My wife and I attend North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. It’s a megachurch full of the most attractive people you’ve ever seen in your life. Seriously, I haven’t verified this with any of my friends that work there but I’m fairly confident they keep ugly people away with some sort of force field. Or they have their own service that they all attend. I’m not sure, the point is that everyone there is cool.
I know that’s not entirely true. North Point is actually more diverse than it gets credit for and there is obviously no beauty requirement for membership. I love that church for being real and honest despite the influx of beatuty. But regardless of that, I really want to impress people at church. I know that when it comes to Sunday morning I consciously think, “how can I look cool this morning?” I know God isn’t concerned with that. He probably laughs that I have “church jeans” and “hang around the house jeans” but there it is. I’m insecure and I was reminded of that a few months ago.
My wife and I were just lightly chatting in our seats before church started. Suddenly she pulled out yarn and needles from her purse and began to knit. I was horrified. I knew that we had maybe seven seconds before the cool people around us saw what she was doing and asked us to attend the 2:35 in the afternoon Ugly Person Church Service.
“What are you doing? Put that away.” I said in a hushed whisper.
“What? I’m just knitting? What’s the big deal?” My wife said, clearly startled at my shallowness.
The big deal was that I mistakenly thought knitting was for almost dead people. At the time I didn’t realize how hip and popular and artistic knitting really was. I thought it was for old people that called the Internet the “World Wide Interweb” and collected plates with Shirley Temple on them and watched “Matlock.” I felt like I might as well be whittling a pipe out of a corn husk next to her or churning fresh butter.
I realized three things from that moment:
1. I am shallow and superficial and still try to impress complete strangers.
2. Knitting is way cooler and hipper than I am.
3. No one has ever written the definitive guide on how to impress people at church.
So I thought I would. Here, are five different ways to impress the people around you at church in the moments before service starts:
1. To look in love
Want to look like you are deeply and madly and wildly in love with your wife as every good, holy, Godly man should be? Use the ten minutes before service starts as “cuddle time.” Call her cute little names like “pookie pie” and “miss kissington huggertons.” Give her big, awkward hugs. Extra points if you give her a neck massage during the service with one hand. (You know who you are lady that sits near me at church.)
2. To look spiritual
Want to look like you’re a theologian, lost deep in the biblical embrace of sweet baby Jesus? Crack open the Bible to some obscure chapter. As you read, underline things, in multiple colors and occasionally mutter stuff like, “Of course, the Hebrew translation. Amazing hermeneutics.”
3. To look in fellowship
Fellowship needs it’s own post, because other than “Fine,” it’s the official Christian F word. We love to be in fellowship. Use the ten minutes before service to network. Talk to as many people as possible and then when they start the service, act surprised as if you didn’t know church was about to begin and do that shoulder shrug apology move that says “I would love to talk further but church is starting.”
4. To look generous
Want to look like you have a giver’s heart? Wait until church to put your tithe together. And don’t just write a check. There’s no sizzle in a check, no pizzazz so to speak. Use cash. Take out your tithe envelope and then one by one, add dollar bills. Have you ever tried to cram $50 in dollar bills into a church envelope? You look like Diddy. Make it rain. Make it rain.
5. To look important
Want to look like you’re an important business woman? Someone that’s on the go, climbing that corporate ladder? A real go getter? Put one of those Bluetooth phone headsets in each ear. Then get a blackberry, for each hand. You’ll have to get really good with your thumbs, but it will be worth it. People around you will be massively impressed with your importance. Promise.
I wish I didn’t care about what people at church thought about my wife’s hobby or people on the highway thought about my car or people at the mall thought about my shoes. But I do, more than I’d like to anyway and I’m not sure when that changes. I was hoping it was when you turn 30 but at 32 I know that’s not true. And it can’t be 50 because my friend is in his 50s and he recently told me, “I didn’t want to buy a unicycle at first because I was concerned that I was just doing it to make people think I was cool.”
The funny thing is that I don’t know if anyone in the recorded history of unicyclery has ever picked up that one wheeled wonder as a way to look cool. For me, it’s kind of the ultimate symbol of confidence, a move that with a large degree of boldness and brashness says, “I am so sure of myself that I’ll ride a unicycle. In public.”
So maybe that’s the trick. We don’t need to look cool at church. We need unicycles. I need to trade in my cool t-shirts and white puma sneakers and hip ideas for something the clowns have been trying to tell us for centuries.
Long live the unicycle.