Wednesday, December 15, 2004

to be or not to be...friendly

I've thought of a bajillion things to write about these past few days, but haven't been able to because we couldn't connect. Turns out our utility room door wore a hole in the cable, thus no access to the rest of the world for a few days. I'm so dependent on email and the internet nowadays. Don't know what I'd do without the World Wide Web.

Anyways, one of our elders stood up in church this past Sunday and said he'd received a letter that morning from a person who had visited our congregation four times and never been spoken to by anyone. The elder went on to say that he had had a similar experience when he first visited our church. He and his family went elsewhere, and then eventually ended up at our "unfriendly" congregation. Ouch. I hardly think one letter of complaint deems us "unfriendly", but I also know we have a responsibility to be a welcoming group. I don't think it is many folks' intent to be unfriendly. This is just one of the dilemmas of larger churches!

Okay. Enough about that. But keeping on the topic of friendliness, I went for a cup of joe the other day and tried to practice a random act of kindness only to be DENIED. The college-age gal in front of me was trying to use her credit card to pay her bill of $2.98. The card machine was temporarily kaput, so the cashier asked if she had any hard cold moolah. I heard her say she only had two dollars, so being the kind-hearted soul that I am, I offered her one of my George Washingtons. She glanced over her shoulder at me, then proceeded to dig up some coins out of her purse. She left with nary a "thank you" or a smile in my direction. It hurt my feelings. I wanted to cry. Seriously I did. Oh well. I can always count on Brandon to cheer me up. My upbeat, positive-thinking husband said, " least you got to keep your dollar!"


Blogger Kate said...

This seems to be a common problem in churches. When I first started visiting the church I now attend, I had three different experiences. One time, no one approached me, which was just fine with me because I was still getting comfortable with being there. Another time, a clearly obligated Christian approached me and not only said hello, but wanted my entire faith history - thinking back on it now, I'm still cringing. While on another Sunday, the most welcoming older woman named Garnetta stopped me as I was trying to slip out the door unnoticed, put her hand on mine, and introduced herself in the most open-hearted way. Of course, talking with Garnetta was the best of the three experiences. However, I would have continued to choose speaking to no one over the forced conversation with someone who is "trying" to be friendly.
Also, consider this: I was in a group that was thanked by someone who had been visiting our church for several weeks. She thanked us and our church members for giving her space and not constantly approaching her every Sunday so that she had time to reflect on her faith with the boundaries that she felt comfortable with as she eased into our church family.

9:05 AM  

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