Last night we went to the Thanksgiving Banquet at my mom's church. I'm thinking, "Hey, free food. I can put up with church if it's just for food". So off we go, with visions of the church potlucks from my youth dancing through my head.
Turns out, I either blanked out what those dinners were actually like, or this is just a very different kind of church. As soon as we got there we had people accosting us to help us carry things. Nice, but kind of creepy. Then when they asked Joe to keep an eye on the coffee, some strange lady came up and started freaking out not to touch anything because it wasn't done. Alrighty then...
After a lot of uncomfortable introductions, and the painful revelation that not only was I the only female in jeans I was the only female in pants, it got to be time for dinner. So who shows up but my sister. If you haven't been reading for a while you may have missed the part where I loathe my sister. So here's the thing: I loathe my sister. And there she is. Had I known she was going to be there we wouldn't have gone, but by now it was far too late to escape, no matter how much we wanted to. But there's still free food, right? There's still all the yummy homemade food to be eaten.
We finally got our food, and it was decent enough, and the deserts were quite nice. Had the evening ended there I would have called it a draw with the positives and negatives. What I didn't realize, and what I swear my mother deliberately withheld from me, was that the dinner was also to feature a testimonial time and preaching.
I don't particularly do preaching and testimonials. Especially when the "I'm thankful for..." testimonials turn in to a giant circle jerk. "I'm thankful for Brother Steve" "I'm thankful for our Pastor and what an amazing man he is".
And since when is Thanksgiving a patriotic holiday? I heard someone refer to it that way and nearly choked on my mashed potatoes. Everyone kept acting like it was time to sing "God Bless America". The Fourth of July is a patriotic holiday. It actually has to do with the founding of our country. Thanksgiving is NOT a patriotic holiday. Nor does it seem right to thank God for "How well things are going in our country right now".
Wait a minute here. What country did we drive into last night when we went to church? Because the one I live in things are not going so well. These people truly felt they were, and that we have God to thank for it. Personally I doubt God is all that pleased with what he sees here. Christ wasn't too fond of the moneylenders in the temple you know.
The whole experience was painful. I kept hoping Jack would start to cry and give us an escape. But no, he had to be perfectly behaved. Luckily he fell asleep and right at the start of the preaching and I just jumped on that opportunity to get out of there. I know, I know. It serves me right for trying to get the proverbial free lunch. I shouldn't try to take advantage, etc. But Jesus. I don't hate God, or churches in general, but this is not really a church I think would feel at home in.
Somehow, I don't feel so bad about that.