When I was in growing up, we used to send cards to people in our youth group that weren’t at church on a given Wednesday night.
For the most part, it was a well-meaning effort to let our friends know they were missed. Though there was obviously an underlying guilt trip, it was nice to know people were thinking about you and cared enough to take the time to send you a handwritten card.
But I always dreaded showing up to church the week after missing a Sunday service, because inevitably your were bombarded by people who just had to let you know how wonderful church was on the one day you weren’t there. Sunday School was truly a revelation from God. The Spirit moved in worship in such a incredible way, you just had to be there to understand. I mean, it was probably the greatest Sunday ever in the history of mankind and you missed it.
It’s kind of a genius guilt trip when you think about it. Not because I really believe that every Sunday I missed just happened to be the most incredible thing in human history, but because I loathed hearing that nonsense so much it made me never want to miss church just so I never had to hear those ridiculous claims ever again.
Well, it turns our there is – or at least was – a much easier way to shame your fellow church members for missing church on Sunday, or more specifically, missing Sunday School.
Jim Linderman at Old Time Religion has a collection of cards that were once used to shame folks for missing Sunday School. Personally, I think they’re wonderful and would proudly frame them and hang them on my wall. Not just because I’m a church history guy and love church artifacts like this, but because their earnest ridiculousness would bring a smile to my face every time I saw them.
I mean, maybe the semi-thoughtful “hey buddy, we really missed you at church” approach does come from a well-meaning place in our hearts, but you can just feel this card yelling at you for missing Sunday School.
And this one. I mean, you’re being compared to a seriously ugly pig and just in case you have kids, there’s a verse at the bottom to let you know you’re a bad parent.
But I think this one is my favorite because it’s basically saying, “What’s it gonna be, friend? Starbucks or hell??”
(Credit for finding these cards, once again, goes to Jim Linderman and his fantastic collection of church artifacts at the Old Time Religion blog)