Some time ago, when I was still teaching Religious Ed at our church, I went into a Christian book store looking for some little gifts for my kiddos who were about to make their First Communion. I wanted to get them something special to signify the momentous occasion of their First Holy Communion. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to get them and was looking for some guidance. So into the store I went.
I was dressed in work out clothes, after having just left the gym. My clothing choice was entirely suitable to my yoga class but perhaps not such a great choice for being out and about, running errands. But my time that day was limited. I needed to get my errands done before I went home to shower and change so I stayed in my yoga clothes. The looks I received from the clerks at the Christian Bookstore were nothing short of horrified. Understand, that my clothes were not risqué or sleazy but they were form fitting, perhaps just shy of tight…they were yoga clothes. I guess the clerks wanted to teach me a lesson for coming into their store dressed so inappropriately, in their eyes, so they made it a point to ignore me as I browsed through their store.
I watched as customer after customer came in and was greeted with a smile and “Hello, may I help you find something?” I watched other customers being lead to what they were seeking as I looked and looked for some little token to present to my eager little students as they celebrated their milestone in our church. After watching the umpteenth person being helped finding exactly what they were looking for and being treated courteously while I was pointedly ignored, even as I approached clerk after clerk to help me, I decided it was time to take some action.
Instead of being chased out of the Christian Bookstore by clerks who were behaving in less than a Christian manner I decided to turn the tables on them. I stayed in the store and browsed and browsed and browsed. My time was really limited and I didn’t have time to be playing against them but I would be damned if I would be chased out of a Christian bookstore by people whose Christianity I was questioning. I was their target because I was dressed so much differently than the rest of their clientele. But instead of stomping out of the store in a huff, without purchasing a thing I stood my ground. I didn’t want them to be able to talk about me later. “Did you see that woman who was dressed so inappropriately come in here and make a spectacle of herself?” I could just imagine the ammunition I would give them if I left in a huff.
Most of the time I don’t give a rat’s ass what other people think of me ~ if you don’t like, fine. But this was different. This was a Christian bookstore. I expected more from these people. I expected to be on the receiving end of Christian behavior. I felt I needed to modify their behavior so I made it my mission that day to teach them a little lesson in Christianity. I maintained my dignity during my time in ostracized hell and treated the clerks with a show of respect and kindness as I approached the counter to buy my little ones’ trinkets. I made my purchases, engaged them in sweet small talk and sashayed out of the store, swinging my bag of goodies ~ strutting a little more than necessary. I may have looked out of place but I’ll be dog-garned if I was going to behave like I was out of place.
People who present themselves as Christian, or any religious affiliation, and then behave in anything but a Christian manner get my goat. Hypocrisy does not sit well with me. If you are a Christian, behave like a Christian and treat people as Christ would have treated people. I don’t like Christians who tout moral righteousness and then fall short themselves.
I hope I can teach my kiddos the difference between lip service in life and being of true service to others in life.
Oh, for the love of my children….