Sunday, November 24, 2013

Undercover Agnostic (Update 26): People Can Do Amazing Things, Despite Their Awful Beliefs

This morning, as I entered the church a little late for the beginning of Sunday School (I had a hard time waking up and getting ready this morning), I had walked into the room where Jason * normally has his Sunday School class, and the room was mostly empty. The music director of the church was telling me that Jason was in the hospital with his sister Kelly*, she has had recurring heart problems for years, and she was in emergency surgery to open an artery.

She had noticed that heart attack like symptoms were starting, and with her medical history (she had open heart surgery only about 4 years ago), she knew it was, and that it was definite cause for concern. Reports are that she hadn't had a heart attack yet, but was very close to having one, it was stopped in time.

The music director was trying to redirect people from Jason's class to his Sunday School class, but I went on to a class with a teacher and people I was more familiar with. This class, and a larger class was carrying on their tradition of meeting together for announcements before splitting into their classes, planning future events together both in and outside the church.

For some odd reason, both of these classes are mostly made of of middle aged people, some are married couples, but most are divorced (which is highly ironic, considering the views that the church has on divorce). some were divorced while they were at this church, others before they ever came there.

The church, among some other charitable endeavors that include a food pantry and clothes closet, has a habit of serving food in the church fellowship hall twice a month to a large number of poor and homeless people in the area.

 One woman who helps to run this food outreach says that funds were running short for organizing it, and that they were at least $80 short of the amount that they usually designate for cooking the food for the large number of people that come in. 

She set out a plastic container for anyone to donate, and the money was going to be taken directly up to the church office, and designated for this purpose. People immediately lined up to give, I didn't have much cash on me, and I didn't have my checkbook either, so I gave what change I had in my wallet (I normally can't stand giving money to the church to keep my cover, but since this was going directly to charitable work, I didn't mind).

I was told later that one person alone gave the $80 necessary to keep the program going, and the money from everyone else went far beyond what they expected. What was incredible about this is my town is a very blue collar town, lower middle class to poor, and I knew the people in that room, they weren't rich either.

I looked around and saw a diesel mechanic, a trucking company dispatcher, another person who worked at a nursing home, these are people often times with children and spouses, and elderly parents to support, people who probably do well just to pay the bills, and don't have much left over. Yet these people could not let it go that there was a need for this money, that it was necessary to keep going to feed people in worse shape financially than them.

It's something that I have to keep reminding myself of, despite how despicable their beliefs can be, they are people just like everyone else, with all the same flaws, but with some of the good attributes that everyone else has, and they often can have a strong sense of compassion. I'm dealing with people where who are not necessarily evil (other than my mom), but are misguided. They think they are actually doing the right thing by sticking by their beliefs, but they don't realize just how damaging or inherently wrong sexism, homophobia, etc is.

If only they could see that, they could make far more of a positive difference in this world if they did.......

* My note to new readers of the blog: All names in the Undercover Agnostic series are changed for the privacy of both the recurring characters in the series, and mine.

1 comment:

  1. This is the great thing Sheldon. People like doing good and the further you are away from religion the easier it is to see these people are doing it for the right secular reasons and not because god makes them good.


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