Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Minister

"Oh my God," I said this morning, waking with a start. "It's tonight. The Minister is coming tonight!"

The fact that I initiated contact with a Minister of the church we've been attending is, well, shocking. He will visit us tonight to talk about our becoming members, my son and I--as well as having our son baptized.

I grew up in a conservative Church of Christ. After I turned eighteen, it seemed I spent the bulk of my life trying to get as far away from it, and Christianity, as possible. Technically, my beliefs--or lack of--haven't changed in years.

This church is tolerant, inclusive, and has an obvious diversity of thought. Still, I wonder, am I somehow being dishonest? In church I sometimes feel as if I'm watching myself from afar, participating in primitive rituals shared by many.

Part of me fears I'll be "found out" before joining, that I'll be discovered and run out of town on a rail. I suppose cynics would think as long as I'm willing to write the church a check every week, they won't much care about my rather amorphous version of Christianity. Maybe that's true, but it still scares me. I try to be quiet.

Will we all pray together tonight? The idea both terrifies and excites me. Will the Minister merely go through the motions, reeling off some rote prayer for the occasion? I hope not.

I wonder whether I should remove the Obama paraphenalia--like the sign still on our glass front door. Could my buddha collection, scattered through every room of the house, set off alarm bells for our visitor? What about the pagan "San Simon" idol?

My anxiety deepens with the twilight. What was I thinking? I'm cleaning house frantically. The Obama stuff, the pagan saint, the buddhas. They'll all have to stay, I'm afraid. But I will clean the kitchen floor. And I'll offer the Minister freshly ground decaf and my best store-bought organic cookies.

"Get ready," I told my husband. "What do you mean?" he asked. "If you're planning a religious intervention for me, you'd better have a straitjacket." I smiled. Anything could happen.

Edited to add: The Minister never showed up. And I just ate a whole bunch of chocolate chip cookies.

No comments: