Friday, 30 May 2008

is the Church too normal?

Two interesting incidents (at least to me) within 12 hours! 
Incident 1: Last night I took my mother-in-law (yes really!) to the Brislington Conservation and Historical Society. I was buying some ice cream in Tarrs (one of the joys of living here is our independent ice cream manufacturer) and saw their notice advertising 'A Tale of Two Cities - Bristol & Bath' and thought Joyce would love this as they were coming to stay for a few days. Well she did - and I thought Mike, who spoke and showed slides, was really interesting. What was more interesting to me was how we were received/not received as obvious (very) strangers to the group. If I could guarantee the next talk would be as good, I'd return, but little in the welcome would help (one person took initiative and spoke to me), 'did you see the advert in the paper?' (clearly didn't actually expect anyone to come along as a result), too much knowledge assumed, didn't understand what the notices were referring to, etc. - very like many Churches, just not geared up for outsiders, or newcomers. Oh dear, how do we come across! 
Incident 2: went for a run this morning and at the bottom of Talbot Hill a white van driver actually stopped and signaled me to cross the road. I was nearly too stunned to politely thank him. You need to know I've been involved in 4 accidents since working regionally (and therefore driving much) - 3 involved white van drivers. So when the deeply philosophical conversation in the pub turns to white van drivers and how they can make a real difference ....... 'white **** van drivers .....' is my response. I am prejudiced, irrational, anti, but one guy has blown my attitudes apart - maybe they're not all two-headed monsters out to get other drivers. 
Why go back to the historical society? Without that one little old lady who smiled and tried to be friendly, no chance. I'm back to it's who we are that counts for others.

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