We have had similar discussions at our Parish, but ultimately Our CCLI Licence says this:
5. CHURCH DUTIES
5.1 The Church shall not alter the basic lyric, melody or fundamental character of any Song.
On checking with them, they said that modernizing the language, (such as from thee/thou to you), and changing the song from personal to congregational (ie - from I/me to us/our) and also gender neutralizing songs is all considered perfectly acceptable. However changing the words and therefore their meanings unrelated to and outside of these above things is not allowed under either their Licence of Copyright Law. I often make our songs congregational instead of personal or vice-versa depending on the day, and occasionally I will modernize songs if the worlds are unheard of these days, but I never gender neutralize songs as I know that we are all the same to God... neither female or male but all His children. If I don't like the theology of part of a song, we don't play that part. If that means a song doesn't make sense, we just don't play it at all. There are plenty of Godly songs to choose from without 'butchering' them illegally... Blessings
I agree with the previous posters. Seems kind of prideful to me (just in general, not directly at you, OP!) to change things to suit ourselves. Yes, change can be good, but change for the sake of all-or-nothing inclusion I don't agree with. This caught my eye because I'm leading "Be Thou" this Wednesday. I'm a woman, and the thought didn't even cross my mind! I agree with Merry in that I always assumed it was, or can be, referring to all mankind.
If I were to write a song from a first person perspective I think I'd assume that it would be mostly woman singers that would be singing it. I would have no problem with a man choosing not to sing a song I wrote because of the feminine perspective. Just my opinion.
All that hath life and breath, praise ye the Lord!
In His Name,
I guess I don't get the point. We don't (well shouldn't) change the Bible to neutralize gender or references to war so why can't we sing about it? I think the example is just fine, I like both versions, but sometimes we lose the punch of the allegory by "tenderizing" the wording. For example, "High King" is a better representation of God's omnipotence. Also, real warfare represents our fight with sin and the spiritual warfare that takes place everyday. It is dirty, it is messy, and sanitizing gender and "unpleasant" things seems to reduce a great tool in representing dramatic representations of how things really are.
War Type Changes:
Nothing personal, but the Bible is very uncomfortable when representing the physical and spiritual world. I don't understand the need to eliminate that from worship. Lines like "Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King!" stir a congregation's heart and are very relevant today. They represent exactly what has happened without any sanitation of the words. The Bible uses the same type of wording and I believe is a better representation of the actual "Kingship" of Jesus. They are powerful representations that still hit home in out hearts.
Being a Christian should be dirty and messy business, perfectly fitted for term related to war and struggles.
IMO, not being a women - so slightly biased, "man" or "men" can be a general term for person(s) and women is always more gender specific; therefore when the term "man" or "men" are used, you are already gender neutral. I (and my wife) don't understand what the big deal is; and it seems that you have to take how society use(d) words in the past/present out of context to get any issues with "gender" bias. I don't want to sound mean about it, but unless one is trying to change the way society uses the male gender terms for generic purposes, then it shouldn't be an issue. I personally feel society has become too gender sensitive (we were under gender sensitive not too long ago). The Bible is very gender biased in how it uses terms, but in context it means nothing in regards to degradation of women. We consider God "male" and use "He" all the time with no issues it seems.
I don't understand the need to force this change oft he way words or used.
I guess, my main thing is, why?
SORRY IF I SOUND MEAN, I DO NOT MEAN IT.