Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dull Sermons?

I recently read a little book entitled 101 things to Do During a Dull Sermon by Tim Sims and Dan Pegoda. Now if you attend our church, you won't have any need for these suggestions; but most speakers occasionally have an off day, so these writers looked into alternative activities to keep the mind occupied in the event you are ever in that situation. The book -- and this post -- are presented in the spirit of fun -- not intended to be offensive or derogatory in any way.

I culled a few of the ideas from the book, expanded on some of them, added a few of my own ideas, and ta da......... if you are ever caught sitting in church when your pastor is having an off day (I have NEVER had this experience, by the way), here are some suggestions to get you through the hour.

1. Using the Song of Solomon as inspiration, compose a letter to a prominent church member and leave it in the hymnal. Your literary effort will keep you awake this Sunday and -- and perk somebody else up next Sunday.

2. Play Alpha to Omega. Listen for the preacher to use a word starting with the letter A. Proceed through the alphabet. (If you get stuck on the letter Q, give yourself some slack and count it when the preacher uses a word that contains the sound of the letter itself, such as "acute" or "acumen" or "cubit".)

3. Create a rebus using the scripture text for the day.

4. Play “How Observant Are You?”. Look around you carefully for 1 minute. Close your eyes and see what you can remember. How many people are sitting on your row? What row are you on? What color tie is the preacher wearing? What color are the walls? How many ladies are wearing red? Is Miss Mattie wearing a hat today? Has John started nodding off yet?

5. See how many categories of noses you can observe around you. Fat noses? Long pointy noses? Flat noses? Freckled noses?

6. Play Creative Hymnody. Read a hymn and try to rewrite the second of each rhyming couplet using a different rhyming word. Try to keep the spirit of the original wording. For example: "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, and now I shout with glee."

7. Play a counting game:
How many people do you see who have new haircuts?
How many people do you see who need new haircuts?
How many do you see who wish they ever needed haircuts? (bald heads)?

How many people are there over 70?
How many children do you see who are under 10?
How many songs in the hymnal do you know?
How many times does the preacher say his favorite transition phrase (examples: "you know" or "basically")?
How many coughs, sneezes or throat-clearings can you count in a five-minute period?

Keep a running total of the number of children who leave to "go to the bathroom."

8. Play a guessing game:
What is the total weight of the people on your pew – person by person?

Is the weight on your row more or less than on the row in front of you? the row behind you?
What is the weight of the choir?

These are just a few to get you started. Let me emphasize: I hope you will listen to your preacher intently and get the message he/she has prepared for you; however, IF that dreaded off-day is pounding your eardrums, the sandman is calling your name, and you are struggling to remain upright in your pew, give one of these a try.

(Please note: Any resemblance to events, locales, or actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.)

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