Thursday, September 6, 2012

With Friends Like These ...

A couple of weekends ago, Mark and I attended a dinner party thrown by a friends of ours. The gathering consisted of five couples, most of whom I met eons ago when we all attended the singles ministry at a local church. That particular ministry was pretty successful seeing as how all of us at the party, with the exception of one gal, married someone we met in the group.

At the time, these people were my core friends. We hung out together quite often. We held each other accountable for our actions and our words. We laughed , traveled, and talked together. As it often does, life led us down different paths, and we lost contact with each other. Our common link was the dinner party hostess. She has kept in touch with everyone over the years and keeps us all up to date on who is doing what. She thought it would be grand fun to pull us all together again. I was pretty excited until ...

"Oh! I like your tablecloth dress!" my friend exclaimed when we walked through the door. I looked at Mark; he looked at me. We were both thinking, "Huh? Who says that to a guest?" I smiled and let it slide. After all, the hostess isn't known for her filtering.

Apparently, neither are very many people at the party. By the time the dinner was over, I don't think there was any part of my belief system or life that hadn't been hatefully criticized. (To be fair, the comments came mostly from one person.) Here's the rundown: 
  • Democrats are jackasses ... and it wasn't a reference to the Democratic party symbol.
  • If you choose to live in Missouri vs. Kansas ... you suck on all levels.
  • People who work in the field of information technology (which Mark does), are geeky nerds.
  • If you mention on your Facebook page that you enjoy alcohol on occasion, then it is assumed that you spend most of your time hammered.
  • If you are gay, you are the root of all evil.
And they shared other opinions, plenty of others. Here's the real kicker: Every other sentence was spent praising God and bragging about how often they attend church, and which Bible study or small group they were a part of. It was almost like a competition amongst themselves to see who was the best Christian. And apparently, if you go attend church on a regular basis, that makes your hateful and hurtful comments OK.

I sat rigidly silent in offended shock through most of the dinner. And, I was kind of embarrassed at the closed-mindedness of some of the people at the table. I don't know if they thought we were all like-minded because we all knew each other, and that made their comments acceptable. I don't know if they live in such a small bubble that they truly have no awareness that other perspectives exist in this world.  I do know that Mark and I try to be very careful with our words in mixed company, especially when we are around people we consider friends. And while I am certainly OK with viewpoints that differ from my own, I believe there is an intelligent way to communicate those ideas.

So, lately I've been wondering if these friends always held these views, and I was just oblivious. Or, maybe they have changed and I haven't. Or maybe I have changed and they haven't. Not sure what the Real Reality is here, but I know that evening was far from my Ideal Reality.



  1. Perhaps the dinner guests need to read the most recent blog posting from their pastor regarding Politics and Religion. Here is an excerpt: "But Christians get it wrong in the area of politics when they too closely associate their faith with a political party, or they lay aside Christian ethics and Christ’s call to love even our enemies, and instead they engage in slander and mean-spirited partisan politics. Christians get it right when they work for justice, and when grace, truth, and love mark their political activities." Also, they need to remember the importance of grace, tolerance and love in all areas of their lives!!!

  2. Thanks for reading, Patti. The whole experience just made me kind of sad. It's still on my mind (obviously).