Finding The Sugary Silver Lining

, , , , , , | Related | November 19, 2019

I was attending a funeral. The elderly mother of a friend had died, and close family members were reading personal messages. A granddaughter, about fifth or sixth grade, declared that it wasn’t so problematic that Grandmother had dementia:

It meant she sometimes forgot whether she had dealt sweets or not and they walked away with two pieces of candy.

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They Must Think You’re Really Tithe

, , , , , | Friendly | November 4, 2019

(My friend invites me to a church she just started attending with her coworker. The coworker has been going to this church for years. I make sure to take $5 to donate since I don’t want to seem rude. At the beginning of the sermon, they ask if there are any new people. My friend and I raise our hands; we think they are just taking count of how many new people came for the day. We are wrong. They hand us a piece of paper with information on when we could bring our check stubs from our jobs to the church.)

Me: “Why do you need this information?”

Them: “We need to make sure you are donating 10% of what you make before taxes.”

Me: “I’m not going to do this.”

Them: “Well, then, you will have to leave.”

(We left and the other people we were there with got mad at us for not giving the church the information they wanted. This was a while ago and that church is still going.)

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Parenting Before You’re Adulting

, , , , | Related | October 28, 2019

(I’m sitting with my siblings in church. Our mom has decided to stay home and our dad is performing usher duties. As the oldest, I’m left in charge of my three younger brothers, who are constantly squabbling. I have my work cut out for me: the first brother, fourteen at the time, is incredibly sensitive to anything the second brother says, and the second brother, who is nine years old, rarely has anything nice to say. The second brother also constantly picks fights with the third, who is seven, and then calls him a baby for reacting, which only aggravates the situation. It’s frustrating, especially since I’m only sixteen. An elderly lady sits to my right and hears me trying to keep the younger two from throwing punches before the sermon even begins.)

Little Old Lady: “Are you the mom today?”

Me: *looks at brothers, who are arguing again* “At this point, I might as well be.”

(I think the little old lady felt some sympathy when I had to intervene in the brewing fight.)

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What Did Jesus Have To Say About The Money Changers?

, , | Friendly | October 21, 2019

(I’m helping collect offering plates at my church. I notice that the plate at one of my assigned sections has stopped midway down an aisle, while the rest are moving normally through the church. I walk over to see what the issue is. I spot a woman digging through the cash already in the plate and pulling bills out. Everyone else in her aisle is staring at her.)

Me: “Ma’am, can I help you with something?”

(She drops the cash back into the plate.)

Woman #1: “I was just, um… yeah. Here you go.”

(She passes it down quickly. I collect it and head towards the counting room. As I pass the back row…)

Woman #2: “Hey! HEY! You!” *snaps her fingers and gestures me over*

Me: “Yes?”

Woman #2: “Give me that. I need to break a $10.”

(She reaches for the plate. I step out of her reach.)

Me: “No.”

Woman #2: “Why not?”

Me: “The offering plate is not for making change.”

Woman #2: “But I need smaller bills!”

(She makes another grab for the plate. Before I can stop myself, the following flies out of my mouth…)

Me: “No! This is a church, not a bank!”

(She stares at me, mouth open.)

Woman #2: “FINE! I thought church people were supposed to be polite!”

(I booked it out of the sanctuary and to the counting area before she had a chance to reply further. Seriously, people. Have some respect and don’t go picking out of the offering plate!)

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Playing Hardball On The Golf Ball With Softball

, , , , , | Friendly | October 18, 2019

In the early part of the century, my wife and I were deacons in a small non-denominational church east of the Canadian Rockies. One summer, we spent weeks arranging an after-service family softball game — kids vs. adults. We had to work around other church activities and scheduled it for the last Sunday in August, giving everyone four weeks’ notice. The date was pushing things; in that part of the world, we could get snow at that time. Everything was set, until…

The Sunday before the game was scheduled, a man unknown to us got up during announcements. I was in the office counting the offering but the following is the verbatim quote, as verified by several people:

“Next Sunday, there will be a men’s golf outing immediately after church. This means that the softball game will have to be postponed.” And he sat down.

As I said, I missed his statement but I got back to the sanctuary in time to hear my wife, normally the nicest and most accommodating of persons, get up and ream him a new one in front of the congregation, stating that the game was not postponed and ending with, “We will not miss you.”

The game did go on as scheduled, but there is an addendum. As deacons, we were responsible for the day-to-day running of the church and we had begun to question our pastor. He was the founding minister of the church and had become a bit too comfortable in his role. He made no secret of his love for the game of golf and, for some mysterious reason, was never around on Fridays in good weather. We always suspected he was on the links but could never prove it. 

He had an obligation to be part of the softball game and it was obvious he didn’t want to be. Initially, he suggested we only play seven innings. We shot that down. Then, he wanted to let the kids win and go home; again, no. The game went on for over three hours with the score in the teens for both sides, but when it finally ended, our holy man vanished fast enough to call it a modern miracle.

To this day, we are convinced that he put the other man up to the claim the previous week as he didn’t have the guts to do it himself.

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