PARISHIONERS EXCLAIM, “HOLY CRAP THAT WAS LONG.”

“I’m not getting any younger as long, As you don’t get any older.”
-Green Day, “Church On Sunday”

Life is long, ask any old person and argue with any young person. For the middle-aged, ignore them and let their mid-life crisis take control. With this being said, there’s plenty of time to accomplish your lifelong dream of setting some sort of ridiculous record. We all had, or still have, a dream (please, no Martin Luther King Jr. references).

Suitcase guinnessworldrecords com
Photo courtesy of guinessworldrecords.com

That was Leslie Tipton by the way, the fastest person to enter a zipped suitcase at 5.43 seconds. I’m surprised you didn’t already know that. Another interesting fact is that the world record for reading out loud is 74 hours, 49 minutes, and 37 seconds by the King’s Dream Team, a six-member team representing the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. library in San Jose, California (Guinness, 2004). I thought we said no DMLKJ references? Whatever.
We have a new jaw-exhausting record though, but in a different category: a 53-hour sermon. In Florida, Pastor Zach Zehnder spoke for 53 hours and 18 minutes about the big guy (or girl), showing is commitment to his faith as God has to his/her people (Snyder, 2014). I grew up Catholic, still am Catholic, and will always be Catholic, so I know how long a 10-minute sermon seems at times, but over 53 hours? Can you imagine the amount of children crying, fathers getting score updates, and mothers trying to keep everyone focused? Even the hymns alone are tough to get through.

Zehnder planned 50 sermons to read back to back, from Genesis to Revelation. There were at least 10 spectators present at all times to witness the feat, serving 4-hour shifts, and he was awarded a 5 minute break for each hour. This wasn’t all for show and an obsession of one’s own voice, the church raised $100,000 for Powerhouse Recovery, an organization offering free alcohol and drug-addiction treatment (Snyder, 2014); or the addicts could have kicked the habit by sitting through a 53-hour sermon. That would scare anyone straight.
How painful that must have been on the jaw, not to mention on the mind. Speaking is a completely different animal; some people can’t stand their own voice and that’s why they write for long periods of time. Stop pointing at me. What’s better: carpel tunnel or the reduction of oxygen to the brain? Long conversations and excessive talkativeness (it’s a word) can lead to dizziness, light-headedness, loss of concentration, emotional instability, muscular tension, abnormal posture, and dehydration (Normal Breathing, 2014). Some celebrities (since they’re the only ones that matter) have even had throat disorders, but that may not be a bad thing for the public.

John Mayer fansshare com
Photo courtesy of fansshare.com

Records are strange, no matter the category. There will always be wonder of why someone would do such a thing, or praise for the accomplishment. Passion and purpose are key attributes for any record-holder. When people are passionate about religion, the general response is to judge and question, worry about extremists, or just ignore one of the most devoted topics in this world. You don’t have to listen to 53 hours of something, we’re not getting any younger and there are plenty of other things you could do in that amount of time, but maybe hearing a glimpse will provide a better understanding of your passions and your purpose. Then you can judge and question.

Guinness (2003). Retrieved from https://www.sjlibrary.org/guinness-world-record-reading-aloud-marathon on November 12 2014.

Normal Breathing (2014). Retrieved from http://www.normalbreathing.com/causes-talking.php on November 14 2014.

Snyder, C. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/11/11/pastor-attempts-world-record-breaking-53-hour-sermon/?intcmp=latestnews on November 11 2014.

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