It’s guest post Friday! Here’s one from Tor Constantino a former journalist, current PR guy and blogger from DC. He’s also authored a book titled A Question of Faith. You can find him here on Twitter and here on Facebook. If you want to write a guest post for SCL, here’s how!
Penalty Flags in Church: Service Referees – By Tor Constantino
The Sabbath and professional football is a match made in heaven. For decades in this country, a growing majority of Americans have willingly adhered to the fourth commandment of observing the Sabbath by reclining on a couch while observing a healthy amount of the NFL after church.
As the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl get underway, it got me thinking about what church might look like if an important aspect of the game was infused into the weekly service – namely Church Service Referees.
Before I’m chastised for Heisman heresy, hear me out.
The Bible calls for “…order and correction within the [church] body…” it also states that we will “…judge angels…” and it further acknowledges that “…judgment will begin in the house of the Lord….” In fact, I’m fairly certain that the Greek word for judgment in the Septuagint directly translates into “NFL Line Judge.” I could wrong about that.
Regardless, the Church Service Referee could be a rotating volunteer position just like the media team, ushers or child care volunteers. To reduce confusion as to who was the weekly Service Ref, they might wear a modesty sash that holsters a penalty flag.
Here are some possible penalties that might warrant a floating flag from a Church Service Ref.
1. Unnecessary Worship Embellishment
This covers a lot of areas such as being the only churchgoer counter-clapping in the clap gaps of everyone else during worship; over-harmonizing on every single song; as well as trilling up and down the scale like you’re auditioning for American Idol.
2. Illegal Seat Blocking
Some attendees use every article of excess clothing, Bibles, bulletins and sermon notes to reserve entire rows or blocks of seats – that’s just chair gluttony. Families and individuals should block only one more seat than the number in their group – the extra seat ensures that their bibles have a place to sit when not in use.
3. Roughing the Elements
This penalty can only occur during communion Sundays and includes: touching multiple communion wafers before selecting one; letting babies backwash into a passing communal cup; expectorating on the platter of symbolic bread and wine; or taking a fistful of “host” crackers as a quick snack to tide you over till lunch.
4. Delay of Exit
The Service Ref must be vigilant with this penalty since it can occur while trying to exit a row of pews, the doors of the sanctuary, the actual building itself, or the parking lot. These choke points need to be watched more closely than a wily middle linebacker or blitzing safety.
5. Excessive Sermon Celebration
While rare, young pastors and recent seminary grads are most susceptible to this infraction following a flawlessly delivered 3-point talk. The violation might be characterized by moon walking across the stage, chest bumping the worship leader, giving the youth pastor a noogie, or spiking the sermon notes.
Question: What other penalties might a Church Service Ref watch for?