Monday, May 16, 2005

Church people

At a fast food restaurant. A group of churchgoers in their Sunday finest were given their food and ours as well. They realized it but said nothing.

"Think that's what they just learned in church?" my husband asked.

"What's that?"

"Just eat it and shut up."


At the grocery store - the one where, annoyingly, there are no cart corrals. You must walk your cart back to the store (me) or leave it sitting in the middle of the lot so it can damage other people's cars (almost everyone else).

A parking lot evangelist. Quizzing shoppers on their salvation. Wanting to know what church I attend.

How much more highly would I have thought of his church, if he'd offered to return my cart for me instead of scurrying off to the next possible convert?


Mrs. Chippy said...

Rurality is the first blog I check each morning. Just wonderful. pithy comments and nice themes, even better photography.

as for the church crowd, tell 'em you go to the 'church of the blue dome'.

it's all about a kind of tribalism based on fear and running around shouting into an echo chamber. they don't really want to hear your story, your testimony. we really haven't ventured far out of the cave, points on the end of our sticks have gotten more lethal. and that full moon and other natural wonders are frightning to some. the rest of us just rare back our heads and stare in wonder, all googly-eyed .

Dave said...

And I'll bet none of them would tell you if you'd been walking around like that all day...

Pablo said...

Yet another reason why I love this blog and visit it every single day. And I'm hoping that we'll hear more from Mrs. Chippy.

Eva said...
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Eva said...

I smiled when I read your post. My mother and I often go to church together and when I bring her home the first thing my father asks is "what did the priest have to say today?" To my shame, I often don't remember. This post reminded me that those of us who attend church should actually listen to the lesson preached. Mere attendance is meaningless.

Anonymous said...

As a devout Christian, I must say...

(Pause for dramatic effect)

Amen to that post. How quickly Christians forget that one of their most serious callings is to SERVICE. And how much quicker we sometimes forget how loudly our actions (and inactions) speak of us.

I am a "return the cart" kinda guy m'self. There are lots of us out here, too. But there are lots more oafs - both in and out of the pews.

S'Alright. God knows what he's doing.

And any Christian who would take umbrage at your post "doth protest too much."

Anvilcloud said...

On the whole, I'd say that you didn't have a good day, but remember that cart-returners get a special blessing. Says so right in the Gospel of Saint Anvilius Cloud.

Rurality said...
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Rurality said...

(Don't you just hate it when you have to erase your comment to your own post because of a spelling error, and also have to admit the fact that you're so anal that you can't just let it stand? Yeah, me too.)

Thanks all. I was hoping to word that in such a way that no one took offense... just a "practice what you preach" sort of thought.

Mrs. Chippy, you aren't the Chippy that I know from B'ham are you? Blond and petite and annoyingly good at crafts?!

Dave, LOL. I'm thinking of changing the tagline (to "life in the sticks" or something similar)... future comment excavators will wonder what in the world you're talking about. :)

Thanks Pablo, Eva, Thingfish. Anvilcloud, both of those things did happen, although not on the same day. I think parking lot evangelists tend to take Sundays off. :) That actually happened a few weeks ago, it was just the restaurant incident Sunday that made me want to post about both of them.

My husband has this idea that we should tell people that we are Masonites. :)

Jenn said...

"Just eat it and shut up."

Whew. Love that one. Kind of applies to television programing, too.

Yesterday - I ran out of the house and told the big generic lawn crew people that were about to mow the lawn next door that the lady that used to rent the place (who cut down all the good trees - ash and maple, and left up the poplar and boxelder - but that's another story) had put down bunches of rocks in random placement all over the yard, and they should watch out for the mower blades.

They looked at me with that google-eyed look for a long moment, and then one of them actually said 'thanks.'

Whereupon I said 'no problem' and went back to my house. I did note that they missed all the rock hazards.

Nobody's just nice anymore. Nobody just does nice things because they are neighborly and because they can.

It's a strange strange world we live in.

NoIvory said...

On days like this, Rurality, I tell myself that someone else's bad behavior has nothing to do with me and everything to do with that person's bad day.

Try not to waste energy finding fault or thinking people should be a certain way because of their faith, or class or whatever. We've all had shitty days, and some of us aren't as evolved as others. They may find their way, but they need understanding and direction. Of course this doesn't always work!

One time two teenagers were walking near my aunt and me and one of them tossed his empty soda can on somebody's lawn. I said "Hey, can you pick that up," and tried to reason his self-centeredness, saying, "you don't want to look at that cup when you're walking by here tomorrow do you?" He kept walking, probably to be cool in front of his friend. I'll guarantee you everytime he throws a cup away he thinks about it, one way or another and knows he can do better.

Hick said...

I had to think a long time about this post before I could comment. I, too, am a Christian and this hurts in two ways. 1)Christians need to practice what they preach because somebody is always watching. What good is my faith if I am not practicing it? 2)Christians are not perfect people but are expected to be.

Pamela said...
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Pamela said...

And what kind of word IS compellated? LOL.

Pamela said...

I had to remove my typo--LOL.

Here's what I'm trying to say:

I'm also a Christian, and I felt compelled to comment.

The actions of the "church crowd" befuddled me. Do you think they'd just heard the sermon about the "loaves and the fishes" and thought their fast food had multiplied? Or had they had a sermon on "manna from heaven" and just took it as their due? This is very dishonest, and I wished they'd had the grace to return your food to you.

The asphalt evangelist could have helped you with your cart--if he'd been paying attention, he'd have seen you had a need. Seems to me that Jesus often DID things for people--filled their nets, healed their leprosy, raised their daughters from the dead, gave them wine for a wedding, cast out their devils, saved them from stonings--BEFORE he preached to them. Most of Jesus' parables were for those who came to him, wanting to know more. The way to witness, in my opinion, is without words, and through your helpful actions or the peace and joy you have within you, others might come to you to find out what you have that's different.

Rurality said...

These are really just observations. Not trying to find fault or get into a religious debate. I deliberately omitted saying whether I was also a church person or not.

Of course not every church person is like this. I know plenty who aren't. The group in the first story was dressed for church, but may or may not have been Christians - I don't know.

The guy in the second story maybe just needed better marketing skills. I didn't think less of him for not returning my cart... I just would have thought more of him if he had. Of course, you never know - maybe he just thought I needed the exercise. (I do, I do!) :)

Pamela, loaves and fishes, LOL. Actually there wasn't much they could have done. Maybe it occured to them that Health department-wise, the workers could not turn around and give us the food after another customer had already received it.

But I have known several people who would have given it back anyway. My sister would definitely do that. (She goes back to the grocery store to make them charge her for even small items that they have missed.)