What I've done is devise a Sermon Discomfort Rating system, wire up the Sermonometer to a number of willing guinea pigs at numerous churches It is quite a complex apparatus, with the least said, soonest mended when it comes to the probes, as you will see when you consider the things that are rated for the Sermon Discomfort Rating. And I have to ask people to fit the apparatus themselves - as many, seeing me approaching with the "fundament firmness tactileometer", tend to hit me with any large objects that are handy.
In any case, the Sermon Discomfort Rating index scores from 0 to 10, as follows:
0 - Happy with life, and looking forward to an exposition of God's holy scripture.
1 - Mildly irritated with the preacher, inclined to fidget.
2 - Slightly more irritated with the preacher, starting to tap foot.
3 - Moderately irritated. Shuffling in seat.
4 - Really quite bored now. Alpha waves start to shut down.
5 - Bottom completely numb. Shuffling between buttocks to restore blood flow.
6 - Really quite angry at the thought that you could be watching telly.
7 - Peripheral organs starting to shut down.
8 - Blood supply removed from hands, feet, bottom and brain.
9 - As brain encounters oxygen starvation stage, imagine you are walking up a bright tunnel towards a bright light.
10 - All previous states eclipsed by overwhelming realisation that you need to go to the loo.
As I say, I tested this rating system on a number of people, across a number of denominations. And I discovered that for some reason - maybe training, maybe an evolutionary affect caused by the natural selection imposed by people sitting in drafty chapels for hundreds of years - the onset of each stage happens at a different time for each denomination. I attach the results below.
The results are fairly clear, I believe. Certainly we should learn that nobody should preach for more than 20 minutes in an Anglican village church with no toilet. Additionally, I note that after 60 minutes, Pentecostal discomfort starts to decline again. I believe this is because they are starting to realise they will be able to boast to all their friends from other Pentecostal churches about how seriously they take the Bible, if the sermon is well into its second hour.
I would like to stress that no preachers were harmed in the preparation of this experiment.
1 Drank a pint of Pimms neat at Hnaef's 94th barbecue of the year, and is currently dreaming dreams and seeing visions.