Maybe I am just becoming a curmudgeon.
Maybe my family is right, and I am grumpy, and most likely of all, I am getting to be old and set in my ways. I like to think of myself as young and hip, but the fact that I have two kids in college probably excludes me from that. I try not to be that old guy talking about how far our society has slipped and what it was like in “my day”, but increasingly I find myself falling into that trap.
There is a whole litany of things that I go on a rant about that makes me seem old and stodgy. Things like tucking in your shirt while you are in public. Wearing a ball cap indoors is another one of my pet peeves. I admit it, there are many little things about our society that I think we have become too lax on, but they are things like wearing ball caps indoors that really don’t hurt anything and probably shouldn’t draw my ire as much as it does.
However, there is one thing that is like nails on a chalkboard for me and really gets me going. It is the notion that our lives are so busy that we no longer have time to go to church on Sunday mornings. Our church attendance has been steadily dropping, and I hear the same thing from many other churches. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard someone say that Sunday morning is their only time to sleep in.
I guess this is where the old, grumpy guy in me comes out and this is probably not the time of year to tell me things like that. To someone who has livestock, sleeping in is probably not an option this time of the year, and often anytime of the year. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, the animals need to be checked, especially if they are lambing, calving or kidding. So, telling me how rough your week was is not going to yank at my heart strings.
Often, during this time of the year, Sunday morning is not a time of relaxation but rather a time of going out even earlier so things can get checked, fed and watered in time to make it to church. From January to April, Sunday mornings are more hectic for me than relaxing and I know I am not alone in my quandary.
It’s all about priorities. My highest priority is to try to make it to church Sunday morning. Sure, there are times when an emergency rises or there is something that is unavoidable, but for the most part, I make it to church. Sometimes a little disheveled, bleary eyed, out of breath and hopefully not smelling bad. It isn’t easy and I have questioned it myself from time to time, but I don’t ever remember regretting the effort.
I don’t mean to sound high and mighty, and I am not trying to upset anyone or lose any friends over this. We all must make our own decisions and, ultimately, we are the only ones who will have to answer for our actions. I would also be lying if I didn’t admit to skipping a time or two myself with no good excuse. I can’t speak for anyone else but generally when I don’t attend church on Sunday, I find something lacking the rest of the week.
I know many churches are pondering the same problem and some have made concessions, changed worship time and days to accommodate our busy lifestyles. I am open to the idea and I have had several long discussions with my pastor about it and maybe, probably, I am a dinosaur. I certainly don’t know what the answer is and maybe it is finding a time and day more convenient to the masses, but I am also not sure about that.
I suspect if we change the time and date of church service many will find conflicts with that also and be too busy to attend. I also am sure that watching church service online or getting it through a podcast are also less than great solutions. I am sure that we need to be together, worshiping intentionally to get the full effect. I am not casting judgement because Lord knows I have lots of flaws myself, but I am saying I think, as a society, we really need to look at our priorities for Sunday mornings.
I know life is hectic, I am the first one to complain about not having enough down time. I know how hard it is to get kids up and around for church. It is a battle Jennifer and I fought and one that I am glad we chose to fight. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest and I am sure that is something we are all missing. Yes, I am old and grumpy, set in my ways and I am willing to admit I am wrong on this one. As for sleeping in, I do have an answer for that one, I highly recommend Sunday afternoon naps.
Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension agent for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.