As one is undergoing a medical procedure wide awake, it is important to have chit-chat to keep one’s mind off said procedure.
What are some safe things to talk about?
You can never go wrong with the weather!
The biopsy room was toasty . . . and I was thrilled! Being unclad is one thing, being unclad and cold is another! So I was most pleased when shivering was not a part of the morning experience.
For a while we chatted about how warm it was in the room.
I made the mistake of sharing that at my office we have open ceilings so the previous day the temperature would not go above 58 degrees. Period.
I realized when I mentioned, “my office,” that was as error. I had opened the door.
I knew what would come next.
“So, where do you work?”
I recently saw a pastor in a video on FB describing working for the church in the following manner:
“I work for a global enterprise. We have outlets in nearly every country of the world. We have hospitals, hospices, homeless shelters, and educational programs. We do justice and reconciliation ministries. We basically look after people from birth to death. But mainly we deal in behavioral alterations. It’s called the church.”
However, I didn’t remember the fun answer so I simply said, “I work for West United Methodist Church.”
“Oh really?” She replied with great excitement!
So I perked up . . . it could be time to do some Westing (West’s way of inviting others to try out the faith community).
“Yes! We are a young church, born out of Williamson’s Chapel . . . trying to offer pathways to faith in a different way that would hopefully be meaningful and relevant to people done with church or religion.”
She asked, “What do you do there?”
“I’m the pastor.”
Complete loss of energy in the room . . . and total and complete awkward silence.
Let’s remember – face down, body exposed on some table . . .just a bad few silent moments.
Immediately I started trying to figure out what was such a downer.
Maybe this individual was anti-church? Or maybe the “different way of offering faith” was the issue – sometimes that is a problem for others who only value tradition. Sometimes it becomes a hindrance until I can explain that I value both BUT our mission field at West is those “done-s or none-s” . . . and there are at least 5 vibrant UMCs within a 10 mile radius that are great places for folks who desire a more traditional pathway to faith.
I didn’t have to wonder long why the mood changed. What came next was the great revelation of the biopsy . . .
“Don’t you mean your husband is the pastor? Like – he is the pastor and you help him too?”
First of all – there are clergy couples . . . many in our denomination. But that doesn’t mean the woman “helps” the man. They are equal. Both are called and gifted. Both serve as pastors.
“Nope. I mean I am the pastor. My husband is NOT a pastor. If you were to say that to him he would laugh. He’s the CTO for Mooresville Graded Schools.”
Then the subject changed.
I was telling Scott about that last night and his reply was the same as my thoughts. “I thought we were past that.”
The revelation of the biopsy is that we aren’t past it at all.
General consensus in that room yesterday was that because of my gender, I’m in the wrong line of work.
I can help yet I cannot lead.
Discrimination because of sexual orientation.
Stereotypes based on income.
What could change if for the next days/weeks thru Lent we ALL stopped before we made an assumption based on something that should not be a qualifier at all?
When we look at others, we should only see the image of God. Not skin color, gender, ethnicity, or be concerned who they sleep with or how much money they make.
Before I get criticized for not leading people to “turn from their sin” . . . I’m all about sin and repentance . . . what gets in the way of our being at one in and with God.
However, what that looks like, I believe differs greatly for individuals and I am not the SIN POLICE. I bring it all back to the laws Jesus said were the greatest . . .
Matthew 22:36-40Common English Bible (CEB)
36 “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being,[a] and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
Again – it all boils down to love.