I remember very well my first continuing education class. Looking back on my education, I had attended elementary school, high school, college and graduate school. I had received my final diploma. But in a profession, in order to keep up with the changing times, we take occasional classes.
Within the first minutes of this continuing education class, a gentleman who was easily 20 years my senior raised his hand to ask a question. “Isn’t it true,” he starts and then launches into a long drawn-out question that really wasn’t a question but more a demonstration of the depth of his knowledge in the area.
My first thought was, “I can’t believe it! I thought I had left you long ago. We had one of you in high school. One of you in college. One of you in Law school. And just when I thought I could finally escape this nonsense, there you are again!”
As I looked around this class of maybe 40, and we spent the next eight hours together, I realized they were all there. Every one of them. Sure they had big impressive degrees now—doctorates—but nothing changed.
The take-furious-notes-on-everything-said, and in the process killing numerous trees person was there. Did they ever look at those notes again? I mean seriously, it might be shorter to tape the thing and hear it over and over and over…
The wacky-question guy. You know. The one that starts off with “What if…” and then provides a hypothetical that could not possibly happen unless the earth turned upside down, but there it is.
The sit-in-front-girl. Yeah, the one that immersed themselves in the course, talked to the teacher afterwards, and acted as if they were obtaining the cure for cancer.
The read-another-book-in-class person. The doodler. The tapping-pencil-drummer-wannabe. The sleeper. The duck-out-early guy. (*cough, cough……me*)
I honestly think if we spent another day together we would have separated into jocks, nerds, druggies and cool kids.
I have become involved in my children’s soccer programs. And as I work within these programs, I start to recognize the same personalities, and the same situations as my former Churches.
I missed the socialization and interaction of church. If you look back at my blog, it was one of the first things I blogged about. Being human, I have sought out other areas in which to socialize. And I see realize that there is no difference in the humans involved. I see the same me when being involved in church as being a soccer dad.
If you attend church, you know the person who actively takes charge and runs numerous programs. They are in charge of VBS. They often are in charge of the kid’s programs, or Adult Sunday school. Rarely are they the actual Chairman of the Board, or even the Chairperson of the committee. They leave those titles for others. They are there to get things done.
Our soccer association staged a tournament, inviting other soccer associations to come along. The person that got things done was not the Head of the association. At best at the manager level. But everyone that wanted to know what was going on, or what to do went to her. Even the head of the association.
There is the person that has to have things organized. Everything alphabetical. The “1997 taxes” in the “1997” folder. There is the person that never has a title, never has a specific responsibility, but faithfully is there from early in the morning to late at night, working constantly, whether folding papers, picking up garbage, directing traffic—whatever.
And, unfortunately, there are equally the others. The parents that are never involved, never do anything, but complain about how everything that is being done is being done incorrectly. HA! Admit it! As soon as I said that, a name popped into your mind. Maybe at church, maybe at school, at work or some other activity. Always there, aren’t they?
Or the persons that simply are never, ever are involved and are so inactive that complaining is too much. Oh, you know they exist, because their children magically appear at the start of the program, and disappear at the end. And you could swear you once saw the back of their head in the mini-van as they left the parking lot.
Or the person that develops a pet project, and we absolutely MUST drop everything else in our lives and become fully immersed in this project, as it is SO important. But if you have a request, they are far, far too busy.
The person always late, the person always early, the person that shows up every week for two straight months in a row, begging to be involved, and then disappears until next year. The person you can always count on to substitute teach, and therefore is always substitute teaching. The benefactor. The busy-body. The Butcher, the Baker, the Candle-stick maker.
As I looked about the various persons (call me “the person-who-labels-others”) there is no difference in a group of soccer parents and a church. None. Oh, the topic is different, to be sure, but substitute “Jesus” for “soccer” and I think the conversations and personalities are interchangeable.
“It seems Jesus/Soccer has fulfilled my life.”
“My Sunday/Saturday revolved around Jesus/Soccer.”
“Are you coming to the Game/Church?”
“Want to do something after soccer/Church?”
“Jesus/Soccer has focused my child’s attention.”
See how neat that works? While we don’t pray to soccer, we hope just as earnestly that our kid can score. We do cheer louder than church allows!
I have noticed, and talked before on how little changes in the morals between a believer and a non-believer. Equally, I see no change in personalities. Is there anything different, anything divine about a Church? Should there be?
Should we have the complaining and grumbling in churches? I would think that asking for workers would mean that each time churches would have to turn people away. In a church, with persons touched by divinity, we should hear, “I am sorry, but we don’t need any more people. Maybe next time you can help,” rather than what I so often heard: “Gulp. Uh…I hate ask you…I know you just did this last week and all…but no one else can…” (read “will”) “Is it possible for you to help out just this one more time? I promise that next week we will have someone…”
We have all sorts of arguments about theism. Philosophic, scientific, emotional, and rationale. While it may not be convincing to others, one of the strongest reasons I see no God, is that I see no divine touch.
If I placed you in a continuing legal education class, a parent-teacher association, or a church, and turned down the volume on the speaker—could you tell the difference? Could you say, “There is something different about the people in that last group.” Or, like me, do you pick out the same persons with different names and different faces. But the same persons.