1-the front rows are nice comfy (well, okay, that might be a stretch) pews with cushions... the back? Hard metal chairs. Not comfortable AT. ALL.
2-if by some small miracle (which in church isn't really out of the question) there IS a pew available when we arrive late I will choose it over the hard metal chairs. Yes, I get the comfort - but then we must endure the questioning looks from those around us as we parade past... why are we late? did that kid even comb his hair? what kind of fashion statement is the youngest making this week? should she really be wearing 4 inch heels with her foot issues?
3-those hard metal chairs? Also VERY cold.
4-the first few minutes of church are usually devoted to announcing stuff and introducing new people. I find it very telling that I never know what is going on and I am unfamiliar with a full 1/3 of our congregation.
5-there is a phenomenon in congregational singing. It seems that nobody is actually aware that it is their turn to sing until the noise of the people in front of them singing reaches their ears. Sometimes it takes awhile for this sound to travel all the way to the back of the overflow area... I was trained to sing when the conductor says to sing - which means sometimes my note comes a 1/2 beat before those around me. Now, it's true that this can be a lot of fun and I have enjoyed making the people around me uncomfortable (don't worry, it's the 1/3 I don't know way back here...) but truly - this maybe should have made the #1 spot.
6-kids. My own don't sit as well... can't really blame them with the hard, cold metal chairs... but still - I came to church to listen, didn't I?
7-kids. Other ones this time. I remember having young children and needing to take them out occasionally (okay, weekly) for a variety of reasons (messy diapers, inconsolable crying, just being so darn bored I wanted to poke myself in the eye) and then we sat where it was convenient to leave without creating a scene. You know, back when I was young enough for the hard metal chairs to not bother me so much. The young kids and their young parents are still back here, but somehow I just don't fit in anymore.
8-bad vision. Okay, the truth is that I'm a tad on the short side... okay, maybe a little closer to the ridiculously short side... so seeing past rows and rows of heads that are taller than me is not always conducive to a good church experience. I make it worse by usually waking up late enough that I don't want to put my contacts in... hmmm... maybe this has something to do with that 1/3 of the people I don't recognize?
9-hymn books. There are just never enough of them in the back. This is probably by design because very few of those moms can make it through a song without running to the foyer. Or maybe they are hoping to lessen the number of people singing 1/2 a beat behind schedule?
10-hmmm... okay, I don't really have a number ten... it seems like any list worth its snuff would have a final culminating good point. But I don't - unless you want to hear about hard, cold, metal chairs again?
Isaiah 24:23 -- On Outshining the Sun
2 hours ago