Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An odd encounter

Most every week, our music pastor Kern and I get together for lunch. Generally speaking, we get to catch up with each other and talk about the unique challenges of serving in ministry. I've come to appreciate Kern both as our music pastor, my friend and my brother in Christ. We talk "shop" and kick around ideas and frustrations we encounter. Like getting bumped from the youth camp we'd planned to attend. I was quite unimpressed with the organization who bungled our registration, but I was kind to them about.

So we're sitting there in a near empty restaurant in Athens talking while I observed a lady eavesdropping on our conversation. I started to say something really bizarre just to see what kind of reaction I'd draw but I didn't do it - and now I'm glad I didn't.

When she finished her meal, she came to our table and said "Obviously, you gentleman are ministers. May I ask what church you lead?" I told her. Her response sent us both reeling: "I just wanted to know (Voice rising in her "righteous" indignation tone) where I NEVER PLAN TO COME! You should be ashamed of yourselves! It wasn't the camp's fault you got bumped! You should be ashamed of speaking so judgmentally about them! And you shouldn't ever use the word 'crap' (a word I'm working on dropping, but haven't yet succeeded)."

At that point, I stopped her and said "Ma'am, the Bible also speaks of judgment of hearts such as you're doing now. Thanks for your input." She tried to jump back on us, but I said "THANKS!" and she left.

She took part of an overheard conversation and judged both Kern and myself in one fell swoop. Wow! It must be nice to be that righteous, to be so very wise you can judge the hearts of two men based on a 10 minute eavesdropped conversation.

On the other hand, as we talked after the weird lady left, it's a powerful reminder that people are listening, even when we don't want them to or would rather they didn't. Pray with me for this lady, whoever she is, and pray for me, your pastor, that I become more the man God calls me to be less the man I don't want to be.

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