Sunday Morning Football

order of service

Well, it happened again.

I don’t know why I was surprised. It’s usually a theme this time of year when pro football is in full swing, and college football is in bowl season.

But for some reason it caught me off guard.

Maybe because I wasn’t really firing on all cylinders this morning.

I’m still not sure how we made the jump from I Peter to the Dolphins/Redskins game of 1983, but in Sunday School today, someone made the inevitable comparison between our fanatic excitement at a football game and our lack thereof at church.

Which always makes me giggle at the mental picture.

Can you imagine what would happen if we did act in church the same way we act during a football game??

Would we wear the jersey of our favorite soloist? Perhaps the number of our favorite hymn?

Or would it be Team Worship Music vs Team Preaching?

Would there be hecklers?

Please let there be hecklers.

There’s a kerfluffle in the sound booth and the mics aren’t hot for the opening chorus…
“False Start! False Start! Are you seeing this, ref??!!”

An usher fails to take the offering plate when it reaches the end of the row…
“Incomplete pass?!! C’mon, man! You’re killing us!!”

The soloist feels led to add two extra choruses to her song…
“Delay of game! Delay of game! Is no one watching the clock??!!”

The pastor really gets into his introduction and takes a while to make his first point…
“Seriously??!! Can we not get a first down here??!! Ten words! Just ten words! That’s all it takes!!”

A kid gets out of his seat, disrupting the service…
“Can no one stop him?!!! Whose man is that?!! WHOSE MAN IS THAT??!!”

The head deacon is called on to give the benediction, and feels the need to re-preach the sermon before he dismisses in prayer…
“Are you kidding me??!! Overtime??!!! Doggone it!! …I need another slice of pizza.”

The Sunday School Sneak

This morning I realized I was in the wrong Sunday School class.

I started attending this church about six weeks ago. It’s a fairly large church, and to be honest, my biggest concern was not their theology, or missions statement, or their music philosophy. Don’t get me wrong – those things are important. But what I really wanted to find was a good Sunday School Class.

On my first Sunday, the sweet little old lady greeter took me to her class which, sure enough, was full of sweet little old ladies.

Not really my scene.

The next Sunday, I asked the greeter for a class that was “more my age,” and was directed to the wonderful class I now attend.

I truly enjoy this class. It’s small, and there is a great sense of camaraderie, and we’re doing a very interesting study of the Book of Galatians.

Plus, there are muffins.

However, this morning I saw something I had never seen before. The name of the class.

I don’t know how I missed it, except that no one ever told me. But there, plastered to the side of the box where they place the roll sheet and the offering were the words: “Growing Families Sunday School Class.”

AKA: Married People Only

Panic set in almost immediately: I’m not married. I’m a family of one. I don’t think that’s going to grow any time soon. Oh no! Are they going to ask me to leave? Do I have to find another class? Why did no one tell me?! I’m going to end up in one of those depressing Single Classes full of 20 year old college kids and 48 year old divorcĂ©es!

But as I sat there munching my muffin and contemplating my future exile, the absurdity of the situation hit me.

Why does it even matter?

Who cares if I’m single, or married, or divorced, or widowed, or childless, or starting my own private colony of offspring?

Is there a different Bible I’m supposed to use if I’m single? One that doesn’t have the Song of Solomon, maybe?

Do I have to pray differently if I’m not allowed to read the book The Power of a Praying Wife?

For that matter, why do we sequester single people into different Sunday School classes away from the rest of the adult population? Is there some sort of Single disease? Are we afraid the married people will catch it?

Why must we assume that someone can only fall into the categories of “Married and Multiplying” or “Single and Stuck”?

For years, I’ve said that the church has a problem with developing an adequate Singles Ministry. Maybe the problem is that there IS a Singles Ministry. Maybe there should just be a People Ministry where everyone is welcome no matter where they are in life.

I don’t mind hanging out with married people. I like married people. Some of my best friends are married people.

And hey, if I’m here long enough, maybe it will rub off on me.

My Name is Single

A Rant…but a short one…

I’m a Fundamental, Independent Baptist…and I’m single. In our circles, that’s akin to having leprosy. A woman, at my age, and still single…well! Let’s just say…there must be a reason. The idea that single is bad and married (to anyone) is infinitely preferable is a philosophy that has inundated the very fiber of Baptist culture. [Just to clarify…I’m not IFB. That really isn’t a thing, you know. And no one had ever heard that term until Dateline made up a story about it…just FYI.] But back to the topic at hand…
Saying, “I’m single” is sorta like saying, “I have cancer.” People look at you with pity. They pray for you, try to encourage you, and tell you stories of their second cousin Betty who was single until she was 43, then God miraculously “blessed her with a man.” They hope you won’t die from it, but they are resigned to the fact that if you’re too far gone, there really is no hope.
Being single – a single woman – in a Baptist church is an enigma. No one knows where you fit. You didn’t follow the plan. You broke the pattern.
Well, let me help you. “The truth will set you free,” and I’m about to lay a few truths on ya… Continue reading

Fiery Darts and the Shield of Faith

Last Thursday, I spoke to our Ladies’ Group at church. It was a nerve-wracking experience. …Not because I’m afraid of public speaking – on the contrary – I revel in it. (I don’t know if it’s because my life is fueled by high-strung stress, or if it’s because I just truly enjoy being the center of attention, imparting my well-researched, methodically organized, logically outlined and alliterated knowledge to the world.) But this…speaking before a group of ladies…occupying a lectern that so many Godly women – far more worthy than I – had occupied…sharing a burden, a calling, that God had so deeply impressed on my heart…this was terrifying.
I had prepared the lesson that I felt was what God would have me give – or at least I tried to. Continue reading