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Hymns to Hymns

Day two of reactions to "Praise Music Flunks." Also: Immigration reform's final failure. Twisting Hillary. Misunderstanding good cholesterol.

7.3.07

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PASSING GRADES
Re: Lawrence Henry's Praise Music Flunks:

I read Lawrence Henry's article with some amusement. The argument over modern versus traditional worship forms has been rehashed in every generation. Zwingli banned all music and icons in the church in the 1500s because he doubted the motives of the musicians and the hearts of his people. That hardly squares with biblical worship.

Comparing "O Worship the King" with "You Are My All in All" in order to come to the conclusion that the older is better is a straw man. Why don't we instead compare the richness of God's grace in Scott Wesley Brown's "Only Your Mercy" with the lame attempt by Clarke & Jones to reference God's creation of the modern industrial age in the hymn, "God of Concrete, God of Steel."

What Mr. Henry adores from the hymnbook is the compilation of the best-sung church music over 400 years -- some of these great songs are older than that. The great hymnist Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns, but you'll only find 21 in the Trinity Hymnal -- certainly not all 6,000 are worth singing -- the hymnals contain the best of the best, and they should be sung regularly.

Modern praise music is barely 30 years old as a form -- and Mr. Henry is correct, some of it is shallow, probably because it reflects our culture. But I don't hear him calling for the return of the Gregorian Chant and it is older and perhaps richer than O Worship the King.

Psalm 145:4 says "one generation shall commend Your works to another." The worship of the church is designed to be multi-generational. Perhaps it is time for Mr. Henry to embrace the best of the present while standing on the shoulders of the greatest hymns of the past. The goal of leadership is not to dismiss the next generation, but rather to embrace and deepen it. It's time to be on time for corporate worship.
-- Rev. Jim Whittle
Chapel Hill Presbyterian (PCA)
Douglasville, Georgia

In response to Lawrence Henry's article, "Praise Music Flunks," I can add a good hearty "Amen!" I noticed praise music for the first time back in the early 1980s, when I met the lady who was soon to become my wife. We shared a faith in Christ, but appeared not to be on the same musical wavelength even though we were both classically trained musicians. Whereas I loved the old Baptist hymns that were imprinted on me as a youth, she seemed (to me, inordinately) fond of this thin gruel of beatitudes and bubble gum. I can't even claim, really, that I gave the stuff a fair listen, as I was instantly repulsed. My wife has, over the years, suggested helpfully that I try listening to the "message" rather than the music -- to no avail. I know how Samuel Johnson, who hated music, must have felt when a friend was desperately trying to find something he could appreciate in a violin performance. "It's very difficult to play," he pointed out, to which Johnson replied, "Difficult? Sir, I wish it were impossible."

How much is theology to blame? Is it mere coincidence that the muscular theology of the Reformation gave us Bach, while the tame faith of late-term America yields three-chord ostinatos that make "Louis Louis" seem a marvel of harmonic invention? With all the interminable mantra-like repetitions and insipidly saccharine lyrics? Maybe also to blame is the general decay of musical craft in our culture, at least in the pop arena -- owing perhaps to our fondness for the guitar as its primary musical vehicle. We have produced many wonderful guitar players (Chet Atkins, for one, who was as fine a musician as ever lived), but someone with any talent can learn to sound at least presentable on a guitar in just a few months. Try doing that with an oboe or a trombone. Our culture no longer inculcates the patience for acquiring musical skills which take years to develop. We prefer instead to learn a few chords and then storm the recording studios.

As a result, the tunes today are written by musicians who are not as well trained as the folks who wrote the great songs. Forget about comparing the most recent Britney Spears' collection of vaguely rockish coos and bleats with Bach or Schubert -- it can't compare with Paul McCartney or Jeff Lynne, let alone with Cole Porter or George Gershwin. All rock ever had to offer was energy and pain. So take these away, and also take away the edge, the sexual yearnings, and the nihilistic, self-absorbed caterwauling that make the best rock listenable and interesting -- but then add a teaspoon of neutered theology and perform it with singers whiter than Donnie Osmond, and what you have left is what gets played at church after church every Sunday in this great land of ours.

Maybe things are not so bleak. Eventually, most musical genres (except rap -- the "c" is silent, by the way) yield some fruit that is nourishing, and Christian pop may yet come of age. Miracles do happen. The occasional Twila Paris tune provides more than mere glucose, and the singing voice of Sandi Patti is simply glorious, though she seems ill served by much of her repertoire (listen to her perform "O Holy Night!" with the London Symphony to get an idea what she can do with a real song).

But it's been about thirty years of this chirpy annoyance, and I have quit holding my breath. Instead, I go into my room, put Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 on the hi-fi, and join with the late Herr Bruckner in praising the Lord Most High.
-- Lee Dise
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Mr. Henry, you are one of the reasons I read TAS, along with the usual suspects, Tyrrell, Hillyer, and Stein (sounds like a law firm), and of course, Homnick thrown in for some gut splitting humor and Lisa Fabrizio for the woman's point of view. Add in a few other LTEs, Diane (that's one "n") Smith, Beverly Gunn (two n's), Elaine Kyle, Ken Shreve, plus Mr. DiPentima, et al., and I'm good for a week, believing in my fellow man, and woman, again.

Now to the point. My wife and I have been attending one of the "praise" churches for a short while, and not with total success, at least on my part. I'm a musician, and like you, when it comes to singing to God, I'm an "O Worship the King" kinda guy, I believe they call it "high worship." It lifts the spirit without lifting the hands. It speaks volumes without the volume. It is ennobling. On the other hand, "praisers" pursue performance. I've heard it called "7-11" music, 7 words repeated 11 times, with an instrumental variation or two, plus a guitar lick here and there, keyboard solo and maybe drum, too. All else is drowned out, there being no microphones in the audience, unless you sing like Pavarotti. There is no chorale, no part to learn and blend with the others, except the melody if you can hear it, thus all the focus becomes the performers who the audience basically apes. It is exhausting. How concern for getting people in the doors evolved into this, is somewhat beyond me, but your description of the paradox between churches is instructive. It would be wonderful if the "real Christianity" and the poetry could come together again. So, why DO the heathen rage?
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Mr. Henry, your article on "Praise Music Flunks" was found to be amusing and sophomoric. Music has changed no doubt, especially when you contrast the 1640s' music with today's; however, the Gregorian chants were different from the "Hymns" of 1640. Back up and smell the roses, God looks on the heart. Evidently you don't give credence to this aspect. Evidently those singing praises to God were not singing to you.
-- Bill Parker
Honaunau, Hawaii

Coming from a more traditional denominational background, I have to agree for the most part that many of the praise songs are "pop endearment" and you could easily substitute "Christ" or "Lord" (if he is mentioned at all) for any worldly substitute. The biblical truth found in our hymnbooks is truly heartfelt and inspiring. There are however, some great contemporary Christian songs out there that are just as theologically deep as the standard hymns. There aren't as many yet, but it is a growing market. (I hate to say market in this context.) And I have to add, many of the contemporary worship songs just don't sound right when sung by a choir rather than a "comb" or praise band.

I see adults, youth, and children engaged in genuine praise and worship with these songs. With many of our youth these songs are personal. Not so much with the standard hymns. We have what is often called a "blended" song service where we have traditional hymns and the more contemporary praise songs. Rather than miss out on part of your church service, you could approach your worship leader/song director/choir director about a more blended approach.

From the song "Indescribable by Chris Tomlin":

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of Spring
Every creature unique in the Song that it sings
All exclaiming,
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and you know them by name.
You are amazing God!
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

My kids have this song, along with many others, on their iPods. We can find it on the local Christian music radio station. Any time you can take a part of your worship "repertoire" and make it part of your daily life -- that ain't bad.
-- Calvin Tyner

I was stunned to see an article about praise music in TAS. Seems far from the field of politics, but I am certain we will read as many views about this subject as we do about politics. From the book of Hebrews, Chapter Five, verse nineteen... "Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs."

One of the music directors I have had over the years addressed this verse many years ago when the Southern Baptists started including praise songs in our services. He explained it in a manner I have come to find satisfactory. He said this: "Hymns are songs about God, God's character and His faithfulness. Praise songs are us singing to God and giving our love and our hearts to him." I like that explanation.

I love the old hymns. When I sang to the littlest of my grandbabies the songs of "Amazing Grace," "The Old Rugged Cross," "How Great Thou Art," and "Holy, Holy, Holy," came comfort the tiniest of them. So too, did the praise songs like "Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord," and "How Great Is Our God." From the heart comes abundant praise for a God who loved me so very much He sent His only Son to die for me. Praise songs echo a grateful heart and a mindful worshipper.

Many years ago I was semi-conscious for days following a near fatal wreck. My mother brought a small CD player and headphones and told the nurses they had to place the ear phones on me and play what she had brought: CD's containing hymns and praise songs. I still can remember with great clarity the voices of angels that brought comfort and grace to my heart for day after endless day. From the great voice of George Beverly Shea to the Acapella Chorus, I was given the comfort of the things I hold dear and precious and ministered to in grace.

I left the hospital convinced that angels had ministered grace to a wounded child. And I came to know that someday we will compose the angel choir lifting voices of praise to the King of Kings. And I believe we will sing God inspired verses of "Amazing Grace" and praise songs as well. All will blend in perfect harmony to Honor God all through the centuries of Eternity. Hallelujah!
-- Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher
Chaplain

Regarding Mr. Henry's assessment of praise music, I find it narrow-minded to prove his own selfish point instead of seeing the broad picture.

As a former pastor, I can appreciate the classic hymns. However, they are poor translation for a new generation looking for a visceral side to their faith as opposed to an intellectual one. For a 13, 21, 30 or even 40-year-old, just what the heck is a Cherubim or Seraphim? Praise is not a music history and appreciation class.

If young people cannot find that emotional side, it will translate to a nothing faith that relies on belief alone without action. The faith will not be passed on, and it might even die within that generation. To rally around the old hymns is nothing more than cultural idolatry that will literally bore the younger generation from the Christian Faith. Is that an acceptable sacrifice for him?

It is important for ongoing generations to express their faith with the music and culture of that generation (or culture). This is not new wine, but rather new wineskins for the wine.

I agree the doctrine behind some praise music is cheesy and sappy at best and erroneous at worst. But then again, the doctrine behind the classic "Onward, Christian Soldiers" teeters on religious vendettas that led to the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, or Salem Witch Trials.

Finally, Mr. Henry must remember that the classics of today were once considered contemporary. Eventually, Dennis Jernigen's material will become classics just as the works of Charles Wesley.
-- Stephen Scott
Tulsa, Oklahoma

"You Are My All in All" was clearly written for a young audience. The teenagers at my school love to sing it. This type of song is easy to memorize, and in worship you can close your eyes and connect with God while you sing without having to concentrate on a complicated set of verses. We also sing some traditional hymns at our chapel services, and the kids enjoy the deeper meaning in that music as well. There is certainly a place for light-hearted praise music as well as more deeply theological hymns. By the way, many modern praise songs are simply words from the Psalms set to music. A variety of music is good for our congregation, as we must all learn to appreciate the good in them all. Some modern praise songs, and some older hymns are not worthy to be used in worship, which is usually why they don't last through the years. Scripture says to worship the Lord with "Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" and about six times in the Psalms we are told to "sing a new song to the Lord." I could just as easily write a article about why I detest country music, but just like your opinion, it is simply a matter of taste.
-- David Farbishel, teacher

Belittling a praise song that asserts "Jesus, Lamb of God -- worthy is Your name," those who sing it and those who allow it to be sung? That's like Michal watching and then despising her husband King David because of how he danced and leapt and celebrated before the Lord God as David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.

Granted, some contemporary songs may be lyrically and musically simple. Granted, traditional hymns containing powerful praise and theology may have been jettisoned by or at least buried in some contemporary churches. Granted, significant testimony attached to how some of those hymns came about should be remembered and passed along.

However, be it traditional hymn or contemporary praise-and-worship song, regardless of its contents and history, it's to God any such song is offered. And God's Word says that He inhabits the praises of His people. But I don't recall the Bible prescribing a specific lyrical format or musical style for praise songs or hymns. Nor do I recall reading that they should be for the listening pleasure of those who sing or hear them.

I do recall, though, the Apostle Paul saying he had become all things to all men so that by all means he might save some of them. One simplification of this could be that he's saying he was willing to remove any hindrances -- they could be musical today -- to bring people to knowledge of the Gospel and a personal relationship with Christ Jesus.

Therein may be the real problem with God's lack of habitation of many churches, denominational or not, and with American Christianity. It's too much about the me-me-me theologies of many churches or it remains about living in the past and certain traditions, rather about honoring Christ Jesus and keeping our eyes on Him and His promise. And, with God's guidance, doing what it takes to reach the unsaved, unchurched and under-churched.

Like it nor not -- and I really do miss some of those great old hymns -- Christians will have to rise above personal preferences and get out of their comfort zones. That will include stretching themselves in how, where and through what they praise God.

And if someone who isn't a Christian condemns contemporary praise songs or some of their words as being "triteness" or being like "adolescent love songs" or "a pop endearment," that's understandable. As God's Word says, the natural man does not understand things of the Spirit.

If, however, someone who calls himself or herself Christian lacks the humility to confess publicly that Jesus "is my all in all" or at least speak that prophetically? That person may be a candidate for radical heart surgery of the spiritual kind. Perhaps he or she has yet to experience God's grace and His unfailing love, goodness and faithfulness while in some depths to which one may fall or be taken? Or experience those things of God while rising from such plunges or challenges and then afterward?

I have. And regardless of my very considerable shortcomings and continued need for growth, I am not ashamed, nor will I be ashamed, to say and sing that Jesus is my all in all. But for Him and His mercy, I would be dead physically and spiritually.

Indeed, He has been and remains "my strength when I am weak...the treasure that I seek." And undeniably, I'd be a fool to give up seeking Him. He's never given up on me.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

I heartily agree with Mr. Henry's assessment of praise music. I wish more people did. Hardly a church plays traditional hymns any longer. I learned all of the verses to "Oh Worship the King" and other hymns in Christian primary and middle school in the '70s when everyone else was singing "It Only Takes a Spark" (where is that song today?). Who says that the young can't appreciate hymnody? Praise music makes me feel like the villain in A Clockwork Orange when he hears Beethoven. I despise it.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, which would you rather have going through your head for the rest of your life? A timeless hymn like "Oh God Our Help in Ages Past" or "You Are My All in All?"

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

-- Mary Mack
Centreville, Virginia

My sentiments exactly!!

I feel that this type of "music" adds nothing to real worship, It negates the preaching of the Word of God, the Bible.

Thanks for the article.
-- Evelyn Stromberg

Mr. Henry's article concerning praise music strongly stinks of snobbery, which has very little place among Christian brothers and sisters.

The language he uses -- lumping all new songs under the term "praise songs" -- gives him away at the outset. I knew from the beginning on which side of that awful fence between old church songs and new church songs that Mr. Henry stood. I read his article with an open mind -- knowing that he had a closed mind.

I agree with Mr. Henry that "You are my all in all" has simple lyrics, but I think it dangerous to throw away a song just because it has simple lyrics. "Jesus Loves Me," too, has simple lyrics, but what a wonderful way to begin teaching the truths of Scripture to our children--and a great way to remind ourselves as adults of the simple truth that Jesus loves us!

His article seems to disregard all newer hymns, whether intentionally or not. I would encourage him to consider the hymns written by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend. The Sovereign Grace ministries have also written a prolific amount of theologically rich hymns. These are living composers who write and sing about the same glorious God of "O Worship the King."

I am also growing weary of individuals who seem to be offended by a combo -- "in church!"... Organs were and are used in secular environments, as were pianos -- why is it that they are considered superior to the guitar and the electric bass? We all know that drums are spoken of in the Psalms. An instrument is merely a thing -- no instrument can be classified as "good" or "evil." The Lord looks at a man's heart -- not the style of music that he uses to worship.

Mr. Henry and I would certainly agree on at least one thing, I'm sure -- that what we sing in church should reflect the truth of the Scriptures. I love the "old" hymns, too, Mr Henry, but new songs are being written today that are just as powerful as "O Worship the King." Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever -- why should we not continue writing new songs to praise Him? Please leave your snobbery at the door when you come to church and enter with the heart of a child.
-- Julie Spencer
DeSoto, Missouri

When a praise song can match the Mozart Ave verum for theological depth, reverence and beauty, let me know.
-- Ed Ahlsen-Girard

SWAYED LISTENERS
Re: Reader Mail's Singing Praises:

Regarding Lawrence Henry's article on Praise Music: I enjoy Henry's articles and I am glad he wrote this for no other reason than the torrent of beautifully written responses. I look forward to more.

My only experience with praise music is television commercials selling CDs. All that swaying in unison, all those trance-like expressions, all those waving arms and hands. What invariably comes to mind is an irreverent "I hope the Lord likes tacky."
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

My own parish has not (thus far, anyway) fallen prey to praise music, for which I thank a loving God.

Some readers have responded to Mr. Henry's article by claiming that praise music is what is needed to "get people in the door." Perhaps that is true, but I always wonder why this thinking isn't carried through uniformly. Certainly serving French Toast or tacos would attract more people than simple bread and wine. Or, better yet, perhaps beer and Cheetos.

It would be good to remember this: My denomination has tried every "progressive" trick to fill the pews for the past 40 years, yet our numbers have declined by half in that time. The door swings both ways, and letting in praise music fans will push me and my family out the other side. I am a member of the rapidly dwindling Episcopal Church, but the trendiness, arrogance and apostasy of the hierarchy have not been enough to drive me away. One note of praise music, however, and I am gone.
-- Andrew Batten
Melbourne, Florida

NAILS ON THE HEAD
Re: W. James Antle III's The Deal Is Done:

The points in your article are just what I had been telling my senators for months. Then the passport mess started and that just pointed out big time what a joke the checking of illegals would be. I think the pictures of Americans waiting in long lines that were shown on MSM finally woke up most citizens. Both my senators saw the light. Now to get ENFORCEMENT only bill started.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

"A lot of Americans have lost faith in their government," Sen. Jon Kyl, a dejected Republican dealmaker, told reporters after the second cloture vote failed last week. "They don't think we can control our borders. They don't think we can win a war. They don't think we can issue passports"

This is exactly correct.

Not only that, we no longer support President Bush, the wing of our Party that has sold out to business above our Country and anyone that supports them, neo-cons and the small minority that supports them.

Look at Jim Webb if you want to see who will be successful in Republican elections in 08. If we don't get people like Webb and Tester that care for our Country we deserve to be defeated.

If you don't think the disgust is growing, just wait. We don't need the Coulter types disgracing the Party any more.

Hopeful For '08
-- Joe Mahoney
Athens, Texas

Kyl hit the nail on the head with his: "A lot of Americans have lost faith in their government." The government at all levels has absolutely no credibility with me, to the point that if president Bush himself told me it was raining outside, I would still look out the window. This generation of politicos, from the President on down, has demonstrated to me a breathtaking amount of incompetence -- inability (or unwillingness for whatever reason) to secure our borders, inability to plan, conduct and win a war (no slur on our magnificent troops and company grade officers who were called on to execute a flawed plan, or likely, lack of one) even after having received the benefit of sound advice from generals such as Shinseki and former CENTCOM commander Zinni, inability to articulate a vision and mobilize the country behind it, so on and so forth. As it is said, the first step to recovery is acknowledging that a problem exists. Next step is to develop an ability to demonstrate brilliance in the basics, starting with national defense, securing our borders and tightening up this immigration problem (prosecuting employers and putting a few in prison might be a good start). Then, after I see a track record of, say, five years, MAYBE, just maybe, we can start to talk about guest workers.
-- D. Moroco
Colonel, USMCR (Ret.)
Quantico, Virginia

Perhaps what the defeat of the immigration reform contrivance reflected was America's history of being a nation of laws, and most of us, when challenged by "vote whores," will express our sentiment.

The Kennedy/Bush et al. proposal appeared to be a Trojan horse that would ignore the rule of law in the effort to solicit the Hispanic vote.

Our Constitution is frequently ignored by certain Washington interests if it stands in the way of their designs.

What designs for America are held by those who would have no reluctance to selectively ignore those laws which most Americans value and live by?

Such behavior calls into question the motives, and loyalties, of those who would so willingly erode the basis for the very existence of America as we have known it.

Just what do these people represent?
-- Bennett Bishop
Baldwinsville, NY

The title of your article implies that the Senate and the House are finished with Immigration Reform. That well may be, but I sincerely hope they aren't finished with an American populace who really want something done about border security.

I read this morning in the newspaper that Michael Chertoff is rebelling against the idea of spending $4.4 billion previously authorized on border security. Who does he think he is?

Isn't there anyone left in Washington who thinks they work for the American people?

It's time to kick out the entire group, election by election, until we get our "Government of the people, by the people, and for the people" back.

We are constantly being told it is impossible to build a fence, catch and deport illegals, deal with visa overstays, etc. If this is true, why even bother to call what we have a government?

Border security can't be done because Democrats see Hispanics as future voters, and Republicans see them as cheap labor for their business buddies. Screw the American public. They're too stupid to know what's good for them!

We have the best government money can buy. They were purchased a long time ago....
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

TWISTED POLITICS
Re: The Washington Prowler's Misrepresentations:

It seems that no matter how carefully crafted or crystal clear a conservative's statement is, liberals will find a way to twist or misrepresent it to make it sound sinister. Nothing in Fred Thompson's remarks even hints at what Hillary Clinton accuses him of. She and her political operatives are banking on the fact that most in the MSM will not challenge her grossly exaggerated rendition of Mr. Thompson's comments and that the public will blithely accept her criticism as legitimate. Unfortunately, Ms. Clinton's advisers are correct in their assessment of big media's complicity in shameful distortions of this type. I guess the jury is still out with respect to John Q. Public, but I am confident few will demand that she either defend her risible allegation or retract it. Ms. Clinton is employing bare-knuckled politics at its finest. This not-so-subtle bit of hyperbole camouflaged as righteous indignation simultaneously provides Hillary with the grist to pander to her base and the fodder needed to fuel the insatiable leftist propaganda machines salivating at the opportunity to discredit Mr. Thompson.

Truth never enters into the equation. Politicians consistently appeal to our baser instincts with their attempts to make themselves look good through the use of bogus comparisons based upon their own invented caricatures of their opponents. And as long as we tolerate it, they will continue to do it. Such is the state of political discourse in America. An old joke about lawyers applies in this instance as well. Question: How can you tell if a lawyer politician is lying? Answer: Her lips are moving.
-- Rick Arand
Lee's Summit, Missouri

HIGH DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN
Re: Bill Croke's The Doctor Is In: Meet the GOP's New Senator:

It was nice to learn that Wyoming now has a fellow physician in the Senate (and a pro-life conservative to boot). Given the Democrats' recent feints at again mucking up the country's health care system, it will be good to have at least one senator who has some inkling of what the actual practice of medicine in all about. There was a bit of misinformation in the article, however. Dr. Barrasso is quoted as stating that a mildly elevated HDL is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Perhaps your writer misunderstood him. HDL (high density lipoprotein) is actually the "good" cholesterol and higher levels actually are associated with a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.

That is, the HDL can be thought of as "protective." If the level is low, efforts should be made to raise it. Among life-style efforts the usual suspects are important: exercise, maintain a proper body weight, and perhaps a little red wine with dinner is helpful. Beyond this there are medications that can be helpful and are best discussed with one's physician. Otherwise I enjoy your publication.
-- Michael DePietro, MD
Pulmonary Associates
Newark, Delaware

High HDL levels are considered to be protective against heart disease.
-- J.N. Ellison, MD FACC

Bill Croke replies:
Being physicians, Dr. DePietro and Dr. Ellison I'm sure understand their patients' confusion with the LDL-HDL juxtaposition (which has now been corrected), and how in the interests of good health, LDL is to be lowered and HDL elevated. And I had completely forgotten the concept of HDL as the "good cholesterol." So mea culpas to the medical community and all TAS readers concerned with this common health issue.

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