Friday, December 17, 2004

SuperChristian Powers: Activate!

Form of ... absurdly demonstrative prayer! Shape of ... self-absorbed, holier than thou posturing!

In this particular Wonder Twin moment, I suppose I'd be that weird monkey thing that hung around with them. What the fuck was his name again, Gleek or something like that? But yeah, tonight was the night that I saw the face of those Red State People. You know, those personnae we've all (well, all of us depressed Blue State Wannabe's, that is...) been talking about and trying to figure out? Well, I've met them.

They're really, really scary. And So. Fucking. Boring.

This was -- and I am not exaggerating here, I swear it -- one of the worst social evenings I have even experienced. So uncomfortable. So many sideways glances and halting conversational gaffes. The social equivalent of a prolonged prostate exam, or for you ladies out there, that annual pap smear thingie: intimate in an unwelcome way, invasive, uncomfortable. Time defined by the awkward attempts at conversation shoehorned in between awkward silences. An event to be gotten through as quickly as possible that felt as though it lasted days.

Now, I've talked about this group before. It was largely my wife's idea, as most things involving the church are. We approached it as an opportunity to connect with a larger community, to meet people with similar backgrounds and world views, and to try to open ourselves up to participating in our church and our community a bit more. Putting down some roots, if you will.

And you know, to be fair, it was a good idea. Last year it was, at least. We met great folks through this little artificial and forced social exercise. Folks like us, who value spirituality in our lives, but who also struggle with faith on a regular basis. Yeah, of the five couples last year only three of us "worked." But we really work. I love these folks, and the only reason I agreed to put myself through the stress and pressure of this absurdly stressful and awkward effort again was to roll the dice, to see whether we'd get lucky and meet more folks that are as like us an unlike us, folks that really challenge you to stretch out a bit socially. and find that common ground that isn't necessarily immediately apparent. I mean, last time we got 3 out of 5. So, why not try again? What could possibly be the harm?

Well. Tonight was why. Neither of the couples we actually LIKE were there. We were outnumbered. Outgunned. In enemy territory. Surrounded by boring, self-righteous, blase mediocrity.


It's pointless to do a play-by-play on the evening. Basically, it started off uncomfortable, got utterly awkward during the I-kid-you-not 4 minute long Grace before dinner prayer sermon-ette (included a reading from the prophet Isaiah), started warming up a bit as we finally had something to talk about ("food good... mmm... food good"), and then plumetted into hellish discomfort as soon as the "new" couple appeared and we began to do the Q&A/discussion thing as an attmept to get conversation rolling.

Unfortunately, our previous no show people were also friends with the hosts, and so instead of settling into generally uncomfortable forced conversation along with the rest of usthey chose to be smug, and self-satisfied.

Oh jeez, I could rant about this for thousands of words. I could relate at least a dozen awful, awkward moments. It's astonishing just how much NOTHING can happen in 90 minutes. But it's just not worth it. It's even more boring in print than it was in reality.

At least we had the foresight to set up a rescue call with our dear friends Bill and Lacey. We entered with the "sick kid throwing up at home" story and 90 minutes later my cell phone rang (to my dear, dear friend and co-Twin Peaks fan Bill saying, in his best Jewish Mother Voice, "This is your mutha, your child is bleeding from the ankles and vomiting"), and we fled, lying through our teeth to our Very Special Church Friends that we were So Very Sorry to have to leave so early but you know, sick kid, screaming and crying for mommy, must go go go, actively resisting the urge to skip and dance and click our heels all the way to the car.

And then we stopped at our friends house and hugged them and said Thank You about 5 million times.

God, what a night.

Mood: Beaten and battered
Now Playing: South Park, "A Woodland Critter Christmas"


Lee said...

Poor you! I hate those kinda situations when nobody knows exactly what to say.

BTW - if you don't mind me asking, what demoniation is the church you attend?

Lisa said...

Hey! Its been a while since I last visited, but I am now up to date. Sorry about your evil holiday parties you had to attend, but I like the way you and Christine were able to fool everyone and sneak outta there! Nice job.

Also, congrats on the run. . . .sounds like you and I have the same pace going. So when I rope Rich into doing a marathon, I can count on you to keep me company when he takes off like speedy gonzalas (yep, we will rope you into running one too!)

Hope you and the family have a great Christmas.


Gregg P. said...

Hey guys,


We're Catholic, although for me at least it is not so much by choice: I was raised Catholic, but don't especially, well, LIKE the Catholic church, for oh so many reasons.

However, I am strongly spiritual and I am also a strong believer in faith being something akin to a muscle -- it needs to be exercised for it to grow. Plus, I dig the whole mystery/ceremony thing which is so prevalent in the Catholic church, and I think it's important for kids to have a spiritual framework to work within/rebel against later, and I'd prefer it to be one I'm familiar with.

So I stick with it, simply because I am at least familiar with all of the things I diplike about this particular branch of the Xtian tree.


Welcome back! Glad to see you fnially updated your journal. That thing was getting dusty....

Lee said...

Thanx, Gregg. I never knew. Not being Christian myself, I know there's much about all the denominations I'm unfamiliar with. Of what I am familiar with, I do like the Quakers as well as the Episcopal branch. They seem to be the most open-minded.