Saturday, September 11, 2010

Oh, so...are you RELIGIOUS?

As many of you know, I count myself among the oober-friendly population. I'll talk to anyone anywhere...anytime. So, true to form, I recently found myself sitting in the children's play area in our local library...watching my kids play...and observing the other mom's.

One mom, I'd never seen before...and she was really trying to start conversation. You may think this funny...that I just sat and watched this for a bit...but I kind of like to give others a chance to be friendly before I am...doesn't usually happen sadly...but ya never know. *Many mom's who frequent libraries come to meet their other mom friends...and they only really talk to each other. Sigh...another blog for another day....* Anyhew...

It turns out that this mom is new to the area...and has been walking her eldest to school and then walking to the library for coffee and playtime before heading back home. Sounds like something I would totally do too. IF I lived closer to the library and didn't have to cross a major thoroughfare, that is. Her tiniest crawled up to me and patted my I smiled...and started to chit chat.

So, I can tell right off the bat, that this woman is very type A (like me) and has her own opinions FORMED. So, I'm trying to learn to be kinder and gentler...and a better I hold back and just let her talk for a bit. I kindly ask if she's interested in finding a pediatrician, etc. etc. Immunizations come up...yikes, what a topic!

Then, as often happily happens...the fact that I'm a Christian leaks out...I can't even remember what I said...but what she said really bugged me....

"Oh, so...are you RELIGIOUS?"

I ended up totally choking. For those of you who know me...maybe you're shocked or disappointed but I wasn't sure how to answer. I ended up saying I was Baptist...which although I am, I'm not sure if I had it to do over that I'd have blurted that necessarily either....and then I just let it die in the air.

I gave myself a good KICK before I left and exchanged numbers with her so that I WILL get another chance to talk to her...but the whole way home I just kept thinking... "Bobbi, what is your problem?" "Why is being called religious a turn off to you."

So, here it is in a nutshell....

Technically, yes, I am....

Religious: (ri li juh s) - adj. - exhibiting religion; pious; devout; godly;
noun- a member of a religious order, congregation.

Baptist: (bap-tist)- noun- a member of a Christian denomination that baptizes believers by immersion.

From her tone I gathered a few things at literal lightning speed....she'd had experiences with the RELIGIOUS before...and probably not good experiences. I didn't really want to be affiliated with just any old RELIGIOUS folks out there. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, I don't want to be connected with the Baptist out there either.

I want to be connected with Christ.

What I should have said was, "I'm a Christian. Yes, I have a personal relationship with Him. I am a Christ follower...trying to be like Christ! But, I'm a lousy sinner like all Christians...and without His grace and mercy I'd be headed to hell...but He loved me...and because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross...I'm saved and headed to heaven. He died for the whole world. Did you know that?"

Whoa...okay, maybe that woulda blown her socks off. I just wish I'd answered anything of substance...other than just letting it sink into silence.

All told...this was a good SLAP for me...I fully plan to get together with her again...and BRING THIS BACK UP...."Hey, you remember when you asked me if I was religious? Yeah, I thought about it and I'd like to give a better answer to that question...." And God will help me and give me the right words to say...

"but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect," 1 Pet. 3:15


Cheryl said...

I have done the exact same thing. Recently. She probably didn't notice anything amiss - she may have been too busy with her own interpretation of "religious."

How about this response: "Well, I'm religious about scrapbooking, coupon clipping, and dusting. I do go to church, and I'm passionate about my faith. But 'religious' has such weird connotations." Big smile. Would that be better? Or worse?

Karen said...

I, too, had a similar experience a few years ago in a doctor's office...totally didn't say what I should have and berated myself all the way home...then, I got home and one of the first blog posts I read is about another sister having the same type question asked to her in the grocery store...and she gave an anointed answer that sent chills down my spine...ever since then, when I am asked that question, I try to answer with..."Am I religious? What a great question..."...and then let the Lord lead my mouth....

Pastor D said...

I think every Christian feels bad for how they handled this or that conversation. I am comforted by the fact that it is really God's show and He will not let me mess it up. To some extent we are better off answering such questions like Jesus did, with another question.

"Are you religious?" - "Well, what do you mean by religious?"

(Colossians 4:5–6) Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

nannykim said...

I like what Pastor D said--giving a question in reply.

I think we all feel we have messed up our answers, yet God uses our mistakes and it will give you another door in the future, as you have said.