|Most of my life I have been the type of person who
avoids people, and when in a social environment, hides in the corner
hoping nobody notices me. Then I went through a period of time when I
wanted (closer to demanded) that I be the center
of attention. The second attitude, I find, is much harder to deal with
then the first.
This morning I took in
two services; the early Nazarene and later the Evangelical church. At
the first service I was my normal secluded self, sitting far to the
rear of the church and distant from all the others in attendance. Then
for the second church I discovered I was an hour early and they were
having a Bible study class (along with a film, which was about the
Temple, a favorite subject of mine). After the film, comments were
taken, and I found myself confidently adding my two cents worth of
thought. Actually it turned out to be more like a dimes worth since I
spoke up so often.
There was nearby an
older lady who seemed particularly interested in what I had to say. So
at services I planted myself by her and began to carry on a
conversation with her. I talked about my experience with Indian lore,
then I told here a bit about my story The Worm and the Thread,
- and then the service began.
Before the service was
completely over, the lady beside me put on her coat and headed for the
door - without even a backward glance.
I had the feeling she
was trying to escape from me (amazingly fast on
her two walking canes). And I mulled it over in my mind for a long time
what I might have said that could possibly have offended her. Being
offensive, I am learning more and more, is a skill I am very adept at.
And what is even more troubling, I am rarely aware that I have been
offensive until the offended one has blown a gasket and confronts me
with their hostility.
In just about every
incidence it turns out the person had misunderstood what I had said
(and on occasion I had expressed myself poorly causing the wrong
conclusion) and we end up having a big laugh at my expense.
But this time I could
not for the life of me see how I could have said anything to cause
someone to withdraw from me so determinedly. I have a pretty good
memory and power of recall; but with all this recall I could not recall
anything offensive. I could think of something that might have been
taken as doctrinally unsound to someone, which
may have caused them to shy away from me like they would from a Hari
Krishna who approached them. And I was afraid she might have been
disturbed by something of this sort. And for sure I would not like to
have anyone feel unsettled in their stance with themself because of
anything I had said. This is one reason I say so
little (even in my own church) that swerves from the fundamental
doctrine believed by so many. And don't you know this is very hard for
me considering that I don't agree with but very
little of the fundamental and established doctrines?
So, I was afraid I had
offended - and I was bothered by this, yet knowing there was not a
thing I could do about it, even if I did know how
I had offended.
Then I recalled what I
had said about the story The Worm and the Thread.
I told her that the cow patties were the denominations, that maybe two
or three in a congregation would be willing to climb the thread to
reach God, and I told her that Jesus called
Himself a Worm. I also told her briefly (because the service started at
this time) about my crying for a month after I had received the Holy
I then heard (in my
mind) what that must have sounded like to someone who had not
experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit, nor had read that Jesus
referred to Himself as a worm. And, of course, there's probably one in
a thousand who has knowledge of either of these experiences - and the
likelihood of her being one of these is very remote.
Instead of hearing the
Message, she had judged the messenger!
I hadn't offended her
.... she just thought I was crazy!
That explained why she
was so anxious to escape my presence. I highly suspect she feared this
crazy man who had approached her out of nowhere was liable to follow
her home or some such.
I was greatly relieved.
I would that everyone
think I am crazy and that everything I say is absurd at best, and out
and out heresy and demon inspired at worst. I might as well
think this, because the chances of anyone thinking otherwise is nil to
Two things, I find, has come from this little experience. The first is
that, rather than get shook because someone thinks ill of me, which is
my lifelong practice, I was glad for it. It took
me off the hook, so to speak. I've said elsewhere that there are two
things I am learning to deal with: my ego, and the fact that I don't
want to feel responsible for anyone's discomfort or their lack of
self-esteem. I'm sure this sounds contradictory to what my website is
all about - and it surely is. I say we have to feel absolutely rotten
about our self, and have to place our self in very un
comfortable situations - and be thankful for our
lowly opinion about our self and our discomfort in order to be
acceptable to God.
Being seen as crazy solves both of my problems. It certainly deals with
my ego, as long as I can fully accept and be thankful for being seen as
And if people see me
as crazy, they will read (or hear, though I haven't been called to
preach or to teach) what I have to say with but a grain of salt, ready
to doubt and reject everything I say. In fact, the chances are no one
will bother to read it in the first place because it doesn't fit their
[ If it seems as if
the life has been clipped out of this article: it has. To read the
article in it's entirety, it is available in First Trump, the Bible
section of this website.]