The Art Of Understatement

Blog 2083 – 06.08.2021

The Art Of The Understatement

A week ago when I first met in person the man that I will be reporting to on my new work assignment in Nebraska he proceeded to tell me that there were several nice churches in the town where I will be staying. He went on to ask if I attended church. I answered that I was not much of a church goer. That, my friends, is an understatement as the last time I attended church before yesterday morning was nine years ago.

My son Jay and his bride Lauren were recently married in a Christian church and I was in attendance. I have attended other weddings and funeral services over the years that took place in churches, but I believed my new boss was referring to attending Sunday regular worship services when I answered his question with my understatement. Jay and Lauren have been attending a Southern Baptist Church with her parents and plan to pick a Southern Baptist Church near their recently purchased home to attend. Since when he asked me my new boss also volunteered that he attended a Southern Baptist Church and since he invited me to visit his church, I said that I might.

Saturday, I looked up the directions and the time of service for the church I believed to be where my boss attends planning to see how Southern Baptists worship these days on Sunday. As a small boy I more than once rode a big yellow school bus to Sunday School and Church at the largest Southern Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, my birthplace and home town then. It was called The Highland Park Baptist Church and had one of the biggest children’s bus ministries in the nation at the time with buses making Sunday morning rounds all over the city picking up hundreds of children and taking them to church and back home again. We were taught Bible stories in Sunday School and to sit quietly and to listen to what seemed like incredibly long sermons during the church service.

Yesterday’s sermon still seemed a bit long (perhaps this blog is too) and I missed the singing from hymn books that I knew when I attended church long ago, but I tried to sing along with the unfamiliar song lyrics projected on two large screens up front.

Turns out it was not my bosses church after all, so no brownie points for me on that score. And though I thought I was going to end up a few minutes late I was actually almost an hour early, still I got to speak with the new pastor’s father-in-law who was helping him and his family move from Michigan to Norfolk, Nebraska. Bill, the father-in-law is a few years older than than I am seemed happy to speak to someone else who was visiting nearer his age and was also happy to introduce me to his son-in-law. He did say after the pastor left our conversation that he did not always agree his son-in-law’s preaching, citing a particular sermon that hit a sore spot with him because he had been raised in a broken home and had to watch other children receive many things that he had to do without. Bill’s early hardships I am sure shaped his world view. I found Bill refreshingly open and kind though we did not agree on everything. Bill said he does not plan to get the Covid vaccinations as he believes that everyone who does will die within three years. I told him that I had gotten mine and would like to check back with him in three years to see which of us got that one right. I did say that I wished him good health and a long life.

During the meet and greet at the beginning of the service, Bill walked all the way up from the back to shake my hand and speak to me again because he said there were not enough people greeting me. Nice guy, still I could not help thinking that so large a crowd in close confines last year would have been considered a super spreader event. I hope it was not, but I am glad I have the two Covid-19 vaccinations and I wonder if Bill’s faith in concert with his immune system will keep him safe for the next three years.

As I said the sermon was long and by-and-large except for the absence of hymn books and a group leading the song service instead of one person, church has not changed all that much. But then I am no longer much of a church goer. I will check back again in ten years or so unless Bill is right about the shots, or the Universe new assignment for me. I really hope Bill reconsiders getting those vaccinations, but people are free to believe whatever they wish even if it kills them. Over, what is it now, over 600 thousand in the U.S. and millions worldwide have already died from Covid. Who would have believed it, what a waste.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

I Believe In You

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