Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I can't speak to the question about songwriting, as I have little experience in that field (I did write one song, years ago-- or rather, I collaborated with a musician, writing the lyric).
Perhaps I can suggest that the topic is connected to a broader question I've long had about Christians , and/or Quakers and the aesthetic, or beauty... I sometimes wonder whether (some) Friends mistrust beauty, or are indifferent to it? Today during First Day School, someone talked about the idea that words are a distraction, a hindrance-- that the important thing was the spiritual meaning lying behind or beneath or beyond...
While I understand what was meant, I found myself resisting the idea somewhat. While it may be true that I am listening for the Spirit during another Friend's vocal ministry, I can't deny that a well-constructed message, a skillful use of language, an effective metaphor, and above all a strong sense of proportion and balance-- all of these qualities, when present, do give me pleasure. And the same applies to other modes of performance, namely the song.
Finally, I have to say: the most powerful vocal ministry I've experienced, at Illinois Yearly Meeting a few years ago, was sung-- and sung well.