Friday, 26 September 2014

Hymns Old and New -- How to Sing

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.

30 comments:

ditchingthedog said...

I am a Quaker and we leave singing out of the whole service. I love this. Singing is only fun for the people that can sing and I am not one of them.

mxtodis123 said...

We used to sing hymns in my church when I was growing up, but I only pretended to sing. Never thought I had any kind of a voice.
Mary

Mark said...

Full bodied singing without a care in the world is something that's good about Church. I don't go at all really but I've been to enough weddings and christenings to hear enough hymns. My dad, who is a regular church goer, always sings quietly like that. Everyone else seems to just belt it out, myself included.

Adam said...

I think Baptists churchs can vary greatly. For example in the South, "baptists" are one of the worst groups of angry hateful Christians.

DEZMOND said...

I've never been to a ceremony in a church....

Linda Wildenstein said...

Oh Jessey Chressy is quite possibly my fave of Mr. Izzard's sayings and is used very often to express frustration here at Casa de Cuckoo.
We are the former loud, joyfilled and strong church hymn singers. Actually it is something that I feel like my grands have missed out on. When Shelley was a teen, she and I actually sang in church together as a duet many times. The "holy Judds" as it were. I love to sing and when I hear those hymns now, I just sing along like I think I know what I'm doing.....funny about breaking old habits and all. Oma Linda

Michael D'Agostino said...

Oh I couldn't agree more. In any catholic church I go to, the people are so self-conscious about singing that you end up just hearing a droning murmur.

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

I grew up a Southern Baptist and we did sing. I was always a timid child. As time went by, I did get more confident I always admired those who would belt out a song.....Happy weekend.

Silke said...

That was too funny! I had to forward it to a few friends!! I've often wondered why most church service became so dreary... Didn't enjoy them as a kid and just don't go now! I still like to sing though! :) xoxo Silke

Fundy Blue said...

Izzard certainly nailed the dreary hymn singing I am so familiar with! Thanks for this wonderful Friday laugh! Have a good one, Debra!

Riot Kitty said...

This is still one of THE funniest, truest things I've ever seen/heard in my life. :)

Missy George said...

Sometimes the singing is the best part of church. Have a great weekend.

mrsduncanmahogany said...

Hilarious!

Jim said...

HILARIOUS!! And spot on Eddie Izzard!

Dawna said...

I love hymns sung with passion! in tune or out!. Eddie is funny!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

BAHAHAHA! I LOVED this. What a hoot. I was laughing out loud again. You crazy, woman, you; you find the best stuff. We didn't have ANY singing in the church I attended as a child, and there's still no singing so many decades later. Never was. Probably never will be. So I didn't have any fun like that. Darn.

Anne Basso said...

My father was the choir director at the Episcopal Church I grew up at. I always felt that way about our hymns.

And any post with Eddie Izzard in it, wins from the get-go. Just sayin'.

Laurent said...

Very funny and true!

JACKIESUE said...

I love Eddie...soooo much..I think he's hot..
when I was spending summer with my dad's mother..(Big Mama) she insisted I go with the Baptist preachers son to a revival..I had been a catholic long enough to know I was going to tell if I went.but Big Mama had her way and off I went..so it's July in Texas..had to have been 112 in that tent..had 200 people or so..so I"m sitting there sweating like a piglet and the preacher comes up to the podium and slams the Bible on it and screamed at the top of his lungs we were all going to hell..scared the living crap out of me..I jumped up and said ok, that's all..and he took me home..on the way home he decided he was entitled to a grope or two..I punched him in the face and walked home..yeah, never trust a preachers son.

Pickleope Von Pickleope said...

Oh how I love Eddie Izzard. Living in the South, I'm not a huge fan of Baptists (a little too fundamentalist), but what I do love is that un-self-conscious way of singing at the top of their lungs. That type of singing and/or dancing is true divinity...to me.

Joy Christi said...

That video both fascinated and scared my 2 yr old. She's kind of judgey. We're working on it.
There is something about singing at the top of your lungs that is very healing, like scream therapy but more socially acceptable.
I'm glad to hear you say that God loves us all, not matter what our voices sound like, because my Grandmother had a horrible voice, but she always joined church choires and belted it out. Probably why she lived so long. Maybe I should look into that...

heartinhand said...

Since my "religion" is now rock and roll, I fully believe in singing along at the top of my lungs!

A fresh start said...

Spot on ! I love it !

Veronica Roth said...

That's the one thing I quite enjoyed about the Roman Catholic church my first husband was a part of, (on the rare occasions that me-agnostic-me got dragged to a Sunday service). Sometimes I can't even think of the song without hearing the melody.

Ron Troke said...

omG ~~ I can't stop, I just can't stop!!!

Ms Misantropia said...

I love Eddie Izzard, especially when does historical bits. He's very knowledgeable.

Dexter Klemperer said...

Agreed. Makes you wonder how that whole Monks chanting genre got popular a few years ago. I'd like to hear monks chanting Led Zeppelin songs. Reminds me of the classic Simpsons episode where Bart tricked the congregation into singing as the Reverend Lovejoy announced, "In the Garden of Eden by a Mr. I. Ron Butterfly."

Willym said...

On Laurent's graduation trip to London in... well we'll just forget the year.... we had the television on in the hotel room. It was Whitsunday and they were broadcasting a service from Winchester Cathedral. The very proper English men and boys choir and congregation were singing sedately about tongue of fire descending. And then their special guests in the name of ecumenicalism - a black Pentecostal congregation began to sing - loudly Praising the Lord, clapping and moving and really getting into it. BBC cameras caught the priceless expressions on many of the good people's faces and even more the almost collective sigh of relief when this group stopped and they could back to good old fashioned hymn singing the way God, in her wisdom, intended it to be.

Francie M said...

hahahahahahahaha! And the worst part about Protestant churches is that they tend to sing every single solitary lugubrious verse! Love this guy!

Dr. Theda said...

He played Gramdpa on the new attempt at "The Munsters"