Kari behaving badly

On Sunday, church was just awful. We hadn’t been in a while, since we have been out of town a lot lately, so we didn’t know that all the pastors would be out of town for the holiday weekend. It wasn’t like we had the second string, either. It was more like the eighth or ninth string. The music was okay, but the sermon (hereafter referred to as The Worst Sermon Ever) was long and boring. It started off okay, but it crashed and burned soon after.

I have to admit that I got bored. I entertained myself by folding paper airplanes out of just about anything made of paper that was available in the pew. I got frustrated. I flipped through the hymnal. The Worst Sermon Ever was also the Longest Sermon Ever. And then, I noticed something. Our regular pastor’s family was there, even though he wasn’t. And Mrs. Pastor sings in the choir, so the family in front of us was sitting with the kids. Our pastor’s youngest son had pulled his shirt up over his head and was rocking back and forth, back and forth. I started laughing.

Laughing during The Worst Sermon Ever is not the best way to make friends with the guest pastor. It being a holiday weekend, there wasn’t a lot of buffer, even though we were sitting about halfway back. I am told that my face was as red as my shirt, and that, while I was looking down, trying to get myself under control, the guest pastor was looking angrily in my general direction. (My response? Don’t be so boring, then!) Instead of shaking his hand when we left, we snuck out the back. Yes, we are that immature.

Sad to say, this wasn’t the worst-behaved I’ve ever been in church. At our old church one packed out Sunday morning, I was taking sermon notes when I realized that Mike was just copying my notes instead of taking his own. I wrote, “And then the aliens sucked out their brains.” He copied it, and it wasn’t until he was done that he realized what he had written. We started laughing. And couldn’t stop. Did I mention that the church was packed out? Let me also mention that, in an unusual move, we were sitting about four rows back instead of our usual ten or twelve. And a very large man was sitting next to me. By “next to me” I mean “halfway in my seat.” I had little to no buffer from the pastor, and I was disturbing everyone around me. This of course only made things funnier. I remember snorting at one point. I have never left church as ashamed as I did that day.

Most of my “behaving badly in a formal setting” stories (including this one) have to do with laughing inappropriately. This week, in a valiant but fruitless effort to stop laughing, I thought of sad things like Jimmy Shea’s grandpa dying right before the Olympics and September 11 and “Avalanches, earthquakes, famine…and I’m out.” How do you stop laughing in these kinds of situations? What’s the worst/most embarassing thing you’ve ever done in church?

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