Light’em If You Gottem

I will admit that there are times I react towards certain ideologies or pragmatic systems with cynical exaggeration.

Like the time my church community experimented with a new and “innovative” personalized communion cup that had the wafer underneath the first peeling of tinfoil and then had safely, stored grape juice under the second layer of tinfoil. I felt like I was on the Space Shuttle, expecting Tang under that second layer. If I remember correctly I think the pastor even introduced the bread and the cup by saying, “This is one small wafer for man, one giant wafer for mankind.”

In light of this “interesting” attempt to save costs and time during communion, I reacted with a well crafted, written proposal for developing the eatable bulletin. This was my own creation, thereby allowing each person to simply tear off a piece of their bulletin and then eat (notice the metaphorical tearing…beautiful I know).

I made the quality of the proposal high enough that they weren’t sure if I was serious, but outlandish enough to point out the issues with our “communion-gone-NASA” approach.

In light of this and other similar past behaviors, I find it hard for people to take some of my extreme ideas seriously (yes, it is my fault, I know…but at least work is fun!)

So, in light of a very recent decision to resurrect a third venue at our South campus currently titled, “the hymnal venue(where people gather in a room, hold a hymnal, sing old tunes, and then watch the sermon)…I am now wondering if I need to once again make an honest push for what I like to call, “The Smoker’s Lounge.”

Seriously! Who are becoming more and more of the outcasts of our society: the smokers. These poor people are no longer allowed to even smoke in their parking lots at work, let alone the local bar.

So, what I am proposing is a venue dedicated to smokers. A place where you can come, light up a cigarette, pipe, or cigar and worship in complete freedom. I guess in many ways this may even reflect more of the ancient worship services of the Hebrew people whereby burnt offerings where made unto the Lord? Okay, maybe not.

So what do you think? Should I once again make my push? There are many holes in my thinking I am sure, so let me have it!


~ by Dave Smith on July 6, 2008.

12 Responses to “Light’em If You Gottem”

  1. I remember that old tinfoil communion cup…sigh…the good ‘ol days.

    The Smokers Lounge? Creative…but think of how unhappy the old folks would be if they couldn’t sing their hyms.

    In my mind, people are going to poke holes in your idea proposing the slippery slope. What’s next? A venue for gays, pedophiles, and wife beaters?

    They’re outcasts for a reason – no one likes them.

    Also, does our church have the politcal climate to handle this kind of outreach? Our outreach events, if nothing else, are of the “safe” variety.

  2. Interesting point Anthony.

    Are you then equating smokers with gays, pedophiles, and wife beaters? I do think that is a different concept.

    I guess in my mind I was paralleling them with mom’s and their infants. We specifically have a crying room at our South campus for mom’s who can’t put their children in the nursery for a variety of reasons (i.e. breastfeeding, insecurities, sick kid, etc.). We have the “crying room” so that they can still participate in the service without being a distraction to others around them.

    In a similar fashion I don’t necessarily see a person lighting up as a “sin,” but moreso as an annoyance for others and so they may need their own space. Maybe a better proposal would be to have a smoker’s lounge, similar to a crying room, in which there is a sectioned, glassed-off room in the back of the sanctuary where smokers can participate in the service while lighting up.

    (NOTE: At the central campus we currently have a “fragrance free” section for those that are allergic to perfumes.)

    In regards to whether our culture could handle such an “outreach”…no. :>)

  3. there’s so many things to comment on here, i don’t even know where to begin.

    let me guess, now that they’ve displaced sr. high, now they want to displace jr. high, too? surely singing hymns and having a fernando ortega/donald miller-esque worship service (which that description doesn’t even make any sense!) is more important than having any youth to hand the church off to at some point down the road.

  4. Ahhh, such a champion of the youth. You should be a youth pastor!

    I see you are concerned with the whole venue concept…and “bumping” other existing groups (and also making worship connections to them as well.) No worries, jr. high is safe (when it comes to their room).

    But I think we know who isn’t safe…the smokers!

    If there is lots to comment about the hymnal venue, let’s do that at:

  5. I would agree that in isolation lighting up is not a sin, but I think your comparison to a crying infant is a little soft.

    Moms with crying infants are not looked upon as “outcasts” (your word) like smokers, gays, etc. Maybe with some annoyance, but in contrast and in general, smokers are are of a low social standing in our culture.

    I thought your point was this, “let’s make a venue for outcasts instead of retreads and let’s start with the smokers.”

    I might think many who would attend a smokers lounge would be addicted to nicotine…is addiction sin?

    What a great thing…having sinners/addicts in worhsip!

    But I can hear someone say…

    If we are promoting/condoning/enabling this particular (sinful) behavior…that’s wrong…evn in a worship context…and (slippery slope) why stop with the smokers?

    I wonder what it would be like…

  6. Ahh, now I see where you are coming from. Understood.

    You are right in that it definitely starts the alienating process…and potentially a slippery slope.

    I guess I am wondering if there are now local churches with “cafe venues” to appease one’s addiction towards caffeine and coffee shop environments while worshipping and listening to the sermon (which may be right around the bend for us)…then does that legitmately open the door to a smokers lounge?

    I guess under your rationale that a cafe venue would also be a slippery slope?

  7. I do not claim it as MY rationale! 🙂 But we do seem to pick and which drugs are acceptable.

    If leaders are asked to sign off not to use tobacco or drink alcohol “b/c of principals to guard one’s body physical body as God’s temple”…why isn’t this true of caffine, milkshakes, lattes, and french fries?

    I know – “No one ever got into a fight for drinking too many milkshakes”…but plenty of people are now fat and unhealthy b/c of too many…is one outcome really worse than the other?

    Whoa…I’m down the slope of being off-topic…sorry.

  8. Yea, I think I am dragging us all down. I should stop now!

  9. I agree with jdh…so much here, where to begin? With a church as large as __________ it seems to me that it is a huge waste of time and resources to have all these venues and services. wouldn’t it be a better use of both to keep the service in the sanctuary, maybe change the style of things (if needed). It is an hour for goodness sake. Pick a service that best meets your worship style. If you can’t find one…maybe the worship service is the least of you problems. I just think we are spending too much time and energy trying to “meet everyone’s needs” that we are missing some of the more important needs. Not sure if any of this makes sense. This is just my two cents…maybe one 🙂

  10. Great point Missy…it is only one hour of the week, yet amazing how central it is most people’s identity of their faith. Agreed that it shouldn’t be, but this corporate gathering is the end-all for one’s spiritual expression (for many).

    The resources is a good point for sure…and with our economy the way it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is tweaking in this areas along the way with the five year vision. (Although right now any new venues we discuss are very low budget using little of our resources)

    But you allude to another question, which is do we even need a corporate worship gathering for our faith? Why not just meet in our community groups? (House church anyone?)

  11. Perhaps you could “ease” the church into the concept of a smokers’ venue. You could start with just allowing pipe smokers (and only the good smelling stuff like Bering Cherry and Black Bear). Eventually you could introduce cigars into the mix (but only authentic Cubans like Cohibas Robustos). After a while, you could allow the cigarette smoking sinners into the frey (Marlboro, Camel etc.).

    But I definitely think that when the cigarette smokers join, you should give them mouthguards with the verse Matthew 8:12 inscribed on them. Sinners.

  12. […] off of the portion of the body of Christ i’m about to consume. OCD much? perhaps. another point of view on the same sort of […]

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