My friend sent me a real live email this morning, sent to a group of communicators, from a real live paid communications professional in the Episcopal church that I want to address here. I am hoping you might weigh in a bit, perhaps coming up with some good, helpful, constructive feedback. Right now, just having taken this email in, I am a bit well–wanting to shake this person. However…
Here it is, they inquire:
Does anyone have an article about church etiquette? I’m thinking something along the lines of:
Be quiet, especially during the Eucharist
Don’t disturb your neighbors
Pick up behind you when you leave
Tone down the perfume
All said more eloquently and gently, of course…
Of course! Yeah. She said it, out loud, to a bunch of people.
Here is what I am thinking, or rather what I am reeling about.
- Who are you worshiping? Really? It sounds like an awfully clean and tidy G-d to me. I am all about appropriate reverence, but for real, you need to get your priorities in check people.
- Sounds like you are re-arranging the deck chairs on your Holy Titanic.
- People smell. Some smell like rot, some smell like really old perfume, some smell like your mama’s fresh baked cookies. Life, in its fullest, smells.
- Actually, I think its best if you do disturb your neighbors. Reach out and touch them. Smile at them, jar them out of the blah place that we all mostly inhabit. Crack through the dull and shine some Holy disturbance across the isle.
- Who is the audience I have to wonder? It sounds to me it is the guest who doesn’t quite “get” how “we do things around here” and let me show you how church is done. Barf. While you all are bowing and prostrating and being clean, Jesus is coming in and getting one hell of a cold shoulder from you all. Shame. On. Us.
- What Bible can this person possibly be reading? G-d is messy. Jesus and the Holy Ghost are messy–blowing in and messing stuff up. Always has been. And when someone has tried to rule it all up, didn’t Jesus come on the scene and call us out and point us back to our true worship?
- Church etiquette? Sounds more like Miss Manners meets the Country Club General Manager meets Holy nightclub bouncer.
I bet you all have far more clever and kind things to say. Please, speak.
(by the way, the http://churchmarketingsucks.com/ is a real and awesome website. If you haven’t been, you should go and read the about page. In response to this email to my friend, I think might just suggest to this person they visit the site.)