Sunday, July 22, 2007

In Honor of Buffets and Brunches Everywhere

Originally Published July 16, 2006

The Gladiators Got Nothin' On Us

Sunday is a day we go to church to worship God, learn about His Word, put something in the plate when they pass it, pray, dismiss, and then try to beat the Methodists to the restaurant.

For some unknown reason there is this "thing", for lack of a better Thesaurus word, between the Baptists and the Methodists. Maybe it goes back to the whole "sprinkle vs. dunk" controversy. I can't speak for the Methodists, but we Baptists leave church to eat faster than Scarlett fled Atlanta.

Why is this Best Seat in the House competition only between these two groups? Don't the Catholics and the Episcopalians eat lunch?

I have actually been part of a Sunday School discussion when the subject was new worship times. (How exciting to add a new worship time in order to seat everyone!) The Sunday School class was deciding which worship hour they would attend. One very Southern Baptist man stood up and said that he would just stick to the early worship hour because he "had to beat the Methodists to the restaurants." He wasn't kidding.

I am also privy to some information about a certain Methodist church in Alabama that actually changed their Sunday worship time so that they could beat the Baptists to the restaurants. Oh, yes they did!

Before you get discouraged about going to church because of this silly Sunday lunch seating issue, please be aware that most of us Baptists and Methodists do still attend church for the right reasons. We just like to eat after it is all over.

One Sunday, we went to an early worship with my in-laws who are Methodist. After church we went to Sunday brunch. As we finished our meal and left the table, a large group of people came in. My mother-in-law said, "Here come the Baptists."

See, the First Baptist Church and The First United Methodist Church are across the street from one another. This can be seen in many small towns across the South. I joked with my Methodist friend Nancy once that I had never seen a Baptist and a Methodist church share the same side of the street. She shared that, in her town they actually shared the same block and even shared parking lots!


In most small towns, there are only a few restaurants. You have the southern home cooking buffet place called "Mama's Kitchen" or "Billy Bob's Family Restaurant." Or you may even have a fancy place with the word "Magnolia" in the name. Then, there is usually a good BBQ place, a fried seafood restaurant if you live near the coast, and maybe a steak place, if you're lucky. That's it. Unless you eat at Hardee's or Dairy Queen. So, really the Baptist/Methodist restaurant relay is a result of supply and demand.

I may never know why this Olympic level of competition remains between these two denominations. But, I am certain that it will continue in small towns for centuries to come.

So, to all of you Methodists out there I say, "See ya next Sunday! Let the games begin!"


ValleyGirl said...

Too funny! But it's true, when there are only 3 sit-down, casual DINING restaurants open on Sundays and 2 fast food joints, quality Sunday lunch eating spots are tough to come by.

In our little valley, there are 2 churches within our same denomination and those from our church always delight in the fact that the other church has a much longer church service! Even if we stand around and visit for half an hour after church is over and then make the half-hour drive into town, we STILL beat the other church to the restaurants! And they're located right IN town!!! Yay, we WIN!!

Kelli said...

We're Foursquare, and go to Saturday night service. It used to be that we had no problem eating out anywhere after service.

Then Saturday night services became more popular with other churches. Including the Baptists and Methodists.

Man- is nothing sacred?!

Roxanne said...

I attend the Church of Christ (kissin' cousins to the Baptists) and WE say "beat the Baptists." So I guess we're all gangin' up on someone to get to Black-Eyed Pea or Sweet Tomatoes first!!!

Sista Cala said...

I think it is the same here in West TN, but I haven't actually witnessed it. I am pentecostal, so the Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, etc. are all finished eating before we get there. We get fresh food on the buffet. So, I guess there are some advantages of getting there later than the main line folks. :-)

{Karla} said...

so that is why our church has their service at 10:15!!!!

I grew up going to church at 11 and when we moved to TN I just couldn't figure out why on earth they start their service so early.

Now I know. Thank you for solving that mystery for me. ;0)


mandy said...

oh girl! as a baby i was baptist, then as a teen i grew up in the LORD as a methodist.... then headed over to a non-denom community church feel as a young adult... now i'm back in a Baptist church with my husband - and i'm thoroughly confused! j/k.
this post explains why my church ALSO starts the service at 10:15.... to beat the Methodists!!! oh wait... we live in Massachusetts where there aren't many churches, and i'm not even sure if a Methodist church is around here... oh well, there goes that theory!
enjoyed the post!!!

Sheila said...

I too am from a small town in Alabama! I can so relate to your blog. Loved it! Keep it up!

Keltybug said...

You have me rolling with this post. I had a pastor a few years back that loved to eat a Sonn's BBQ I just so happened to be a waitress there. He knew I had lunch shift after church and he would always give me his order ahead of time so it was ready when he got there.

Dont even get me started on Dinner on the grounds. Gotta love those get togethers.

Jenn said...

This is too funny! BEing in the bible belt I can totally see this unfold every Sunday. I use to joke with my hubby that it just wasn't a Baptist Function is there wasn't food involved!

Jenn (