Thursday Tunes

Because I was raised in the Baptist end of Christianity, occasionally I feel like a complete outsider as a Presbyterian. On other occasions, I have an incredible sense of sadness, because there is so much richness to historic, confessional Presbyterianism that I missed out on.

I’ve mentioned an aspect of that here at Southern Reformation once before. I often want to grab the children in my little Presbyterian church and ask them if they know how lucky they are that they’re being raised on the Shorter Catechism! That is just one profound devotional aspect of being Presbyterian that I wish I could have experienced as a child.

The other is using the Psalter in worship.

I had never sung a psalm before attending seminary. I had heard that there was this strange tribe that held to something called “exclusive psalmody,” but I was completely ignorant of what that meant. Much to my surprise, I would find myself a member of this strange tribe within a couple of years!

So for today’s (belated) installment of my ongoing “Tunes” series, we have a video of the RPCNA International Psalm-Sing.



4 thoughts on “Thursday Tunes

  1. I often feel the same way about being Catholic — only Catholics have even more tradition! There is so much to being “culturally Catholic” that I still have no clue about. Sometimes I am glad about that, because some culturally Catholic practices do go a bit overboard I think, bordering on superstition. But often I do still feel like a foreigner. I prayed the canned blessing at meals that all Catholics pray yesterday for the first time: “Bless us Lord with these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.” But I’ll probably always do the Protestant thing and pray blessings extemporaneously.

    I sang a Psalm for the first time at a Presbyterian church, a year or so before I became Catholic. I really appreciated it. I liked that church a lot. I don’t really have the lexicon to describe it, but it was a small group of mostly fairly young people around my age who were striving to be traditional and liturgical. I guess a church is “confessional Presbyterian” if they adhere to traditional Presbyterian confessions of faith? I wasn’t around there very long, but I know my friends there were heavy into Calvin, and that we recited the Apostles’ Creed every week, with a marked footnote disclaimer on little-c “catholic.” 🙂 I might have stayed there if I hadn’t felt so awkward being the only single guy there my age. Everyone else my age was married and being fruitful and multiplying, and then there were all the pretty young teenage ladies (some of whom were my students) who were distracting to me.

    Thesis is still slogging on. I’m meeting with my advisor this week trying to get it on a track to the finish line. I hope before too long to write the next post in my conversion story, which will highlight my brief brush with Calvinism in the period I’m describing above. 🙂 Hope all is well with you.

  2. I grew up in the PC(USA) and feel much like you do, an outsider to my tribe (ARP). I also had a similar experience when it comes to singing the Psalms. I was in a PC(USA) seminary when I had a “confessional conversion” and became ARP. Because of that I started attending the RPCNA seminary and was obviously introduced to psalm singing for the first time ever. It was like taking a drink from the most refreshing firehose ever.

    • Pastor Glaser,

      Is there room in the ARP for an exclusive psalmodist? The ARP is a denomination that interests me greatly, and I know some fine men in the denomination (Steve Maye and Dean Turbeville), but I wonder if an exclusive psalmodist could find a home there…


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