Sister Gossip - If you wanna know what's going on with ANYONE at church, Sister Gossip is sure to know. She thrives on getting up in everyone's "bidness". She is the Harriet Oleson of the congregation and she usually starts sentences with, "I don't usually gossip, but..." and "You didn't hear this from me, but..."
Mister Scriptorian - In my experience, this person is usually a man. He knows the scriptures inside and out and it doesn't stop there, either. He knows the exact spot in the exact village where Jesus turned the water into wine. He knows what year the Tower of Babel was erected off the top of his head. He is very pleased with his plethora of knowledge, and will gladly share it even when you DIDN'T ask.
Granny Goody-Goody - This is the old lady that sits and watches and keeps tabs on who is or isn't there. She is quick to cast judgment pointing out other people's sins, and "breathing" hellfire and damnation. Basically like SNL's Church Lady. "Could it be...SATAN???"
Then there are other characters like the couple with 20 kids, the lady with the HUGE bouffant hairstyle to match her big bootie, the do-gooder family that is always feeding the homeless or babysitting for free. There's the woman that loves to sing in church, though her voice may be a bit overbearing. There is the old man with the plaid suit who's hearing aid is turned up so loud you can hear the squealing throughout the chapel. There is the weird guy that seems just a little "off" due to years of drug abuse before finding Jesus, and of course don't forget the Perfects!
Brother and Sister Perfect have a Perfect Marriage, a Perfect House and Perfect Children. Brother Perfect has the Perfect job while Sister Perfect gets to stay at home and bake her Perfectly-Perfect Peach Pie Perfection. And they are just so happy, always smiling, and seriously, so blessed and everything in their lives is so....perfect!
Ok, so now that we have the characters down (you recognized some, right?) let's talk about how to "save church". I'm talking about those Sundays that it's just hard to be there (even tho, like I said, I LOVE church). Perhaps you're too tired to listen or the speaker is a little dry (this never happens, right?). In any case, you're there and you don't want to get up and leave cuz you don't want to offend anyone or let on that you're bored, plus it's just not the right thing to do, right? So, here are some things (Heaven knows I've done) in an effort to "save church".
Thumb through the hymnal - pretty soon you find yourself thinking, "hey - that's a good one. We haven't sang that one in a long time". Or maybe you're reading the words and realize that you never really knew what that song was even about until just that second. You may not be listening to the talk, but at least looking at the lyrics to a hymn is good for the soul.
Make lists - I am a good list maker during church. I have made lists of menu items for an upcoming party as well as who to invite. What things to pack if I'm going out of town. Names I always wished I could have given my children. Or anything else I can come up with. Now, the key to making lists, is to look up at the speaker every few seconds. This will make it appear to everyone around you that you are taking copius notes. If anything, you will notice THEM straighten up a little in their seats. See, now you've got them thinking, "Wow - if she's taking notes, this must be important. I'd better pay attention."
Help with Small Children - Start a little finger play with the kid in front of you that continues to turn around and stare. Let the crying child come and sit by you so you can "help" them color. If you have a lot of little kids at your church, start carrying snackies in your bag, for emergencies; there are sure to be a lot of emergencies when
People-Watch - ok, so though this alternative won't save your social graces or your soul, it is the most fun. This is probably the number one thing I do at church. In part, I can't help it cuz I am a fidgeter and my mind just wanders. It is very hard for me to sit still. Anywho, here are just some of things I have noticed in my church-people-watching experience:
- Family A is irritated cuz Family B sat in their pew! How dare they! Don't they know that Family A ALWAYS sits there???
- The organist and chorister struggling for musical "power". The organist will either play too fast or too slow while the chorister tries to maintain the beat. Sorry sister, even if the organ SHOULD follow you - half the congregation doesn't even know what your waving arm means. They are gonna follow the organ. You lose.
- Spanking Parents. You can always pick out the spanking parents in church. Their kids start to act up and they do not want others to know about their little discipline style, so they are acting all sweet. Give it a few minutes, and soon you'll see gritted teeth through their fake smiles. Finally, it's a dead giveaway when the dad "reaches" for Tommy's arm and Tommy yells, "OUCH! You're HURTING me!" Or when he takes Temper-Tantrum Susie out and on the way she is screaming, "No! I don't wanna go out! I don't want you to spank me!!!"