Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Two Phone Calls

The other morning we received phone calls from two individuals who are not part of the St. Paul's flock. I listened as our administrator, Helen, fielded a call from someone who wanted to know if we were a Protestant church and whether we had a minister. Helen explained that we are Protestant and had two ordained ministers on staff. The woman on the other end of the line explained that she wanted someone to visit her elderly mother in a nursing home -- in Oshawa. Helen suggested that perhaps calling a church in Oshawa would make more sense. With that the woman exclaimed that this was not what she wanted to hear and hung up.

Around the same time I picked up one of the phone lines because Helen was busy on the other and I ended up in conversation with a new mother who wanted information about dedication and baptism. I explained that some churches baptize infants while others dedicated little ones and then baptize as a profession of faith by teens and adults. She asked thoughtful questions along the way, as well as explaining that she was relatively new to the community. It was a pleasant chat with someone who had no sense of entitlement and certainly wasn't belligerent in the way the other caller had been. I encouraged her to check out St. Paul's on a Sunday morning and she said she would.

I'm glad I got my call and sorry that Helen got hers. It can be rather unsettling, and it is a constant challenge in this rather secular, consumer mentality era to find the ways to enter into dialogue with those who are "unchurched" to use a popular term. Demanding the services of the Christian community is hardly a good starting point and attempts at civility are often ignored.

We will continue to be as open as possible, whatever the circumstances and ask for a good measure of God's grace!


johnny said...

Helen's call was unfortunate and obviously unpleasant, and although there is no excuse for rudeness, one never knows what the other person is currently experiencing.

That said, a recent poll on Canada AM, in which viewers were asked if people have become ruder, resulted in 90% responding in the affirmative.

As someone who is somewhat of an environmentalist, I am constantly amazed at the lack of concern many have for our planet. On my short walk to work, I will DAILY fill a bag of garbage(and this is the same route each day!), I will observe car after car in driveways idling(especially in the winter, because perish the thought of actually getting into a cold car!), and very bad driving habits such as tailgating.

I think we all need to take a deep breath and remember that life is far too short to be "sweating the small stuff". Without sounding too corny(I accomplished that in yesterday's blog), we need to slow down and fully experience each and everything we do. I would even recommend one read a book on Buddhism; I have found it to be quite enlightening.

Johnny out.

lionlamb said...

Johnny, you speak to the issues of general civility and personal tranquility.

Both seem to be in short supply these days. A couple of stars, musician Kanye West and tennis player Serena Williams have been shockingly rude in recent days.

Part of the role of the Christian community is to invite people into a civility and tranquility rooted in relationship with Christ and others.