Monday Morning Quarterback

Note: Monday Morning Quarterback is a weekly post reviewing Sunday, the busiest, most stressful, most gratifying day in the week of a pastor/parent/spouse/citizen.

Song of The Day:


6:00. Alarm. Up. Gotta preach. Not ready. Omigod. Getup! Getup! Getup!

7:02. Hit the Starbucks for coffee. Pay with mobile app. P’sha.

7:05. Crank Tegan and Sara en route to the church, hoping for inspiration.

8:11. Print sign up sheets for summer camps on neon-bright paper. Because if someone’s on the fence about summer camp, neon paper can only help.

9:00. Greeted by an angry adult education attendee. Last week he came with his own coffee, and I told him he didn’t need to, since we have a guy who brings coffee from the same place. Today he came without the coffee, and our guy didn’t bring any. Angry adult ed attendee leaves.

9:17. More perturbed grown ups who expected coffee. Send them into the high school Sunday school class for cocoa and donuts. There’s no students in there anyway.

9:33. Listening to junior high Sunday school teacher tell students stories of his drag racing, school bus driving, school bus drag racing days. Imagine conversation with parent: “What is my kid learning in Sunday school?” “Drift, baby. Drift.”

9:47. Congratulate the one high school student who came to Sunday school for allowing six grown ups to hang with him and eat his donuts.

10:04. Watching the acolyte leap up and down trying to light that last chancel candle. Who says kids don’t exercise enough?

10:35. Check time on my phone (which, as I said, I will never be without during church again) and decide to scrap an entire section of my sermon in the interest of time. The jazz band leading worship is doing their thing, and jazz waits for no sermon.

10:43. Replace two pages of sermon content with, “Well . . . ”

11:06. On the 13th chorus of jazz band-led, “Just A Closer Walk with Thee,” spy a junior high and a high school student in the front pew, zombie like. They’re clapping, but their shoulders are hunched over and their eyes have rolled back into their heads.


11:42. Our experimental “Dimanche Gras” celebration is rockin’. Gabe and Karen the interns have outdone themselves. There’s gumbo, dirty rice and beans, the jazz band, and local artisans teaching kids to make a message in a bottle. Experiments are fun.

2013-02-10 12.12.03

12.39. Starbucks drive-thru on my way to Pasadena to attend a worship service at the Mideast Evangelical Church. Already planning my Starbucks stop on the way back.

1:42. Fiddling with the translation headset the church provides to non-Arabic speaking guests. It’s awesome. I feel like I’m at the U.N.

1:51. Worship is led by a man with an accordion. Seriously. An accordian. Could this get any better?

1:52. Switch off the translation headset and just listen to the music. Trying to understand this is ruining it.

2:12. Pastor apologizes for the 6th time about the length of the service, since he knows Americans don’t worship as long. Don’t worry about that. I just wish there were some video games.

4:06. Purchasing snacks for evening youth groups when I realize I don’t have my debit card. The card slot in my wallet is empty. Leave my bags at checkout to re-trace my steps through the store. Nothing. Feeling wobbly.

4:10. Reasoning that I must have left the card at the dinner theater the day before, call the theater and leave a calm, reasoned message: “I’ve lost my card! Omigod! Omigod! Help me pleeeeeeasse!!!”

4:23. Still wobbly from the anxiety, get my bearings by inhaling 13 handfuls of the banana chips I bought for the youth groups.

4:49. Decide with the junior high youth group volunteer and the one Junior high student who’s come to youth group that we’re pressing ahead. The three of us, today, are the youth group.

5:50. Compose a poem in my head about the failures of a youth pastor who’s debit card gets used by thieves to buy paddle boats in Aruba. Also, he doesn’t understand the rules governing use of “who’s” and “whose.”

6:12. The manager of the dinner theater returns my call to say they’ve found my card and I can come pick it up anytime. Unspeakably relieved, but decide to keep working on the poem.

7:23. Seminary intern visiting the high school youth group turns to me and observes, “They’re funny.” Beaming.

8:02. Student volunteers to give the meditation at the Ash Wednesday service we’re planning. Pick my jaw up off the floor an offer to help.

8:34. Playing that game where everybody writes the names of three movies on strips of paper, places them in a cup, then goes around trying to get their team to guess the movie’s titles by using only single words, then by acting them out without any words, then by using only one word. You know that game? Yeah, me neither.

9:04. Chasing students out of the youth room, taking their reluctance to leave as a good sign.

10:12. Composing thank-you cards for interns. They’ve really outdone themselves. Thinking about next Sunday . . .