Reason #4: I Don't Go To Church. (Part 2.5. Because, this topic DEFINITELY needed 2.5 parts. Or, not.)
It has to be the worst saying in the history of mankind: "Don't beat a dead horse." Was there a time when beating dead horses was common - only slightly frowned upon? And, it feels a bit weird to suggest that beating a live horse might somehow be acceptable.
Disgusting imagery aside, that's what I'll be doing today, though. Why? Because I still haven't explained why Christmas church is worse than all other church services. And, given that Christmas is now past... it's now or never. (I'm not saying Americans spend more time looking forward than enjoying the present - but, Fourth of July decorations are now going up.)
So, let's (finally) talk Christmas church.
I've had many horrible Christmas church experiences. Back-breaking, soul-taking, frost-bite-inducing bad experiences.
The church is always stuffed to the hilt with people just like me: only there out of family obligation. One year, there were so many guilted mom-lovers that my wife and I had to sit in the aisle. Let me tell you, it's hard to feel spiritual when the ushers are constantly stepping over you. "Oh, Come All Ye..." "Excuse me. Pardon me." "Joyful and..." "Yeah, if you could just scoot... yes, that way. Thank you."
And, like most Americans, and every Republican, I assume that everyone is exactly like me. Which means, I'm assuming everyone there is acting. "So happy to see you." No. I'm not happy to see you. At least, not here. If I were at at home, Christmas snacks in hand, enjoying a hot chocolate... THEN I'd be happy to see you. Right now, I just want an Advil from sitting on steps for 2 hours.
Did I mention Christmas services are always too long? Come on. Sing a few songs. Tell me the Christmas story and send me home for cookies.
Which brings me to the next point: It's Christmas. Take a break from telling me I'm going to hell. (Here's a bit of free marketing advice from me to Christians everywhere - or, at least in Kansas: You've got a great story. Jesus loves you. He died for you. Heaven is awesome. Maybe don't focus so much on hell. When Pillsbury sells you crescent rolls, they don't talk about what happens when you burn them.) Seriously. I've been to Christmas services where the entire sermon was spent telling me how lost and awful I was. (Do I have to point fingers here, Baptists?) Definitely want to go back for more of that.
One year, the preacher was on some sort of weird power trip. He literally said the phrase "EVERY knee shall bend and EVERY head shall bow" at least 15 times in ONE prayer. He did it while constantly looking at my wife and I. (I probably don't have to mention that neither our knees were bent or our heads bowed.) Each time he said it, he grew more forceful. I couldn't help but wonder, if HIS head was bowed, he wouldn't have noticed mine wasn't. (I take great pleasure in pointing out that he was shuffled from the church not long after, for stealing thousands of dollars from the good people who trusted him.)
And, then there was the time one pastor used the Christmas sermon to brag about his firearm skills. "If I had my .38, and Satan were standing right in front of me... I'd blast his head off. Wouldn't even hesitate. That's what I'd do." Nothing captures the spirit of Baby Jesus like the smell of gunpowder. Tarantino should direct this Christmas story.
And finally, because this is part 2.5 of a 1-part series, I'll keep this short... Christmas church is cold. Always. Turn up the heat. I know you're expecting, and getting, more people into this building than every before, and they're gonna get hot when you tell them how lost they are, but if it gets you turn on the furnace, I'll even bow my head.