddenly wrong in our time, it’s that Anabaptists have said Driscoll is wrong for almost 500 years now. The argument that the Driscoll has had with the emergent church is not new, nor is it specific to him. Like I said in the earlier post about the fact that the songs are not “ancient”, Driscoll’s theology and tendency toward abusiveness are not in spite of his theology, but rather because of it. One of the original critiques that the anabaptists had of Catholics, Reformed, Lutherans, and all other denominations that agreed to join with the powers of the state is that they, as followers of Jesus, did not reject the use of the sword and the use of violence. That is a theological problem that has real world effects, even today. We live in a country where the vast majority of Christian denominations theologically justify the use of the military, of domination, and of violence in general. Is it any wonder why we have wound up with churches and pastors who have often done more harm than good. Driscoll is one part of a larger problem. Which, by the way, it should be noted that the answer to bad theology is not no theology, but rather good theology.

  11. Josh B


    Anyone can be fundamentalist in their religious beliefs. Now if we are talking Fundamentalists, ie those Christians of the last hundred years who proclaimed 5 fundamental beliefs, then we have another question. This group of Christians, being primarily American, have reformed roots (at least theologically if not in the types of communities from which it emerged). The impact of Calvinist theology on conservative American Christianity is striking, and deserves some scholarly attention.

    As for the idea that those on the Left Wing of the Reformation (Anabaptist and Radical Pietist, to name two) speaking of one true Church, I disagree. From the very beginning these were exclusive communities. By baptizing adults at the time of a confession of faith these people were saying there is one Church and we are it. Geneva, Rome, Wittenburg and Canterbury are not the Church, we are. The kind of openness you are implying is a 20th century phenomena in the wake of Ecumenism.

    Now I am with you when Radical Reformation traditions begin using the language of violence and persecution against other communities. Yet, our early Anabaptist ancestors took on a very different tact…evangelism. Since these other communities were not the Church, every effort was made to treat and care for them as sinners in need of redemption….

  12. Alan

    Josh B,

    I’m kinda short on time so I’ll be to the point, don’t misunderstand that as uninterested in more dialogue or simply rebuttal…..although it might be.

    1)Being clear on what you mean by fundamentalist is important. I have some good friends who have chastised me repeatedly for even lumping evangelicals and fundamentalists into the same group un-caringly. While I understand what you mean by any version of Christianity being “fundamentalist”, I think the more accurate term that you’re looking for is foundationalist. Foundationalism seeks to find that which is unquestionable and then build everything else on it. Foundationalism is tied up with modernity which, interestingly, puts hardline rationalists and hardline conservative christians in the same camp. This is also in comparison to post-modernity and the understandings of truth involved with that. For more see Nancy Murphys “Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism”

    2) You are right to identify some major differences between modern day “anabaptists” and the real 16th ce. Anabaptists. I had a seminary prof who argued that real Anabaptists don’t exist anymore and that groups like….well….this website, would be using the name illegetimately. What he meant was that the 16th ce. anabaptists were more concerned with the movement of the spirit, piety, purity, and things of that nature. Modern day anabaptists, like the Mennoites, Church of the Brethren and others, are more concerned with social justice, discipleship, and doctrine. Another gaping difference for me is difference between why 16th ce AB’s were pacifist and why current day Mennos are. AB’s were pacifist because God was a violent, vengeful God who would kick the crap out of the people who were persecuting them but still mandated that humans were peaceful. Currently, most modern anabaptists are pacifist because we see Jesus as a representation of God, meaning that the essential nature of God is non-violent and our goal is not reliance on that but emulation of God/Jesus. So your critique of me drawing on a 20th century ecumenism is noted and fully understood. As a good postmodern I hold that in tension.

    Also, in regards to the relationship between 16th Ce AB’s and other Christians, they might have considered them pseudo-Christians but they certainly weren’t heathens. Menno Simons (where we get Mennonite. Sorry if you knew that already) wrote extensively to the people who were persecuting the AB groups in the netherlands. He has some interesting, and rather sarcastic, letters to the Christian Magistrates carrying out the torture and execution. In them he appeals to their God ordained role as Christian rulers, usually via Romans 13 and other like passages. Many of the letters go something like this. “I appeal to you, oh great and ordained magistrates. You have been rightly appointed by God to carry out the laws and keep order. You are wonderful. By the way, if you don’t stop killing us God will roast you in hell for all of eternity. But you have been favored by God for your position.” Beautiful snark.

    Yes with Menno and others there was a strong two kingdoms theology, meaning we’re God’s kingdom and everyone else is the fallen world and needs to repent. Nevertheless, there is some great ambiguity as two what exactly constitutes the “true” church, even within Anabaptist circles. Anabaptism was highly localized and incredibly diverse, partly because it wasn’t connected with any state organization which tended to have a solidifying effect in terms of who’s-in-and-who’s-out/doctrine/practice. Menno Simons himself really liked to kick people out of church. So much that he eventually got kicked by one group of people. It’s a mess, and a legacy that has led to a lot of the splintering and factioning that we have in American Christianity today. One of my other profs put it best when he said that, “the unintended legacy of the Reformation is that we now have the concept of a pseudo or false Christian/church”

    Weeeee for church history!
    hope that wasn’t too boring….I guess it wasn’t that short either. gotta run.

  13. Josh B


    Well, I should say we jumped into my wheel house so to speak. History is my field, so I wouldn’t say its boring at all!

    Clearly Anabaptistism has never been as unified as we often portray it. As some have said, it may be more appropriate to say Anabaptist Visions rather than the famed Vision (singular) Bender wrote of.

    One thing to caution in these terms is the vision of Anabaptist Non-Violence. Munster is the prime example of the plurality of Anabaptist thought, even in terms of using arms. It is not until Menno comes along that non-violence becomes the norm for Anabaptists.

    Fun Stuff!

  14. Alan


    I certainly hope that by saying, “It is not until Menno comes along that non-violence becomes the norm for Anabaptists.” that you mean that prior to Menno, acceptance and use of violence was the norm. Munster has long been seen by those outside of the Anabaptist community as the pinnacle and standard of Anabaptsim, usually because it is an easy way to write off what Anabaptists have had to say, both then and in modern times. While I am by no means a Bender-ian and would agree with C. Arnold Snyder, I also resonate with the impulse that he had to say that at the core of Anabaptism is a rejection of the sword and the state.

  15. Josh B


    It took me a minute to understand what you meant with the opening sentence. Since we are talking about the plurality of Anabaptist expression, I would not say that the pre-Menno forms were, whole sale, violent. I think those of us inside the Anabaptist tradition would say the rejection of the state Church was standard, but the certainty of the Pacifist position was not established until the Munster revolt was squashed. Menno is due much for making it standard (remember he was a convert, and was not at Schlietheim).

    That said, we need to keep in mind that Anabaptism doesn’t just include Mennonites. Durnbaugh and McClendon have made entire careers showing that “Believers’ Church” or “Baptist” (respectively) traditions share much in common, but do not necessarily share non-violence.

    Both MCUSA and the CoB have recently undergone surveys of their membership, and for the Church of the Brethren the numbers are showing that Non-violence is not among even the top 5 markers. I am not sure on the MCUSA numbers, probably higher, but I think it still would show a wide range in understanding of the role of Non-violence in Mennonite theology.

    I am not saying this to refute the positions of our tradition. I just constantly run into many myths about “a unified peace position” as one of my students recently wrote.

  16. Alan


    Yeah, i would definitely be with you in challenging the idea that those in the Anabaptist tradition have a unified peace position. I grew up Mennonite and am a pastor in a Mennonite church, but my wife grew up in the CoB so I kind of have my feet in both worlds. She has provided many helpful critiques of how I, and other Mennonites, have seen our own tradition. Among other things, she has really pushed me on the idea that Mennonites like to think of themselves as the only Anabaptists that still exist (which is far from the truth). While she may have damaged my Mennopride, I tend to think I’ve needed it. That’s all to say that uniformity in thought/belief/action is not something that I can rely on historically or currently.

    The pacifism thing, in a modern context, in MCUSA is an interesting thing. The Conrad Kanagy study says that about 60% of Mennonite pastors would consider themselves pacifist and about 30% of Mennonites in the pews would consider themselves pacifism. (those may be slightly off but that’s what I remember without pulling the book off the shelf) There are a couple of points to those numbers. 1) Why is there such a discrepancy between the pastors and the laity? 2) Why are the numbers so low on both accounts? The other aspect of the study that I seem to remember, in relation to pacifism, is that even though those numbers are fairly low, there is still a large amount of lipservice given to pacifism within MCUSA. Basically, while the actual numbers might suggest that pacifism is not a high marker of Mennonite identity, the majority of people would tend to say that it is a high marker and a core of what we believe. Again, I would ask the question, what accounts for the discrepancy?

    I also have had some interesting conversations in the past couple of years with some friends from Seminary, one of whom is from Ethiopia, about the growth of the Mennonite church in various parts of Africa. In Ethiopia, for example, the church has grown by twice as many people in the last 20 years than there are in all of MCUSA. (I think there are now 300,000 in Ethiopia and like 100,000 in MCUSA) While that raises a lot of interesting questions for global Mennonite politics, i.e. where does power and influence lie considering that N. American/European Mennos are not even close to the majority anymore, the question that we discussed was that of pacifism. Namely, the fact that the Ethiopian Mennonite church would not really even preach pacifism. No I take that back. Leaders would hold to it but they don’t preach that people need to leave the military. (I’ve had long discussions with real people about this that I won’t go into now, so for anyone reading this and wanting to come down on me for being narrow minded or insensitive, there is more to the story) The main point is, especially on a worldwide view of anabaptism, the peace position is extremely varied, depending on the context.

    As a strong pacifist and a pastor however, I would still argue that those who hold a view of the Gospel that does not include a message of transformative non-violence have not fully understood the message of the Good News. I also believe that for those of us who claim a Gospel of peace, if we are not in relationship with people who have and are in the military than we too have also missed what it means to say that we “love our enemies”. When it comes to the message of Jesus and Peace, they are inseparable to me. That probably means that I would ultimately say that the non-pacifist elements of the Anabaptist tradition (or any christian tradition) are wrong and have an incomplete or defective faith. Now, I know that that’s not very post-modern of me (which is ironic because I would usually see myself as very post-modern most of the time) nor is it particularly sensitive to other peoples beliefs. To be clear, I have plenty of areas of my faith/theology that I know are defective, so I’m not about to use that excuse to exclude others that I disagree with vehemently.

    So…that might have been a bit convoluted and maybe even kinda preachy……sorry about that, I am a preacher though. Anyways, chew that over and see what you think. There’s always the possibility that I’m full of it too.

    btw – when I use “pacifism” above, I would use that in it’s broadest sense, also including things like active non-violent resistance to non-resistance.

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  18. Gary Cummings

    Well Mr. Pacifist-Preacher,

    I happen to agree with your ethical-Biblical stance about Jesus and peace. I am a former CO (Vietnam) and a bi-vocational minister with Anabaptist beliefs. As a former member and minister of the Friends Churches, I found out in my studies that in WW2, 70% of Friends fought, 40 % of Mennnonites, and 20% of Brethren. Now those percentages are probably higher as you indicate.
    I have some questions: (1) Why in the world are non-pacifists allowed to be Mennonite pastors?, (2) Wny is not adoption of non-resistance/pacifism required for membership in Mennonite Churches?
    I was a team minister at a small Mennonite Church in VA. The other pastor got in through the “back door”, non-Mennonite and prison ministry and got ordained as a chaplain by Mennonites. But he has taken that to mean ordination to be a pastor. This is one of the most violent tempered men I have ever met who believes that women who have had abortions should be executed.
    Other pastors I know want to give up pacifism for Jesus. That is the stupidist thing I have experienced. Why is it Jesus or peace? Why not both.
    The pastor of the Mennonite church we are now attending is a refugee from Calvary Chapel and certainly does not talk like a Mennonite Christian about peace. It is just peace with God, and war and peace issues do not matter. What a shame and a tragedy.

    Anyway, just my thoughts,
    Gary Cummings
    Ex-navy Medic, CO, pacifist and preacher.

  19. Benjamin

    Well forgive me for butting in here. My family came to the American colonies in 1715 (Pennsylvania) after fleeing Berne Switzerland in the late 1600’s. I value my Anabaptist/Mennonite roots. But I will tell you, I don’t give a whit about what an Anabatist is, or a Calvinist, or a Dispensationalist, or any other “ist” but I can tell you the tie that binds ALL of them, and it’s the backbone of my faith: The Holy Scriptures. I’m a man with a Faith and a Book, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against me so long as I hold to that. I guess that makes me a Fundamentalist. And I guess that makes Menno Simons and John Calvin Fundamentalists. Ah, give me that Book, and give me the Savior the book teaches me about.

    I’ll tell you friends, battle lines are being drawn in this country, and worrying about being Anabaptist or Calvinist or Weslyan isn’t going to matter much longer…unless you are willing to compromise.

    I’ll tell you something about those real believers from the days of Old…they weren’t afraid to step into the arena and face Satan. Let’s get our minds clear. Let’s prepare for the Spiritual battle, unless you are comfortable living in the cities of the plain like Lot was. That’s real radicalism. Tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may. Are you ready to be imprisoned for your Faith? Or have you already given up on the idea that sin is sin, that God knew what he was talking about in his Word?

    Let’s get clean before God, energized with his Holy Spirit, ready to CRY OUT! against the apostasy of this age. I tell you, God is stirring me up, stirring me up, and I can remain silent no longer, praise God! Holiness unto the Lord!

  20. folknotions (Post author)

    I have not blogged or commented here in a number of years. However, I feel compelled to say this.

    Given the recent events in the news, the resignation and the revelation that claims of abusive leadership by Mark Driscoll were in fact true, I wish to ask the forgiveness of those individuals in the above comment thread who were either triggered by, hurt by, or felt silenced by my words in this thread. This was/is meant to be an open space and I, by my actions, closed that space. That was unChristlike and I am sorry for it.

    If anyone wishes to correspond with me on this issue or talk back about it, they may feel free to do so at folknotions [at] g mail *D0T* com

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