Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I Hope You Don't Go to My Church

I just returned to the office from one of my favorite places to be ever ... The local branch of the US Postal Service.  It was an action-packed experience, I tell you.

There was a long line, as there always is this time of year.  And of course, there was only one clerk taking packages, as there usually is every day, no matter the busyness of the season.

But I didn't mind the wait, I had my phone to check the news.  It was actually a nice break from work.  That is, until a lady in line lost her mind on the single, solitary clerk.

I should back up, when I walked in, there were two clerks, but one left for lunch while I was in line.  The horror!

Any way, this lady, from the line, when the second clerk steps out for a break, shouts rather loudly, "You're going down to just one clerk?  Again?"  She proceeds to look around to all of us in line.  "Well, I don't know who your supervisor is, but you should tell him that that just won't cut it this time of year!"

This time of year, being the Christmas season, right?  When we welcome the Prince of Peace to our world?

Anyways, as she looked at us, I realized I had my 'Rev' name tag on, that I make sure I wear when I'm running around town.  I was really tempted to take the tag off.  Because I was fearful that she went to my church and I didn't want her to recognize me or talk to me.

Just being honest, here.

She was a well-dressed, middle age, middle class woman that looked like many that attend our church on Sunday morning.  It's a large membership church, and I meet people all the time that I've never met, but that know me as I go out into the community.  Hence, the name tag.

But, I didn't want to have to take responsibility for this one.  Because - we are called to police each other.  Yes, that's right.  We are called to call one another out when we're being unkind.  This person was.  You know, the one, that could spew disdain from one side of the mouth, and pray for my ministry with the other.

Up there with the people that do this.

I literally prayed, without thinking, that she didn't go to my church.  The problem is, she did have the feeling of someone that went to church somewhere, and here she was, in the name of the Christmas, giving a little hell to a clerk just doing his job.  It was unkind.

We know that Christians behave badly in public all the time.  All.  The.  Time.  So, what do we usually do?  We look the other way.  However, our Advent lessons the last few weeks call on us to do the opposite.  Christ and John the Baptist both never pull punches when calling people towards higher accountability and character.

Wesleyan Christians put it this way:

  • Do good.
  • Do no harm.
  • Pray.

So, I ask, what should the response be when a Christian behaves badly?  What should I do if I know it's a church member?  I really would like to know!