Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taking Notes in Church

The pastor said a good way to remember a sermon and read our Bibles is take notes and ask questions, something I've always told the boys to do when reading a book. Before saying this, the pastor gave an illustration which had a super plot line prompting a book title to pop into my head. I opened my purse and dug around for something to write on - a grocery list - and pulled out a pen. "Life On Mars"...
"Life In A Jar"...
"Mind Games." Just a few minutes later the pastor mentioned the thing about listening or reading with a pencil. And then I felt stupid because I wasn't taking notes but was writing down imaginary book titles, spurred on by his sermon but having nothing whatsoever to do with the sermon. I think.

I used to take notes and notes and more notes during sermons. Visiting preachers were always an eyeopener. One could tell immediately how organized or relaxed the speaker was by taking down his sermon. Some lacked any real outline just rambling along and then reigned it all in by nailing down three points to finish. Others were meticulous in form. Anal. Their wives tended to look removed or wide-eyed. Our regular pastor's style was to shout and repeatedly read the same huge sections of scripture in the same sermon. Once GG's visiting uncle who had a gimpy leg got really perturbed and stompity limped out of the service. He hadn't cooled down any even after waiting half an hour for the preaching to finally end. "How many times does he have to holler the same thing over and over?! And over!"
Anyhow, I wrote very fast. The key to getting all the references down correctly was to write them backwards. Verse, chapter then book. I could remember Romans. Remembering all the numbers that came after was the stumbling block for my non-numerical mind. Eventually, I wrote so fast that a few times I wrote the next thing the preacher said before he said it. It was then I stopped taking notes.

Who was doing the thinking here? Why was I writing ninety miles an hour? Did everything he said need to be noted? So I slowed down and paid attention in other ways - like to what was going on around us - and then started asking more questions. Until finally, we were handed a letter telling us to leave. There was a very long time when I couldn't even pick up a Bible without my stomach turning, never mind note taking. And that is some of what I was thinking this morning in church.

(Photos by Fun. There are good articles here on reading the Bible after bad church experiences. Apologies this was a heavy today.)

10 comments:

Mental P Mama said...

Fantastic post! And a reminder of how we can grow beyond....

Caution Flag said...

I love those pix, Decadent.

My pastor always instructs us to fill in the outline we are given when we arrive. I never do and feel like everyone is noticing.

Cait O'Connor said...

This is mildly shocking to read. I am glad you are past that.
I love the full moon pics and how clever to reach out and hold it, you must have magic powers. :-)

Sandy said...

I too, have had a hard time with Bible study, prayer and church attendance after, sadly, more than one bad experience in church. Though, 'bad experience' doesn't really do it justice considering how many years and how many 'experiences' it actually was. It's not because I didn't want to pray or read my Bible or go to church. I wanted to do those things very much and I missed doing them very much. But the doing of them hurt. Terribly. The enduring nature of this pain made me want to avoid it altogether, though I did not doubt God's faithfulness or love for me. I am slowly healing. And God's grace is still there. We are starting again, at a new church. And while somewhat wounded, we are hopefully a little wiser as well. Prayers for you today.

AngelMc said...

This post made me smile. I have always taken notes in church, written all over my Bible, I have notebooks with pages of notes, and most recently a Bible on my iPhone with the capability to insert notes, which I was doing yesterday when the alert went off. I could have crawled under the pew. Seems when you turn the ringer off you still have to turn the sound off on the alarms....

Bobbi said...

I'm sad that this was so appropriate...but glad that you shared too! Thanks...and here's to healing!

Glory von Hathor said...

Some people will always mistake The Word for the words, as my Mum would say.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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Anonymous said...

just dropping by to say hi