It is so important that hymns be sung in the proper spirit! Thanks, Riot Kitty, for suggesting that I post this hilarious video by Eddie Izzard about how Christian hymns are typically sung. As always, he's spot on! (Please note: the hymn singing part starts about 0:42, after Jesus gets "tarted up a bit.")
Love it! This video reminds me of the only good thing I learned from the Baptists when I was in a Baptist youth group as a teenager. At my own United Church, the congregation always sang in the quiet, dreary manner described by Eddie Izzard. But at the Baptist church, the minister exhorted the congregation to belt out the hymns as loudly as we could, at the very top of our lungs. It doesn't matter in the least, he said, if you can't carry a tune in a bucket. God doesn't care if anyone can sing or not and neither should we. The important thing is that people walking down the street outside the church should hear the hymns blasting out and be drawn in by the conviction of our singing.
He was wrong about a lot of stuff, that Baptist minister, but he was right about singing out in a full-voiced, unselfconscious way. All voices are worthy in the ears of the Divine and everyone should be encouraged to participate in the joy of devotional singing.