Home > Rant > How I know it’s Sunday (or, “Your congregants’ inconsideration”)

How I know it’s Sunday (or, “Your congregants’ inconsideration”)

To the church on the corner:

I assume your congregants are fantastic people within the walls of your church, but I’m not impressed with their behavior outside its walls. But hey, I suppose Jesus did teach that courtesy is only for a couple of hours a week, right?

I wish he’d been a little more clear about emphasizing the “at all times” bit, because then maybe Sunday mornings–and the various other times a week you sponsor events–would be a little more pleasant in my neighborhood. For now, I know it’s Sunday morning by:

  • The fact my driveway is blocked
  • The way dozens of people drive the wrong way up a one-way street, occasionally honking and showing aggression toward those actually driving the right way down the street
  • How the church bus blocks traffic leaving my street. If traffic isn’t blocked by the shuttle bus, congregants fill in the “extra” space and shout conversations at each other as the street’s residents wait for them to realize they’re holding up traffic
  • The people milling in the adjacent street, blocking traffic when I do finally make it off my street
  • The hour-long conversations shouted outside my window
  • The litter strewn across my lawn

I wonder how your congregants would feel if there were a circus on their front lawn at least once every week. I suspect they’d be less than thrilled. But for now, I get the impression it doesn’t much matter to them, because the church isn’t actually in their neighborhood. Maybe they think, Hey, that’s what they get for living close to a thriving church!

I’d be lying if I said I weren’t disappointed. I am. I’d expected more of churchgoers when I moved in. But then, when it comes right down to it, churchgoers are just people, aren’t they? And, in the end, most people probably would rather save themselves a minute than save a stranger two.

I suppose it’s easier for you to preach neighborly behavior on TV than ensure your congregants live it, but still . . . I wish. I wish I knew Sunday by the kindness of the neighborhood’s visitors rather than by their collective noise and inconsideration.

Your neighbor

Categories: Rant Tags: , , , ,
  1. May 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I hope you share this with the pastor, a little self reflection (even group self reflection) never hurt anyone.

    • May 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      I’ve talked to a few church leaders evenings when the music is so loud my floors and windows are vibrating, but I do think it’s time for a bigger discussion.

      • May 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm

        I hope it goes well.

  2. May 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Oh, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this–especially with a potentially napping baby. The church down the street from the school that I taught at would use our classrooms for Sunday school because their church was too small. They would often trash my classroom and once left my outer door open all night. I wrote several friendly letters to the Sunday school teacher, but finally had to call the director of the program to get them to clean up and NOT use my classroom supplies purchased with state funds. It’s tough dealing with a church because they tend to feel entitled to everything that they’re doing. I always try to handle everything with kindness and understanding, but enough is enough! 🙂 Take care and I hope things work out.

    • May 14, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Thanks. ♥ Happily, Littler J naps pretty well, so he doesn’t usually wake up thanks to the commotion . . . but I do! Sometimes, those naps are the only thing that gets me through the day, so it can be frustrating to have just eased into a nap only to be awakened by someone shouting a conversation they could’ve just had while driving. Or actually at the church. Then again, as someone nailed below, the church is not nearly as large as it need be to support its congregation, so “while driving” or quietly at a nearby cafe are more realistic options . . .

      • May 14, 2014 at 9:00 am

        Even though mine are grown, I certainly remember the need for naps in their infancy. I also remember how hard they seemed to come by! Ear plugs aren’t an option because you need to hear the baby if you’re the only parent home. If you could only find a café willing to do an after church promotion and help them market the heck out of it by offering to make signs! 🙂

  3. May 11, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Do you have a neighborhood association by chance? If so, maybe bring it up at the next meeting and see if others have similar complaints…then take it as an organized group to the church.

    • May 14, 2014 at 8:50 am

      I’m not sure if we have one, but I’m going to look into this shortly! (I have a small, running list of important to-dos, and this will be going on that, somewhere after “getting new glasses.” Which in the ideal world would happen today, but more likely will happen next week. Aaah.)

  4. May 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    My “like” means I commiserate. I am so sorry you have this to deal with–and yes, sometimes Christians do not seem very Christian at all.

  5. May 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    This is just another example of why my day of rest is at home, with family, and in nature.

  6. May 11, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    How very frustrating! I think it is smart to take the discussion up a notch. Of course what I would really want to do is gather all the trash and go dump it in the yard! Lol.

  7. May 11, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    That is not how anyone wants to spend their Sunday. Doesn’t seem very godly at all.

  8. May 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    My paternal grandparents, when they was still drawing breath, lived across the street from a church. Apparently, it was an old-school “fire and brimstone” church that served a mostly Hispanic congregation. Grandma said that sometimes she’d hear a preacher yelling in Spanish in the middle of the night. I can’t be sure, but I think I did hear as much on one of the rare occasions I spent the night there.

  9. May 11, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I, too, would discuss this with the pastor. I don’t care if these people think they can do what they want because they are attending church. They are not treating you and your neighbors in a “Christian-like” manner. I find this to be extremely disappointing and offensive. I hope the situation improves!

  10. maurnas
    May 12, 2014 at 4:55 am

    I am sorry you have to deal with these rude people. I have never had a positive experience with church. Any church, really.

  11. May 12, 2014 at 4:58 am

    I do hope you not only share this with the Pastor but you show up on Sunday with a sign on your lawn and picket the church when you are feeling better. This behavior is truly ridiculous and simply another indication of how deeply rude behavior goes in this world.

    No, churches don’t get a pass.

    Hope, other than this your day was wonderful.

  12. May 12, 2014 at 6:56 am

    You should print this and mail, or hand deliver to the minister. This is unneighborly behavior, at best, and unlawful at worst. How sad.

  13. May 13, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Reblogged this on Judah First and commented:
    And THIS is exactly what drives me CRAZY about today’s Evangelical church goer. So pious, so self-righteous, so WRONG. 😦 I’m sorry that Deborah (and oh, so many others) continue to have these kinds of experiences. When, WHEN will the church realize it’s time to close the doors?! At least until they can live in love. *sigh*

  14. May 13, 2014 at 5:55 am

    ((((Deborah)))), you just wrote about another reason I can’t re-enter those four walls. I couldn’t be more sorry (and embarrassed) by the inconsiderate behavior of your nearby church-goers. I would apologize for them if I thought they were sorry, but I know from many years inside that they are not. The entitlement mentality of our country does not seem to stop at a church door.

    I have a backyard neighbor who behaves like these people – absolutely zero consideration for anyone in our neighborhood, especially me. There’s a part of me that expects “better” from church-goers, except that I’ve been there, done that, and have been eaten up and spit out by church people more times than I can count. The church at large is in a miserable state and I have no clue what is ever going to change.

    God bless you with HIS peace – which has absolutely nothing to do with the institution claiming His name.

  15. May 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Sounds like this is a big church? I mean, a really, really big church? I’ll be surprised if the pastor is able to do anything. I don’t think that members of big churches feel particularly integrated or responsible for anything. They are there to be entertained or feel good about themselves. The pastor could yell from the pulpit not to do those things and most wouldn’t listen – or would assume that they weren’t part of the problem. In a small church, you don’t have that safety of distance. Of course, a small church also wouldn’t cause this level of traffic congestion. Not enough people. 🙂

    It sounds like either this church shouldn’t have built there or should have planned traffic flow better or should have moved once they grew so much.

    I wish you luck.

  16. May 14, 2014 at 11:29 am

    It sounds like it’s time for a friendly chat with the pastor, so he/she can remind the parishioners of the long-suffering neighbors.

    “But then, when it comes right down to it, churchgoers are just people, aren’t they?” And people can be thoughtlessly thoughtless, if you know what I mean.

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