John Wesley Has Some Strong Opinions About Singing–Namely, You’re Doing It Wrong

The other hymnal hasn’t come yet, unless it’s trapped out in the mailbox where it will remain until the driveway is passable by foot.  But this hymnal is the one I remember from my childhood. The Methodists have had the “new” one now for ages and it does fix a lot of the problems with this one, but I still love this one a lot.

When I was little, during the summers, the first hymn would be by request. You’d just shout out the hymn number and the first one the minister heard, that’s what you sang.

“Old 92” was invariably a congregation favorite. “Amazing Grace” is in the new hymnal, too, of course, but it’s not “Old 92” any more. Though, it would be fun to go into a church and shout “92” and see who started singing.

I didn’t remember that 93 was “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” but it tickles me that it is. That is still one of my favorite hymns

I remember at one church, a guy loved 88. For some reason I had it in my head that 88 was “The Old Rugged Cross” which was, hands down, my favorite hymn as a small child.  Ha. If you wonder how I became the gal I am today, consider me at five years old loving “The Old Rugged Cross.” I would cry about it, I loved it so much.

But, no, 88 is “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.” I’ll have to ask my dad, but I feel like I remember that we kids used to march in waving our palms to this song on Palm Sunday.

But the best part is that, at the front of the hymnal, are John Wesley’s Directions for Singing. They’re all good, but let me draw your attention to directions four and five, which are the best, for reasons which will be obvious in a second.

IV. Sing lustily and with a good courage. 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 it being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.

V. 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.

Yes, sing both lustily and modestly. But is there a better sentence than “Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of it being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan”? I almost want to make that the epigraph to my book.

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Top Ten Things People I Like Like That I Don’t Get

1. Rush

2. Lucero

3. Uncle Tupelo

4. Catcher in the Rye

5. Mushrooms (I like the taste of mushrooms, but the texture… ugh, it’s like eating someone’s dead tongue)

6. West Wing

7. The enormous number of people who name their kids in some way after To Kill a Mockingbird

8. Sad movies

9. Jeans that make you look like a loaf of bread with two toothpicks out the bottom

10. I don’t have a tenth thing, but here we are anyway.

An Important Way Cats Differ from Children

If my child ate something that caused him, a half an hour later, to come back into the kitchen and throw up on his plate, my child would never be served that thing again.

When the orange cat does it?

Eh, fuck him. I’m sorry he likes the chunky food better than the pate. But I got the wrong stuff and a lot of it, so he’ll just have to learn to live with it.

Seriously, so much of having a cat is getting scratched for no reason and learning to out-stubborn them. It’s a good thing they’re so damn cute the rest of the time or we’d wear their carcasses around our necks as trophies.

I mean–

“I have defeated the most stubborn, meanest, ugliest creature in the neighborhood! I wear its hideous visage as a necklace!”

“Ooo, my hero.”

is one thing.

“I have defeated the most stubborn, meanest, cutest creature in the neighborhood! I wear its adorable visage as a necklace!”

“Mr. Puffle! Oh my god! What have you done to Mr. Puffle?! You monster!!!!”

is quite another.

And cats obviously know this.