Monday, May 05, 2014

Church attendance manual: excerpts

Arriving late:

         Roman Catholic
What to do: Make your way to a seat promptly but discreetly. Before joining in the liturgy you must do a quick spiritual catch-up. This involves several seconds of kneeling. Anywhere between five and eight seconds is acceptable (less than five seconds would be disrespectful; more than eight would be a mark of pride or fanaticism). Under no circumstances may you join in the liturgy until this catch-up has been performed.
What to think: "Honestly though, it really doesn't matter if I'm late as long as the priest is on time."
AnglicanWhat to do: Same as the above, except that the spiritual catch-up is performed in an attitude of mild-mannered English contrition. You are not only catching up, but are also expressing regret for having behaved in a discreditable way.
What to think: "I am ashamed for being late, but not as ashamed as I look."
PresbyterianWhat to do: If you enter while someone is saying a prayer, you should stand just inside the doorway like a soldier at attention. You may not relax this posture until the prayer is ended, at which time you should march briskly all the way to the front row and sit down, head held high. You are not Catholic; you have nothing to be ashamed of.
What to think: "Even lateness can be a virtue when it is done decently and in order."


What to do: Let your singing be tempered by a manly soberness and austerity, as if you were respectfully singing somebody else's national anthem. Let your lips remain thin, your body erect, and your hands at your side where everyone can see them.
What to think: As a matter of fact, I'm not 100% certain of the doctrinal correctness of this verse. I'd better mumble the words just to be on the safe side.
PentecostalWhat to do: Let your depth of feeling be inversely proportional to the depth of meaning in the lyrics. Too much meaning = boring. "I'm coming back to the heart of worship" = very intense. The singing must also be done with the aid of an exceptionally talented band.
What to think: I'm not thinking, I'm worshipping.
EvangelicalWhat to do: You should sing all the Pentecostal songs, but sing them as if you were a Presbyterian. This means you get the best of both worlds: you can sing songs that don't mean anything while feeling nothing at the same time.
What to think: I thank you, God, that we are not like those Pentecostals. (Especially the part about the talented band.)  continued

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