Well, the past two weekends here have given us some good 'ol central illinois winter weather. I love both the cold and the snow, but I don't like what it sometimes does to our attendance on Sundays. The past two weeks saw about 6 inches of snow one Saturday and 30 degree below zero windchills the next. So as a public service I submit a list of questions to help you decide whether or not to go to church when the weather outside is frightful:
1. Did the couple in their 70's that live in an outlying town, on a country highway, down a mile long lane make it to church? If yes, you should probably not say something lame like, "The roads were bad". Go to church (by the way, it's never the elderly or handicapped who miss church on these Sundays...they are all almost always there!).
2. Did you open your door and find the Pantagraph there? If yes, go to church. Surely you are more dedicated to Jesus than the paper deliverer is to you getting you your news.
3. Do you own one or all of the following: four wheel drive, a shovel, snow boots, a cell phone? If yes, go to church - the odds of you getting stranded and dying in a snowdrift are pretty slim.
4. If this were a Monday would your kids be going to school? If yes, go to church. Note: if it's snowing a lot, you may want to take your kids to church on Sunday because they will be home all day on Monday.
5. If this were a Monday would you be going to work? Nuff said.
6. When you go to Starbucks at 6:30 a.m. in 30 degree below zero windchills, is there a guy washing the windows of said Starbucks? If yes, you should go to church and pray for forgiveness for being a wimp and pray for the guy who has that job! Yes this happened to me on Sunday - a guy was washing windows at Starbucks Sunday at 6:30 a.m. I guess they were really dirty and had to be done right then!
7. If it snowed in Jersusalem on the day Jesus was crucified would he have carried the cross up the hill in the snow for you? O.K. that was cheap...but it still makes a point!
8. Do you someday want to tell stories to your kids and grandkids about walking to church with snow up to your knees, uphill, both ways? If yes, then go to church. It's just a much better story when it's true!
9. Is your neighbor (who also happens to go to church with you) pulling out of their drive way going to church. If yes, then go to church. Your "snowed in" story just isn't going to fly with them.
10. Is the local senior citizens bingo only delayed by one hour? If yes, go to church.
11. Is church just an afterthought, something you do when it's convenient, not really a worshipful act to you, or not that important? If yes to this sentiment, then by all means stay home. Also look for other excuses like "kids are sick", "I've got a busy week", "we just got back from the bahamas", "we were there on Christmas Eve", "It's not my week to teach", etc...
Note: these ten questions are intentionally laced with sarcasm and are meant as a parody. Please do not be offended and/or feel guilty... Unless of course the Holy Spirit is making you feel that way! (was that last line still parody?)