Sunday, January 4, 2015

God Knows....

I want to relay a story that may make me sound a bit judgmental. And I suppose I am just a bit, but it's difficult not to have at least some thoughts on what happened. I'm only human.

I was in church this morning with my wife, enjoying the pastor's sermon, when my wife touched me on the arm and indicated that I should look at the pew directly in front of us. In it was a family of six - mother, father, 2 boys and 2 girls ranging from about 16 to 8. They had come in just prior to the beginning of the sermon and while I had noticed them when they entered, I wasn't paying attention to them during the sermon.

What I saw was amusing and irritating at the same time. I could see three of them from an angle so I could tell what they were doing. Two of the kids were directly in front of me and I couldn't see their hands. And Dad was at the and furthest away. I couldn't see his hands either.

Mom was busy working a jigsaw puzzle on her iPad mini. The four kids, sitting to her left, were each playing games on their cell phones. (I was able to deduce this near the end of the service when we all stood up for the invitation. The two kids of which I was unsure stuffed their phones in their pockets.) Dad, who was sitting on Mom's right side, was concentrating on something in front of him (in his lap area) and not really paying much attention to the sermon. I guessed he had an iPad or a phone as well. 

This went on continuously during the sermon, stopping only when the pastor prayed just before the invitation. It was just before that when I discovered what Dad was doing. To his credit, Dad wasn't playing with a phone. He had a checkbook ledger in his hand and it seemed he had been balancing it. I learned what he was doing when he showed the ledger to his wife just prior to the prayer. Certainly it's possible he was looking at the check book to determine how large his offering was going to be. But given the behavior of the rest of the family I have my doubts.

Now comes the judgmental part. I can't help but wonder why the family goes to church in the first place. If you do anything and everything but pay attention to what's going on what's the point?

I suppose my biggest question would be this. "What are you, as parents, teaching your children about church and God?" When Mom is playing with her iPad throughout the sermon, Dad is doing the checkbook and the kids are permitted to play with their phones the entire time - what are any of you getting out of it? Again I ask - what's the point? Do you think God is happy that you're there, regardless of what you do? Seriously?

Bringing the entire family to church should be a good thing, a learning experience. This family is missing the point. If you're going to play video games and do family chores why not stay home? Perhaps I'm being too harsh. Perhaps God prefers they be there so that they might possibly get something out of the sermon without realizing it. I can certainly understand that and that's between Him and them, I guess. I will try not to judge. But it's extremely difficult to understand why you'd take the entire family to church just so they can play video games - even the adults. 

May God work His way into these people's lives and give them the wisdom to understand the importance of paying attention. The lives they save may be their own.

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