John Wesley gave directions for hymn singing, one of which has been taken very seriously by Baptist ministers of the male variety, ‘sing lustily and with courage’. Wesley went on to say, ‘Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sang the songs of Satan.’ No chance of that happening! I’m still traumatised by the experience at theological college of the predominantly male students singing ‘I love you, Lord’ as if it was the pre-match sing-along.
We often seem to turn a blind eye (or is it a deaf ear?) to another direction by Mr Wesley, ‘Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.’