When Honey was in the car business in Minnesota, he came home with very few, very very few funny stories. His aches and pains are a whole ‘nother entry.
We were both going through turmoil. Honey dedicated his life to Christ mere months before the family business died and he took a job as a car salesman. I, too, having been employed at the family business had to scramble for other work and ended up in the same town as he did 20 miles away. Our lives were stressed at best. I was stressed enough to attend a larger church on my own any extra night they were open just for extra strength. They implemented the new worship style that swept fundamentalist churches after the Brownsville revival — any instrument any member could play including drums and electric guitars, a team of singers at microphones, and lots and lots of new praise songs.
I worked nights, not too bad a schedule at the time. So when I drove by the dealership on my way home, shaking from the sub-zero, and saw snowdrifts half burying the inventory, I knew that about the time I crawled into bed for the day, Honey would be out there jump starting cars and rolling them to a plowed spot one by one by one, while struggling to keep the blood flowing to the fingers and toes. MN winters are not for wimps.
Then, after a lifetime for Honey, and 29 years for me, we wimped out and moved to Tennessee to thaw. Still thawing.
One of the salesmen, in fact, the only salesman Honey really got along with, was a small town Baptist, a Gideon, very conservative by nature. He was basically retired, but put in time at the dealership to supplement the checking account and stay limber. In one of their conversations, Mr. Baptist/Gideon complained that his church was out of control. They split the morning services into a traditional service followed by a contemporary service. He sternly objected to the drums and the microphones.
Honey, knowing how much I was enjoying and benefiting from the new free style, commented that it sounded like fun. Wrong thing to say.
"You don’t go to church to have fun!!" and he huffed off. End of conversation, but fortunately not the relationship.
You don’t have fun? Jesus never laughed? I heard a minister on the air suggest
that Jesus may have told jokes to pass the time with the disciples on
the road. Maybe something that started with "Did you hear the one about the leper in
Cana?" Mr. Baptist/Gideon would have stroked out on that one.
If you, the reader, are like the gentle car salesman, I respect your choice of worship style all the while I am hopping, clapping, raising hands, or laughing at the minister when he dances as he plays the James Brown "I feel good!" clip again.
Art Linkletter once said that the only honest people are under 9 and over 90. I’m 40-16. I’m not going to look any better than I do this minute and this minute is going to be spent soon. My self-consciousness is getting weaker and weaker. No, church isn’t designed for us to have fun. Yes, the man is right as far as that goes. Church is there so we can make God’s day. Our means of expression are limited compared to the might and glory of the God of the universe. So I clap …. and stuff.
I’d personally like to see the place erupt in worship and praise of the calibur and intensity of a football stadium full of Vol fans during a touchdown. So if someone across the aisle is disapproving of my hoppity #10 feet, so be it. As I make God’s day, He makes mine.
We had fun at the church last night. It was our 32nd anniversary as a congregation. To celebrate, we had a chili bake-off, er, chili-off, uh, . Our judges were a policeman’s wife, a man with a bottle of Tums-on-a-rope around his neck, and a teenager who can eat anything anytime. A fire extinguisher was on hand in case of emergency. They sampled and judged the Best All-Around, the Best Non-Traditional, and the Hottest. As Christians do best, we stuffed ourselves. Then we sent the babies to the nursery and the rest of the kids to the old sanctuary and we played Bunco. In teams of two, roll three dice and count how many 5’s show up. The team with the highest count moved to another table, the goal being to land and stay at table #1.
Dice. We rolled dice. In a church.
Mom is spinning in her grave. Dad is laughing at her. Really, Mom. It’s ok. Really. It was after the service. Just a game. A game in the Family Life Center next to the basketball hoops. That’s right, basketball hoops inside the church building. I can explain. We’ll talk later.