Monday, March 8, 2010

Idiot's Sightseer Guide to Sunday Morning

I've been going to church for a long time - too long maybe! I have noticed that church folks grow accustom to certain rituals. Hell, they even try to sit in the same place each Sunday.

How about you, are you a creature of religious habits? I'd like to think that I am not, but I am. I still sit in the back row posting Facebook "stati" as though I am at a Boston Bruins game in sudden death overtime.

Apparently someone noticed me. Even the back row, normally reserved for other bored folks, is no longer private. How far have we fallen? On Sunday morning there was a screen requesting that we shut off our cell phones! I am thinking that the woman with spiritual distemper who stood behind me last week, said something to the pastor. I laughed out loud when I saw it! And if I'd had a mouth full of coffee, I would have projected a mixed organic mist at least two or three rows forward; taking out the bald guy with the huge wife and his family along with a few teenagers and the crazy lady with the tambourine.

Here are some religious habits that seem to have caught on as I have toured the manicured American church.

Jeans and T-Shirts - that is the new "Sunday best," and apparently seeing as we only go to church once a week, casual Sunday is as good as it gets. I have a t-shirt that says; "What Wouldn't Jesus Do?" so that I can fit in.

Coffee Drinking - some denominations have become like the Dunkin' Jesus chain (probably Baptists - j/k) . Depending on the time of year, they have clear plastic silk screened cup; recycle #5, filled with iced, double caffeinated, whipped, caramel-mocha-nut-drizzle-swirl with foaming whipped cream and 5 sugars. Crack-in-a-cup for short. Caffeine and spirituality go hand-in-hand. And for leaders, there's sushi too.

Electric Guitars - the amplified guitar appears to have been added because any music you would sing at church, you would never listen to at home because it is too wimpy. The addition of the "electric guitar" is designed to drown out the voices of the musically challenged - church pros also shut off the lights during worship to protect the identity of the rhythmically challenged.

Overhead Projection - meant to provide assistance to those that don't know what a hymnal is. Thank God the overhead projectors with transparencies are gone! We now have state-of-the-art computer projection with majestic backgrounds - and lots of typos - which are best fixed while they are displayed. And one more question, who's idea was it to put the screen in front of the cold air return so that it shimmers? At first I thought it was a theophany.

Starting a Sermon with a Funny Story - It seems that humor brings the anointing for the sermon. I think Jay Lenno should have a church - bajillions would come to church.

First Time Visitor Cards - name address and email so we can SPAM you. Beware, some churches parade around visitors and newcomers like the dessert tray at an fine Italian restaurant. I was really hoping to have more room for a few key resume points in case they have any opening for a resident wise-guy. I haven't had that much luck with these, but I keep trying.

Bored Teens - heads down texting, iPods and Game Boys and Jesus metal t-shirts. Interesting they have time for these activities - probably because they are at the pinnacle of their intelligence. For ways to deal with church boredom click HERE.

Free Gift - How subversive is that? We won't make you stand up in front of the congregation, but we'll parade you around with a gift bag that fits a CD of outdated worship like spandex on a hippo. And you don't know it, but the mints are of a special tincture used to alert the --

Greeters - like mating cheetah, these are the folks hired to shake your hand while they talk to their friends from small-group. Well, first impressions are not of God. The very fact that someone was nice to you once, is not enough "confirmation" to join a church.

How about you - are you religious? Does it seem like some things missing?

8 comments:

Joyce Lighari said...

You nailed it! Who said we don't have liturgy. I think you missed the clerical garb - almost as predictable as the robe in another type of church.

photogr said...

David:

Something tells me you got to visit a Vineyard Church but was kicked out. LOL

covnitkepr1 said...

That overhead screen is the reason most folks if asked to turn to it, can't find the book of "Habakkuk" even if it would save their life.

I enjoyed your post. I'm now a follower.

2SenseWorth said...

Hmmmm..... No offense, just wondering, is there anything you DO like about church and God's people?

Attire doesn't matter all that much to Jesus, your best T-shirt and jeans should suffice. If Starbuck's style brings people out to hear the Word of God (both Christians or unsaved alike) than so be it. In this country, whatever it takes.. just so there's more than java to draw you back. No offense on the cell phone issue, an occasional ring/checking for a message, why not? But, I s'pose God deserves our best attempt at full attention when He's speaking thru a man of God. I mean, why get all dressed up in your best T-shirt and jeans, and come out early on your day off, to sit and twitt, you can do that anyday, anywhere... and if you dont' believe the man your sitting under is a man of God, hearing from God, than in my opinion let's not criticize or be disrespectful, just leave and find a true man of God.
As for greeters... I'd rather be greeted and given "goody bags" (taking notes haha) than ignored. Been there, done that...
And lastly, I personally like the electric guitars and overhead. Beats "Let us stand and sing.... page...."

I truly love the Body of Christ!!! Even when they don't get everything right.

Nicodemus at Nite said...

Oh boy, too much religion and yes I am religious as the next guy. Anybody hold the offering plate slightly longer than need be so others know that you're tithing?

I was listening to Francis Chan this morning and he equated church today to college lecture halls. We just listen to the speaker, not really having to do anything but just take notes, if that.

nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com

David said...

2SenseWorth - LOL. Yes, I love when folks come together and the presence of God shows up. It doesn't matter where or when - or what the activity - prayer or picnic. If you read yesterdays post about the man from Argentina, you'll see right where my heart is.

Yes, I am tired of programs that are "good" ideas and not "God" ideas - I want Jesus.

BTW - It is not easy to just go to church and find a man of God here in New England.

I don't really care what church looks like, as long as it is God. I am sure there are lots of ways to help folks engage with God.

And top of my list at the local church is meaningful relationship. Goody bags don't compare to a person that gives you a phone number and answers it when you call, or plans to meet your for breakfast so they can get to know you.

And lastly - this was just poking fun at a culture that I am familiar with - I suppose I might do a Catholic version next time.

2SenseWorth said...

David,

Thanks for your response. It's much appreciated and understood.

Looking forward to the Catholic version, LOL...

Tony C said...

It was like working my way down a check-list...scary.

That lady with the tamborine has got to go. She throws the drummer off time!

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