Summary: Elijah mistakenly thought he was alone in his service to God.

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Have you noticed that more and more people seem to be joining the “Ain't it Awful Club”? In fact, there are new chapters forming every day. Some gather in the neighborhood barber shop or beauty salon. Others meet at the community coffee house, the corner pub, or next to the water cooler at work. Sometimes they even meet at the church; in Sunday School classes, deacon assemblies, or gatherings of the women’s missionary circles. I imagine that if you listen carefully, you might even hear an occasional “ain’t it awful” session taking place in the Pastor’s Study.

What is an “ain’t it awful” session? It’s an occasion for people to whine and complain about life’s “terrible” state of affairs. In his book Games People Play, Eric Berne says that an “ain’t it awful” session provides people with an opportunity to engage in the sometimes cathartic act of hand-wringing and brow furrowing.

Of course, some subjects seem standard fair for an “ain’t it awful” gripe session.

“Can you believe those Washington Democrats? They’re spending away our children’s future. Ain’t it awful?”

“What about those Republicans, they are nothing but a bunch of obstructionists. The party of ‘no,’ that’s what they are! Ain’t it awful?”

“I’m worried about President Obama. I don’t even think he was born here. If he’s not the anti-Christ, I don’t know who is! Ain’t it awful?”

“It’s Sarah Palin who makes me nervous. She seems like evil on a broomstick, yet they say that she could be our next president! Ain’t it awful?”

Want to have some fun? Say any one of these statements at the next gathering of your friends or family, and watch what happens. The “ain’t it awful” game will be enjoined, nothing will be accomplished, and a good time will be had by all.

It’s not just national politics. Few subjects are off limits.

“Did you hear what that fellow over in Iran was saying about Israel? It sure seems like he’s itching for a fight. It might mean World War III. Ain’t it awful?”

“Can you believe that off-season trade the Redskins made to bring in another quarterback? And he’s an over-the-hill quarterback at that? Ain’t it awful?”

“My parents never listen to a single word I say and every time they talk it just turns into another lecture. Ain’t it awful?”

“Why can’t those kids learn how to pull up their pants and wear a belt? Ain’t it awful?”

“You know, the pastor passed me in the hall the other day and he didn’t even say ‘Hello.’ And did you see the tie he was wearing? Can you believe his wife let him walk out of the house looking like that? Ain’t it awful?”

Clergy play along, too. I heard this from a pastor friend in another state: “Our church secretary doesn't even know how to type. She spends the whole day sitting in the office taking personal phone calls while I am preparing the worship bulletin. I’d fire her, but her daddy is chairman of the personnel committee, a deacon, Sunday School Director, and our congregation’s biggest financial contributor.”

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