My backslidden ass is taking my tattooed heathen girlfriend to CHURCH on Sunday. TWICE! How fucked up and weird is that?
It's the church my parents slave-drove me to from as early as I can remember until I was 18. Every Wednesday and twice on Sunday. It's their 50th anniversary celebration, and anyone who's ever been a part of the church is invited to be there. Does that mean that on an ordinary Sunday, ex-members are encouraged not to attend? Anyway, I will probably see a bunch of people I used to know. A friend of mine put it well; "It's kind of like a family reunion!" Yep, It's just like that. With people you are curious to lay eyes on again, just to see if they're still alive, but feel really uncomfortable about actually talking to. They'll ask things like "How's your walk with the Lord?"
Tandra and I had this conversation. We talked about the stupid things people say when they're being "churchy." The typical thee's and thou's, and only when the preacher is praying does he say that. Does it make him feel more righteous? Or does it make the congregation feel better about the whole deal? "Yes, God in heaven speaks a slightly different dialect of English than our own, and it just happens to coincide with the form of English that was used when King James had the Bible translated. Purely coincidence." And that's another word: congregation. Where is a group of people referred to as a 'congregation' anywhere other than church? It's an audience, dammit.
Then you've got this one: Fellowship. (Credit to Tandra for mentioning this one.) This church we're going to actually has a meeting area called the Fellowship Hall. What is fellowship? I mean really, "I'm fellowshipping with Brother Schoenwald and Sister Brookins." Where do people talk like that outside of church? It's retarded.
Then you've got the one my grandma said the other day, and because she's my grandma I couldn't call her out on it or even crack a smile. "I know that your parents always tried to raise you the best they could according to the scriptures." What's a scripture? This time even a dictionary definition will do. "According to the scriptures." People say these damn phrases so many times that they become nothing more than conversation oil. Something to lubricate, to go between everything else. People forget the true meaning of what's going on and they just get caught up in the repetitive ritual. Kind of like Catholicism. (Yes, I know. Fire away.)
Here's one, I don't know if this was a phenomenon anywhere else other than my church, but it's one I noticed at a very early age and have still not figured out. You're in church, "worshipping and praising", singing some hymn, standing there. Then the preacher gets up and says "Thank you may be seated." I'm not kidding, that's verbatim. I guess if I were publishing the correct documentation would be (sic). "Thank you may be seated." What the hell is that? Is it too much to say "Thank you, you may be seated"?
I'm told that for the last few months the bulletin board has been plastered with pictures from years past. I'm told there's a picture of me sitting on my parents laps. I wonder if my dad still had his lamb chops in that photo. Or if I still had that gay-ass "part-it-at-the-cowlick" hairstyle. Maybe I was grinning like an idiot, holding an AWANA trophy. "Look what I got for memorizing Bible verses for a year!"
I might hear again the voice that put me to sleep unfailingly every Sunday morning for years. I will also probably see people who I managed at one point or another to turn completely against me. (I know, very Christian attitude to take, huh.) Ah! I could see the kid who was the cause of all my insecurity throughout high school. The kid who pretended to be my friend at church, but then when I went to his school, I found out I was the laughingstock of his class. The kid who, every Monday, entertained the other rich snob-ass kids with stories of me being a dork. The kid who genuinely got along with me, unless someone else he thought was cool was around. The kid who I almost idolized for a while. The kid who I thought was my best friend for two years.
It's his fault that I hated rich preppy snob people, kind of. It's because of all that abuse that I just assumed upon transferring to a much bigger public school that the rich preppy kids were snobs and would make fun of me if I tried to talk to them. I wonder if I'll see him?
I wonder how many times I'll tell my current life status? Hey, I should take business cards. Networking opportunity! Mixer! Need some web design work? I'm your guy! God? Yeah, he's alright. But hey, dig this, I have server-side scripting!
I'm doing this VOLUNTARILY, I would like to point out. I suffer from some illness, I must.