Monday, March 24, 2008

Things You Should Never See in Church

I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter! I know I did - grilled chicken, baked beans, and four-layer pie - Yum!

I'm going to kick your Monday morning off with a great visual of things you should never see in church. Now, I'm a southern Baptist girl from a small town in Louisiana, so the church was a small one and most of the congregation could speak on the Old Testament from personal experience. And by the way - all names in this story have been changed (per my mom's request) to protect the guilty, even though almost all of them are dead now.

I'm not sure why things seem so much funnier in church but I'm thinking it has something to do with church being one of those places you're just not supposed to laugh. You're supposed to be serious and contemplative of your relationship with God and treat the institution with the proper respect. And sometimes that's just impossible.

For instance, one year my grandma's friend, we'll call her Mrs. Dooley, was preparing for Week of Prayer, which she always took charge of. Week of Prayer is exactly what it sounds like - an entire week of church. During the week, this means in the evening. Mrs. Dooley asked me, as she did every year, to play the violin, so one Tuesday night I headed over to church with my grandma and my sheet music.

Now, Mrs. Dooley had a daughter, we'll call her Peggy Sue, who was what they called back then a little "slow." Peggy Sue could read and write and had graduated high school, but she still lived at home even though she was probably well into her late forties at the time of this incident. Mrs. Dooley and Peggy Sue were always the first to arrive at church and they sat in the second pew on the right hand side every time. This was non-negotiable.

So when my grandma and I got there, Mrs. Dooley and Peggy Sue were already entrenched in their spots. The pastor came in and did his introductions, etc. and then we stood to sing the first hymn. And that's when I got a view I never wanted - you see, apparently Peggy Sue had been to the ladies' room before sitting down and had her entire skirt tucked into her panty hose.

Did I mention that Peggy Sue was a very large women - I mean really large. As in it was a full moon at church.

Of course, I nearly choked and bent double over the pew in front of me alternating trying not to laugh with looking out the window to see if God was going to strike me dead with lightening for laughing. How in the world she couldn't feel a skirt that was the size of a tent and supposed to hang to her ankles all bunched up in her hose, I have no idea. One would have thought there would at least be a draft problem back there.

My grandma, the epitomy of decorem frowned through the hymn and waited until we bowed our heads to pray to walk up behind her and pull the skirt from her hose. I was just praying that I could breathe properly again before I had to play.

So what about you - ever desperately wanted to laugh at the absolute wrong time?

Deadly (mooned) DeLeon


Christie Craig said...


Too funny. Yep, church is one of those places humor sneaks in without being invited.

Once, years ago, one of front-line choir members sort of . . . well, she didn't sort of do it, she did it. She lost her breakfast while singing "Wash me clean...."

The pastor was whom needed to be washed after her incident.

Crime Scene Christie

Jana DeLeon said...

Oooooh gross, Christie! I would definitely have left church. God would just have to forgive me.


terrio said...

As a cradle Catholic with 12 years of Catholic education, I have lots of funny church stories. There was the time my little brother burped loudly during Easter service and yelled "ELEPHANT!" My mother and I were very happy he was with my father and sister on the other side of the church.

There's the time the priest forgot the Pope's name and called him Pope What's-his-name. And when the same priest decided not enough people were participating in the singing so stopped in the middle of the song and said just forget it.

One of my favorite church related moments came when my daughter was almost three. She found the photo album from her baptism and came flying out of her bedroom yelling, "Jesus is holding me! Jesus is holding me!" I had to explain that Father Charlie was not Jesus. LOL!

Wendy Roberts said...

Our priest showed up with a black eye and stitches in his forehead a couple Sundays ago. He'd been the victim of a bad fall but my littlest guy took one look at him and announced to the whole church, "Wow, Father Pat must've really ticked off God."

Jana DeLeon said...

terrio - I almost spit out my coke over the forget it on the singing. That is hilarious!

Jana DeLeon said...

lol wendy - out of the mouths of babes!

Keri Ford said...

All of these are too funny! I know the the funny bone has hit me in church, but I can't remember any specific moments! Makes you wonder about the pastor and what he's thinking as he looks out at the congregation to see heads bowed and shoulders bouncing.

Tori Lennox said...

These are great stories!

Like Keri, I'm sure there have been funny things at church. I just can't remember now what they were.

Tori Lennox said...

Oh! I just remember something that happened at a friend's wedding. Does that count? The priest evidently had a few too many nips of wine before the ceremony because he was three sheets to the wind. Not being Catholic ourselves, we didn't know whether to be amused or appalled. *g*

Estella said...

When my daughter got married the justice of the peace had a LARGE booger hanging out of one side of his nose. A lot of people could not keep a straight face.

Jana DeLeon said...

keri - yeah, guess i never thought of it that way but i bet he does wonder. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Hmmm tori - I think I've been to that wedding. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Gross, estella!!!! I'd have been out in the floor!

Lucy said...

For me it's not so much a desperately wanting to laugh as being unable to stop laughing hysterically at the wrong moments. I'm more of a "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission" kind of thing when it comes to laughing.

I'm so easily amused too. It's bad.

Oh but one time I somewhat managed to refrain and hoped I wouldn't bust out laughing was at my wedding. The pastor was asking my (now ex) husband if he "took this woman" and my hubby to be interrupted him to say "I do". The look on the pastor's face and then my ex's reaction were priceless. At that particular moment I was fighting off the emotional crying but from that point on it was all I could do not to laugh hysterically - and I was afraid I would lose it when it was my turn to next speak.

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Lucy - just a bit of the jumping the gun, huh?

Anonymous said...

I was at the wedding of some close friends. The bride & groom were of no particular denomination, but a large portion of the groom's family was Mennonite. The happy couple chose to be married in a Baptist church ... it was fairly swank as far as Baptist churches go, with lots of red carpeting & pew upholstery and stained glass windows and a big ole' pool behind the altar for baptisms.

My husband and I were sitting in a pew in front of another friend, a nice Catholic boy who had apparently never had the opportunity to visit the houses of other religions.

In the pew in front of us were two older Mennonite ladies, great-aunties of the groom, I think.

Suddenly, we hear Angus behind us saying, "Where's all the stuff?"

"What stuff?"

"You know ... the STUFF! The chalice and the thurible and the geegaws and the altar drapes and the candles ... the STUFF!!!"

And he's asking loudly enough that the ladies in front of us can hear, because you can see their backs going poker stiff and red starting to flush up the backs of their necks.

Where Angus looks at the Baptist church and sees empty starkness, the Mennonite ladies are seeing a papist-lite bordello.

And we were trapped between them.

We finally put Angus in a head lock & dragged him out so we could "educate" him before half of C.J.'s family had collective apoplexy.

Pink Pelican