Saturday, October 14, 2006

Laughing At Our Differences. . .

. . . or distinctions as any good Presbyterian would call them ;).

I've had this post drafted for a few months, but I kept forgetting to post it.

I love light-hearted jabs that are directed either towards my own type or others. I'm also fond of a good, civil debate, mind you, but sometimes I like to kick back and just laugh at differences, rather than debate them :). A while back I did a few internet searches for denominational humor and was thoroughly amused. I'm cutting and pasting and revising and adding to the "best of" for all to enjoy, and listing various websites as references at the end. Please keep in mind that these are intended as humor, not as an attack, and I'm laughing at my own kind as I'm laughing at yours :).

You might be a Presbyterian if. . .

1. When the spirit comes upon you in power, you don't raise your hands and shout Hallelujuah, rather you scratch your chin, turn to your neighbor and whisper "hmmm, . . . that was a good point."
2. You think fencing has something to do with the Lord's Supper instead of swords.
3. When someone asks you a question about the Bible, you answer, "Well, the confession says . . . " or "the catechism says . . . "
4. They aren't "catholics," or even "Roman Catholics." They're "Romanists," or "Papists."
5. You secretly suspect that John Calvin was a liberal because of his compromise on the Sabbath issue.
6. You know the meaning of most or all of the following - PCA, PCUS, PCUSA, PC(USA), PC(U.S.A.), PCUSA(NS), PCUSA(OS), RPCES, RPCNA-GS, RPCNA, RPCGA, RPCUS, EPC, OPC, ARP, NAPARC, CRC, RCA, BPC, BPC-Collingswood, BPC-Columbus, CPC, GA, TE, RE, WCF, WLC, WSC, BCO, UPC, UPCNA, UPCUSA, NPC. . .
7. 4. You first quote the Westminster Confession and then say, "Oh yeah, the Bible says this somewhere, too."
8. A "Reformed Baptist" and a "square circle" are equally as difficult for you to imagine.
9. You think the phrase "chosen frozen" is a compliment.
10. ___________ (bonus for someone who comes up with an original #10)

More generally, you might be Reformed if. . .

1. While officially affirming the "priesthood of all believers," the only people you really trust to interpret Scripture are Calvin and yourself, and you only trust yourself on Thursdays before noon.
2. You secretly believe that you have to believe in election to be saved.
3. You think Puritans are really, really, really, REALLY cool.
4. 7. You know (or think you know) the difference between "calvinist" and "reformed."
5. ____________ (bonus for the creator of an original #5)

You might be a Baptist if. . .

1. When someone asks you what you would be if you weren't a Baptist, you say "I'd be ashamed!!!"
2. You have never sung the third verse to any hymn in the hymnal.
3. You think sword drills have something to do with the Bible and not with fencing.
4. You are very sure that the so-called "wine" in the Bible was unfermented grape juice.
5. You think there are really only two "true" first names in the world - "brother" or "sister."
6. Yours is the oldest and most Biblical denomination of all. After all, it was founded by John the Baptist.
7. You believe that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be potluck.
8. You're never in doubt.
9. You know all Fifty-seven verses of Just As I Am by heart.
10. _______________ (bonus points to the creator of an original #10)

You might be a Dispensationalist if. . .

1. You’ve only been a Christian for one year and your Pastor has preached through the book of Revelation more than two times.
2. You get excited when you see a sentence with a parenthesis.
3. You've ruined more than five records trying to find backward messages.
4. There are more underlined sentences in your copy of “Late Great Planet Earth” than in your Bible.
5. You think the four millennial positions are: Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, Post-Trib and Liberal.
6. You know the location of the European Central Bank.
7. When you’re driving home at night and see a bright light in the sky, you unfasten your seat belt and “get ready.”
8. You call Israel "the Holy Land."
9. When you speak of your future plans, you always clarify "If I haven't been raptured yet."
10. _________________ (bonus points to the creator of an original #10)

You might be an Evangelical if. . .

(note: being "an evangelical" is different than being "evangelical")
1. Your mental image of Jesus includes any of the following: blue eyes, long, flowing, perfectly-conditioned hair, plucked eyebrows, or any piece of clothing with an American flag on it.
2. You think the best place to buy quality artwork for your living room is a Christian “bookstore."
3. Someone says "guitar", and you automatically think "worship."
4. You see a Gold’s Gym t-shirt and then think that a “God’s Gym” t-shirt would be really cool.
5. You think the song “Lean on Me” is worldly when played on secular radio, but worship when played on a Christian station.
6. You say the word “just” more frequently than the word “Jesus” when you pray.
7. When quoting from Calvin, it's accompanied by cartoon slides of a stuffed tiger and a 5-year-old boy.
8. You don't have a problem serving the Sacrament using grape Kool-Aid and poptarts.
9. You don't know any church songs or hymns written before 1982.
10. _________________ (bonus points to the creator of an original #10)

Note: All submissions for bonus must be in good taste. Realize we are describing our brothers and sisters in Christ, so please create any additions with a view of brotherly love :).

Here are the various sites from which I pulled the above. Enjoy and smile :).


John Dekker said...

Well done, Susan - these are very good. Interestingly enough, *none* of the "Baptist" and *none* of the evangelical one apply to me.

With Presbyterian, I think I know *every single one* of the acronyms, and I don't even live in America! (Out of interest, our denominational acronyms are PCA, PCEA, RPC, PRC, EPC, SPC, WPC, FPC and AFC.)

As for Reformed, I thought points 2 and 3 were a bit weak, but here are a few more.

You might be Reformed...
5. You know which year Calvin was born.
6. You list "debating" as one of your hobbies.
7. You know the difference between infralapsarianism and supralapsarianism.
8. You dicuss this distinction with the person next to you at congregational lunches.

John Dekker said...

Oh and...

7. When quoting from Calvin, it's accompanied by cartoon slides of a stuffed tiger and a 5-year-old boy.

Calvin is six.

zan said...

Why most of those were right on since I have worshiped at all of those churches sometime in the past.

I thought a good one for Presbyterians (or Reformed) would be: You haven't sung a real hymn unless there are more than 8 verses and the tune is really hard to sing. You should also say something about Christmas. You might be Reformed if you analyze getting a Christmas tree and any other thing having to do with tradition.

I loved the Baptist one about not singing the third verse. I will say that this does not apply to all Baptists. In my broad range of churches that I have attended it would apply mostly to the Independent variety. I guess you could say: You might be a Baptist if you think something is missing if the song leader does not shout, "On the last!" during the hymn singing in worship. Another thing I have heard from my husband who attended an Independent Baptist church is, "The King James Bible was good enough for the Apostle Paul, so it is good enough for me."

The Dispensational category, I could go on forever...

Funny, I never saw the humor in Reformed (Presbyterian) churches until my husband pointed them out to me. I think he was tired of my "making fun" of his denomination.

John Dekker said...

You might be Reformed if you analyze getting a Christmas tree

I've never analysed about getting a Christmas tree - I've just never had one. Ever.

I guess that proves your point. ;)

Maria Pauline said...

What about Lutherans? Isn't there some joke about the pork at church potlucks on paper plates?

ashley said...

#9 of the Evangelical one is so true!!! *smiles sweetly at husband*

When I was little, my parents didn't have a Christmas tree, and we didn't have any Santas (kinda like you, Susan... except my parents have eased up a lot since then).

Susan said...

Oh, c'mon, John, the reformed one on the Puritans was classic, because it's so true! That was one of my favorites. I like your additions, especially #6. You know, I've done searches on the lapsarianisms, and really can't find succinct definitions. I probably should delve into my systematic theologies and see what they say :).

It's so funny the different flavors of reformed to which people were exposed. None of the reformed people I know have thought twice about Christmas trees, nor do we sing 8-verse hymns with difficult tunes :). Zan, I've heard of the KJV quote, and my thought always is, "Um, study your church history, Dear."

I'm rather unfamiliar with Lutherans, except general knowledge, Maria. There were so many categories I could have found lists for, but I tried to pick ones I know. I've heard the Lutherans have their own set of idiosyncracies, like us all, though :).

Well, we did have Christmas trees, Ashley, but not Santa, as you know! I always thought a manger would be a neat substitute for a tree; the first gift of Christmas was laid in a manger, after all :). And it would hold fewer presents, and I am all for that :).

John Dekker said...

It's so funny the different flavors of reformed to which people were exposed.

Indeed! And we Dutch Reformed types have never been as enthusiastic about the Puritans. Instead...

You might be Dutch Reformed if...

1. You reused plastic margarine containers long before anyone had heard of the environmental movement;

2. You have a two volume address book: Volume I: A-U Volume II:V-Z

3. Your main contribution to gender equality was the switch from King to Wilhelmina Brand peppermints;

4. Your range of restaurants is restricted by the contents of a "Buy one meal, get one free" coupon book that you purchased to support missionaries in Sierra Leone;

5. You wipe the last of the butter out of the container with your bun;

6. Your closet is divided into work clothes and Sunday clothes;

7. Your church attendance record is not disrupted by childbirth;

8. All your cookies taste like almonds;

9. You make the bed in your hotel room;

10. The last tip you left at a restaurant was: "Don't wear so much makeup" and "A little quicker with the coffee next time";

11. You have always been to church on New Year's Eve;

12. The usher never needs to ask you where you want to sit.


zan said...

I think the difficult to sing hymns are from the Duth Reformed (CRC)Church I was a member of for a few years. They sang a lot of Psalms and whoever put the music to them had limited knowledge of what they were doing. I remember this one song we would sing. It had 12 verses and the organ player was a partially deaf Dutchman.


I guess the popular saying, "going Dutch," is pretty accurate. lol! I knew the Dutch were cheap, but you put New Englander's to shame.

Lydia H. said...

These were great! I read them all out loud to my family. Caleb especially like the Presbyterian list. I understood the Baptist list from the stories my mom has told me about the church they were married in (Olivet Baptist Church). I thought of a couple for the Reformed Baptists since that is the type of church we currently attend.

1) You might be Reformed Baptist if you wouldn't dream of "sprinkling" or "baptizing" your infant but you do have "baby dedications" or "baby welcomes" after a new baby enters the congregation.

2) You might be a Reformed Baptist if you change the words in some of the hymns from "all" to "we" as in the hymn "To God Be the Glory" you would sing "And opened the lifegate that we may go in" rather than "all may go in."

3) You might be a Reformed Baptist if you have communion just once a month, but 1 Corinthians 11 is used nearly each time as the text for the sermon before the elements are partaken.

4) You might be a Reformed Baptist if the elders and men can't come to an agreement about which hymnal to use because some want "doctrinally sound" hymns only and others care more about the arrangement of music for ease of instrumental accompaniment.

5) You might be Reformed Baptist (or Presbyterian) if when you hear the date October 31st you automatically think of "Reformation Day" instead of "Halloween."

What do you think? Any RB's see these fitting them?

Lydia H. said...

Oh, I just thought of a couple of others...

6) When you hear the word, "sprinkling" you think it refers to what it does outside on a cloudy day.

7) Your personal library contains theological books by Calvin, Luther, A.W. Pink, J.I. Packer, John Pipper, John MacArthur, John Gill, R.C. Sproul, and C.H. Spurgeon.

John Dekker said...

Oh, and talking about the Dutch...

One day, a Scotsman and a Dutchman were walking down the street. Simultaneously, they saw a penny.

...and that's how copper wire was invented.

Susan said...

Ah, so you're Dutch Reformed, John. That does make a difference :). I found the list you copied to be quite amusing. I had no idea the Dutch Reformed were such tightwads ;).

I'm glad you and your family enjoyed these, Lydia :). Thank you for sharing some RB ones. Very clever! I especially liked #2 (which could be more generally reformed), and #1 was of course all too true. That one made me laugh :). Oh, and #6 is good!

Anyone else care to share a list for their particular group?

Louise said...

Funny, funny, funny! These items remind me of "You May Be a Rapture Redneck" and "An Exciting Day at Rapture Bible College" - both penned by historian Dave MacPherson and both found under his name on (Or, if you believe in separation: "Tribulation Central.") Louise

Anna Naomi said...

Some of those were really funny! I have experinces with quite a few different churches. When we first moved here, when I was 5, we went to a Presbyterian church. When I was 8 or 9, we switched over to a more family-friendly Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. When I was 13, we began a family-integrated, non-denominational home church. Last spring, that stopped, because of the lack of commitment from most people. One has to have time to prepare their home for 7 big families to come for church! After visiting many different churches, we now attend an Anglican church that's just starting out. Add to that the fact that both of my parents were raised Lutherans! =) Yes, I've had quite a few quite different experiences!

Susan said...

That is interesting all the different churches you've experienced, Anna!

Angie Moge Wali said...

Such a funny post, Susan. The "You might be a Baptist if..." does describe some Baptists I've known, but this "square peg" reformed Baptist doesn't fit any of those descriptions. I'm not really sure about the other ones, I haven't known very many people who weren't Baptists.

By the way, I thought it was interesting what Zan said about analyzing buying a Christmas tree. We stopped celebrating Christmas about 14 years ago. Lately, I've been really grateful for that because with 10 people in a family, the STUFF would be overwhelming!

Susan said...

I know what you mean about Christmas being so hectic, Angie. I do love to celebrate Advent, though, but just like to simplify the season by not focusing so much on the commercialism and presents, but rather on Christ's incarnation and birth. It is tempting to throw the baby out with the bathwater, sometimes, though! :)

Mr. Baggins said...

As someone who serves two Dutch Reformed churches, I can see with crystal clarity the ones given by John. Those were hilarious. They are just like that.

Anonymous said...

Dave and I enjoyed laughing about your post and the comments. Dave wants to know why can't all just be "Christians". He likes your post though, because that is really what it is saying . . . we are all Christians and we can laugh about most of our differences rather than take ourselves too seriously.

I grew up a Seventh Day Adventist, and the Baptist and Dispensationalist categories were closest to what I remember of childhood. Now, being presbyterian, I can laugh about that too. My church is very untraditionally presbyterian though, and none of the points seem to apply!

My family did not celebrate Christmas growing up, because my parents thought the pagan origins were an issue. We do celebrate it now though, which I am grateful for.

Susan said...

Dave wants to know why can't all just be "Christians".

Ah, if only it were that easy :) - and I know Dave doesn't think it's "that easy" either ;). . . If only everyone just thought as I do, then everything would be fine ;). Hehe.

I think divisions in the church can be for the sake of peace, to an, to an extent. For instance, rather than have pentecostals and baptists argue about the proper mode of worship in a shared service, I think it best for them to usually worship separately so that they can focus on their brotherhood in Christ, not their bickerings, when they come together.

When it becomes an "us" v. "them" mentality, then we have a problem! - and that is often how it is :( - Or when we identify ourselves primarily by our denomination, more so than by our faith in Christ. . . Which is why when people ask what "type" of Christian I am, or what denomination, I like to answer that I'm a Christian of the reformed, Presbyterian variety, to get those three modifiers in the proper order of importance! :)

Okay, just rambling now :).

ashley said...

I love what you said, Susan: "I think divisions in the church can be for the sake of peace". I had a youth leader when I was in high school who was very anti-denomination (and that's kind of the background Paul was brought up in, to an extent). I remember thinking at the time how nice it was that I could go to another city, find a Presbyterian church, and know that it would probably be similar to the style of worship and biblical teaching I was comfortable with! There's some sense of comfort in that, I think. (Of course, if you have no idea what you're getting yourself into, then those make the best stories sometimes! ;-))

Anyways, I know this is a whole different topic, but I really liked what you said. :-)

John Dekker said...

I forgot to mention it when you posted this, but I thought I'd better check - have you see the 25 warning signs that you might be obsessing about Calvinism at Purgatorio?

The Emerging church presentation is also excellent.

Susan said...

Yes, I've seen those two. They are hilarious! They hyper calvinism ones just keep getting better the farther down the list you read! I giggled long and hard over them.