In some form or another, I have had a view from a pew for much of my entire life. My biological and spiritual family trees are filled with a seemingly disproportionate number of ministers. I grew up as one of those kids who if the church doors were open for a service or gathering, we were probably going to be there. I have attended small churches and large churches; country churches, urban churches, and suburban churches; churches that were grand cathedrals and churches that were little more than shacks; I even once went to a church were they handle snakes. Regardless of the church, my view has largely been from the pew. These are my observations.
What do churches and golf courses have in common? Together they account for over 90% of the small pencil market.
Recently some friends of our children attended church with us. As the communion tray was passed around, the youngest (a six year old) asked if he had to eat the bread and the juice. When told that he did not, he replied, “Good, because the bread looks stale and I only drink Juicy Juice”.
When I was a child, I remember our church having a yearly revival in which there would be six to seven nights of preaching. Now it seems like we can make do with two to three nights of services. In fact, some churches don’t even have revivals anymore. I guess we just don’t need as much revivaling now days.
I also remember that it used to be a big deal to sign up to host the revivalist at your house for dinner. Looking back on this practice, it seems somewhat cruel to feed the revivalist a big meal and then expect him to deliver a message without burping or slipping off to sleep. That is what my dad and grandfather usually did during the message.
As a young child, when we would host the revivalist for dinner before the service, I always wondered if we would get a sneak preview of the message. The neurotic me also worried about what would happen if he didn’t like dinner. I love my mom, but I could usually count on two nights per week of not liking dinner.
The person with one of the hardest jobs at a church service now days is the poor soul who has to advance the PowerPoint slides as the congregation sings worship songs. Few places have I seen more looks that could kill than those looks that are directed to the sound booth when the right words are not on the screen.
If I were a pianist or organist at a church, I would insist on facing the congregation as I played. I would be paranoid that everyone was staring at me trying to figure out if I have a bald spot.
I’m pretty sure the last time I attended the church I grew up at, they had moved the pianist completely to another building. I never did see her. Cathie (my wife) and I kept asking each other where she was.
I am also not a fan of the glass, see-through pulpit. What if your fly is undone?
Have you ever priced a pulpit or a communion table? Talk about Jesus needing to clear the temple. Somebody is making a killing.
I know I should let it go, but I still have a great deal of guilt about hiding in the church baptistery once during a robust game of hide and seek.
I attended a conference once where people who made decisions were baptized in the backyard pool of a neighboring house. If I owned that house, I’m not sure I could ever swim in that pool again. I would have thoughts like: “I just farted in the baptistery”, “I just did a belly flop in the baptistery”, “Let’s invite the cute girl who just moved in next door over to swim in the baptistery”, and “Does the water look blue to you? Get out! I think someone peed in the baptistery”.
I think it is funny that restaurants and churches both use pager systems. At least at the Olive Garden I know it is my turn to eat. At church, it means one of my sons has done something that is not covered in the church nursery manual.
I attended a church for two years before I realized that they used a similar system. Yours child’s number would light up on a monitor above the preacher’s head. For two years, I thought this was some sort of attendance or approval rating board that gave real-time updates.
Wouldn’t it be funny/horrible/ironic if the pager number they gave your child was 666?