I recently had a wonderful conversation with one of my co-workers. She came into my office to give me something and noticed my digital picture frame displaying on my desk. Then I showed her a picture of my wife and we spent a few minutes looking on Facebook and MySpace to see if my wife had any pictures up of the kittens. While browsing through the pictures she saw one that Kati had of me at my graduation. My co-worker asked where I graduated from and I told her, “Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.”
She said, “WOW! I’ve gotta stop cussing in front of you…”
I explained to her that I didn’t want her to censor herself in front of me. Then we started talking about “church” life. She and her husband aren’t really church people. They both went to Methodist churches from time-to-time growing up though. Recently her husband expressed interest in going to a local Methodist church. He wants to go somewhere that he can hear the word preached without feeling pressured into anything weird. She said that she wasn’t really into the idea, but wanted to go with her husband anyway.
Up to this point in our conversation, I had already explained that I am a heretic and defined the word for her, as “a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.” I explained a little bit about my history, what I believe, what I don’t believe, etc. Basically just enough to let her know what I am all about.
Knowing this, and having her recent church experience, she had some questions/concerns for me. This is what they were (in her words).
1) During one songs, they sang about Immanuel… who is Immanuel? I thought they were suppose to worship God?
2) When it was time for prayer, everyone bowed really low with their heads down. Why did they do that?
3) After the community prayer, instead of everyone saying “Amen” they all started to say their own little personal prayers – is that normal?
4) After the service a couple cornered us and asked if we were saved, it was really ackward.
5) The husband of the other couple convinced her husband to fill out a vistor’s card. Then they received a call that afternoon asking if they were going to visit that night.
6) They had “children’s church” during which they took up an offering/tithe. Our little girl felt bad because they were trying to build a new church building and gave 10.00$ to the offering. I feel like that’s wrong, that should be up to the parents, not pressured little kids.
Hearing some of these questions and concerns, I had the feeling that I knew exactly what Paul was saying in 1 Corinthins 14, “Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?” Granted, this is about “tongues” not about Christian Music, Childrens Church, Prayer Stance, etc. I think it still relates though.