Even though I practice alternative spirituality now, I'll still pop in to regular ol' church every now and then. A few weeks ago, I went to my mom's church with her and found that the regulars are still in attendance, no matter how large or small the membership is. Here are our church regulars, and don't forget to list yours in the comments!

The Unstudied Minister

This is the guy (usually older) who feels his age automatically has given him the right to "minister" to the congregation. He brings his bible to the podium, but never references any actual scriptures, opting instead for church phrases and trying to disguise them as scriptures. "The bible says, 'when praises go up, BLESSINGS come down!'" Um, no sir, it doesn't.

The Sweet Church Mother

church She always has some encouraging words for you, the good mints, is dressed to the nines, and can sing like no other! Whenever you're in attendance, you look forward to seeing this mother. She gives advice based on her experience and not her bias, and never judges you for the mistakes you make. She knows that being spiritual doesn't mean having a boring or strict life, and she encourages you to have fun and create adventures for yourself. This mother is an expert at creating safe spaces, and everyone loves her.

The Mean Church Mother

church You reconsider your dress three times before you leave the house because of this mother's ire. She'll call you a Jezebel in a second and lecture you on why you need not tempt the ministers of the church with your wayward wardrobe. She wrote the book on respectability politics, and will cite every violation of it she sees fit. She's also a master shade thrower. People put up with her because of the mythical and vaguely described "hard life" she's had, and because she can sing as well (if not better) than the sweet mother. She calls out all of the choir's mistakes at their next practice, and acts like the (amazing) Sunday dinner doesn't have enough seasoning. You try to avoid her at all costs.

The Church Chef

Preparing for Sunday to be your cheat meal is a MUST, knowing he/she is going to throw down a massive and delicious Sunday dinner after service. You smell the chicken frying (and during the summer, the grill going) in the back kitchen area around offering time, and might even try to slip out for a second. This chef has all of the best stories and lets you be their taste tester, should you make it past the ushers to chat it up while they mix it up.

The Misbehaving Child

If it was morally or legally right to punch a child, you might do it to this one. They sneeze on you, break your tambourine for the fifth time, step all over your feet while play shouting, and of course, ask to play on your phone when they're finally tired out enough to sit down somewhere. Most times, they are dropped off by their parent who wants some free child care and knows the church folk will look after the kid, but even when the parent decides to also attend, they can't keep this child under control. Your mantra is always spanking is not the answer. Spanking is NOT the answer. Of course, their friends encourage the misbehavior.

The Longwinded Testifier 

You never know who this person is going to be, because it's usually a visitor who doesn't know the rules. They're also prone to say something highly inappropriate, provoke a church sigh, and eventually be cut off by the music or whomever is officiating the service. They're good for a laugh, but you wish you could skip this person every time you show up.

The Musician-in-Training

church While this person annoys most people, you actually enjoy seeing their progression over time. Yes, that first year or so of hitting the wrong chords or being utterly unable to stay in the pocket on the drums is frustrating, but then you show up one week and notice how much better they've become. It makes you proud to see a young person stick with something that they are passionate about, and actually get good at it. They even become skilled enough that you hire them (and their friends) for your next office holiday party.

The Prodigal Son/Daughter

They're a semi-regular. They go out into the world, do their "dirt," feel guilty, and come back and get "saved" again. It's a toss up whether or not you'll see them when you stop in, but you hope you do because you want to be one of the people in their lives who isn't judging their life choices. You just want them to become the best person they can be, regardless of where and how that happens.

The Money Deacon

church He gives all of the kids a dollar every Sunday after service, drives the longest Cadillac you've ever seen, is always matching the loudest colors, and is the sweetest guy on earth. He and his wife let you crash in their guest house the semester you couldn't afford to live in the dorms, and he always made sure you had pocket change for a movie out or to get something to eat with friends. Always standing up for anyone in the warpath of the mean church mother, he's like everyone's favorite uncle, good with making money, smart with how he's spends it, and a giving person. You never suggest he hire a stylist because you don't want to offend him.

The ChristianMingle.com Deacon

church He's been married at least five times, and this somehow qualifies him as the unofficial marriage counselor of the church. He walks around with this holier-than-thou attitude, until someone "accidentally" hyperlinks his ChristianMingle.com profile in the weekly church bulletin, and everyone sees his greased up topless profile picture. He comes to church next week without shame, current wife giving a rousing testimony about how a wife's job is to stand by her husband and make sure she always slays, while getting the side-eye from every woman in the church who her husband has hollered at (which is basically the entire membership base). Definitely perfect for a laugh.

The Candy Lady

church Always with the best outfits, the best candy in her purse, knows everybody's business but won't spread it. The children's choir director, who sits up front with the mothers because she takes care of her grandmother and that's where her grandmother sits. She's like everyone young person's favorite auntie, the beautifully successful and single woman that every guy wants to ask out, and the sister who never throws shade at anyone. The women of the church both love her and are jealous of her, but no one dares disrespect her, lest they be cut off from her smile and her candy supply when service runs long.

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