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INSIDE STORY: The lighter side of our church life

WARNING: What you are about to read is an attempt at humor. If you think faith can’t be funny, please stop reading now and divert your attention to the more serious topics on our Web site.
If you think faith can be funny, but you determine after reading this that I am not, please take comfort in knowing that my wife and children agree with you.


With apologies toJeff Foxworthy of “Redneck” joke fame, you might be a member of the church of Christ …

• If you know exactlywhat song I’m talking about when I ask you to turn to number 728b.

• If you could reciteall the books of the Bible before you could even read them.

• If you know thefirst and third verse of nearly every song.

• If you actuallyknow what a “ready recollection” is and have been thoroughly“guide-guard-and-directed” all your life. (If you’re really a member, you knowthat “guide-guard-and-directed” must be followed by “and-bring-us-back-at-the-next-appointed-time.”)

• If you think“progressive” refers to those in the church who want a sound system and PowerPoint.

• If you can actuallyread shape notes.

• If you recognizeany of these ministers by first name alone: Landon, Reuel, Prentice, Rubel,Norvel, Flavil, Furman or Batsell.

• If you think yourchosen pew is “sacred” and no one else should sit in your spot.

• If you think theBible questions on Jeopardy are waytoo easy.

• If you decide whichBible translation to use based on how Acts 2:38 reads.

• If you immediatelyreach for your wallet when you hear the phrase, “Now, separate and apart fromthe Lord’s Supper … ”

• If “chosen frozen”refers to your early worship service that resembles a country church 50 yearsago, and “happy clappy” describes your late service that the chosen frozen aredeeply concerned about.

• If you know all thewords to all the verses of Trust andObey.

• If you’ve everridden a JOY bus. (And, of course, you know that JOY stands for “Jesus” first,“Others” second and “Yourself” last.)

• If, when you’rehappy and you know it, you clap your hands, stomp your feet and say “Amen!”

• If you’ve evercarried your Bible in an empty casserole dish.

• If you brought thatcasserole dish to the last fellowship meal, and the main ingredient in it wascream of mushroom soup.

• If you’ve everheard a rambunctious young child yell “Pray for me! Pray for me!” as his motherwhisked him down the aisle to the foyer.

• If you’ve everwondered who Ebon Pinion was.

• If you think theterm “church of Christ humor” is an oxymoron.

• If you’ve everheard an announcement from the pulpit about a missing puppet.

• If you think the Chronicle is way too liberal.

• If you’ve everprayed for those “who are sick of this congregation.”

• If you’ve neverbeen to a church that wasn’t named after the street it was on.

• If you think the Chronicle is way too conservative.

• If you’ve been to awedding or a funeral where “the invitation” was offered.

• If you’ve stood for13 verses of Just As I Am with thelast stanza sung softly.


I offer my manythanks to the folks on my e-mail list who helped me come up with the aboveitems. I take full credit for the lines that made you chuckle.

As for the ones thatmade you frown and want to send me nasty letters, here’s who to blame: DanKnight, minister of church life at the Overland Park, Kan., church; RickJohnson, worship and body life minister of the Eastside church, Antioch,Calif.; and Karen Koonce, a member of the Eastside church where Rick serves.

Also, Gerald Franks,a member of the Central church, Huntsville, Ala.; Stephen Michael Kellat, from Pennsylvania;Bill Brant, president of Abilene Christian Schools,Abilene, Texas;and Robyn Harwell, my wife Tamie’s cousin and a member of the Edmond, Okla.,church.

A few otherscontributed, too, but I’m keeping their names secret to protect the guilty.


Staying with thehumor theme, Robyn reminded me that her and Tamie’s late “Papaw” Eual Dillardworshiped at a one-cup church with an outhouse in rural southeastern Oklahoma.

“Papaw always satfirst person, front row,” Robyn said. “He never sat with us. I’m sure hethought he was fooling everyone.”

At a church attendedby Cecil May, Bible dean at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala., visitation teams typicallymet after Sunday night services. The teams assigned names to visit, thenenjoyed finger foods and desserts.

But when a highschool baccalaureate was planned for the same night, a speedy visitationmeeting was needed.

So, an elderannounced, “Visitation team two will meet tonight and make assignments, butthere will be no fellowship.”

Bobby Ross Jr. is Managing Editor of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].

  • Feedback
    Some of those are so true that they are almost not funny. I started singing out of Christian Hymns #2 when I was 5 years old and I memorized every song; 1,2 & last verse. I did learn all 6 verses of Just As I Am. Through the years I’ve added different song books as the congregations have grown and changed. I am a rebel about Bibles. I love the American Standard and really do not care for the old King James. (I Know I’m lost, Paul carried the King James.” I also like the New American and the English Standard Version. I find them very sound translations, far better than the New King James or the New International, and actually much easier to read and study. I got Bro Baxter,Nichols, Shelly and Meadow.
    Bruce Stroud
    South Cobb Church of Christ
    Mableton , Georgia
    United States
    February, 18 2012

    Great article! And all so very true! I especially love the one about praying for those sick of the congregation.
    Tammie Hacker
    Sycamore View C of C
    Bartlett, TN
    February, 18 2012

    Thanks for the smiles and memoeries that came flooding back as I read through the list. I think you’re hilarious!
    Grew up Golf Course Rd, Midland TX
    Aurora, CO
    January, 19 2012

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