Monday, September 9, 2013

The Art of Choosing Your Seat in Church


There are two different types of church sitters. I call them the Floaters and the Steady Butts. Sometimes the Steady Butts will float for a season until they find the place their butt is most comfortable. Sometimes the Floaters are simply looking for a place to give their butt the perfect home and just haven’t found it yet.

No matter which of these you are, there are a few experiences we can all relate with. Take this one, for example.

You show up a little bit early, or maybe you arrive as soon as the prelude begins playing. You find your seat, not too far in the back but not so close to the front that you feel like everyone is staring at your backside. It also has a direct, unobstructed view of the pulpit.

But then it happens. Most people of average or below average height can relate.  After worship and the introductory prayer, some late-arriving willow tree decides to take a seat right in front of you. On top of this, the willow tree begins to sway in the wind and won’t stay still. So for the rest of the service, you are also swaying in the wind, trying to see past the height of the parishioner in front of you. If you were a teenager, spit wads would be in order. If you’re an adult, all you have is festering annoyance and an urge to begin your floating ritual once more.

As time wears on, you realize the solution to the problem is to sit in the front. That way you won’t have to worry about tall people barring your view of the preacher, the baptisms, or whatever shenanigans usually occur on a Sunday morning.

But wait, the coffee you had just before the service began, decides to hit you halfway through the sermon. If you get up to go to the restroom in the middle of the service, everyone will see you. They will either think you are leaving because the sermon is too convicting, or they will know the real reason, which is much worse. You have to decide between squirming through the discomfort or seizing the day and relieving your bladder as soon as you can. Such decisions can only be made by the individual and this one has no advice to offer (I’ve experienced both and neither one is preferred to the comfort of sitting in the back where sneaking out is much easier, but then you take the risk of having your well-chosen seat sabotaged by Tall Ones. Alas, what can be done?).

These problems are difficult ones and finding the perfect seat is about as difficult as finding the perfect church. But taking risks and being willing to deal with certain annoyances for the encouragement of your faith are efforts worth attempting. Life will always have its difficulties, but perseverance will always produce greater things. Take heart, my protégés, and let the art of choosing your seat in church carry on. 

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