Friday, October 2, 2009

Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish. ~ Author Unknown

Can you tell by the title of this post that I am a little bit cynical?

I haven't written in quite some time and a lot has happened.

Goldie has gone to a new home. I didn't think I would cry when they left last night, but I did. I didn't think I would cry this morning when I wrote this, but I am. I see it as my shortcomings and failure, not hers.

We hadn't received any response from our "free" ad. Not one call. So I placed an ad on Craigslist. Within hours I had a couple inquiries and within 24 hours I had what I thought was a good home. She has gone to live with a couple in Fayetteville, two hours away in northwest Arkansas. They already have one Golden Retriever and were looking for another to keep him company. The new owner drove 2 hours to meet her and 2 more hours to take her home. Clearly, he was serious. Goldie, the man said, was just what he was looking for. He used to have two Rhodesian Ridgebacks that were raised as kennel dogs (like Goldie) until they were 5 years old when he rescued them. He owned them until they were 12 and 13 years old. When he met Goldie last night, he said her behavior was just like his Ridgebacks. He understood her and was completely gentle and comfortable with her. I felt like a self-centered bitch.

So, Goldie is living in Fayetteville and I think she will be much happier.

As to my post title, there's a little passive/aggressive thing going on with my church. In my last Some Things Friday, I mentioned the meeting we had at our church during which a short video was used. In the video, the pastor of another church (or it could have been at a conference or class) admonished the congregation, telling them that there were people "out there" going to hell because they weren't going to church and the people in the congregation didn't care. Obviously, I found that offensive.

I think a lot of Christians have trouble allowing other people to believe differently from them. For example, abortion. Bottom line, pro-choice or anti-abortion is based on religious or non-religious beliefs or a combination of both. Most Christians believe that life begins at conception and, therefore, abortion is taking a life. I get that and I'm okay with them believing that. But, not everyone believes the same thing and that's not okay with Christians. Anyway, I digress...

We've been busy. Real busy. We've been working hard, in town and out of town, and I've been sick off and on, so we haven't been to church much in the last couple of months. Last weekend, our church had a fall festival and while I was there one of the people in our congregation mentioned she read my blog. Long story, shortened, we are now receiving cards every week ~ "missed you at church Sunday!"

Why does that bother me? I think because I now know that everyone knows how I feel about that meeting and that I have decided to reduce my involvement, but no one has mentioned it directly to me. How do I know "everyone" knows? Because all of them are always talking about every little detail of other people's lives and conversations, in a "Christian" way, mind you, but talking none the less. I guess it's sort of like Christian gossip. So, anyway, if they think they know or are concerned with my reaction, why not just ask me what I thought? Why not just come out and say, I'm sorry you were offended...or didn't like it...or whatever. Let's talk about it. Wouldn't that be a great opportunity for a pastor to have an engaged conversation?

Of course, on the other hand, why don't I just say something? I think it's because my disagreement with the shame and guilt approach is profound AND I should have known better because I had enough warning bells going off. I have to take partial responsibility. Part of the reason we didn't consider going to this church in the very beginning was because of the prayer vigils in the Walmart parking lot. We received the church newsletter and post card invitations long before we decided to attend regularly. But, when we received post card invitations to join the launch team in prayer vigils in the Walmart parking lot to pray for the people who were shopping instead of going to church, we were convinced and thought, No Way is this for us! Months later, in spite of our feelings about those invitations, we visited several times and felt like some of our spiritual needs were met with the music and messages and fellowship. Now, after attending awhile and being involved on several levels, I'm seeing things I didn't see but should have.

What will I do from here on out? I'm not sure. I made a commitment to produce the newsletter and as long as I can continue to work it into my schedule, I will continue to do it. When we are in town, we will probably still attend on Sunday. There's a bible verse that says, and I'm paraphrasing, "God loves a cheerful giver." I don't think I'm as cheerful as I used to be.

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