Monday, November 09, 2009

Gimmee That Old Time Religion

PhotobucketMy telephone rang Sunday afternoon, just as I filled in 1-Across on the Sunday Crossword Puzzle. The caller was a woman who identified herself as the wife of a local pastor. I thought, "This won't take long. She'll invite me to come to their church, I'll explain that I already belong to a church, she'll thank me, wish me a a good afternoon and I can get back to the puzzle. But, no. I wasn't to get off as easily as that.

Mrs. Pastor: Mrs. A, do you have a personal relationship with God?

Me: Why, yes I do.

What I wanted to say: I talk to God all the time. Not that He always answers. I think he must have better things to do than to answer my piddly little prayers. In the grand scheme of things, he can't just drop everything and help me win the lottery.

Mrs. Pastor: Well, good. So, do you think you are going to heaven?

Me: I certainly hope so.

What I wanted to say: Not today, I hope. There are a few books in the world that I haven't yet read and I would like to find out who the Next Iron Chef is going to be.

Mrs. Pastor: It is very important that we go to church and pray as hard as we can, because, you know we are in the end times.

Me: Oh, I don't know about the end times, but we are certainly going to - er - Hades in a handbasket.

What I wanted to say: The end times? Holy Sh**, how did I miss the signs? I gotta go. I'm off to to Walmart to get plastic wrap and duck tape!

Mrs. Pastor: Yes, indeed. It is so important in these days, with politics being the way it is.

Me: Politics? Did you say you are a Pastor's wife?

What I wanted to say: Aha! Now I understand. You're scared of the Godless Liberals who just passed one of the Healthcare bills in the House of Representatives, which is a bill, by the way, that I have prayed for. And, I continue to pray that it passes the Senate. Also, by the way, I think God would want everyone to have affordable healthcare. And, so would his son. So there.

Mrs. Pastor: Yes, I am. (and she told me the name of her husband's church, which I didn't recognize as any major denomination that I had ever heard of.) I was sitting here at home on this lovely fall afternoon, praying about what I could do to help God and it came to me that He wanted me to get on the phone and make these calls, urging people to go to church and pray, so that they can all go to Heaven when the time comes.

Me: Well, thanks for your call. I'll surely think about what you have said.

And, we hung up.

What I wanted to say: Mrs. Pastor, I'm sure that you are sincere. You sound like a very nice woman. But, when you make these phone calls, you seem to be assuming that you are talking to heathens, because they don't attend your husband's church, and you can show them the way. Otherwise, your questions would have been phrased differently. For instance, "Mrs. A? I'm calling to get your ideas on how we can bring non-believers to God." See? That means you are assuming that I am on your side, and incidentally, God's.

It's a good thing I was feeling mellow that afternoon, or I might have engaged her in a debate about who's a Christian and who's not. But, I learned a long time ago that a debate of that kind would have resulted in a standoff, and we would not have parted friends.

I worked in a place where the majority of people knew I was a Democrat, and made the leap that I must also be a heathen. They were pretty obvious about it. I have had religious tracts placed in my box in the mail room and in the front seat of my car. And, when I spoke to the H.R. manager about it, suggesting that it came pretty close to religious harassment, I was told that it shouldn't bother me if I'm a Christian. I couldn't think fast enough to reply to him. But, I did go to my boss, the Plant Manager, and, to my surprise, he told the H.R. manager that he had been receiving the same tracts, and Mr. H.R. man had better do a little investigating and get it stopped. It stopped so quickly that we decided that the culprit was the H.R. Manager, himself.

So, maybe I'm just a little sensitive about it when strangers ask me if I'm going to Heaven. To me, that's just rude.

Stay tuned.


patsy said...

I have a idea, give her Jay's noumber and have her call him. He would be able to handle her.

Arkansas Patti said...

That was perfectly funny. You had me doing the "laugh out loud" several times. Think I have missed some fun times by hanging up on those types with a polite,"Thank you but I am not interested."
I always thought it was just the political right trying to recruit and not really a pastor's wife. Hope you don't mind if I copy your script to use next time I get a call. I want to use the answers you "thought" for they were priceless.

Margie's Musings said...

Yes, I agree. I laughed my head off as I read this blog. I am a pastor but I would certainly not use that title to push my agenda.

When I push my agendas, I use my own name and do not mention my church. We are individuals and should each be concerned about the state of the nation and the state of the world but there are ways to express that concern and that pastor's wife was not using them. IMO.

I too pray that the Healthcare Reform bill passes the Senate. But I have my doubts that it will. Too many Democratss will be afraid of their conservative constituencies.

But I pray anyhow.

Surfie said...

I loved your "thoughts"! I have never received a call like this, but I visited a neighbors church once and since they knew where this person lived they therefore knew where I lived and paid an unannounced visit one day. I was not happy about that - I value my privacy! It would have been different if I had given them my address, but I didn't.

NitWit1 said...

Even though I live in the conservative Bible belt I have never received a phone call like that. Now if the doorbell would quit ringing..........

But taking a Germ. Shep. (even a Ger. Shep. look alike) to the door with me, helps shorten the through-the screen-door conversation.

Deanna said...

You were much nicer than I would have been. That was definitely just rude.

Susan said...

I'm still chuckling at the answers you wanted to give. I don't even bother to answer the phone if I don't recognize the number.

It seems that the only ones that come to the door are Mormans...and they are just so darn nice that I can't bear to mess with them!

Tincanman said...

Rude, indeed.

Grannymar said...

In Northern Ireland we are often 'accosted' on the street or at the door by the so called Born Again Christians!

Once at the door I told whoever was the flavour of the visit, that I was on a call to the Shepherd at that very moment! The guy looked at me like I had two heads, so I told him: "The Shepherd, whose sheep you are trying to herd!"
He left with his tail between his legs and never bothered me again!

Darlene said...

I resent anyone trying to push their religion or politics on me. I have a mind and I try to use it. I want to tell them that I am quite able to make my own decisions and to just 'bug off'.

You were nicer than I would have been., but your answers are much funnier than mine.

L.J. Diva said...

If only you'd acutally said what you wanted to say!!!!

Some people are so rude, but when it comes to people who claim to be religious then absolute rubbish comes out of their mouths, it just astounds me.

Janie B said...

Great post...amusing and all too true at the same time. We really need the Senate to step up. Health care will go away again, if we aren't careful.

Cazzie!!! said...

I am going to come back as a nice flower :)

Grayquill said...

Gee, I almost fell out of bed laughing. You have way more self control than I do. Of course I guess that could mean you are sanctified and I am just a no good heathen.
The prayer thing reminded me of when I was on the basketball team of the Christian school I attended. We would pray that God would give us the victory. One time a coach said to us after our prayer. You know God loves the kids on the other team just as much as he does you. Of coures I didn't believe him.

Grayquill said...

PS - Betty are you telling me there could be democrats in heaven?
Come now, stop kidding around you know that is not possible. Surely you know only republicans are righteous enough for the pearly gates. After all didn't they have all the gold that was needed to build the pearly gates in the first place? If we had waited for the democrats to get around building those gates, it would never have happened; you know the planning would still be in committee.

Sansego said...

Evangelicals used to proselytize me and it would annoy me. As I became more spiritual and knowledgeable, though, I haven't been accosted, which is a shame now because I know a lot more on how to engage them in a dialogue.

If someone did approach me with an evangelical agenda, I would say something along the lines of: "Out of six billion people in the world, what an amazing coincidence to meet someone whose god agrees 100% with you."

A few years ago, I would give a co-worker a ride home from work since we lived near each other. She was Jehovah's Witness and tried to convert the whole office. When she did her spiel in the car, I shared my view of a universal spirituality and really ripped into her beliefs. I didn't feel bad about doing it because I thought it was bad form for her to proselytize me when I was offering her a ride home. My comments upset her, but she never bothered bringing up her religion again.

kenju said...

That hasn't happened to me very often, but I nip them in the bud asap when I meet one.

I have a church; I pray and try to live the way God taught, but I don't proselytize and I don't care for those who do. I had a very good friend for many years who became the treasurer for a church I used to attend. She spouted religion and said things like "God is so good!" ALL the time. Imagine my surprise when I found out she had been stealing from the church. I don't know how much she took over the 5 years she was there, but they had to mortgage their house to pay it back, so it wasn't insignificant. That same person doesn't live here anymore, but she is on FB....still talking about how good God is. He certainly was to her - he allowed her not to go to jail for her crimes. How a person can profess to be a good Christian under those circumstances is beyond me. And yes, I know that church is for sinners; I just get a feeling of hypocrisy when people are always talking about God and church.

oklhdan said...

Amen......sisters! I am one democrat in a sea of republicans where I work. This past election was a nightmare. All our management meetings were filled with talk of "he's a terrorist" or "he's not a US citizen".....a very uncomfortable environment. The work place is not a place to save sinners or spout politics.