This morning I decided to attend the 8:30 service which is usually the most crowded of the three service. Since the service is fairly crowded it is sometimes a real struggle to get two things, a parking space and a pew space. Though you’d figure finding a space for your car would be much harder it turns out, in some churches, finding a space for yourself is more difficult.
For the past 3-4 years I have been sitting on the same side of the church in the same general section–4-6 rows from the pulpit. I don’t consider myself territorial about my seating and I don’t save seats but I am territorial about people that insist on claiming a pew is theirs. I encountered these people today.
I took a seat on the fourth row of pews as we were transitioning from the 6:30 to the 8:30 service. People’s coats were draped over the pew so I found a space less congested by coats and took a seat. As time ticked away before service the pew started to fill up. One woman came into the pew and began to complain about someone who moved her coat and she was thrashing about with her complaints. She was annoyed that someone was moving in on her spot. (Here’s the big secret, no one touched her coat because I was watching it the whole entire time.) She mumbled about this for a while with her friend a row in front of her until I looked up at both of them and smiled. They stopped. One by one “they” started to file in and I had women on both sides of me. One was a woman I had never seen before the other was part of the pew Nazi crew. The PNC woman always has a way of plopping herself down next to me and shifting her weight so that it is more in my space than her own. She is unapologetic about the way she flings her coat around and she usually doesn’t speak to me. The woman on the other side of me watched the PNC woman thrash around and leaned over and told me that they were going to squash me. It was then that I knew she was a part of the crew but most likely someone on the lower rung of the ladder because she was actually nice in saying this. In response to her telling me they were going to squash me, I spoke loudly and said “They will not squash me.” To which the squasher said “I will not squash you.” Eureka! She speaks! And just like that her countenance changed. It was as if she knew she was dealing with no spring chicken so she could shut her mouth right then and there.
You see, the pew Nazis say they have been in the church for years, they have sat in the same seat for years–sometimes they think a few months justifies their behavior–and therefore they have a right to be mean–and sometimes downright nasty–to those who are simply trying to get a closer seat at church. But what I am not sure if they realize is the fact that in being so disagreeable over a seat they could be chasing someone away from the church.
I know it is a trivial matter and the person that can be chased away by such silly people must not really want to be there but there is something to be said for reprimanding people like this.
People come into the church to seek refuge from the harsh world and people that act like they are in the world in church by being selfish and operating with an invalidated sense of self-importance need to be taken out. They need a good-old fashioned taste of their own medicine to see what it is like to come into a church and look for a seat amongst a bunch of seat-saving sickos. Better yet they need more brave souls that will tell them to put their furs on the floor, check their egos in at the door and remember that what they do to the least of these, they do to Christ.