The Clapping Conundrum!

To clap or not to clap? That is the question!

Does that seem like an odd question to ask? You bet it is. Is it altogether crazy? Absolutely not!

We have been attending a new church lately. The kids love the Sunday school and can’t wait to go back week after week while Stephanie is a big fan of the nontraditional service. I, on the other hand, love the fact that Sunday worship begins and ends with a rock band until I realize that everyone in the chapel is clapping along with the music!

I can sing. I can dance. I can write. I can walk and chew gum at the same time but I can’t group clap. I just can’t keep the time. While the rest of the group is clapping in perfect unison, I am carrying on at my own rhythm and meter which throws off the rest of the people around me. And the harder I try to stay in synchronization with the group, the worse I fail and stand out like a drunken sailor. My inability to clap has gotten so bad that it has been compared to the dancing ability of Elaine Benes!

But this is a church service. Laughing at the big dude in the back right hand side of the church because Mr. Holland (start at the 2:06 minute mark) is holding his hands trying to get him to clap in time with the rest of the congregation can not be a good thing. And for me, it’s embarrassing. It’s why I avoid clapping at concerts and at sporting events in the first place. But where can when one hide in a room full of parishioners who are clapping along with the music that is being played? Nowhere!

So I stand there patiently while my wife and the rest of congregation around me are communing with the Christian group that is performing in the front of the chapel. I smile at those people who look in my direction until I think to myself “does this make me look creepy?” And then I stop smiling which makes me look like jerk! So I smile again, which in turn, just makes everybody involved feel really uncomfortable. It’s a no win situation for me. If I clap, I look like a buffoon. But if I don’t clap, I come across as aloof and supercilious.

So herein lies my conundrum! I want to go to church but I don’t want to develop a complex in the process. I can’t change churches because my kids and my wife love the chapel we have found. So do I bite the bullet and clap even though I look foolish? Or do I accept my lot in life and stand there with my hands in my pockets waiting for the music to end?

I wish I had an answer but I don’t. Stephanie and I like to become involved in all aspects of the church family, especially the community projects but I don’t want to suffer through the indignity of being “that guy! You know, the guy who can’t (or won’t) clap!” It’s frustrating. It really is. I never thought that going to church would hinge upon my being rhythmically challenged but it has.

I don’t know what to do but luckily, I still have five days until the next church service to come to terms with the most pressing theological question in my life at the present time; “To clap or not to clap?” That is the question!

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6 Responses to The Clapping Conundrum!

  1. Lee Z says:

    I think you should clap in your own very “special” way but make them inaudible. Fake it! Loved the article…made me smile!!

  2. Lady Pineapple says:

    I can’t clap either in rythm like that. Smile and move your hands as if you are clapping. Smiling makes your whole body feel better,
    it’s proven. Agree with Lee Z, fake it, until you make it.
    You make me want to go to your church. Sounds great and….how come you are not in the choir yet ? Pray, tell ?

  3. Rev Mike says:


    What i suggest is that you clap silently by curling you hands and touching your fingers. Glad to hear you has discovered a church the whole family enjoys.

    Love to you all,

  4. Ed Larsen says:

    Clap … just don’t take up the drums!!!!! 🙂

  5. Matt says:

    Classic , Doug. Don’t try to be the rhythm section my friend.. Stick to singin…rhythmically challenged perhaps… LOL

  6. Larry says:

    Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young which will help you learn to clap.

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