Saturday, December 20, 2008

#5 One-Hour Church Services

White Christians will only attend churches that are structured and orderly. While black Christian church services are known to go on for hours, white Christians fully expect to be out after one hour - no more, no less. If the pastor goes long, he'll be ruining the roast - a part of the Sabbath as important as church itself.

The only acceptable reasons for going over the one hour allotted are communion and multiple baptisms (a single baptism is expected to replace either a praise song or one out of the three points of the sermon), and even then it better not be more than 15 minutes. White Christians will allow the Spirit to move them to clap or sway slightly during praise and worship, but they prefer that the Spirit does not move them to sing any additional, unscheduled songs.

Longer tenured members may pass down tales of services in which baptism, profession of faith, communion, a visit from the church sponsored missionary, and installation of elders combined to form the perfect storm of lengthy church services. All of these events are usually welcome in a white Christian church service, but when combined, white Christians know that the third sacrament of the one-hour church service is in jeopardy.

It's best to avoid informing white Christians that not all churches are so rigid in their worship service schedule. If they can get beyond their shocked disbelief, they will probably mutter something about speaking in tongues and swinging from chandeliers.

14 comments:

Abraham Calvin said...

Oops this posted a little early.

Andrew said...

Speaking of orderly, structured worship - remember when the song numbers for that service were posted at the front of the church? Our church posted them on each side of the sanctuary - sliding the numbers behind the wooden slots gas-station style. Mass confusion and consternation was sure to follow if we varied from that list or went out of order.

Abraham Calvin said...

We had those too! They also used similar boards in the narthex to post the previous week's attendance.

I think those boards were removed by the victors of the great Overhead Projector War of 1993 as plunder. As I recall, the overhead projector didn't go over too well at your church.

Luther Zwingli said...

My church had wooden slot-style hymn identification signs too. Small, white Christian world!

Andrew said...

The great overhead projector war, although terrible, pales in comparison to the Great Psalter Hymnal war.

Micah B said...

Abraham, I read your email too late to respond, but well done. I need to forward this post to our pastor because he regularly breaks this rule. Also I bet you could make a whole post about the 3 point sermon that you referenced.

Abraham Calvin said...

Micah, your church is a little different from most white Christian churches so maybe he doesn't realize that he, as a white Christian, is bound by this rule.

suz said...

too true. as a result of this "rule" our pastoral staff has time limits for the pastoral prayer, announcements, and sermons...which we try to abide by. unless the choir sings an extra anthem. then the whole schedule is thrown off.

Aves said...

My church still has the wooden sliding-number hymn board! I think perhaps we Episcopalians, always trying to strike the delicate balance between tradition and innovation, have been experiencing so much upheaval on the doctrine side of things that we need to keep the decor stable, at the very least! :-)

Alex said...

What about Mormons? 3 hour services.

Luther Zwingli said...

3 hour services... multiple wives... seems like Mormons make the mistake of thinking that good things are only made better when there's more of them.

ChuckEastNashville said...

Multiple wives leads to a worse fate: multiple mothers-in-law.

Amber said...

Don't forget that we Mormons also can't get enough Word of God. The more God talks, the happier we are.

Kullervo said...

Mormons don't really have three-hour worship services: they have a one-hour-plus worship service like every other white Christian (other than the extremely suspicious Eastern Orthodox who hang in there for a nearly three-hour liturgy). Mormons just go to Sunday school for an hour afterwards, and then to a mens or womens group for another hour. The whole bloc of obligatory Sunday meetings adds up to three hours, but the actual worship service is quite comfortably close to an acceptable one hour.