Sunday, August 14 2022 - 10:38 PM
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The Church Lady Blues

It is said that art imitates life, and there are times when I agree with that sentiment. In the past, I watched a regularly recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live. In this skit, actor Dana Carvey played Enid Strict, the holier-than-thou “Church Lady” who hosted a spoof talk show called Church Chat. I chuckled when I watched the smug, pious Enid pruning up her mouth and saying something religiously bizarre. While speaking to “guests” on Church Chat, she would often cock her head to the side and inquire in a legalistic way: “And where did you get that idea from? Satan?”

Since becoming a Christian, however, I have had difficulty laughing about this SNL sketch. I’ve met a few people on my spiritual journey that act out in some very similar ways. Honestly, it’s not that funny. Their list of do’s and don’ts is readily available to anyone who might listen. They see “holiness” in the well-behaved. If someone asks them for opinions regarding a subject, they’re often quite eager to provide highly detailed answers on just how sinful anyone can become if exceeding care is not exercised.

Continuous “Slog”

From proper attire to conservative dessert choices, they have the answers on how one must conduct oneself—if they can even hope to enjoy eternity with a Holy God. In conversing with them, one would deduce that true holiness is a painfully continuous “slog” through an abysmal existence here on planet earth. This miserable journey is dotted with infrequent hopes of living with an eternal God, but the “slog” seemingly never ends.

I honestly feel a great deal of discomfort around these kinds of people. Perhaps that feeling stems from being raised in a home where everything was placed under microscopic scrutiny. From the toys I played with to the cereal I ate for breakfast, it always seemed like I was being “watched” by someone with a disapprovingly smug religious viewpoint. I have experienced enough of this discomfort to fill two lifetimes!

Who would desire this? Who would even want to show up and listen to the challenging array of legalistic rhetoric that seems to be regularly doled out in some circles by well-meaning, pious-acting people? Not me! I didn’t want it when I was listening to it as a teenager, and I still don’t want it at my “mature.” I’d rather enjoy time with a loving Jesus that understands that I am dust than being berated by “the church lady.”

If you liked this, you might also like Don’t Be Stupid | Are You Living a Pious Life or the Life of Jesus?

Michael Temple writes from North Dakota.

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About Michael Temple

Michael Temple

writes from Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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