Chew on This

8 years ago

So I’m wondering about gum chewing in church lately. Have you noticed this? That people chew gum in church? This trend can’t possibly be exclusive to Lutherans. Call me old-fashioned. Call me traditional. Call me a stuffed shirt, but I think chewing gum in church is a bit much.

Some of you know that I grew up Catholic. And Catholicism is a formal religion. We do incense. Votives flicker at the feet of the Virgin Mary. Priests shake the aspergillum over the casket. We genuflect upon entering and leaving the pew like we are meeting the Queen Mother; make the Sign of the Cross like crazy; Exchange the Peace all stiff and serious, like we’re business executives sealing a deal. When I was a kid, we didn’t even cross our legs when we sat in the pew; for some reason this posture was frowned upon. We sat upright, knees pressed together, feet on the floor.

And never, never in a million, billion years, would we have dared to pop in a wad of banana Bubblicious.

So you can see why I find gum chewing in church a little too…informal. Plus I wonder about the thought process that precedes the gum chewing. Does the gum-chewer think ahead while motoring towards church: “Hmmmm, I think last week was Communion…hon, hand me a couple Chiclets, will ya?” And what happens if they get mixed up, lose track, forget it’s a Communion week? Do they stealthily spit into a Kleenex before filing up to the altar? Stick the gum behind their ear like the Blueberry Girl in Willy Wonka?

It’s all a bit too messy for me.

I know, I know. I’m judging again. And this from the woman who lugs in an entire smorg to keep her children entertained during worship. But I can rationalize that as a survival tactic.

Gum chewing in church is my worship pet peeve. What’s yours?

Michelle blogs about faith in the everday at

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