Heather sent me the following link to a Fantasy Church League, awarding points for various features of Sunday morning worship. There’s no percentage in fussing over the details of allotting points — but I can’t resist.
For instance, the “Number of Bible translations used in the sermon:” category rewards using one translation at a 10-to-1 advantage over using two to four translations; what’s with that? I’m inclined to question homiletical moves that make explicit reference to technical details of interpretation, but if a preacher uses a couple different translations, why should she lose 9 points?
The scorebook awards “1 point for each word provided in the original language (1 Bonus point if pronounced correctly)” — but make sure not to offer a different translation?
“Referring to ‘The Message’ as a translation: -100 points” Well, I can’t argue with that one.
Such categories as “Ratio of hymns to contemporary songs” and above all “Decisions” seem heavily biased toward evangelical Protestant congregations; that fits the stipulation that players choose from “2 Baptist churches, 2 Presbyterian churches, 2 Charismatic churches, 1 non-denominational church and 1 flex church (any denomination)” suggests that they don’t reckon Anglo-Catholics (or [non-charismatic] Roman Catholics, Methodists, Orthodox, Lutherans, or Congregationalists) have much of a chance. On a typical Sunday, though, St. Luke’s would get 3 points for sermon length, 10 points for sticking with one translation, 2 points for offering an audio download (it wouldn’t take much effort to make it a podcast), -30 for leftover bulletins (at a guess), 5 points for the number of hymns, 2 for a single instrument, no points for the hymn/contemporary ratio (no contemporary songs), -10 for announcements. That’s -18, on the negative strength of my leftover-bulletin estimate and the ineradicable practice of making announcements in the middle of the service. But Jeannette never calls Jesus “dude” or “buddy” (that would be -50 each time), wears a Hawai’ian shirt while preaching (-50), or moans “Mmmmm, thank you, Jesus” (-2 each time). If we allow for denominational bias — say, throw in extra points for our incense, or the healing altar at the side — and we’d do pretty well.