Here are three reactions for posterity after various church visits.
If that was text study, I can see why the younger people wanted something different and started their own discussion group. I wish I’d found a different class upon walking in the door. But then there was the assembly proper (beginning with the third of the three triple whammies described here) and that would’ve put me into a spiritual fit, anyway.
If some people weren’t so insistent on continuing to talk in order to prove they know something they don’t know after all, God might be able to speak through the text. (But, boy, was I pleasantly surprised and gratified when the sort-of-teacher’s-helper came to me as I left the room and thanked me for bringing him “back to the Bible” in my 2-minute comment toward the end of class. [Sorry if that comes off as boastful. I mean mostly to call attention to a little oasis in this particular desert. Once in a while I need to remind myself of a tad bit of personal worth.])
Most churches fall somewhere between mildly disappointing and stultifying in many activities. The singing aspect of this church’s gathering, experienced for a grand total of five minutes this very morning, didn’t come anywhere close to either of those. It wasn’t even embarrassing. It was an utter travesty, and doubly so because no one seemed to be aware of how bad it was.
Did that make any sense? Didn’t think so. The singing at this place was like that: nonsense. The reasonable-quality gospel song sung from a poor-quality hymnal should have been familiar to at least half the people in the room, but the “leader” had not a fraction of a clue. This was not your garden-variety obtuse or relatively unskilled leader. This was like a paraplegic in a relay race or a short-order cook negotiating a nuclear treaty with the dictator of a 2nd-world communist country. “Face to Face” ended up sung to a mixed-up, bad-form version of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and believe me, no one intended that—or registered a quizzical look when it happened. It was melodically confused and harmonically chaotic. The next song, the Gaither favorite “He Lives,” began in at least three different keys with equal melodic confusion. And no one even seemed aware. And that in itself should be embarrassing. Maybe I should have left out the 2nd half of this paragraph. Nah.
I have purposefully avoided identifying any of the three churches with its actual name; no human soul will be able to figure out the actual name of more than one of them, and I can think of only one person at one of these churches that has even a remote chance of seeing this post. The point is certainly not to make anyone feel bad. I mean mostly to blow off steam, I suppose . . . although it would probably be advisable for a good number of my readers to stand back at their churches to measure the purposefulness, effectiveness, and quality of various aspects.
Maybe you have some influence where you are?
B. Casey, 12/11/16