I’m sure you’ve seen it before. Someone complaining and stinking the place up over something that happened at church or at a church function. Here are 5 things that make church people unreasonably upset.
5. Drums or other modern rock instruments in the church worship
This one is the funniest things, and it gets people worked up like a Labrador on cocaine. I was at a Republican fundraising dinner this year and I ran into and old friend. She is nearing 60 and grew up in the old school church. You know, the kind with no air conditioning and you still had to show up in a full suit for a 3 hour service. Conversation ensued and one thing lead to another and before you know it, we were talking about church. This is inevitable when you’re a seminary student.
I asked her what church she was currently attending and she gave me the recap of the last 3 years. She also told me that she visited a church in town that was led by a guy we were both very familiar with and this is what she told me….
“I just couldn’t worship there. I don’t like the rock music in church. If God wanted drums in worship He would have put it in the Bible.”
To which I replied,
“Well what do you think they play in the African churches?”
Instant end to the conversation.
Why it’s ridiculous
The drums in church issue is really just a small manifestation of a larger issue. Old people who want churches everywhere to be exactly like what they remembered growing up. It has nothing to do with theology. It’s a comfort level issue. They want to go to church and feel at home. It’s not terrible to want to worship at a church that has your same style but to insist that other churches are “wrong” because they do things differently is just absurd.
In fact, drums are probably more biblical than pianos and organs. Many people in the Bible played percussion instrument. Miriam played the tambourine (Exodus 15:20). And here is the kicker, SHE DANCED TOO! Baptists usually like the OT, but they obviously missed this passage.
Psalm 150:5 instructs people to make music using cymbals (which is part of the drum kit FYI).
Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Notice that he used cymbals twice and both times it wasn’t quiet!
For more on this and to read some of the most ridiculous comments about drums in church, check out this blog entry I found!
4. Clothes in church
I was working once with a Presbyterian church and a Lutheran church at the same time. This was my first venture in churches with pastors who wore robes, other than the Catholic church. That is when I heard the most ridiculous thing ever.
People at both of these churches quit attending when the pastor decided he no longer wanted to wear a robe in the service. No joke, families left the church because the pastor (you know the guy who went to school for 7-9 years to get a Masters of Divinity and then additional ordination school), decided to stop wearing clothes that dated back to the medieval days.
I’ve also attended churches where the only acceptable thing to wear is a suit, if you’re a man. For women that means dresses or ankle length skirts. I was actually called out at one such church. It was epic enough to earn it’s own blog post! –>God’s Dress Code<–
Even worse yet, I had a roommate who went to an apostolic church and they were so insane that the men could only wear black suits and would be shunned if they had facial hair or wore a colored tie. I visited one of these church before and just showed up in jeans and a button down. About the 5th time visiting that same church and getting asked the same question each time….
“Hey is this you’re first time here?”
I replied out of curiosity,
“No, I’ve been here a number of times. Why do people keep asking me that?”
To which he replied,
“Because you’re dressed in street clothes.”
I just smiled and came back the next weekend in jeans again. But he was visibly irritated at the fact that I refused to abide by God’s dress code.
Why it’s ridiculous
This is completely absurd because church attire is not mentioned once in the Bible. Of course we all remember that Paul told women at Corinth to stop dressing for show, via Timothy who was at the church at that time (1 Timothy 2:9-10). It might be worth adding that Paul endorses wearing standard economic minded clothes, not expensive clothes. (I.E. suits or expensive jewelry).
1 Timothy 2:9-10
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
1 Peter 3:2
This is repeated by Peter in his first letter,
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Other than these passages the New Testament does not touch the topic very much. But from looking at these two verses I would say that the NT authors are more concerned about what is on the inside than what is on the outside.
3. Anything in the church getting moved or changed
The same great Presbyterian church that showed me that robes were a major theological ordeal also taught me that moving anything in the nave of the church is a crime punishable by death! Here is what happened.
A pastor that had previously been at the church decided that the communion table was too far back on the stage so he decided to move it forward. If you’re guessing already that people in the church had a conniption you would be right. Because the location of the altar is sacred. He is lucky God did not smite him for his bad behavior.
However, the next pastor was so smart he even flew under God’s radar. Also agreeing that the altar needed moved, and knowing that the previous pastor almost lost his life over moving it, he decided to move it one inch at a time. Week after week, after week, after week, inch by inch, by inch. It took the entire year but after a year was over, the altar had finally reached its new home. Just a few small feet away.
Why it’s ridiculous
People are funny. They get so used to something being a certain way that one day when things change….its the end of the world. For some reason people grow comfortable with with the way things are. So much that the way things are becomes sacred. Once something becomes sacred then they will develop theology to support that idea. Case-in-point, the King James Version supporters who actually believe that the KJV is the perfect English translation….even though they can’t read Greek or Hebrew. In fact, most church goers should just leave advanced language and theology to the professionals.
Which leads to the next item….
Before I say anything about theology, if you’re feeling a slight irritated that this is on the list, you’re part of the problem. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Some core pieces of theology are important. But it’s necessary to know what is core theology and what is open for polite discussion.
I’ve been to a lot of different churches of all denominations. One thing is always true; church people think they know theology because they’ve heard a lot of sermons and been to Bible studies. The problem is that that means absolutely nothing.
The other problem is that sometimes they think they know more than the pastor does (which is more common since educational requirements for ministry has been virtually eliminated from modern churches). When this equilibrium occurs someone almost always is bound to be upset at a church sermon that taught “wrong” theology.
I knew a guy once who got up in the middle of the sermon, cussed out the pastor, and then stomped out never to return. I don’t know what the sermon was about, but one thing is clear, he obviously knew more than the pastor. I guess it seemed like the only decent Christian thing to do at the time.
Here is the best part. The town in which the guy resides is about 16,000 people. If you aren’t good with numbers, that is a small town. Which also means that he could basically never go back to church in town again because everyone in town already knew what went down by next Sunday.
I’ve also talked with a lot of people who have basically just church hopped all their lives and this is what I’ve found; there is ALWAYS something wrong with the church they attend. The service is too long, they don’t do communion right, they didn’t do the altar call at the end, the carpet is too dark, the pastor is too short, or my favorite excuse; “I just wasn’t getting fed.” The 5 most used cop-out words in church life.
“Please, tell me again about how you’re a mature Christian but you still want someone to spoon feed you “
One of the other things that I’ve seen people get upset about in church is the end times theology. Which is funny because the church(s) hasn’t agreed on end times theology since Jesus died. But the seasoned church-goer….they got that stuff down! That’s elementary! Why can’t the pastor just listen to me. His education has obviously failed him (or her).
Why it’s ridiculous
This is so ridiculous because theology has so little to do with Jesus’s ministry. Theology did not really exist as a church standard until 300 years after Jesus already rose from the dead and church doctrine was only necessary because a few loose canons where getting extreme. Theology was mean’t to keep people from getting too far lost in outer space, not become something to split hairs over. The true mission of the church is to make disciples, not have all the theological answers.
Furthermore, just because someone has been in a church a long time it does not necessarily mean that they know anything. All they really know is what they have been told by other pastors or church leaders. Everything they know is 2nd or 3rd hand. Very few Christians have ever read a real theology book or original source documents from the early church. But just like anything else, once a person does something long enough, they think they are the master of it. They may be the master of what they know but they still know very little.
1. Other people in the church
By far one of the most aggravating things about church is the people. Paul spent a vast amount of time trying to put out fires in the churches. Almost every NT letter has some form of
“someone stop hating someone else.”
Here is point #1 being well articulated by Mr. Perry Noble
Not buying it yet? Here is the pudding…
You don’t need to tell me that people make others mad in church. I see it all the time. People fighting over parking, spreading rumors about other people because they talked to the wrong person, or even worse yet, someone feeling threatened by someone else because they look better. This is not a joke. I know a of women who don’t like other women simply because she felt threatened. Ask them about it and they will have a million excuses why the other woman is a horrible person.
Why it’s ridiculous
This is probably the most ridiculous of the bunch. You would think that people would try to get along at least at church….obviously not true for all people. I don’t know why people can’t get along, even if they don’t like each other.