A few weeks ago I came home to find a flyer on my door. It was colorful and vibrant. It said there was going to be a picnic at the park with food, drinks and music. It was with a local Christian church. I laid the flyer down on the counter and didn’t think much of it.
As the day approached I didn’t having anything going on so I decided to go to the park for the picnic. It was nearby. An enjoyable walk.
As I came to the park I could hear the music. A live band playing modern Christian music. I didn’t think much of it. What’s a party without music? There were kids running about and mostly adults sitting at picnic table lined up.
There was a lot of food lined up on tables at the front of the set up. I walked around and observed. They played soccer out in the field. The mothers watched over the young ones as they wandered about getting into this and that. Some were playing on the playground equipment. Groups of men stood around talking while some women stood aside listening inattentively to whatever the men were saying. There were groups of women talking while children hastened about them.
All seemed normal so I went and filled a plate with food. Of course I had to pick and choose foods that I actually eat. I was able to find enough to enjoy. I passed on the sugary punches and sodas. I found some water which was perfect.
I sat at a table with other men sitting about talking. I didn’t say anything. One took notice of me and moved over to sit across from me. He smiled and introduced himself. I returned the nicety. He then said, “I haven’t seen you before.”
I looked at him and smiled, replying, “I haven’t see you before either.” He laughed seemingly uncomfortable. He could see that I’m not an open book to just anyone.
“A few weeks back I found a flyer on my door inviting me to this picnic. I wasn’t doing anything so I came to the picnic. Is this a problem?”
“Oh no, it’s no problem. You are very welcome here. I was just wondering if you were a new church member.”
“No. I’m not.” I said plainly, without any emotion then went back to eating. First I gave my love and gratitude to Mother Goddess by kissing a broccoli floret before eating it. It is how I say grace.
He stared at me as I was eating. I found this strange. He then seemed to find the courage to speak, as if it took courage to speak with me, “Would you like to attend our church. It is very nice and casual. We have music and prayers. The people are very friendly.”
“If the people here are part of your church then then do look very friendly. Thank you for the invite to your church but I don’t have any desire to worship your god. I just came here to be friendly and spend some time with people.”
“That’s fine.” he said. “We’re glad you came to the picnic. Enjoy yourself.”
“Thanks.” I said.
I continued eating slowing, enjoying watching the people and all the motion and commotion. The children are so fun to watch as they play and do what adults are no longer allowed to do.
As I was eating some apple pie, a little indulgence I couldn’t resist, the man slid back over. He had been watching me the entire time out of the corner of his eye. I was aware of this. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Depends, but we won’t know until you ask it.” I knew what was coming.
“Do you believe in out Savior Jesus Christ?”
I just looked at him and shook my head, not as an answer but out of sadness for him. He felt so compelled to know what I believed but nothing about me. I smiled, picked up my plate and walked away.
“It was just a simple question. I didn’t mean to offend you.” he called out behind me. I just smiled being that he hadn’t offended me. I simply have no desire to debate religion. I’ve been there before. I’ve had this very question posed to me so many times and, when I say that I worship a Goddess and a God, they just don’t know what to think. My answer doesn’t spur curiosity. It seems to create fear in them. The get defensive and start telling about their Christ. They like to say they are opened minded but so rarely do they want to know about me, only what I believe.
Truth is, I would be friends with them. I would come to their houses and enjoy dinner with them. I would even do the dishes afterward. Even though I don’t care much for sports I would watch a game with them. I would do all of this if they wanted to know me, not only see me by what I believe.
As I walked home I thought, “I am so tired of Christianity. Not angry, just tired of their constant badgering and pressure to believe what they believe.”
I knew what would happen before I went to the picnic, but I always like to hope that it would be different. I didn’t ask them to build a fire and all of us dance in a circle around it. I listened to their strange music without complaining. I enjoyed the company of all the people and experiencing them as themselves. Why is it so important that I believe what they believe? Sadly, the answer to this question and many others is, “Because the bible says so.”
This week I came home and found a flyer on my door. I was inviting me to a pool party at my apartment complex. It said there would be food, drinks and music. I thought, “That would be cool.” I then looked a the bottom of the flyer. The pool party is sponsored by the cable company. On the back of the flyer it showed deals for cable internet, phone and TV.
I had gone to these parties before. They seem innocent enough when I first get there. The food is cheap snack and little tiny cans of soda. As I walk in I have to go through a sales pitch. I threw the flyer away.
As I threw the flyer away I was reminded of the picnic at the park put on by the local church. They didn’t want my presence or friendship. They wanted to sell me their “Savior” in exchange for some food. Just as the cable company wanted to sell me a new cable package in exchange for some cheap food and drinks.