It usually starts at the store or something like that. It could happen on twitter, it could be a liberal or a conservative ...Pharisee.
It can be a liberal pastor's wife who blocks us for say, challenging her support of all things liberal although she throws a little Christianese in. Yes, she blocked me and I was being nice. It's nice to be nice right? Well, apparently she is only tolerant of her brand.
It can happen in the grocery store. Maybe it's someone from a very insider smalltown church. Yes, unfortunately, they are there. Baptist, Pentecostal. They are there.
(EDIT) 7.31 8:34am I feel the need to clarify that these people I am describing below are married to leaders in the church and have attended these places for years. One of the churches, a fundamental church, that contains two of the offending women actually put a young woman out in the cold to wait for her parents to pick her up at a youth party because her skirt was too short. The young girl was one of the youth picked up by the bus ministry. People in that community who would send their children and youth on the church buses to the church heard and would not allow their children and youth to attend there any longer. Who would blame them? That's just...so sad to me, the entire situation.
I not only have my father's sensitivity but also his sense of humor you will read here in small glimpses in this entry.
And as my cousin once had written on her facebook description...'Beware I speak the truth'.
Yes, I know people can be rather shy and on the introverted side but can't we be a bit giving in that respect and politely say hello? Is it that far out of our comfort zones? Isn't it the Jesus way to say...Hello? Many of us have had some serious stuff going on and the last thing we need is the dedicated longtime churchies to treat us as an outcast. And trust me, I am an Anne of Green Gables i.n.f.p. personality type...I love my quiet and my imagination, but can't we say hello?
It could be the Methodist. It can be perhaps you brought up the wrong relative's name, you know, that pharmacist cousin of yours? You saw his wife's name (who you haven't even met for Pete's sake!) on the roll so you thought it would connect you somehow, so after that, they look at you like mean-spirited chickens staring at the new hen coming in. (Sorry chickens, don't mean to insult you, little creatures.) Apparently, they didn't like my cousin's wife.
The Gospel is summed up by loving our neighbor. If we say we have Christ and act as we hate our neighbor how do we love God? There are so many scriptures on showing love. I don't understand the disconnect just as I don't understand the disconnect when people don't spend time with God who they say they love. Maybe that is why they act in these ways? They don't understand the character of God or know God, they are not spending time with Him, ... They just attend church?
1 John 4:20
Mike was quite a guy. Years ago, my husband would help him with his real estate needs and Jem always said...If Mike ever gives his life to God he is going to be dangerous. (in a good way). You would have had to know Mike. The man was older and has gone to be with God, but he was a stereotype Italian type city guy, a wheeler-dealer. He was Ukrainian but reminded me of a big-city Italian.
What happened? One day Mike gave his life to God. Fully.
Jem and I had always talked to him off and on, I remember gently debating him on pro-life issues as I was pregnant with our third little baby.
Sure enough, Mike was true-blue. He was very sold out to God. The only way right? He told Jem then in his New York accent on visiting churches...I can tell the churches that are real. One thing can tell me. If they have love.
I think of Mike often. The year before last I made sure to send him a Christmas card first, instead of answering his. He sent one back to us with a precious message to us and words reminding to always seek God the Father.
He passed away shortly after.
I really felt I needed to write this Friends, I think most of those if not all who read this so understand and if not? I grimace because it could be that they may be an offender or they are very comfortable for various reasons.
Just last week my meter was going off at the store once again, the grocery store. I purposely made direct eye contact with one of the ladies I'd met in a smalltown church after noticing her repeated disengagement in the garden of produce and approaching the valley of chilled eggs.... ; ) I said hello. She grabbed the bar of her cart and said by rote, Hello, how are you, as she strode off hurriedly.
My meter went off...I said...Fine. Thanks for asking. The lady was already quite a bit a way from me by the time I said Thanks for asking! Janie, our oldest daughter was with me. I told Janie ...See what I mean?
I'm so sorry Janie said. Janie knows I'm very done with this type of thing. Just very done. I've gotten used to certain circles behaving this way. I remember when I was a little thing in ballet, the other moms, the catty ones... Jem always reminds...Proverbs says Jealousy who can stand against it?
The past several years were so very difficult with my dad, I was feeling so estranged from him, when I did speak with him he would hurt me with his words and then he would call Janie behaving as if he was dying, Janie begging him to push the emergency button. I remember once leaving for church so distraught. The people he was trusting and calling friends were taking advantage of him and turning his heart against us. It was a horrible situation and I will be writing more so others will be warned.
That morning the people in the USO town church wouldn't even shake our hands at the greeting time (it was that hen effect). When I needed the Church. (uppercase 'C') I would usually leave a church (lower case 'c') in tears feeling like an outsider. The only church that has ministered to me in the last several years was in downtown where my parents were married, you could feel Christ in that century-old cathedral, but sadly it now has a rather liberal group of leaders. So grievous to me, it's another loss for me in this horrible culture. I will be back there one day though. They are in my prayers as are all the churches in our country.
Back to God's Children, the little sparrows looking through the window...
Cliques, insider-outsider mentality can be a very ugly thing. People who may be new are staring through the windows. It can be a church, it can be a family a new person married into. It can be schools and *gasp* homeschool groups. Sometimes we think the kids are behaving rudely and all we have to do is look at the mothers or fathers many times.
I told Janie, I'm not bitter at all, that doesn't do any good at all, bitterness only hurts us... But I do have their number. (It's a good thing I grew up as an only child and am used to standing and discerning on my own.) It is refreshing to stand alone at times in Christ. We know He sends fellowship as He sees fit.
I'll close with some sweet photos.
This is my precious sparrow friend. I call him little Muffie like one of my little schitzu rescue dogs. Isn't he sweet? I met him on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.
This is our little deer friend. Janie took her photo as she was standing beautifully on our road as we came back from the store... she casually walks into the forest as she is not afraid of us. So sweet.
My short morning walk this morning... I love this view. Can you imagine what Ann of Green Gables would have said about this?
Well, that's the wrap for this fine evening. The good thing? There are some great people to always get to know, they are usually where we least expect it. : )
All is well, I have my Grandma Oddo's Eggplant recipe in the oven, Italian fragrance is wafting through the air.
Janie shared with her singles adult Sunday school class that eggplant was her comfort food. They thought that was funny.
I think most of them have never had an eggplant sandwich even? Bless their hearts...
I appreciate all of you, Amelia in the Forest