The Sacred Sandwich

December9th

101 Comments

Churchgoers are notorious for not wanting to sit in the front row during worship service— at least in most of the churches I’ve attended in the past. I used to think it was because the attendees wanted a certain level of anonymity or perhaps the freedom to easily slip out of the room if they felt the need. But lately I’ve decided that some folks are sitting in the back row because they don’t want to hear anyone sitting behind them.

Have you ever been in the middle of a church service, trying to focus on singing a hymn or contemplating the sermon, when two people sitting behind you suddenly felt compelled to have a short, but apparently unavoidable discussion about the amazing absorption of the Sham Wow? Oh sure, they try to whisper politely, but they might as well use a bullhorn. Against the backdrop of dedicated corporate worship, such muted chatter can often sound like nails on a chalkboard.

After pondering this issue, I came up with a list of remarks that I really, really don’t want to hear behind me during church service. Here are just a few:

  • “Dude, I’m gonna hafta call you back. We’re about to pray or something.”
  • “Boo-oooo!”
  • “The pastor looks really cute today.”
  • “Mommy, my tummy doesn’t feel good. I think I’m gonna throw uh—erpleeeeeck!” (Accompanied by a splashing sound against my seat.)
  • “Hey there, ladies… nice bibles. You come here often?”
  • “Zzzzzzzzzz…”
  • “Sweet! I just scored the last Krispy Kreme at the snack table.”
  • “He’s good, but he’s no Joyce Meyer.”
  • “Dang it, I grabbed my Bhagavad-Gita by mistake. The Message Bible is still in the Prius next to my yoga mat.”
  • “You think they’ll mind if I use the offering basket to break a five?”
  • “Seven-day sex challenge? Now you’re talking, pastor!”
  • “I can’t see the pulpit. The guy in front of me has a melon that could show up on Google Earth.”

Okay, that last one was a little too close to home for me, but I’m sure the reader can come up with worse possibilities. The point I’m trying to make is that perhaps we have become a bit too casual during our services, and our churches have become more like coffeehouses and movie theaters instead of places of corporate worship.

Believe me, I’ve seen it happen before. One Sunday morning, back in the summer of 2001, my wife and I had entered into worship in a church where we formerly held membership. We had begun a sincere, heartfelt worship of God, singing praise to Him: fixing our heart and mind on our Lord and Savior, when instantly that focus was broken. The lights dimmed, a large screen came down from the ceiling, and a movie clip from Apollo 13 was projected above the pulpit as a dramatic lead-in to the sermon. Suddenly, we were no longer in a worship service, but in a theater watching the big screen. That’s when we heard a woman behind us whisper with delight, “I love this movie… Isn’t Tom Hanks great?”

Wow. All she was missing was the hot buttered popcorn.

So let’s not forget the focus and purpose of these worship gatherings, folks. I suggest you read Hebrews 12 which ends with the following summation: “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

And the people sitting behind us said… “Amen!’

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101 Comments

  • Comment by Eddie Eddings — December 9, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

    Cell phones going off are a huge distraction…especially, when someone in Church has their ringtone, “A Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zepplin.

  • Comment by Adrian — December 9, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

    I’ve been going to a church in a movie theater with comfy seats. The worship there is pretty much your basic charismatic worship along with big screen and videos of the ocean, mountains, nature, people raising hands and the Cross from time to time.

    There’s a lot of distraction from all the people (in front not back :P ) that answer their phones or text… And yes Tom Hanks has appeared on that big screen in one topical sermon. Maybe more than once I’m not sure…

    The preaching and worship may not be that good but the seats, popcorn, and hot dogs taste great!

  • Comment by Jim — December 9, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

    As Garrison Keillor sez, we Lutherans get to service early to snag the good seats in the back!

  • Comment by Overboardbriggs — December 10, 2008 @ 12:32 am

    Friends…if you would meet in homes instead of a “worshiptainment auditorium/temple/building/center” like God intended from the Book of Acts until He retuned, we wouldn’t be having this topic. The Spirit of Prophecy,ie Jesus, commands His true sheep to once again “come out of her (the harlot apostate evangelical-protestant-and RC churches)touch not the unclean thing…lest ye be partaking of her plagues..”-Rev 18:4

  • Comment by Eddie Eddings — December 10, 2008 @ 7:07 am

    I’m all for meeting in homes…but, you still have the cell phone curse to deal with. “The ringing thou hast not prevented. And a thrashing with wheat stalks shall be thy due punishment. For the merchants of the earth have waxed rich with the assortment of tones. Lament and wail for your bill is in the mail.” First Opinions 3:17

  • Comment by Steve — December 10, 2008 @ 8:13 am

    Eddie,
    Which is worse…a cell phone ring from Led Zeppelin, or when the Pastor quotes from Led Zeppelin?

    “Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream. I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been. To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen. They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed.”

  • Comment by Steve — December 10, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

    In my first pastorate, dear Norman would clip his fingernails during the service.

    There’s nothing like preaching emotionally:

    “Dear friends, by the mercies of Christ I implore you today to forsake worldliness that we may be used of the sovereign Lord to…”

    SNIP!

    “…further His Kingdom for the glory of Christ….”

    SNIP!

    “…All right. Let’s pray.”

  • Comment by GrampyJack — December 10, 2008 @ 1:02 pm

    Currently I attend a church where you don’t hear much during
    the services…..all the old folks are asleep, and the young have gone to childrens church………..I remember a few years
    ago, when I complained because of the view from the choir area…I could see the young mothers nursing their babes, rather
    than take them to the nursery…….may we all return to a time
    when we remember why we are there……not to talk (turn off the
    blaste cell phone), not to be comfy….not to nurse…..but to
    hear the word of God, preached from the Bible…….For all have
    sined, and fall short……..

  • Comment by David — December 10, 2008 @ 5:48 pm

    The one about the puking kid took me back. One fine cold season there was a child coughing, sniffling and gagging behind us. To say this did nothing for our worship is an understatement, but she suddenly let fly with a loud and sloppy sneeze.

    Father: “She didn’t.”

    Mother: “She did.”

    I couldn’t look. We avoided sitting in front of them again, so there you go.

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  • Comment by Carol — December 10, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

    Gee, I thought the reason that people didn’t sit in the front rows was for fear of “pastor spit” from a spirit filled sermon given by a solid Bible teacher….what am I saying? Where are spirit filled sermons by solid Bible teachers anymore? Without a high tech sound system and a powerpoint system, casual clothing and clowns…most post modern pastors would not know a solid Bible teaching if it hit them in the head.

    Now for another list of annoying conversation behind you in church….

    “My hot flashes were so bad I had to stick my head in the frozen food section…”

    “Who told the woman who did “special music” that she could sing?”

    “If I don’t leave to get to the restroom…..”

    Oh, and the loud, uncovered sneeze to the back of the head….

    “church” people need to learn manners!

  • Comment by Linda George — December 11, 2008 @ 1:47 am

    How about a water fight in forty degree (celsius) heat in good old Taree, Australia? My best friend’s husband poured (bottled) water down my back, which was nice and cool until we all stood up and the lady behind me took her breath in rapidly. I think she thought I had disgraced myself. I had to get up to play music at the end. A bit embarrasing to say the least… Air conditioning sure was an improvement…

  • Comment by Gary Zimmerli — December 11, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

    One Sunday my daughter-in-law’s cell phone went off in church. The ringtone was her sister’s voice saying, “Come on, I know you’re there! Answer the d*** phone!” Right in the middle of the sermon. She makes sure her phone is set on silent in church now.

  • Comment by Angus — December 11, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

    Oops!

  • Comment by Eric — December 13, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

    In my first pastorate the pulpit was all of 5 feet from the front row. On Christmas Eve (my FIRST Christmas eve service), the church was packed and the first pew was actually in use; DURING the sermon 2 women were having a lively and loud conversation about hair color. I learned what color she dyed her hair, what she did to hide this fact from her husband and how to block out distractions while preaching!

  • Comment by Angus — December 13, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

    That’s funny, Eric! But what great training in patience.

  • Comment by jdubb — December 18, 2008 @ 10:06 am

    I love that someone referred to the apostate church as the harlot of Rev 18 and no one jumped down his throat. This is a great website!

  • Comment by Rita M. — December 23, 2008 @ 11:40 am

    Thanks for this post Bohemian Baptist!! I thought I was the only one with such concerns!! I never sit in front just because…but it doesn’t matter where I sit, its never safe…I’ve had people in front of me break into a serious conversation in the middle of the worship time…and it’s unavoidable to look at them because I’m a tiny person…Or what about those people who came late to church and dare look for a seat in the front rows, I’ve been late to church but I sit in the back where I know I won’t bother anyone while they are worshipping…I’ve had people actually interrupt me during worship so that they can sit at the end of the row (!!!)

  • Comment by emergent pillage — December 24, 2008 @ 12:18 pm

    –For all have
    sined, and fall short……..–

    Can I say that I’ve cosined?

    Or is that going off on a tangent?

    (and that’s about all I remember from the higher maths :-)

  • Comment by Genoa Jack — December 25, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

    If I should ever be Pastor for a day…
    … I would start the service by asking all to stand, extend both arms, and shuffle about until they are not touching another person in any direction.
    It is fortunate that, since I am Pastor, attendance would leave plenty of room to accomodate such a social protocol.

  • Comment by B — January 7, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

    Hilarious post . . . and the Apollo 13 clip makes me wonder if we went to the same church at some point. lol

  • Comment by Mary Fuller — January 26, 2009 @ 6:28 am

    I have the opposite problem. Since I’m a visual learner, I am easily distracted by what I SEE. So I tend to sit up toward the front so I’m not distracted by Sally cleaning her nails, two kids poking each other, Uncle Fred’s bobbing bald head…

    This is one of the reasons I play in the church orchestra. I’m busy playing and worshipping, and can’t be distracted — now between songs, I get to look over the whole congregation and have my fill of amusement. Seriously, though, I really find it much easier to focus on the object of my worship when I’m in the orchestra than when I’m in the pew (well, seats at our church).

  • Comment by Terry — February 5, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

    I guess the immorality of the harlot comes from the building we call church, not a home; it couldn’t be that the harlot is not brought in by the sinful people, could it.

  • Comment by Tom Lewis — February 5, 2009 @ 11:10 pm

    There was this church I used to go to where we’d pass around the bread (flat crackers) first and then take the fruit of the vine (grape juice) next for the Lord’s Supper.

    A Catholic visitor behind me kept saying “Aren’t we going to get the holy communion?…but I thought we were going to get the holy communion…ohhhh!…this IS the holy communion!

    And I happen to be a deaf guy so she had to say it pretty loud for the entire congregation to hear it.

    I like to sit up front so I can read the lips of whoever’s preaching that day but I did experience the part of folks sitting directly behind me and letting out their sneezing and coughing fits, just so I feel a cool misty blast on the back of my neck and the air around my head. I know I’m supposed to be understanding and loving…but this happens to be my pet peeve…if you know what I mean…

    I find it helps to take a deep breath and hold my breath as long as I could during these episodes so I don’t breathe in their sickness and the funny smell. Then after the sermon, I go home and take a shower and throw my church clothes in the laundry to be washed and sanitized with Lysol for my safety.

    Quite of few little kids and babies have grabbed my hair on the back of my neck and jumped off their seats at the same time. It does help me to stay awake for the rest of the sermon, so, no complaints there. But I wondered where their parents are at.

    Yes, my hair is very short.

  • Comment by leonard — February 11, 2009 @ 9:02 am

    I still like it where it says in the bible…

    Ephesians 4:29

    Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,
    but that which is good to the edifying,
    that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

    Now that’s a hard one to live by…

  • Comment by Philippa — February 12, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

    Hilarious! Eddie Eddings, I share your love of the great book of First Opinions :-)

    My personal favourite was a couple right in front of me who were reading the newspaper during the sermon. I guess the local coffee shop was full.

  • Comment by Bob — February 23, 2009 @ 12:39 am

    Man, I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that leftover burrito for breakfast.

  • Comment by PanolaPaul — February 23, 2009 @ 3:00 am

    or………..
    “I’ve got $20 that says we’re not outta here by high noon..”

  • Comment by alice — February 24, 2009 @ 12:49 am

    i love all the comments on here. it comforts me to knows that i am not just a complainer when i say i want to go to church to worship and hear the word of God preached.
    i am absolutely amazed at the number of people who do not seem to know how to behave in church. i know many would accuse me of been stuck in old fashioned traditional ways but i say bring on the old days if what goes on now in some places gets any worse.
    one of my big gripes is – seening all the young girls with flesh hanging out on top, middle and bottom. nobody but nobody says anything but i now wonder how many think what i think “girl friend go home and get some covering on you!”
    it must be very difficult to not have men lusting after the flesh in these situation.
    i certainly think – it wouldnt do for a bit of proper teaching in the churches on how to behave and dress. after all if i was going to meet the queen i probably wouldnt dress inappropriately or have my mobile phone going off and i wouldnt allow my kidz swing out of somebody’s hair and shoot their snot over the queens furniture.
    we definitely need to be taught some manners.
    it is all very funny but also very sad. i know God accepts up as we are but He also wants to change the way we are. some of us need help desperately.

  • Comment by LuLu — March 3, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

    I don’t know what’s worse anymore;what you don’t want to hear behind you or what you don’t want your husband to see in front of him:the 16-year-old in the “praise band” on “stage” in her “micro-mini”skirt,the three women in see-through blouses(did I mention this was one of the deacon’s daughters and wife?), the girls from the local “Christian” college with their brand-spanking-new sacral area tatoos,or the woman who bent over to put her cell phone in her purse and proved that “thongs” are not just for the feet anymore! We are currently “home-churching”.

  • Comment by mrsbucket — March 3, 2009 @ 6:29 pm

    This was really a great post. I loved reading all your experiences. I remember one Sunday evening watching a woman do her crossword puzzle during the sermon. And the Pastor’s wife text messaging her boyfriend. (did not know this until much later)

    Alice the church I used to go to (same with Pastor’s wifey and boyfriend) had these “modesty cloths” they used to cover the young ladies butt cracks when they felt compelled to hit the altar in repentance or prayer. I know I always wear low rise jeans and belly tops when praying or repenting.

    I miss the days when the Sanctuary was actually that, a place where we still had at least a little reverence for being in God’s house. Those house churches sound pretty good to me!

  • Comment by Susie — March 6, 2009 @ 11:27 am

    Hi,

    This is my first time to read on this site. I have experiecnced some of the same things at churches. Once at a revival in another church our world-famous pastor, his wife and his best friend And wife came late. I was so embarrassed. I did not admit he was my pastor to anyone. He and his male friend that came with him played a hand held gameboy during the service.

    Then of all the nerve pastor’s wife gets up to leave. A couple minutes later pastor leaves. They think no one is noticing their rude behavior. Next Friend’s wife leaves, after a few minutes friend leaves. They never returned. I guess that thought if all (4) of them left together it would be noticed. If they left one at a time a few minutes apart no one would notice. How very rude to the visiting pastor.

    My friend always calls herself a back-row-baptist. She says if she get to hot under conviction she can slip out the door, go home, turn on Joel Olsten and let him pat her and make her feel better. hahaha

    Sussie

  • Comment by Wpg_Canada — March 6, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

    YOU ARE A RACIST AND A BIGOT!!!!! SHAME ON YOU!!!! HOW CAN YOU MAKE FUN ON HINDUISM AND THE BHAGAVAD-GITA??? IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO GIVE THE IDEA TO THE REST OF US THAT CHRISTIANS ARE A BUNCH OF BIGOTS. WELL MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

  • Comment by Angus — March 6, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

    Wow, Wpg_Canada. Take a deep breath. The idea that the Bhagavad-Gita has no place in a Christian church is hardly racist or bigoted. But I doubt if that fact stops you from deciding Christians are bigots anyway.

  • Comment by Wpg_Canada — March 6, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

    Angus,

    Some of those statements could be true; I don’t doubt that, but some are sarcastic including the comment about the Bhagavad-Gita. By being sarcastic, it is making fun of another religion. The author did not think about that fully and in essence is showing himself to be intolerant to other ideas. I understand the point of this article completely but the author did not have to include that statement. That’s all I’m saying.

  • Comment by Angus — March 6, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

    Wpg_Canada:
    The object of the sarcasm in question is the make-believe Christian churchgoer who appears to be holding the Bhagavad-Gita with the same reverence/authority as the Bible. At no time does the author “make fun” of the Bhagavad-Gita directly. Nevertheless, let me make one thing clear. Since this is a Christian website, we hold to the belief that the Bible is the Word of God, and that the Bhagavad-Gita is not. If you cannot accept our right to hold this belief in word and deed, then it is you who is intolerant of another religion.

  • Comment by Georgia — March 9, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

    Wpg-Canada,

    I once had the pleasure of a wonderful convo with an Indian woman discussing why she simply could NOT STAND people trying to convert her or others. She then began to talk about how all religions were good and true and etc, etc, etc, It was then I said, “Now woman it is YOU who are trying to CONVERT me!” She gave a charming little smile and I hope she understood I was not joking.
    Point being that when Hindus make such statements they are so wrapped up in their own worldview, they cannot conceive that logically another view even has the right to exist and then become the very thing they claim to hate.

    Hindus, as I understand, do not regard absolute or ultimate truth to be found in a specific religion as such. Therefore, religions are to be valued as all basically equally valid. This makes sense in its own worldview.
    Conversely, Christians DO find absolute and ultimate truth in a faith directly revealed by God. Other religions, even Christianity poorly practiced, are seen as man’s attempt to please a god they do not know well. Or to gain favors from such god by certain rites or practices, many of which we find to be spiritually enslaving, emotionally manipulative, darkening the understanding and ultimately exchanging of the Glory of God for a lie- a half truth- a created thing.
    Further, we don’t believe that just one type of religion- polytheism–does this. We believe they ALL do. Even the non religious do it. A fancy name for it is conceptual idolatry. When I seek my comfort, my refuge, my meaning, my security in ANY created thing— I am an idolator. And that idol, if I do not return it in my heart and mind’s eye to the level of created thing, that idol will eventually DESTROY me even if, and sometimes especially if, I forsake it.

    And yes, we believe we ourselves are often the biggest idolators of all.

    When speaking of Christianity and Hinduism friend, there is simply NO reconciling the two worldviews. In fact, if one is right the other is most certainly wrong or vice versa. This is simple logic. This is why C.S. Lewis asserted that all religions were derivative of either Hinduism or Judeo-Christianity. Most Hindus find that statement to be complimentary– and it is.
    The joke essentially states we don’t want to hear someone in church talk about how they think they can do two things at the same time like eat ice cream and not eat ice cream.

    With Respect,
    Georgia

  • Comment by jean — March 15, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

    What irony – I recently visited a church held in a building with a catchy new phrase that I suspected was Emergent or somewhere on the emergent scale.
    well, you know that popcorn that was missing above? hey, it as at THIS church…with candy and drinks…uh huh. and a five minute spongebob squarepants cartoon ~ ! no kidding. Talk about seeker friendly friendly, yikes~ The irony is that when the pastor finally got ‘on stage’, his message was good. however, i’m not convinced by one message, esp. with all the other accuetrements that accompanied :) that message.

  • Comment by J.R. Spencer — March 20, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

    I love this commentary. The list Bohmeian came up with it VERY funny. Keep up the good work.

    P.S. – I know this was posted back in December But I just discovered this site! I have been digging into everything I can get ahold of here. Wonderful!

  • Comment by J.R. Spencer — March 20, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

    *Bohemian

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  • Comment by Rose — March 25, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

    Once I actually heard this on a Sunday night…

    The pastor was giving an extended altar call, which was not his usual practice, especially on a Sunday night. There were several people in that church who went to Pizza Hut every Sunday night.

    As the altar call dragged on, I heard the man behind me say,

    “I wish he’d hush. We’re not EVER going to get our pizza.”

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  • Comment by Bev — April 3, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

    No problem with cell phones in my church … it’s in a dead zone … absolutely no reception. It is great!

  • Comment by Larry Geiger — April 13, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

    Number 4.
    Been there, done that!
    Yuck!

  • Comment by Aaron L. — April 15, 2009 @ 8:31 am

    “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

    AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

  • Comment by Meg — April 26, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

    Hows this for a distraction. One of the elders (sitting in the front row) who is a man in his eighties – passes out. His head lolls back against his chair. He is just sitting there looking for all the world like a beached goldfish. Everyone within visual range freezes thinking he has just died. The preacher just keeps on a preachin even though he can see what has happened. Finally one of the congregation who is an OBGYN gets out of his seat to see to the old gentleman, arranges an ambulance and shuffles him out of the church. He wasn’t dead, turns out his blood pressure medication was too strong. All this time, nobody dares look, nobody says a thing and pretends it never happened. It was a stupid church by the way and we no longer attend.

    Funny thing was, after church I overhead two little boys who had been sitting behind the old guy when he keeled over. “Did you see how Uncle Bob’s tongue hung out of his mouth when he fainted? It was so COOL!”

  • Comment by Jazzfretless — May 4, 2009 @ 9:36 am

    How about a preacher using “Seinfeld” references, especially, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”. I know it was (over and over for many years) meant sarcastically, but 1) it refers to homosexuality, B) not everyone has seen that episode of Seinfeld, and III)how bout some ‘splainin when you say something like that, or at the very least teach the truth about what wss just said.

  • Comment by Irma — May 11, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

    I know!!!!

    I have been church shopping and we found a little church to attend yesterday. My child wanted to sit in the front row (yikes!).

    All I heard behind me was people worshiping, singing God’s praises, and alot of “thank you Jesus”.

    Imagine! Where do they think they are! :p

    (I think we will go back!)

  • Comment by SavedGirl — May 16, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

    I loved this list and the 1st Opinions quote. I did want to say that you hear plenty of things in home church too. I used to attend a home church but it ended because not enough people were committed. We were one of the founding families so it was sad. But there were several little children in the church that provided plenty of distractions on Sunday, especially when it was at our house and they were tearing it up. When you are worried whether your glass table is going to hold up under the beating it is taking or if their shoes are going to leave stains on the couch it can be hard to concentrate on the sermon. We have found a nice little church that is family integrated and the closest thing to a home church that we can find. The preaching is very solid and we are very happy with the church.

    Lulu

  • Comment by jsmiddleton4 — May 20, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

    “in my church … it’s in a dead zone …”

    I wet myself…… Now THAT’S funny!

  • Comment by J-Ra — May 25, 2009 @ 10:44 pm

    Overboardbriggs, I’m afraid you have taken that verse terribly out of context. “the harlot apostate evangelical-protestant-and RC churches” that you inserted into the verse is not even close to implied in that verse, or chapter. The voice from heaven is talking about Babylon, not some church that met in a building rather than a home. Y’know, even Jesus taught in the synagogue.

  • Comment by A.C.S — June 15, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

    Is there a pre-requisite to becoming Emergent? Like, all those former Bible Based churches must first ‘transition’ in a theater? or Begin reading scripture from a typed paper instead of an actual Bible…but keep it in your hand! or, start a facebook/twitter/myspace page and keep all your Emergent ideas there seperate from what is preached at church until your congregants are ready to be Emergent With you? yeah…some churches are already in a dead zone. Things I hate to hear from the isle…”When did our church loose it’s salt and light.”

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  • Comment by CrazyLady — July 14, 2009 @ 12:49 am

    After a long hiatus of avoiding church, my husband and I decided at the last minute to go to a local charismatic church. We got there late, during praise & worship. A smiling usher led us to our seat – in the FRONT row! WTH??? The front row was empty, except for us – like it was reserved for latecomers or visitors.

    Other than nearly getting slapped by the praise dancers, it wasn’t too bad. Not going there again though.

  • Comment by Shaggy — July 24, 2009 @ 10:24 am

    My daughter 5 year old daughter has this Shaggy doll from Scooby Doo. We didnt know it talked. We are in church and she has her Shaggy doll with her. Its quiet, the preacher is preaching. And you hear “Zoiks! Like, let’s get otta here!”.

  • Comment by Kim — August 13, 2009 @ 9:25 am

    I feel *all* sermons smack of theater! Passive pulpit-warmers watching the show! How about we all uphold the word and give words of edification?

  • Comment by Carey — August 30, 2009 @ 2:16 am

    Where have any of you gone to church where it went exactly like the Bible says it should?

  • Comment by Andrew Dow — September 1, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

    I have endured many distractions over the years…although I am very easily distracted.

    I once heard noises behind me and turned my head to find the Pastor’s wife nursing her 4 year old son over my shoulder.

    While attending a service in an old church building with hardwood floors, someone dropped the change they were about to put in the offering plate and some of the coins rolled for at least a minute.

    While preaching I was distracted by someone in the second row trying to get my attention and discovered that they were pointing out that my zipper was down, by this time most of the rest of the church clued in and I turned around to zip up while the place went hysterical with laughter. Still managed to finish the sermon though!

    I have also caused distractions as a teen. My best friend in Junior High was the Pastors son and one Sunday we sat in the middle of the church and tried to make each other laugh while his Dad was preaching. Sunddenly, part way through a sentence, his Dad stopped speaking, looked directly at us and said “Dave, Andrew, see me in my office after church” then he proceeded to pick up the thought and keep preaching! Talk about being scared silent!

    I heard this story from my brother just recently. A friend of his attends a rather large church and was sitting behind an elderly couple one Sunday. Part way through the sermon the woman turns to look at my friend and says “My husband is dead.” Thinking that she is mistaken and that he has fallen asleep he reaches over the seat and feels for the man’s pulse…sure enough the guy is dead, no pulse! After alerting the usher and finding a member who is a paramedic, they manage to revive the man and send him to the hospital. Talk about being Preached to death!

  • Comment by Suz — September 4, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

    This is my first visit to this site. Enjoyed it very much. Must say, sometimes the spirit just does not MOVE a person. Be a CHRISTIAN, we have all been guilty.

  • Comment by Angus — September 5, 2009 @ 7:31 am

    Amen, Suz.

  • Comment by Jessica Fox — September 5, 2009 @ 12:38 pm

    I so enjoyed reading the article and was reminded of the lady that sits behind me in church and says, “Shut up!” during the sermon. The first time I heard it I was appalled that she would have the unmitigated gall to say that out loud during a message. It wasn’t until I sat behind her that I realized that she wasn’t telling the preacher to shut up but her 3-year old son.

  • Comment by Austin — September 19, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

    It breaks my heart to see how much hatred and intolerance is on this page. Has the church really fallen so low as to hate and criticize one another so severely and unlovingly? Where is the power of the gospel? Where is the love?

    I am truly heartbroken by all of your comments.

  • Comment by Catherine — October 3, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

    I don’t get all the complaints about nursing moms – if you’re complaining about it, I hope your church provides some place for those women to feed their kids while still hearing the sermon. Babies at that age often won’t stay in the nursery. If people are being immodest, I can see asking an older woman to ask the nursing mom to use a better cover, or direct her to another place. But people freaking out just because the nursing is happening, even under a complete covering (like many of the hip moms have now) strikes me as quite uncharitable.

  • Comment by Kara — October 24, 2009 @ 12:53 am

    I too dont understand the problem with nursing mom. What if they are in a small church that doesnt have a nursing room? (like me) Often times nursing babies are too little to go to the nursery. What about moms (again, in my situation) that believe that God gave us our children for US to raise, not to farm out the an over worked, under staffed nursery. Are we then not allowed to worship because we believe we are following what God commanded?

  • Comment by Daniel J. Dick — November 5, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

    A person can become the wisest, most enlightened, most experienced, most in-the-know church epicurean and still go to hell as a bump on a log hypocrite who has never had any intention of humbling himself or becoming sincere or trusting Christ to do anything but what he imagines himself able to require Christ to do for his own comfort.

    It isn’t knowing the ropes. It isn’t knowing how to preach to get goose bumps on people’s neck and shoulders. It is not entertaining. It is not compromising with the devil and listening to the devil and being open minded to the devil for advice on how to run the church like a fine tuned successful business.

    It is emptiness. Brokenness. Poorness of spirit. Neediness. Faithfulness. Trusting Christ through the trials and tribulations. It is not carrying a martyrdom attitude that says “poor victimized me”. It is not boasting about how much one has sacrificed for God or how great accomplishments one has done for God. It is about repentance from all such sin and recognition that to refuse to forsake such sin is to die a liar and a hypocrite and go straight to hell whether it is from the pulpit or from the brothel.

    Christianity to be real begins with emptiness and total surrender. It is not tossing God our crap, our refuse, our table scraps only and keeping the best for ourselves. If there is one thing we continue to hold, then we have not surrendered our all and we should not be singing that song or else we’re lying. If we find ourselves in that place, then we need to let the Lord search our hearts because one thing we can be certain of is that we will not search our own hearts with any integrity at all if we’re still surrendered to sin.

    Christianity is about death. Revival presumes not only declension but a death that one is most likely unaware of. Presumably most dead people would not ordinarily know they are dead. Revival is not about entertainment. It is about brokenness. It is about forsaking sin. It is about repentance. It is about confession, admitting, taking responsibility, putting no blame on anyone else, making no claim of inability, offering no justification, holding on to no claim of innocence and coming to ask God to forgive us and when He forgives us, we ask Him to forgive us the very same way we forgive others as a pattern for His forgiveness for us. Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”

    If all we can do in church is feel proud about how well we know the ropes having been in the church for so many years, and if we strut around proud and shepherding the younger people into this same sort of compromising with sin, then what have we done differently than the devil?

    Church is not a place where we come to get fed. It is not a place where we sit back and hear the word of God only. It is a place where we go to seek preparation for the ministry, to get trained to become more competent in ministry.

    And church is not a place where we go to feel holy. It’s a place where we go to learn to become holy. It’s sacrifice, commitment, and not the kind of commitment and sacrifice that is there to boast about, but it is something that comes as a result of repentance where we know what God has done for us, where we know that whatever comes our way, even if it is the most hideous trials and tribulations known to man, somehow, we know that God’s love and wisdom and awareness of our situations is still keen and that God has a better purpose for allowing it to happen. Romans 8:28 doesn’t tell us all things will be roses and lollypops for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. It says all things will work to good for them.

    Jesus loved people. Still, He did not allow popular opinion shape His teaching. If people walked away, He did not chase after them. Some people twist scripture and try to do the same thing pounding the fist and saying “thus saith the Lord” where the Lord has not spoken that thing. It is not up to us to make others believe as we do. It is our place to study scripture, love scripture, love God, trust God, surrender to God, and believe that Christ’s death on the cross was sufficient to pay the price for our sins. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, our sacrifices will be worthless and our works will be as filthy rags — an attempt to buy God off, to insult Almighty God by throwing Him a bone, our refuse, our table scraps. And if we will not surrender all, if we keep part for ourselves, then all we have ever given Him is our refuse. And the insult to God is telling Him by this action that He is worthy of nothing more.

    We need to surrender to Jesus our all.

  • Comment by simplechristian — November 27, 2009 @ 11:37 pm

    One Sunday morning the Pastor of my former church was preaching a sermon entitled “Signs”. As an opener he called upon an old hippie to quote the lyrics from the old song “Signs, signs, everywhere signs”. The old hippie decided to have some fun with it, so he did it in his best Alexander Scourby KJV english. I don’t remember much of the rest of the sermon (but I did pull of a mean Al Scourby!)

  • Comment by Xtreme — January 22, 2010 @ 8:49 pm

    Overboardbriggs,

    I’ve encountered one of you nuts here in Canada before. Misquoting and twisting Scripture, shouting to the Christians “Come out of her, my people.” Maybe you should learn what the “her” is and take into consideration the context of the passage. Jesus nowhere said we should meet in “house churches”. Wherever and however genuine believers want to get together is up to them. If only two or three (not quoting that verse as support) want to get together to worship, praise and study God’s Word, then Amen! If they want to fellowship with a larger crows, then Amen! Trying to quote from Acts and claim we’re “supposed” to meet in house churches is as sad and pathetic as those who quote from Acts claiming God named His church and it is called “the Church of God” and any other church by any other name is not a church. That’s pure foolishness, sir! Quit trying to isolate verses and use them to formulate doctrines and legalistic laws that they were never meant for. Scripture twisting is not cool!

  • Comment by Xtreme — January 22, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

    Wpg_Canada,

    I suggest you look up the word “tolerant”. Tolerance does NOT mean that I must accept everyone else’s ideas and beliefs. You are sadly mistaken by your use of that erroneous concept of “tolerance”. Secondly, all other religions are false and damning of people to hell. Amongst ourselves, we are free to make fun of them because THEY MAKE NO SENSE! But when witnessing, we would never mock the person for their religion. I reason with people regularly, asking them questions to make them THINK for once in their life about the illogical falsehoods of their beliefs. Let’s take Satan’s favourite religion, Islam, as example. The UNholy Qu’ran states that Jesus’ words are true. Mark that! Muslims believe that Muhammed is the greatest prophet, and the Qu’ran states such. But if Jesus’ words are true, as the Qu’ran states (which they believe), Jesus Himself stated that “Of men born to women there is not a greater prophet than John the baptist”. Muslims believe Muhammed saw God. Jesus, Who’s words are true, said “No one has seen God or can see God for he would die” (paraphrase of several statements). Comments about the Bhagavad-Gita and its heretical fallacies are not only true, but perfectly fine given the appropriate setting. Look at converts from Islam who have come to know Jesus as Saviour. Even they will mock the Qu’ran, but only when talking with other Christians. When witnessing, they will point out the flaws to their former Muslim friends/family. And the fact there are some “Christians” who actually use these books and claim to get “spiritual knowledge” from them is bogus. Other religious writings and New Age trash do not do anything “spiritual”. The only appropriate reason to own something like the Qu’ran is to use it as a witnessing tool AGAINST those who believe in it. I have a Qu’ran and the Mormon’s Triple Combination and they are purely witnessing tools to use the words of their own literature against them in showing the illegitimate claims of their faith. It gets them thinking EVERY time (providing you do it right and do it with the right purpose – not merely for intellectual debate). If you use such books for daily devotions or things of the like, “drawing closer to god”, you might want to examine yourself as to whether you’re a genuine Christian or one of the MANY that think they are part of Christ and will be told “I never knew you!”
    Tolerance has always meant that if someone doesn’t want to see reason and apply logic, I accept THEM in spite of what they choose to believe. It has NEVER meant that I must accept anything and everything they believe as being equal to what I believe, which seems to be what you hint at by your comments. If such is the case, you might want to test yourself to see if you’re a Christian at all. Making a suggestion that we make room for and accept other’s beliefs is NOT biblical. Jesus said, “I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT through ME.” There is ONLY one way to Christ, one way to salvation. Take it or leave it, but truth is truth.

  • Comment by Andy — February 28, 2010 @ 11:34 am

    Wow! I just discovered this site. I went to a church that showed clips from Braveheart and Mr. Bean. And head-covering was about all some of the young ladies had on. And it wasn’t a church that practiced head-covering!

    I prefer to sit up front because in many church if you sit in the back, the pastor sounds like the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons.

    And I don’t want to hear “You wanna come back to my place and watch The Ten Commandments?”

  • Comment by donna — March 30, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

    Yes those nursing mothers certainly have no business trying to hear the word of GOD.

    Shame on them eh?

  • Comment by Darren — April 7, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    All this sniping and judgmentalism is the reason a lot of people don’t go to any church, emergent, seeker sensitive or full of self-righteous people whose biggest phobia is anything that doesn’t line up with their own ideas.

  • Comment by Siobhan & Evelyn — April 21, 2010 @ 12:20 am

    Yea! Hey What is with the nail trimming?

    I sit in the front so I am not tempted to watch all the weirdness goin’ down…so I can focus on the message.

    But my frineds will fill me in with all the weirdness…and nail trimming and the kissing of lips of parents and adult children…ohhhh yea, much fun and very distracting.

    I ask ‘what did you think about the sermon?’ andswer ‘wasn’t too long.’

    great…..

  • Comment by Anne — June 7, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    I just stumbled upon The Sacred Sandwich today, and am enjoying it immensely… but I do have an issue with the reader comments about nursing mothers.
    I always nurse in church… my baby’s gotta eat, and I’ve gotta hear the Word of God. If there was a ‘cry room’, I’d use it. I am very discrete, and make sure the Pastor or anyone at the pulpit can’t see me (often I sit on the floor up the back, with my back turned – which is completely acceptable in the Asian culture I live in as a missionary).
    If you don’t want mothers nursing in the service, then provide them with a room – and make sure they can hear the sermon. Mum’s deserve the learn from God’s Word, too. What’s the point of being at church if you get penalized for feeding your baby in the manner that God intended???

  • Comment by Rob — July 19, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

    I think I’d prefer most of these over the gum-clicking person that somehow always winds up behind me..

  • Comment by Owen — July 21, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

    Hmm… I enjoyed this article… but at the same time, I found it quite a drag reading through alot of the comments. Sure, it’s annoying when people are talking during the sermon etc. etc. but I don’t think it justifies us venting in their general direction.
    I find the harder I engage with a sermon (eg. taking notes, trying to align the pastor’s talk with the passage, trying to understand how I would explain the passage to someone else) the less distracted I am by anything else that happens in the auditorium/room/etc.

    Rather than venting, if you’re feeling frustrated, how about considering how you are engaging with the talk. If you’re being quite attentive, why not chat with people after church about the talk? If you’re actually getting something out of the talks, and talk about how the talks are actually challenging/helping/interesting to you, then it stands as an example to others – hot coals and the like.

    Further – if people aren’t engaging with the service – could there be reasons why they are engaging? Perhaps taking some time to chat with them about what’s going on in their lives might be helpful.
    And why not simply ask if they could (at a suitable time) not talk/etc. during the sermon/talk? How do they know they are distracting others unless they are told?

    @ Xtreme : Thanks for picking up on Overboardbriggs comment! I read it and shuddered. It puzzles me how people attempt to justify their own church practices by looking at Acts out of context… Often elevating the infant church of Acts to a place of perfection (note – the perfect church won’t be until Christ returns). Certainly, there are many things that we can learn from the book of Acts, but to attempt to make church practices prescriptive, from simply an account of what they were doing is unjustified. I heard one preacher, several years ago, further use the transfiguration as an example of how the Bible is against traditional institutionalism… and went on to prescribe the Acts’ home churches as the perfect form.
    What we are encouraged to do is to be meeting together, and gathering around God’s word. The church I am involved with does this on a large scale (meeting in lecture theaters and the like) on a Sunday, and in small home groups (Bible Studies) during the week. The church perceived that with a large congregation it is hard to take care of all those people and ensure they are being looked after, and so made the home groups quite core to the ministry to ensure that people are building close, personal relationships in the church, and aren’t being isolated.

  • Comment by Nishoni — July 27, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

    we were sitting in church when two old women, very hard of hearing, were sitting behind us. The first, thinking she was whispering, loudly said, “It’s cold in here”. The pastor was preaching on Hell and made a statement that if you don’t get saved, you will end up there. The second women turned to the first and said, “Well at least it’s warm there!” I had a hard time not laughing until my husband gave me a dirty look and said it is not funny, which it’s not. Too many people are on their way to Hell and do not care. It’s so sad.

    Also… I tried breastfeeding my baby in church, and was approached by a 69 year old woman afterwards who told me, “I know she’s under a blanket and you are very discreet, and probably no one else knows what is going on, but I know you are nursing that baby under there, and church is not the place for that.” I was very upset, but my husband, the assistant pastor at the time, told me not to let it bother me, and that there was nothing wrong with it as long as I was modest. He did tell me however thaat the the Bible says, “If meat causes my brother to offend, I will abstain…”. He had me go to a office and nurse the baby from then on. I often wonderedd what was the use in even attending since I could not hear or see the preacher and my infant nursed for 45 minutes at a shot and always chose to start at the beginning of the preaching!!! I praised GOD when the church purchased hearing assistants for the elderly (it’s battery powered earphones that are tapped into the pa system.) I was then able to hear the message too!

  • Comment by Just saying . . . — July 30, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

    To nursing mothers, have you considered using a breast pump and filling a couple of bottles with your breast milk to take with you to church? This way you could still feed the baby with your milk while in church?

  • Comment by morndew — August 1, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

    I get more annoyed with those who sit in FRONT of me. Teenagers…in love. The girlfriend is practically sitting in the boys lap (seriously), and is always very interested in her sisters and brothers who sit a row behind us, so she is always turning (in his lap!) and looking at them out of the corner of her eyes.
    VERY distracting!!!!

  • Comment by Cory D. Jones — August 2, 2010 @ 2:57 am

    @ Just saying… You know, I would have agreed with you a mere 82 days ago. On May 11th, I would have said the exact same thing. In fact, I was distracted when women breastfed anywhere, much more in church, it was just awkward for me. “THAT…in church, not again… Aww geez”

    It was May 12th, 2.5 months, 82 days ago (It wasn’t just an ambiguous number) my first child was born. From that moment I would not even think about asking my wife to do anything but feed my daughter, naturally, in the manner God intended. Now, I’m no expert in breast-feeding, but after seeing the process and knowing that my wife is providing my daughter with the best possible combination of nutrients she can get, all while forming an emotional bond that goes far beyond a breast and milk, my eyes have been opened to the wonderment of the process. (And I’m a guy, so I can’t even explain it well. My wife tries to explain it to me, but my boy-brain just can’t comprehend the full realm of the experience.) Now, I know that “the wonderment” wasn’t your point, but there’s one thing you’re missing: pumping isn’t natural. The milk is the same, yes, but there’s so much more to the entire process that both the mother and the child miss out on while using a bottle. And you, nor me, are in any position to deny women their God-granted duty, right, and ability to feed their children naturally.

    Yes, there is always the manner of which it is carried out, but with the proper amount of care and dignity on the woman’s part, it can be done in a tasteful manner.

  • Comment by Just saying . . . — August 2, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

    Cory D Jones, I was just saying that this could be a possible solution. It’s not for everyone but for those who will receive it. I was born back in the 40s so I’m old fashioned with old fashioned ideas about public display. Please forgive me for trying to add some kind of solution for modest women who do not feel comfortable feeding in public. As for emotional bonding I doubt that one or two feedings on one or two days of the week would prevent that bonding. By the way, I am not a guy, and I am a mother, so I think I DO KNOW something about the wonderment of feeding a baby. People, who are married, also have the right to sexually relationships but I do hope that they do not begin to exercise that right publicly. I will not return to post in this forum or anywhere else on this site again so if you intend to castigate me for what I’ve posted, I will not see it.

  • Comment by Cory D. Jones — August 3, 2010 @ 1:21 am

    The point was not to castigate anyone. Seeing as though this is a discussion of what we don’t like in church, I took your comment to mean that you did not like women breast-feeding in church. So, my counterpoint was to argue, using my wife as an example, that as long as a woman is comfortable with the process and remains modest, it should not be a stumbling block for anyone. For those who aren’t comfortable, yes, a bottle would be a great alternative, and if that’s what they want to do, cool. But for those who are comfortable and perform the act with the proper amount of dignity, we certainly can’t label them immodest, and we should not deny them the right to feed their baby in public, even if that public forum is church.

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  • Comment by erotao — October 28, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

    I just saw on my IPad that millions of people have suddenly vanished!

  • Comment by Pattie — April 22, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    I loved this! I read the whole thing. It was humorous yet thought-provoking, and brought up several issues. A couple I’d like to comment on:

    First, I acknowledge that the Bible says we are not to cause someone to be offended, yet the word “offend” means to fall, to cause to sin; it does not mean that we give up our own values for anyone that just doesn’t like something we do. Big difference! I would be more willing to give up things for someone who is not a Christian, in order to win their heart to Jesus, that I probably would not give up for someone who is “mature” in the faith that has a bee in their bonnet. I feel the “offended” command goes both ways, and someone telling a mother she can’t nurse her child in worship and that she should leave the room is, to be honest, very offensive to me.

    When people are offended about a “hidden” child nursing, I would be very tempted to ask them if they have talked to the young ladies (or their mothers) who are showing more of their breasts than the mother.

    As I said, this whole discussion was very good. I’m reading this six months after the last post, and plan to read other pages on this site. I intend to come back to this one, also…great stuff. Thank you!

  • Comment by Let's support Christian Moms — July 11, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

    I tend to enjoy a fairly conservative/traditional worship style: I like hymns more than “praise songs,” I enjoy good solid exegetical sermons with lots of deep study of the Word (I have my bachelors degree in Theology with minors in Biblical Languages and Exegesis), I think it is proper for people to be quiet and respectful when other folks are speaking.

    Given my background and training, I want to just raise caution about how we quote texts such as the passage quoted by Hebrews 12. Firstly, I would wager that the author of Hebrews (I would say Paul) would have an incredibly different idea of what the word “worship” means; that the idea would not bring forth images of people sitting in pews passively and quietly listening to a man speak. Jesus said that a time will come when people worship in spirit and in truth. Might it be the state of the heart and not the format of the service that is “acceptable.” Let us be careful of praising something simply because that is the format we are most comfortable with. Respect… yes. Honor.. yes. Is the Sanctuary holy? YOU BET! Should we be careful and thoughtful about how we worship? ABSOLUTELY!!!

    Secondly, and this raised a lot of concern for me. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not criticize a mother for choosing to nurse her infant during the worship service. PLEASE!
    First, reading the comments on here raised an important issue in my mind. I read comments such as “mothers should be modest” and “cover up” etc…. To me these comments are offensive and disgusting. Why would a mother who is nursing need to cover up? Does a mother who is bottle feeding need to cover up the infant and the bottle so that no one can see the infant sucking on the bottle? I would venture many would say that no a bottle-feeding mother does not need to cover up. So why, then would a mother who is nursing need to “cover up” or “be modest”? The only answer I can think of to that question is that somehow people have sexualized a mother nursing her infant. If there is another reason, I would be more than happy to hear it. But that is honestly, the only reason I can think of for the need for a nursing mom to “be modest” because some sick individual has sexualized a most NON SEXUAL act. Women should have the right to feed their infant the way GOD intended anywhere they want without fear of onlookers being sick about it.
    Second, people say a woman should pump milk (express would be better but I won’t go into all the problems of mechanical pumps vs. hand expression) and bring the bottle of human milk with her to church to feed her infant. I ask this, WHY? Did God create bottles on the 6th day for Eve to feed her infant with? God provided women with breasts for the purpose of feeding their infants. Really… breastfeeding is one of God’s most amazing miracles! Did you know that the composition of the human milk CHANGES during a single feeding? God made it so that a woman’s milk starts off being very watery at the start of the feeding. This is so that if the infant is only thirsty it gets its thrist quenched. If the infant if hungry (as opposed to thirsty) the composition changes DURING THAT SAME FEEDING from watery to thicker; thus, the human milk provides the infant with food at the END of the SAME FEED. This is one reason (strictly from a nutrition stand point) why feeding AT THE BREAST (as opposed to feeding expressed milk in a bottle) is SO IMPORTANT. It gives the baby what the baby needs, exactly what the baby needs. This doesn’t happen with bottle feeding. God Designed IT LIKE THAT! HE is a loving and wonderful God! During Bottle feeding, the milk is all mixed up and thick. There is no difference between the watery milk and the thicker milk. The infant ends up getting food when it really wanted to quench its thirst. Also, studies are suggesting that feeding at the bottle teaches children to over eat at a young age. They lose the ability to self regulate and eat past being full.. further they consume too many calories because they get food when they really want water. God’s way… feeding at the breast is infinitely better… but isn’t that always the case?
    God made infants to need to feed numerous times during the day. Should we go against HIS design with how we feed babies? If a mom wants to breastfeed her infant at the breast, we should make church a welcome and inviting environment for her to do so. An environment where she can feel free to feed her infant w/o condemnation, judging, whispering, or fear of being the subject of a post on a website. I am reminded of how Christ often treated mothers and infants throughout the Gospels. I personally do not think He would have a problem, nor would He find it disrespectful for a mom to breastfeed her infant during the worship service. In fact, breastfeeding, I have heard more than 1 mom say, is a form of worship… she honors God by providing for her infant in the way God intended.
    I want to be careful here. There are many reasons why a woman chooses not to breastfeed her infant. I in no way want anyone to feel guilty about that. What I do want to emphasize though is that more than 3 out of 4 women WANT TO BREASTFEED THEIR INFANT, but most end up stopping within 2 weeks after birth. Why? Because they encounter many many barriers to achieving their goal. I would hope that church is one place that supports moms in their efforts to breastfeed their infants.
    Christ often spoke up for the down and out, and specifically for mothers and children. Let’s also be champions for them. Afterall they have as much of a right to hear the sermon in person, while watching the preacher as any other person does. Are mothers with children under the age of two second class citizens in the kingdom of God? No. Then why should the be regulated to the “cry room” and not get to hear the sermon first hand in the sanctuary with other believers simply because they want to breastfeed their infant.

  • Comment by Let's Support Biblical Women! — July 12, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

    @ Let’s Support Moms…
    You may not have a handle on how a man’s mind operates. Even though your opinion is that a woman shouldn’t have to cover up, Scripture clearly warns against being a stumbling block (1 Cor. 8:9), and asks women to dress modestly (1 Tim 2:9,10). While the context of 1 Cor. 8 is about food, the principle remains the same. Do not claim freedom in Christ to do something that may not be an offense to you when it is an offense to your brother. Likewise, and this goes as well for those women who do not understand the sin caused by showing cleavage, modest dress is essential to allow men to focus on Christ and not be distracted by a woman’s beauty or figure.

    Yes, it is the man’s sin when he lusts after a woman, but the woman can be equally guilty of sin by the temptation she brings to the man. In the case of breastfeeding, I will have no problem asking a lady to cover up so that a man, especially the man in the pulpit if this lady is in eye-shot of him, to cover up or leave the sanctuary in order that men may not face that temptation.

    Having kids, and a wife who breastfed them as well, I know how little inconvenience it really is to avoid such scenarios. Kids can be fed prior to service in a cry room, available office, or even in the back of a church discretely covered as to not draw attention to herself. Expressing milk isn’t fun, but it’s not the huge deal you make it out to be either. It’s a selfless act of humility and kindness to do so and shows true love for the brethren when a woman will suffer the slight inconvenience in order to keep from being a temptation.

    One other thing. The points you make about God’s design for a child to have breast milk, and the nutritional value of it have NOTHING to do with whether it’s okay to feed during a service in a sanctuary. There is no issue with a woman breastfeeding a child, just an issue with where it’s appropriate to do so. There are many things that God designed us to do that should never be done during service in the sanctuary. Breastfeeding is one of them even if 9 out of 10 women want too.

  • Comment by Helen — July 15, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    I can see you BW!!! – And I agree with everything you say as usual!

  • Comment by Bereanwarrior — July 23, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

    @ Helen,

    We have a young lady in our church right now with a 8 month old child that she feeds and she does it in a manner that draws no attention to herself. Godly women are such a huge blessing to the church body! Thank you for the kind words, and I’ll have to talk to Frodo (the Rat Terrier) about not giving away my identity anymore. :)

  • Comment by Helen — July 24, 2011 @ 2:55 am

    Oops **! A lesson in DISCRETION! (I’d better not blame Frodo!)

  • Comment by Claire — September 2, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    I go to a Christian college, and all the students are required to go to church. The thing that gets on my nerves more than anything is people like you all have been talking about that just have no reverence in church. A lot of kids are only there to get credit for going. A girl in my class actually brings her books and does her homework. Tonight actually, there were 3 girls in front of me who literally didn’t listen to a word of the service. They spent the whole time talking and giggling, knocking each other over and taking pictures of each other with their phones. When the preacher ended the closing prayer, one of the girls cried, “Amen!” but not in agreement with the prayer, she was just ready to get out of there. I think the difference is that most of these kids have been in and and around church and organized religion so much that it doesn’t have any meaning for them any more (if it ever did). I’m just being reintroduced to this stuff (I haven’t been to church since I was like 10) so it’s a treat to me, and I don’t have a lot of tolerance for the people who don’t appreciate how cool it is to be able to go and pray and learn.

  • Comment by Claire — September 2, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    This is my first time on this site, and I like it so far, but a few of the comments upset me. I’m going to go off-topic for a minute because I feel like I should say something.
    I can definitely understand why wearing a miniskirt that shows your thong to the whole church isn’t exactly appropriate. But at the same time, isn’t it petty and un-Christian to judge people by their clothes? I’ve heard too many sad stories about people being rejected from churches where they probably would have been saved because they didn’t follow the dress code. Someone above made a sarcastic comment about praying and repenting in low-rise jeans. Okay, a girl showing her butt crack might not be the most tasteful thing, but the point is she went up to the front to pray and repent! At this point she doesn’t care about your opinion, just God’s. If she cared what you thought, she wouldn’t have gotten up and risked embarrassing herself at all! And even if you want to consider her clothing choice something bad or sinful (which I think would be pretty silly), you have to remember, when someone goes to repent, they don’t already look the part. That comes later when you decide to change your lifestyle to fit your new faith.
    Also the “hold-on-to-your-husbands!” comment about girls in revealing clothes distracting lusty men is even more offensive to the poor guys that it is the girls. Men aren’t just sex-driven animals that sensible women have to restrain. They can control themselves. Anyone who says otherwise is just using the girls’ behavior to excuse the men’s behavior, which is not right.
    I think we need to stop worrying so much about appearances, and worry about more important things. I understand that we supposedly wear our “church clothes” out of respect for God’s house, but it seems like it’s more for the approval of other people. God doesn’t care what we look like, and He darned-well doesn’t care what we wear. Nothing we do can make Him love us more or less than He already does.

  • Comment by Nan — October 2, 2011 @ 3:49 am

    Hello to all. This is my first time seeing this site being sent here by a friend’s post on facebook. I have read all the comments and have enjoyed,laughing along and do agree with many of them. I too caused a huge distraction in church as a youngster. Our semi-large family with four daughters and friends tagging along, me being the youngest, spread a good way down the pew but usually still in arms stretching reach of Dad’s knee pinch or Momma’s “look” she gave. Generally sat on the 2nd row or the 1st row behind the empty one. I believe we sat up front to be a little less distracted looking at the old widowed ladies that always sat in the middle with their fancy hats each week or that perhaps we might actually… listen? Then in the row behind us another family with five children stretched out. It was the “large family need room to space out the kids section” I guess. My Momma was a “PK”, Preachers Kid, and raised us to mind our manners while in the Santuary and allow others here the Minister, even if we, ourselves, didn’t understand a thing he was saying. We always knew that she or Dad would fill us in later during Sunday lunch at our large family kitchen table. One Sunday morning in church, as it has been told, I was sitting on my Momma’s lap “being good”. I played with Momma’s pretty pearl necklace that she only wore when she dressed up. Well I managed to somehow severely tangle her hair in the clasp and necklace after twirling her hair over and over and over. She asked my Dad to unfasten the necklace because it was pulling her hair. He did and off came the necklace and OOOPPPS, her wiglet too!!! Somehow became also entangled. OOOOPPPPPSSSS! This was, umm, around fourty years ago when the ladies wore the little “wiglet” in their hair, my mother included. They say I screamed LOUDLY after seeing part of Momma’s hair come off her head. I believe that was the last time I sat on my Momma’s lap during church service. I don’t remember this nor ever sitting in my Momma’s lap for I was very young when this happened. Our family and church friends often laughed over the story. Years later Momma laughed also! Oh and there was another time too that I DO remember just a few years later. I “whispered” to my sister “I had to go pee” to pass it down to my other sister and so on and on and on until it reached my parents. I remember waiting as long as I could to sit there quietly… trying yet practicing the all known to well, ‘the hold it squirm’. Seems that by the time the word came back down to the end of the pew as I guessed they told me to “hold it”. I’m sure the all our whispers were ever so quiet too!!! So, I had told her to pass it back down that “it was to late now that I just pee’d on myself”. My sisters jumped up one by one out of their seat as our church seemed to be sitting on a ever so slight slope. :)

  • Comment by Bereanwarrior — October 2, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

    Claire said – “I can definitely understand why wearing a miniskirt that shows your thong to the whole church isn’t exactly appropriate. But at the same time, isn’t it petty and un-Christian to judge people by their clothes?”

    No, it’s not un-Christian. Paul urged the women to dress modestly and the same applies to men. If you come into my church as an unbeliever or a new Christian dressed provocatively, then I would understand. However, if you name the name of Christ and say you want to honor him, then you would understand why inappropriate attire is sinful once you’ve been made aware of it, and you would show it by dressing conservatively. It works on both sides of the Isle. If a woman comes in wearing any type of revealing clothing, she is not responsible for the man’s actual lust towards her, but she is responsible for tempting her brother is she is indeed a Christian. If a man comes in clothing that can cause a woman to lust, the same is true for him being a temptation.

    Claire said “I’ve heard too many sad stories about people being rejected from churches where they probably would have been saved because they didn’t follow the dress code.”

    Church is NOT for unbelievers. Church is where the Shepherd feeds the sheep, not the goats. Our call as sheep is to go out among the wolves for evangelism and the making of disciples. In that process, we ourselves tell the “potential convert” the gospel message, and we bring them to church either to confirm the truth or as new sheep. At the time we disciple them, we should be telling them how holy God is and why we are to respect the house of God. It is not for a stage-show and it is not a come-as-you-were make-me-feel-good safe house. Reverence for God and His Word is critical, and the idea that “God made you special and He loves you very much” is what has perverted the western “church” into the debacle it is. (See Steven Furtick’s Elevation “Church” for a prime example.) If you know people that put their desire to dress inappropriately above the desire to honor God, then they were improperly discipled and that’s a shame.

    Claire said -”Someone above made a sarcastic comment about praying and repenting in low-rise jeans. Okay, a girl showing her butt crack might not be the most tasteful thing, but the point is she went up to the front to pray and repent! At this point she doesn’t care about your opinion, just God’s. If she cared what you thought, she wouldn’t have gotten up and risked embarrassing herself at all! And even if you want to consider her clothing choice something bad or sinful (which I think would be pretty silly), you have to remember, when someone goes to repent, they don’t already look the part. That comes later when you decide to change your lifestyle to fit your new faith.”

    Again, as an unbeliever, grace should be given to her. Then she should be discipled, and it wouldn’t be offensive to her to have someone explain why it’s inappropriate to dress that way. God’s opinion is crystal clear in the Scriptures and not even subject to your opinion either. Your view of disagreement is just that by the way… your opinion. The question is does your opinion line up with Scripture? I would submit that it doesn’t. My opinion doesn’t matter either. Scripture is the final authority.

    Claire said -”Also the “hold-on-to-your-husbands!” comment about girls in revealing clothes distracting lusty men is even more offensive to the poor guys that it is the girls. Men aren’t just sex-driven animals that sensible women have to restrain. They can control themselves. Anyone who says otherwise is just using the girls’ behavior to excuse the men’s behavior, which is not right.”

    As a man, I would ask you to check yourself. If you act inappropriately, you are the stumbling block and that means your guilty of willful sin. Yes, men can control their actions, but sometimes the only way to control the thoughts is to either A) Close their eyes and fall into prayer which makes the offending woman either embarrassed or irritated, or B) the man leaves the area as to remove himself from the temptation. B is usually the avenue for a man who is truly trying to remain pure. The problem is that women could easily remedy the situation by dressing modestly.

    Claire said -”I think we need to stop worrying so much about appearances, and worry about more important things. I understand that we supposedly wear our “church clothes” out of respect for God’s house, but it seems like it’s more for the approval of other people. God doesn’t care what we look like, and He darned-well doesn’t care what we wear. Nothing we do can make Him love us more or less than He already does.”

    First point here is that if we follow your logic, then there will be no difference between the church and the world. That is not biblical. We are to be set apart and holy. If we claim to know Christ, then we seek to glorify Him on His terms. We DO worry what God thinks, and we DO seek to be separate from the world while we are still in the world. We are not called to conform, but to testify. No, we can’t do anything to make Him love us more or less, but we DO represent a Holy God who has no room for sin of any kind. To dress sinfully misrepresents His Nature and Character.

    Scripture is crystal clear that as Christians we are CHANGED from the inside out. If you really love the Truth, then you will not leave when you are confronted with the Truth.

  • Comment by Marvin Arnold — December 3, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    I remember one christmas service where a teenage couple in front of me had nothing better to do than make out for the length of the service. Talk of distracting.

  • Comment by M. Patterson — October 26, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    Hello, I’m a fan of this site, though I’ve never commented here, before. This particular post got me thinking, because I always sit on the very back row, when possible. Having anyone sit behind me worries me, and for a few reasons:
    -
    I’m a big guy, and I worry that I’m blocking the view of the short people behind me. Something about people singing worship songs at my back doesn’t seem right. Maybe I need to wear a shirt with a picture of Jesus on the back.
    -
    I’ve been told (and overheard other people being told) that having to look at me demoralizes the person speaking. Sorry about that. I tried sitting in the back with my face in my hands so that I was hidden below the person in front of me, and I think that only made it worse.
    -
    In a very charismatic church, where I attend, where everyone else is jumping up and down and clapping and hollering, I look like the only one in the room going straight to Hell. I suspect my growing tolerance to the caffeine in the church’s coffee…and the fact that I’m not a charismatic.
    -
    I like to leave the sanctuary sometimes just to convince myself that I’m not trapped in my seat. After a half hour of sitting in one place, I begin to wonder if I really am rooted to one spot.
    -
    There are also the things that happen behind me, like the person who kicks my seat (or the old lady who wouldn’t stop driving her pointy shoe right into my back), or inching forward gradually because the man behind me is using me to balance his chair on its back two legs. Sometimes it is them, and not me. Sorry if I sneezed on the back of your neck; I think I’m allergic to most of the perfumes that permeate the place.
    -
    I love this site. The visual humor is the best. I hope the author keeps at it for years to come.

  • Comment by Never Forsaken — November 17, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

    I had no intention of leaving you a comment, but my dog just hit the caps lock key, and typed ‘, so i thought…why not leave a nice comment anyway? I enjoyed reading your article…nice site.
    Aren’t you glad i was nice enough to leave a comment and turn off the caps lock?
    ~God Bless~ Lisa

  • Comment by Ezequiel — May 25, 2013 @ 2:25 am

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  • Comment by Sharon — September 4, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    Someone commented years ago about an elderly man passing out in the first row. In my parent’s church they had an elderly retired preacher who would stand in when the regular minister was away. He had remarked to his son one day that he would like to go while preaching a really good sermon, and God honoured his request, probably because he was such a godly man. It certainly shook up the small congregation, but it was hard for my family to be upset as we were confident that he went straight into the presence of Jesus.

Comments are now closed.