A Catholic, a Mennonite, and a Lutheran Walk into a Bar…

…Ok, so it wasn’t a bar–it was a hotel.  And there admittedly wasn’t much walking going on–more like none actually.  In all fairness though, it was the hotel I work at and who wants to get all sweaty and nasty at work?

Anyway, as I was saying, a Catholic, a Mennonite, and a Lutheran stood chatting at the Front Desk of the Holiday Inn Express in good old Tracy, CA.  (Yes, yes.  I KNOW it doesn’t have the same ring to it but what am I supposed to do about it?  It IS the truth after all!)

At first, our conversation centered on idle things–you know, the requisite things like whether or not the hot summer sun is a good thing and which restaurant they should go to for dinner.  (Incidentally, the respective answers are NO and Mandarin Villa…duh!)

Then one of the two gentlemen I was speaking to happened to notice our Reader Board.  We have meeting rooms at our hotel and we post meetings on the Reader Board so that people know which room to go to.  I use it as a means of intellectual stimulation by putting different quotes up as well.  You’d never believe some of the conversations that have come up because of that board…

…and this was definitely one of them…

It was Sunday, so of course we had our two churches meeting at the hotel that day.  They’re not the kind of churches that have obviously churchy names though–like my church, Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church.  Instead, they have prettier, more creative names–Fresh Anointing and Fruit of the Spirit.

And….and….this really isn’t working.  Perhaps it’s best if I just replay that conversation for you as best as I can remember it.  So, everything in green was said by the first gentleman, everything in blue by the second, and everything in red by me…

“Fresh Anointing?…Fruit of the Spirit?…What are those?…”

Before I could respond, he moved on to read the Quote of the Day…

 “‘God enters by a private door into every individual’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson…oooohhhhh so they’re churches?” 

“Yep.  We have churches meet here all the time.  You know…the smaller, non-denominational ones that need to build up a congregation before they can afford to build their own churches.”

“Is there a Catholic church that meets here?  That’d be pretty convenient since I’m Catholic and then I wouldn’t have to drive anywhere to go to church.  I could even go in my pajamas!!”

“No, they never meet here.  There are a lot of Catholics here in town so they’ve never really needed to meet up somewhere small.  It’s pretty close by though so I could write out directions for you?”

 He nodded.  As I wrote out the directions to Saint Bernard’s, I listened in on their continued conversation…

“Man, why don’t you just go to one of these churches…it doesn’t get much more convenient than walking down the hall…?”

“But…I’m a Catholic.”

“And?”

“I’m…a…Catholic?…”

“So you said already.  What’s that have to do with anything?”

“I….ummm…..well….I….I don’t know really actually…”

“It’s like the quote says man, you have to be able to find God no matter where you are.  There isn’t a wrong way or a right way.”

“You got all of that out of that tiny little quote?”

“No…I got ‘all of that’ from life.  I got ‘all of that’ from refusing to belong to one church anymore…”

“Oh.  So you’re a lapsed Catholic then?”

“Er, no.  Methodist actually.  That’s besides the point though.”

“And what exactly is the point?”

“That it doesn’t matter what service you attend, God is in you.  Church just lets you have a chance to remember that.  I don’t go to Methodist church anymore.  Instead, I’ve been going to a Mennonite place.  I’m a lapsed-Methodist, African-American capitalist attending church in an all-white Amish community.  And you know what, I LOVE it!”

“You’re nuts!  Don’t you think he’s nuts?”

 “…ummmm……no?”

 “Unbelievable!  You’re Catholic!  You have to think he’s nuts!”

“Sorry, I’m not.  I’m Lutheran actually.”

“Well still!  You guys care about church rituals too right?”

“Not in the way that you do.  I went to a Catholic service once; it was beautiful.  The rituals were so elegant and…I don’t know…just really authentic if that makes any sense…?  But we don’t really do all of those same rituals in the Lutheran church.  Our whole thing is actually that everyone needs to have their own personal relationship with God.”

“Ha!  See, I’m right!” 

“So if you went to one of these churches here your priest wouldn’t get mad at you for it?”

“I don’t think so.  Actually, he’d probably be happy since I’ve been bad about attending church lately and he’d just be glad I’ve been going at all.”

“See, she’d go too!”

“Well, I don’t know about that either though.  It’d be kind of awkward…they’re our customers…and it still isn’t really my church…”

“You’re both crazy!  You wouldn’t believe how incredible it is to go to a church you don’t belong to.  It gives you this incredible sense of freedom.  It takes away all of the responsibility and the feeling that you have to go or other members will think evil thoughts about you.  It lets you just take it all in and be one with God…”

His phone rang then and the two walked out to go to dinner with their boss.  But it got me thinking that maybe he was right.  It got me thinking that maybe you can find God no matter where you go.  It doesn’t matter whether you walk into a church, a temple, or a synagogue.  It doesn’t really matter if you never go anywhere at all.  God is always there–whatever you choose to call Him–waiting for you to reach out and open your own unique, private door to let Him into your soul.  You just have to be strong enough to take a deep breath, open your eyes and take a good look around you.  Whether you’re in a place of worship, playing with little children, or sitting by yourself and watching the grass grow; there is always something there that will make you say: I found God today…

Sincerely Yours,

The Butcher of the Bard

 

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2 Responses to A Catholic, a Mennonite, and a Lutheran Walk into a Bar…

  1. Victoria Garson says:

    I think this is a very well written and interesting post. You should spread the word on it. I’m going to digg it.

    • Thanks you! I’m new to this whole blogging business–aside from my foray into it with 451 and their site had everything there which was so much easier. However, the publicist lady told Val and I that this is the way to go to achieve future writer-ly glory soooo…

      In any case, I don’t know how to spread the word on anything–other than publishing it on my facebook. I don’t even know what it means to “digg” something. Wow, I’m sooooo not tech savvy anymore! When did that happen?

      I’m glad you liked it though. It happened a week or so ago and I’ve been obsessively trying to put it onto paper ever since. It was one of those moments that just HAD to be shared you know?

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