Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Channeling Anne Lamott: Things (Hypothetically) Overheard While Working at a Church*

WARNING: May contain high levels of Christian cynicism and/or irreverence. Do not proceed unless you're in a light mood. I like my job, I love it, even, and the people I work with are great. They just have a mysterious lingo that needs to be ribbed.

1. "What is your growing edge?"
Translation: What are your weaknesses? How do you avoid looking like a loser in the workplace when you've make a huge mistake? OR Do you doubt God's existence? How much so? Would you admit that to a congregant?
2. "Why don't you speak into that a little bit?"
Translation: You didn't explain your point very clearly, so can you please be more articulate?Get to the point.
3. "I don't feel called to participate/The congregant didn't feel called/The elders didn't feel called..."
Translation: There's not enough money in the world to lead me back to the hell of bulletin-stuffing. Get a life.
4. "God put it on my heart."
Translation: I can't get this out of my mind, and although it sounds obsessive, I need to talk about this again.
5. "How can I pray for you?"
Translation: You look awful. Awfully tired, or pale, or worn out, or uninterested in responding to emails about marriage licenses and Baptism Sundays in June.
6. "You shared _______."
Translation: You spoke/told me about/reported/explained ______ in an especially spiritual tone of voice.
7. "God has a plan in all of this."
Translation: Wow. You really blew your budget. But I have a feeling there will be some good promos at Target this month, and if we time the announcements correctly, maybe we can rake in some extra cash to cover those Christmas decorations.
8. "I spent some time in the Word."
Translation: I brag about the fact that I spent time reading the Bible because more often than not I forget to do it, or I hit snooze, or I fall asleep mid-parable.
9. "This is God's Will."
Translation: There is no good reason that your child got cancer, you were fired after 40 years of service, or that racism keeps digging its heels into our community. Life sucks, and all we have is the glimmers of goodness that point us back to Someone Bigger.

*In no way does this post reflect the views of the church I work for, or the people who work there, or the level of sincerity in their collective expressions of faith. They're legit.


Britt@artbybritt said...

Holly - I love this, and you, so much. You are pretty great with words and expressed that so well!

See you soon dear friend.

Lisa said...

ha ha! growing edge... classic CFM speak. :) I remember them asking me that in my interview and I had to ask for clarification-- What the hell are they asking?! :) Thanks for the translation...

Maryann said...

I love #8. So true (a lot of the time)!