I found an early church service to attend this morning, and wasn’t surprised to find so few people there due to our overnight snow. The Service didn’t move me much, so I thought it would be a good time for me to remain quietly seated and inwardly create my own religious experience. It was good for about the first couple minutes until I couldn’t help but notice a family seated nearby with several teenage children who were becoming quite a distraction for me with their giggling, whispering, and tugging at each other while their parents seemed oblivious to what they were doing. After watching them for about 15 minutes, I was reminded again how parenting has greatly changed since I was young.
Now back when I was a teen, there’d be hell to pay after church if I did any sort of acting up. Normally that’s all it took was a steel-eyed “look” from mother which meant I was to either straighten up, or pay the price later. Since our whole family had to attend our religious services, several of my siblings and I managed to create a form of sign language between us. We perfected it to the point where no one, including my mother, would notice we were communicating in such an un-noticeable manner. Since I normally sat next to one of my favorite sisters, we’d be sending little messages to each other without any of those seated around us knowing what we were up to. I’d almost forgotten those days until thinking about those unruly and disruptive teenagers this morning. I actually know those parents, and have always considered them copiously pious whenever their opportunities would arrive for them to be publicly noticed.
For some reason, I’ve always had a real problem with people exhibiting excessive outward signs of their own personal faiths. In my humble opinion, it seems to be getting all the more pronounced in our public sector which I believe to be dangerous for our secular Nation. Just this morning, I braked alongside a woman at a stoplight who had a very large magnetic sign on the rear quarter panel of her car with a fire and brimstone biblical saying on it which I’ve already forgotten. I’m still wondering if that woman believes she’s collecting some sort of Heavenly “Reward Card” points for doing such.
Just this past week, someone returned a call to me that was about five days after I called him. When I picked up the phone, he apologized for not returning my call sooner, but quick to inform me he was out of the Country accompanying a Mission group from his church. In my wickedness, I asked or acknowledged nothing regarding his trip. After I put down the receiver of my office phone, a thought kept recurring in my mind asking, “Why did he have to tell me he was away with a Mission group?” Do you suppose he expected me to be impressed, as well as considering him now to be pure of heart and soul? While in my mind, and trying to justify his actions, I went so far as to see myself having gone on a trip out of our Country with another Mission group, and seeing myself doing the same thing he did upon return. As much as I tried, I couldn’t possibly envision myself turning into a Town Crier letting everyone in Mason City and North Iowa know what a great and good religious job I just did.
Oh well, we must continue to remember God loves, all we like sheep who’re ever so great and small–especially when attempting to understand the ways of others. So now, I’m wishing you all a gentle and soft lambs-wooly warm week ahead.