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I'll Teach You (alias ME) a Lesson!

by Brenda Holland
(Lucedale, MS, USA)

This happened when I was a little girl growing up in a little Independent Baptist Church in the South. We were all seated on those uncushioned pews shoulder to shoulder, where nothing was muffled (no carpet either). The building was fairly new as we had outgrown our other building, but somehow the adult projection was not big enough for those days in the 60's where it seemed like everyone went to church somewhere. Everything seemed to echo. But all that said, we had one older deacon, whom I will call Tom, who sat near the back of the church. He had a little difficulty hearing and he often went to sleep....Remember NOTHING was muffled back then. And, as habit would unfold, he used to snore...loudly. Our pastor, I suppose, got up one morning and felt that he had the perfect answer to that. When he preached something that needed a verbal "Amen", he would just say in a very loud preacher style voice, "Isn't that right, Bro. Tom?" And THAT alone would cause the sleeping/snoring deacon to wake, to "Amen" and would "help" him to stay awake. Well it didn't quite go down like that, but it did go down. Sure enough our elder deacon sat near the back in the middle section of the congregation and sure enough our pastor began with his text for the day and was still at the beginning of his sermon when our brother not only fell asleep, but started in on his snoring. We, the people, had long since learned to ignore that and were following along with our pastor when all of a sudden Pastor Smith pounded his fist on the pulpit and heartily and with a booming voice said, "Isn't that right Brother Tom?" To which the response was something none of us could ever have anticipated. The pounding and the loud question made all of us jump in our seats, but then double over with laughter when our snoring deacon heard his name, bolted upright, immediately jumped to his feet, bowed his own head and without missing a beat and with his own loud voice, lead in a lengthy closing prayer. The pastor stood with his mouth open while we held our sides from laughter and poor Bro. Tom kept on praying as he was trying to figure out why his sincere prayer was so funny. Needless to say, the carefully thought out sermon was officially ended at that moment and that technique was never, ever used again! And that's been almost 60 years ago....It'll continue to make me smile every time I remember it.

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