Thursday, September 1, 2011

What is your favorite part of the local newspaper?

I've been reading Stuff Christians Like, a blog by Jon Acuff, for a couple of years. I love the things he finds us Christians doing…it's funny stuff and you should totally check it out.

Anyway, this is something I thought anyone who reads his blog might like. It's my own version of something us Christians like to do…and it's awful funny.

A couple of years ago, for my birthday, my parents decided to give me a subscription to the Farmerville Gazette (the local newspaper from my hometown). I love reading it because it reminds me once a week why I chose to leave Union Parish. It also reminds of all the things I loved about my hometown.

Each year since, my parents have faithfully renewed my subscription as a gift. They are super nice people! This year, they got fed up with the articles in the Gazette and decided that they would no longer support a newspaper that only showed the negative side of Union Parish and other useless information. Instead they got me a subscription to the Bernice Banner (Bernice is a small town just north of Farmerville, also located in Union Parish).

I'm sort of indifferent as to which newspaper I read, I just want a Union Parish newspaper. (Side note…I do NOT read a newspaper from the LaPlace/New Olreans area. Not sure why, just don't). I got my very first issue of the Bernice Banner this week, and read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. There is one section in this paper that is above and beyond what the Gazette was offering me.

Now for the part that Jon Acuff will enjoy….The Church News Section.

This is by far my most favorite part of the small town newspaper. I love the little old lady that writes for this section (of course I should say "little old ladies" because we all know that it is a different little lady from each of the churches represented). When did it become so important to post a weekly update in the local paper of all the happenings at the local church? And who decides what gets published? Is it only that one little old lady from each church? Is there a committee?

The Church News Section includes everything from songs sung on Sunday morning, verses read from the pulpit, notes from the Pastor's message, mission work, prayer requests, donation requests, announcements (like those usually listed in the bulletin) and upcoming events.

Some of my favorite items in this section are the birthdays, where the church member's birthdays are listed out with the month and day. I guess we share this information on Facebook, so what's wrong with having it published in the local paper, but is it worth taking up valuable space in the paper? Also, I love the list of visitors. Yes! There is a list of names of people who visited the churches. I certainly hope that the visitor's home pastor does not see their name listed as visiting another church! Can you hear the little old ladies talking about how "So-and-So" dared to visit another church?

I have to share some quotes for you to fully appreciate the Church News Section of the Bernice Banner (yes these are REAL quotes from the 8/25/2011 edition). Names have been left off to keep some sense of privacy.

"Micah A******* celebrated his fifth birthday over the weekend with two parities. The first party was at the Bernice pool Saturday night, and the second was at the home of his grandparents, Donny and Brenda G******, Sunday. According to Micah both days were the "best day of his life."

What about all the other kids at the church? Do they get an entire paragraph devoted to their birthday parties in the local paper? I guess Miranda Lambert was right when she said "Everybody dies famous in a small town."
"My friend and hairdresser, Jennifer M******, will be moving to the "Cuttin Up" Salon on Pine Street starting next Thursday. She will be there on Thursdays and in Homer at the Steel Magnolia on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Give her a call at 318-927-****."

Now the Church News Section is being used to advertise? Would Jesus approve? Is that a Jesus Juke?
"Beginning next Sunday please begin to bring items to pack shoeboxes with. I will try to have my storage boxes out for things to be placed in -- brought them about a month ago to church to begin putting items in and they seemed to have disappeared. Ha Ha… But here are some suggestions of items needed:…"

What? Someone stole your boxes and you put it in the paper? One time I thought someone stole my leaf blower from the church (used it for a VBS skit) but turns out it was in my neighbor's garage the whole time. Maybe she should check with her neighbors before accusing people of stealing in the local paper. And if the whole reason for the Church News section is to get people to visit your church, do you want to go to the church where people steal plastic boxes that are going to be used for charity? And by putting the "Ha Ha" in the paper, that totally softens the blow, right?

This was just too funny and I had to share it with you. Hope you find something good to read in your local newspaper.

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