A few months ago my wife made a power play and announced to me that we were now “Front Row Baptists.”
Those weren’t her exact words, but the gist is the same. Starting next Sunday, instead of sitting 7 rows deep, middle section, far right, slammed against the end of the pew, we were headed to the front row.
I wasn’t particularly thrilled about sitting in the splash zone. Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I had spent many a Sunday morning on the front row. I staged a small revolt as a teenager and was able to move deeper into the crowd like the assassin that saved Julia Roberts in the boat scene of The Pelican Brief, but suddenly that front row was drawing me back. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!
There were five reasons I didn’t want to change seats:
1. The Holy Spirit knew where to find me in my old seat.
As a kid, I was always terrified to visit my grandparents’ house in North Carolina on Christmas. Santa knew I lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts. I was afraid he’d land on our roof, find the house empty, and drop a satchel of coal right down the chimney. Same concern here. Me and the Holy Spirit have logged some miles in the seventh row. Who knows how long it’d take for me to be found in the first row.
2. I was already in a good “minimal scoot zone.”
Our church is currently experiencing a scoot to the middle epidemic. I had established a comfortable level of scoot in the seventh row. Who knows what kind of scoot situation they’ve got going up in the front row?
3. I knew roughly which ushers we were going to get.
Ever been caught in an offering bucket pile up? That awkward moment when two buckets are accidentally sent down the same pew from different directions until you have a head on collision? I have. It isn’t pretty. But after a few months in the seventh row, I had come to trust the quality of the ushers I had access to. No telling what kind of usher is working the front row.
4. I am secretly old inside.
Who knew I was such a curmudgeon and didn’t want to switch seats at church? Next thing you know I’ll be petitioning Netflix to get “Matlock” added to their watch on demand section, while I wonder if I’m getting enough fiber in my diet. My bones are tired!
5. Fans who want to take photos know where to find me.
Once your books have hit “multi-mica” or the flaky rock you might know as “phyllosilicate,” it’s hard to get through church without photos being taken. At least if I sit in the same place Sunday after Sunday the paparazzi helicopters know which section of the church to hover above.
There’s a chance that last one is exaggerated. In Nashville, the guy sitting next to you at church is probably a member of Sugarland. There aren’t any helicopters looking for me.
But the rest of those reasons, those are true.
How about you, though?
When you go to church, do you sit in the same seat every time?