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Friday, April 3, 2015

GOING TO CHURCH


GOING TO CHURCH
 
My family was a regular church going family until each of “The Boys” was safely confirmed as full members of the church.  At that point, apparently mom and dad had done their job, and participation at Church was voluntary. 
For the most part, we volunteered to not go.  Mom and dad were ok with that, and Sundays became pancake and bacon, and what time is the game on Sunday.
Pop still paid tribute to the church, he sent a check every January that represented what would be a weekly contribution had the whole family gone to church on a regular basis.
We generally went to church one day every year.  We went to church on Easter.  We usually went to the Easter sunrise service which required getting up at 4:30 am and suffering through an early spring frigid morning outside the church.
Every Easter sunrise service, in the freezing cold of a spring dawn, the minister started his sermon with a little joke.  Looking out over a packed audience, probably double a normal Sunday, he declared,
“Welcome everyone to this wondrous day.  It is nice to see so many new faces.  You do know we are here every Sunday, not just once a year don’t you?”
This always got a lovely knowing chuckle followed by buzzing and head nodding from all the church “better than thou” regulars, most of whom were little old ladies in funny hats with very stern looking husbands by their sides.
Every year, when this little joke was made, I could see my father do a slow burn.  Every year going home I heard the same rant from my pop.
“You know, I pay a considerable sum every year to that church.  If I choose to only go once a year, that is my business and I really don’t like to go and then have some dweeb with a funny collar point out to everyone that many of us, based  on attendance, are not as good as the regulars. 
I don’t know what makes those regulars such wonderful people.  I do know that I have raised my sons to respect the church; I do know that I am a charitable person who has volunteered for community service, has taught Sunday school and tried to live my life as a good Christian.  I have a good mind to tell that pastor off and stop making any payments except on the one day a year that I choose to attend.”
Every year my mom shut this rant down with just two words in a way that only moms can.
“Now Jim…”
The next year, we would all be back shivering through the Pastor’s smug insider joke and another Easter sermon.

17 comments:

  1. At least she didn't call him a JERK!!

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  2. Churches I've attended have called such attendees "CEO" Christmas, Easter, Other. I wish they wouldn't say that and embrace people are making the effort to at least attend once or twice a year. Maybe if the emphasis wasn't put on their infrequent attendance, they might come back again before the next holiday.

    betty

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  3. We weren't a church going family. Mum sent us to Sunday School a few times, but mostly so we'd have friends to socialise with I think. When we chose not to go, there was no fuss made. When we were a bit older, we'd go a few times in the weeks leading up to the yearly Sunday School picnic, so we'd get our invitations.

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  4. I take a dim view of the whole enterprise. Prefer not to go, unless someone dies or gets married.

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  5. I agree with your dad, but I must remember your mom's trick for shutting down a rant... except my husband's name isn't Jim ;)

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  6. There's a difference between spirituality and religion. This is a prime example.

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  7. I was raised Catholic and went to church regularly, unlike my parents who were living room Catholics and seldom went to church. When I was a teen my mother asked why I stopped going to church. I told her I stopped going when I realized that, according to the tenets of the Church, she was going to hell.

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  8. too cute. we were one of the 'regulars'. sat in the same dang pew every sunday, every holy day, every friday during lent...

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  9. We were regulars. My mom and I spent a lot of time discussing outfits and the length of women's nails and hairstyles. We really got the "message" don't ya think?

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  10. Women can be so powerful at times can't they. Your mom did very well.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

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  11. Church-going doth not a good person make :)

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  12. I went to church without my Mom or Dad when I was just 8 or 9 and went almost every Sunday until I was in College when I became a backslider and now do not go to church except for Baptisms of my grand-children.

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  13. Funny joke for the regulars, but guaranteed to tick of the once a year'ers and certainly would keep them from upping their game with more regular attendance. Ridicule never encourages.
    Have you mentioned to Mrs. C that, "Now joeh...." might be effective?

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  14. I went to the Baptist church with my grandparents all through my school years. My parents didn't go. They started attending the Methodist church after my dad had a heart attack. When they asked us to go at Easter and Christmas, I did. Same thing from the pastor. Snide remark about the holiday attendees. Which really made me want to get up and walk out.

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  15. He shouldn't have made that joke. We go every week, but not because we are better than anyone who doesn't, but because we love the fellowship with others believers. If you only want to come sometimes, i know i'd just be glad you came, and nothing more.

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  16. We had an elderly pastor once who not only opened the Christmas service with a hearty welcome to everyone, "visitors" included, but also added that he'd admonished a regular who'd grumbled that the "poinsettias" would undoubtedly occupy his primo seating unless he arrived much, much earlier that morning. That incident swept away my smug superiority of being a regular and I have not revisited it since!

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  17. I can't blame your dad for getting annoyed by that.

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