Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sweatin' Like A Sinner In Church

Once upon a time, a very long, long time ago I was a sophomore in Ms. McGrew's Biology class. When she informed me, halfway through the grading period, that my class average was a D, I was not shocked. I could not stay awake in her class. While she discussed cell division, molecules and plant reproduction, my eyes would get heavy and I would start to nod off. 

I spoke to my grandmother about my troubles. Biology class was directly after lunch. My assigned seat was against the radiator and I, full from lunch, extra toasty from the heat radiating behind me and unstimulated by information that was of no importance to me, would become increasingly tired - no matter how awake I may have been when I entered her classroom. My grandmother suggested that I speak with my instructor about moving my seat to another place in the classroom. It worked. I was no longer stuffy, no longer sleepy and was ably to squeak out a B before the end of the grading period. 

This weekend, the family and I attended a family reunion in Myrtle Beach, SC. I am always curious by family reunions as this is not something that my family has ever practiced.*

On Sunday, we attended church with our various family members from around the nation. The pastor at this church was giving a sermon on the night that Jesus went out to pray prior to being persecuted. He stated that he is not offended when parishioners fall asleep in the pews because Jesus' best friends fell asleep while He was praying that night. I am not sure what was going on with Jesus's friends. It was night, they were in the desert, they walked A LOT (like everywhere), but on behalf of my family members and others that struggle to stay awake in church, I would like to take this opportunity to speak to pastors of predominantly black churches. **

I understand that it is summer and that buildings (especially large buildings) are hard to keep cool during the especially dogged days of heat and humidity. 

I understand that churches have a tight budget and often times are plagued with concerns on how they will pay their bills.

I understand that the more people that you cram into a tight space the hotter that your facility will feel.

I understand that everyone in a church is a sinner and that we should all be sweating over the fates of our souls. 

However, if you could have someone cut on the air on Saturday night so that you are starting from a relatively cool temperature on Sunday morning, you might be able to keep people awake during your 3 and half hour long program (seriously, I honestly do not know why it has to be so long or drawn out, I began losing interest around the 2 hour mark). Additionally, your air conditioning system would not have to battle so hard to keep up with the quickly rising temperature from outside (and inside as people begin to file in).

There is really no reason that I can think of that you should not want your sanctuary to be air conditioned, it seems to me that in keeping your parishioners awake to hear your message you could be saving them from failing at an even bigger subject than high school Biology - life. 

* In fact, it occurred to me this weekend that it has been 19 years since my grandmother died, and I have not seen the majority of my aunts or cousins since then. I could pass my relatives on the street and never know who they are or that they were there.

** This is not my first time visiting a predominantly black church and the ones that I have been to all seem to have the same issues with their air conditioning. At first I thought it was just that one church, that the air must be broken. I know now that I am wrong. 

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