Monday, July 23, 2012

Class-A Jerk

I have the sneaking suspicion that nearly all of the folks who volunteer at my church think that I am a certifiable, class-A jerk. Each Sunday an army of "greeters" is strategically deployed over every square inch of the building. Getting into the front door or into the sanctuary area involves running through a gauntlet of folks so cheery and welcoming that it makes you want to spit. I believe they they have received marching orders that every person who shows up for church must be accosted greeted in the most enthusiastic manner possible no less than every 1.2 seconds. I have written about my deep-seated issues with these folks in the past (see False Hustle).

So why do I believe that all of these people think that I am a jerk? The reason is that all of their cloying attention makes me so uncomfortable that I have taken to just putting my head down and sprinting through and around them just to get to my seat. In short, I tune them out and do my best to ignore them. Sometimes they make me feel like Barry Sanders running through an aggressive defensive line. If I don't shake them off with a head fake or the old jelly-leg hip buckle, they will try to take me down. In truth I can understand that I am coming across as rude, as cold, as ... a jerk.

Over the past few months my antisocial, avoidance approach has become less subtle. My thinking was that if I did my best to broadcast a clear message of "STAY BACK" with my attitude and body language, it would make it easier for me. Actually I think it has. I think people are starting to ignore me. But is that really what I want to get out of going to church? Is that what I really need? Didn't Jesus have a thing or two to say about the importance of Christian relationships and fellowship?

A few weeks ago after I came home from Sunday service, I sensed a clear and unexpected voice within me telling me that I am equipped to do better. It wasn't of my own mind or spirit. That was obvious. I believe it was one of those moments when the Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me that I could make a better effort than I had been. It wasn't a scolding or a derogatory voice. It was gentle and patient. So, for the past few weeks I have been trying harder to look folks in the eye and to engage just a bit more.