Good tidings, my friends! In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I would keep things light this week and joyfully share all of the things that I hated about church even as a devoted Christian. Now, I don't want to be a total humbug, so let me take a moment to convey one of the things I do miss about church, some of the genuinely kind-hearted people I came in contact with over the decades. And on that positive note, I give you the top ten reasons that I feel so blessed to be an atheist.
1. Small groups: Getting "plugged in"
As if high school cliques weren't traumatic enough, I relived the in-group/out-group all over again through the church's more informal take on Sunday school, small groups that usually met at a member's home versus at the church. Make no mistake, some groups were more popular than others and a complete nightmare for the introvert who was never one of the cool kids to begin with.
2. Shaking hands with strangers:
Don't you just love forced introductions? Dammit! I forgot the hand sanitizer again.
3. Sunday school circle time:
Is there anything more awkward than a bunch of adults facing each other in a circle? Why yes, unfortunately for me there was. Read on.
4. Being called upon to pray out loud:
I get nervous just thinking about it. Quickly divert gaze down to open Bible resting in lap, which I am intently studying at this moment. Please don't call on me!
5. Unspoken prayer requests:
Really? You're going to leave us all hanging here with your unspoken prayer request that should have remained just that, unspoken? I always found this attention seeking ploy highly irritating.
6. Helping with the toddlers:
Sure, I love kids- just not twenty of them at the same time with maybe one other helper who was also guilted into volunteering.
7. The dreaded tithing bowl:
Designed specifically so that your neighbors could see how much you were giving or not... Can I have a refund please?
8. Superstar singer behind you:
Speaking of your neighbors, is there anything more annoying than the deluded singer in the pew behind you hosting their own talent show directly into your ears?
9. Inability to hit Costco on Sunday morning:
When is the best time to shop at Costco? Without a doubt, it's Sunday morning, with the rest of the heathens in your town, especially if you live in the Bible belt and roughly half of your city is at church.
Ah, the joy of speaking in tongues. The interpreter didn't really know what it meant either. As my husband recalled, the pastor actually cut off the spirit-driven congregant channeling none other than the angels of God himself so that they could head on to their potluck dinner.
Wishing all of you the best of holidays!