By Michael Duduit on Sep 29, 2012
In a culture obsessed with activity and extremes, a little bit of boring can build character.
A recent Wall Street Journal (July 19, 2012) article highlighted the Dull Men's Club of Pembroke, Mass.—a weekly gathering of older fellows which celebrates their mutual…well, dullness.
The story cited one member "who knows all the U.S. presidents' middle names and can recite the alphabet backward. Another member, Frank Tobin, might bring a picture of an antique car and award a $2 bill to whoever guesses the make and model. Attendees have discussed hummingbirds and studied park benches around the world. They debated raking leaves versus letting them lie.
"Believe it or not, we spent two and a half meetings on which way to put toilet paper on the roll, over or under," says another regular, Ken Girten, a 76-year-old retired banker. "It was pretty much tied."
In a culture obsessed with activity and extremes, it's not surprising that some turn—slowly, of course—to the more mundane. "We're all supposed to be busy, busy, busy, but what's wrong with being ordinary?" says Leland Carlson, a retired tax attorney in Chappell, Neb., who runs the national Dull Men's Club website—a loosely organized online community for "good citizens who are not setting the world on fire," and which inspired the Pembroke club. The club, which started in the 1990s, now has 5,000 members, up from 3,000 five years ago.
Which got me thinking about the church…Surely in the midst of booming megachurches with their crackling-good communicators, there must be a place left for the ordinary. Did I hear someone say "Boring Preacher's Club"?
The Boring Preacher's Club never would meet at Starbucks—too trendy. More likely, it would gather at Cracker Barrel. While the Dull Men's Club has a T-shirt with the slogan "Dull but Never Boring," I don't think the Dull Preacher's Club would want to spend money on shirts. Besides, a little bit of boring can build character.
Imagine the fun you could have at the weekly meeting of the Boring Preacher's Club:
• Reciting the list of the kings of Israel—backward
• Analyzing the various types of seeds grown in first century Israel as a way to liven up sermons on the Parable of the Sower
• Discussing the positive aspects of the elder brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son
• Reviewing the pros and cons of the Dewey Decimal System vs. the Library of Congress indexing system for the pastor's library
• Reminiscing about favorite church history lectures from seminary days
• Recalling the joys of old-fashioned typewriters
• Wondering whatever happened to the Jebusites
Let me know if you decide to start your own chapter of the Dull Preacher's Club. I might decide to join—when I find the time to be bored.
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