Do you go to church?
No? Well, you have fun rotting in hell.
No, I’m kidding. I don’t think you’re going to rot in hell.
From what I understand it’s more of an instant incineration. There really isn’t time to rot.
In an effort to avoid the toasty warmth of hell, we try to go to church. Our attendance for a while now has been sketchy at best. I can give you all kinds of reasons/excuses like illness, itchy eyes, bunions and an inappropriate wardrobe built entirely out of torn jeans and t-shirts that I’ve purchased from The Good One’s school, but it really just boils down to the fact that once my ass hits the couch with the Sunday newspaper in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, I’m pretty much not moving for two hours. Also, I say “ass” a lot. I’m pretty sure they ask you if you swear when you walk through the doors of the church.
However, in light of my general horribleness and my penchant for saying the lesser of the swear words, Virginia Slims Man figured we’d better start attending more frequently so I’d at least have a fighting chance of avoiding becoming a human kabob.
Actually, a large part of the reason we’ve felt the need to attend more regularly is so that The Good One would grow up in a healthy church and hopefully avoid some of the religious issues we went through growing up. The Beast is rather apocalyptic-y, so we’re relying entirely on a miracle for his salvation.
I briefly mentioned my cult-ish upbringing. And not to cause any upset to my parents, but I’m really not kidding. No offense to you if you happen to be in a cult. Of course, most of the time you don’t realize you’re in a cult until you get out of it, so you probably don’t even realize I’m talking about you.
Some things to look for if you’re unsure of whether or not your church is a cult:
- Your church tells you how to dress.
- Your church tells you how to wear your hair.
- Everyone in your church wears the same tennis shoes.
- Your church socials involve a coordinated drinking of Kool-Aid.
Look at me being all religiousy and helpful. I bet saving someone from a cult would get me out of eternal damnation. God might even let me continue calling my husband a “dumbass.” We’ll see.
Really, there is a point to all of this. Let me see if I can get there.
Lately The Good One has been expressing his dislike for church. VSM and I have tried to pin down if this is just an issue of his general disdain for anything that causes him to leave the house or if there is something about our specific church that he doesn’t like. Based upon what he’s told us, The Good One does not enjoy singing and dancing, and the vast majority of the kids’ church service is spent singing lots of songs, dancing and playing air guitars. The Good One would much rather be in a small group with kids his age just learning.
So VSM and I have been giving The Good One lots of very parent-y lectures about seeing the positive and focusing on the things he enjoys to see if maybe he’ll start to enjoy the singing part a bit more.
Then we went to church this Sunday and I was smacked in the face with my hypocrisy. You see, I really don’t like the singing part of church either. Now, my least favorite part of church is when they say, “Stand up and say hello to someone next to you.” You know what people insist on doing when they say hello? They insist on shaking hands. And all I see when someone approaches me with arm outstretched is a giant Ebola stick. So after I shake hands with all of these people, I have to get my hand sanitizer out of my purse and destroy all of their diseases without them noticing. Just once I wish the minister would say, “Stand up and, without touching them, greet someone next to you.”
But my second least favorite part of church is the singing. Now, there are some songs I love to sing, but I don’t really like to sing in public. My singing voice is horrible. Sometimes, if I’ve put liquor in my coffee, I sing at breakfast time, and even The Beast knows something doesn’t sound right and tells me to stop. So when we’re at church, I don’t like to sing.
Now, I know some of you are thinking, God doesn’t care what you sound like. Well, one, you’re assuming that. He may very well be putting His fingers in His ears every time I open my mouth. And, two, even if God doesn’t care what I sound like, the people sitting around me do care. You know how I know they care? Because when someone sitting around me sounds like a cat being declawed, I care.
So the whole time the church spends singing, I spend thinking all kinds of deep thoughts. These are the thoughts that ran through my head this Sunday: What would I do if a gunman came barreling through the church doors right now? Why does my fantasy life always include a gunman barreling through a door? Why is that man up there wringing his hands like he’s a serial killer? Is this man next to me trying to sit on my lap? God, I hate this song. I bet that person up there who is raising their hands is just doing it for attention. I’d like to learn how to play the drums. Why does that woman’s hair look like a ramp for a teeny-tiny bike?
Have you ever read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis? Well, every Sunday morning that I’m at church, I’m the Patient.
I’m not proud of these thoughts, but they are the actual thoughts I had this Sunday because I wrote them down on a church bulletin so I wouldn’t forget them.
See, here I was harping on The Good One for expressing his dislike for a portion of the church service, when in reality I don’t like the exact same thing. The only difference is that he was honest enough to say he didn’t like it. I just pretend to like it and then spend the entire singing portion of church daydreaming about whether or not I’d be Lara Croft in a hostage situation.
The point of my story is that I’m a big giant hypocrite.
So I’m no longer trying to force The Good One to enjoy singing.
I have taught him how he can make time fly by imagining what he’d do if Darth Vader busted into the church with a light saber.
And that, my friends, is why I’m going to end up a human charcoal briquette.
Edited to add: Speaking of Lara Croft, Angie really needs to eat a few sandwiches. Or maybe even just a tub of lard. She looks like she could actually stab someone with her knee. Yes, I realize I’m just jealous because I have disproportionately fatty knees. Shut up. It’s a thing.