Funny Things in Church
It seems often that hilarious moments occur during the most serious and solemn events. Many of the funniest things I’ve ever seen have happened in church. I guess it is because a great part of my life has been spent in the pews, and I have this really bad habit of watching people. I’ve seen killer horseflies attack preachers, singers forget their words, dogs enter the church to worship, and drunk people come to the house of the Lord. Many times I’ve seen children do, and say, the darnedest things… and I’ve seen their parents react in very memorable ways. But my favorite church story is this one:
Every Baptist preacher worth his salt knows how to bring a sermon to a dramatic end as the time comes for the invitation. It is now time for the altar call for those whom God is speaking to. “Now I know the Lord is speaking to someone here. If He is, now is the time to move.”
Those were the words of our pastor, Kenneth Hodges, in the early 1970’s. During the Sunday night service in the spring of that year, Bro. Hodges spoke the exact words quoted above. But the reply he got came from an unexpected source.
On the front row sat Bro. Hodges wife, Virginia. Beside her sat their daughter Pam, who was about five years old. Down the pew was Ruth Young Taylor and her daughter Marla, also age five. As the two ladies and their daughters stood for the invitation, and the hymn “Just as I am” was called out for the closing song, a voice was heard from the front pew. This voice said, “Hi, my name is Dottie. Can I come over and play?”
It was one of the girl’s dolls, and “it” had come alive and was talking. As Dottie continued to talk, Bro. Hodges got really red in the face. He stated, “When the Lord is speaking, Satan will always try to distract you.” Well, he was right. Everyone was plenty distracted as Dottie continued to speak. We teenagers were beside ourselves on the back pews. (Two rules to remember: teens should never sit in the back of church and children with talking dolls shouldn’t sit on the front pew.) I remember my sister Colleen shaking she was laughing so hard. Mrs. Hodges and Ruth Taylor were practically tearing the doll apart trying to find the button or string that activated Dottie’s “vocal cords.”
All this time, Dottie continued to tell us her likes, dislikes, and philosophies of life. “Do you like tea?” “Let’s be friends.” “I’ve always liked Mondays.”
Finally one of the mothers accidentally moved the arm that made Dottie talk… and she hushed as quickly as she had begun…. But the invitation time was a shambles. Bro. Hodges was mad at his wife and daughter. The ladies were embarrassed… and we teenagers were still fit to be tied.
Dottie never appeared again in Dry Creek Baptist Church. (My dad said she moved her letter to a “sister church of like faith.”) And never again did these two ladies and their daughters sit on the front pew.