Could Be (Has Been) Worse!

One contemporary from 1800 described Presbyterian singing as “serious severe screaming quite beyond the natural pitch of the voice, a wandering search after the  [tune] by many who never caught it…the dogs seized the occasion to bark (for they always came to Kirk with the family), and the babies to cry.” Another preacher had to warn a congregation: “Do not whisper, talk, gaze about.  Do not practice that unseemly, rude, indecent Custom of Chewing or of spitting, which is very ridiculous and absurd in Public, especially in God’s House” (“The Genuine Presbyterian Whine’:  Presbyterian Worship in the Eighteenth Century,” American Presbyterians, Fall 1996, pp. 157-170).

—Harry Boonstra, “The Best of Times? The Worst of Times? Snapshot of Worship Styles,” Reformed Worship 47 (March 1998),

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