Sunday, November 05, 2006

Entertaining Angles

or perhaps at church we’re

Entertaining Angels

In case I haven’t written enough about myself, let me just clarify. I am a procrastinating perfectionist anal in my attempt to “do things right”. A am also Dyslexic, a poor mathematician and speller. So, wanna be my friend? (ha, ha) Oh, and the final coup de gras? I hate with a passion to ask for help.

At church we have a contemporary service. Shortly after joining the church this wild rumor started regarding my computing skills. Apparently the rumor said I had some. The next thing I knew, I was part of the “PowerPoint Team.” Mind you, I don’t use PowerPoint in my job. In fact to be quite honest, I can’t tell you where or when I learned to “use” Power Point. The word “use” is in quotes because it accurately conveys my lack of ability with this software. However, the church asked, and I agreed, to provide all the slides, for one service a month. I was told, “Oh, it only takes an hour and we have a template.”

It must only take an hour for the non-anal perfectionists. I spend a big chunk of my time getting the words to the songs, “just right”. For me, this means having a slide for every verse, chorus, bridge and tag. I also believe these slides should have the right words, exactly the way they should be sung. I know, it’s a crazy idea, but it’s just the way I am.

Musicians however seem to be a bit more free flowing than PowerPoint presentations. On a moments notice they might decide to start with the verse, then segue into the bridge before starting the first chorus. Who knows? That may even be the way the music is written. However, all I know before attending rehearsal is what the e-mailed crib sheets tell me. Some members of the team PowerPoint team don’t even go to rehearsal *gasp*. They just show up early on Sunday morning and slog through the crib sheet and display words in front of the congregation which don’t match what the band is playing. Well not on my watch!

Last month we moved to a new worship product. It has the word “easy” in its title. Perhaps if we had training on it … or all sat down together to pass on tricks and tips, it would be “easy”. For the perfecting anal crowd? Not so easy. My current challenge is to take PowerPoint slides, and turn them into jif or jpg files to import into the new program. Because I don’t know what I’m doing, I only know how to take a ppt image, add or alter text, then save as ppt (so I have something to edit again), then save as jif or jpg and import into the new program. This takes me longer than an hour.

Besides being anal, and unwilling to ask for help or admit defeat, I am topical and color coordinated. Today’s slides all featured themes of fall. Like “wheat” or “autumn leaves”. Any slides with text had one of three background colors. Nutmeg brown, fall orange, or leaf red. Did I mention the first Sunday is also Communion? And those crazy Methodist have “different” communion liturgies, depending on the calendar. Today happened to be “All Saints” communion. Except no one relayed that little piece of information to me directly. I guess if I’d been reading my eNews a little closer I might have caught the announcement that we’d be “lighting candles” for all members who’ve died in the last year … but somehow it escaped my notice. And who, in a moment of brilliance, found this graphic to use for the first and last slides in this series of 5 for the “generic” Great Thanksgiving communion? *waves hand*

I guess you can figure out who, 20 minutes before the service began, was saving old ppt All Saints Communion slides without the fall graphic and changing them into jifs with the graphic, can’t you?

Now, really, that doesn’t sound like much confusion. You might even be reading this thinking, “Man, is that MitMoi whiny or what?” Because, all I have to contend with was a new software package and a change in words on 5 graphic slides …. AND the fact that the church computer wouldn’t import all my images. At 5 minutes before the service, we’re switching out my laptop and the church ‘puter. Did I mention the cute pictures of a hippo and a tortoise the preacher found and wanted added to illustrate her sermon? Nope didn’t think I did, because that would be about the time I realized I also needed to add a feed for the video about our stewardship campaign.

Nine o’clock strikes. We’re off! Opening slide, good. Announcement slide, check. First song? Played in a different order, but our new “easy” software allows me to preview the lyrics, so it looks smooth. Okay, I’m on top of this.

2 songs and 3 prayer requests later I relax … and God laughed. I’m sure it’s because I wasn’t using “church appropriate” language earlier in the morning. (Have you noticed how vindictive He can be? Really, He and I are going to have to sit down and talk about His sense of humor.) Now it’s time to display “The Word”. No problem. Hebrews 13:1-6 coming right up. Three easy slides. One announcing the text, two displaying the text. Uhh, hrm, uhhh … she’s talking past verse 6. Uhh, guess who looks at the bulletin and sees, Hebrews 13:1 – 16, not 6? … **sigh** Numbers, they’re so tricky. One little digit and everything changes. Well, we’ll just stare at the pretty fall leaves as she continues spewing forth God’s word.

You’d think that would be more than enough trauma for a one hour service, wouldn’t you? But can I tell you … the best was yet to come. See the sermon was on “Radical Hospitality”. The message centered on entertaining. Entertaining those things that hang out in heaven and help out God. You know, those things that announced the birth of Christ. They look like this ….

Apparently, in my dyslexic mind, they’re spelled like this …..

Hence the humor in the title of “Entertaining Angles”

Thank God for pictures, can you imagine how confused the congregation would have been otherwise?


Anonymous said...

A Methodist to your madness, eh? -Alacrityfitz

lee715 said...

You must know that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan. I am also dyslexic; I found that joining DAM (Mothers Against Dyslexia) helped.

Woodstock said...

Um...hate with a passion to ask for help, eh? Should I put you on my "Please confront me if I don't ask for help." t-shirt distribution list? ;)