Saturday, June 26, 2010

#84 The Cafegymatorium

White Christians are masters of ingenuity. Since small church properties typically confine capital expansion plans, and stewardship limits capital expenditures, white Christians get creative with their worship facilities.

With several needs crammed into a one-size-fits-all facility, white Christians have concocted the Cafegymatorium. The platypus of church spaces, the Cafegymatorium is half cafeteria, half gymnasium, and half alternative worship space. Instead of doing one thing well, the Cafegymatorium does three things poorly.

The "Gymnasium" is too small for an actual game of basketball and the carpeted floors (and/or walls) virtually guarantee floor burn during overly competitive athletic contests. Why carpeted walls, you might wonder? Because white Christian adults know that the youth pastor allows the youth group to get so hyper in this space that they "bounce off the walls." Putting up some carpet allows for the covenant kids to literally accomplish this feat.

Any luncheon within a 500 foot radius of the church is contractually obligated to take place in the cafegymatorium. This would seem to make sense, but the combination of carpeted floors and volunteer labor ensures improper food clean-up. The leftover food particles of a hundred potlucks are deeply embedded into the carpet's tight weave.

The cafegymatorium's stage allows for experimentation with alternative worship experiences. Any new or non-traditional format of worship is always relegated to trials in the cafegymatorium. Cermonies in this space typically rock relatively hard, despite the noise cancellation that carpet should provide. More echo-chamber than sanctuary, worship in the cafegymatorium generates decibel levels approaching that of a jet engine.

Despite all of its short-comings, the young and the young-at-heart revere the cafegymatorium as perhaps the best space on church property. High School boys will play various intensly contested sports within this space (all of them eventually digressing into dodgeball), and afterward rejoin the youth group worship service reaking anew with the sweat of the Spirit.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

#83 The Prayer Voice

Corporate prayer is a very serious matter for white Christians. Children are taught from a young age to bow their heads, fold their hands, and close their eyes while praying. However, there is an equally important part of group prayer (particularly before a meal) that parents will not mention, but will certainly model for their children: the prayer voice.

In the same way that people change their inflection when talking to babies, white Christians assume that God also responds better to a certain vocal style. When praying out loud, white Christian fathers typically go up an octave and speak with slow, measured phrases to better please God's ears. Many different prayer voice styles are acceptable, but in no circumstance should a white Christian pray in the same voice that he uses for normal conversation.

White Christians also feel the need to use verbiage while praying that they would never use in everyday life. While they would never ask their fellow diner, "O Bill, we just come before you this evening and we ask thou to pass the butter," it seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to say while praying. As long as the person praying says these strange things in a quiet, reverent tone, the prayer will meet the approval of all.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

#82 World Cup Evangelism

Unless you're an American, it goes without saying that the World Cup is a global phenomenon. Nearly a billion people will watch 2010 World Cup games on television, and over 3 million viewers will watch the games in person.

Whenever this many people care this much about anything, white Christians look to piggyback onto their passion with a good ol' fashion salvation message. In World Cup/Mission Trip mode, they'll frequently call this effort something like, "Kickin' for the Kingdom: World Cup 2010."

Every 4 years, American white Christians pretend to care about "the beautiful game" in order to use this global gathering as an evangelism opportunity. Unfortunately, their complete lack of knowledge about any current players or anything about sport in general instantly renders most conversion conversations with crazed fans moot.

As an attendee of the World Cup, if you see an American white Christian wearing a recently purchased replica soccer jersey and holding a Bible, be cautious in approaching this white Christian. He will joke that in American "fĂștbol," everyone can use their hands. This will naturally transition into how goalies use their hands to save their team. The topics of hands and saves having recently been brought up, the savvy white Christian will transition seamlessly into a conversation about a different type of "Savior" who used his hands to save the world. This entire monologue will have taken place assuming that you speak English.

With a Bible in one hand and a John 3:16 poster in the other, this rainbow-wigged white Christian will have additional key identification signs. It is likely that this white Christian will be attempting to set up games of street soccer in an attempt to draw the interest of children. Amidst any actual competition, this white Christian will also be toe-poking every soccer ball that comes their way with basketball shoes because that's the closest thing to soccer attire that they could find on short notice before they journeyed on this mission trip. Another key indicator- every American white Christian will cite Pelé as their favorite current player- not realizing that "the King of Football" stopped playing in 1977.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

#81 Quasi-Creative Church Road Signs

Chances are, if you've driven through a white Christian neighborhood, and can find time while driving to look up from text messaging on your cell phone, you've been distracted by a Quasi-Creative Church Road Sign. Some of the messages are quasi-funny. Some are quasi-thought-provoking. Frequently Biblically inaccurate or even blasphemous, almost all messages on quasi-creative church road signs are met not with a bang, but a whimper.

What's the best way to convey the timeless Truth of the inspiried Word of the Lord to an unbelieving world that's flying by at 40 mph? Why, clever word play, of course! This pun-ministry... or "pun-istry," runs deep within white Christian culture. Christian coffe shops like "Holy Grounds Coffee Shop" frequently suffer from the same afliction.

A typical driver/sign interaction goes something like this: "Sign Broke? Message inside?" questions the unassuming passerby. Then, upon achieving the word-play eureka moment, the driver realizes, "Why, that sign's not broke at all- it's an invitation to come to a worship service. Of course!" This realization is followed by a quasi-satisfied "hmm," as the driver continues about their day unchanged.