Two scenes from church today, one unusual and the other (sadly) typical.
As mentioned before, children often are asked to help collect the offering. About half the families don't put anything into the plate (it doesn't mean the church goes without--some write monthly checks, and a few prepay their entire annual pledge for tax purposes). One young helper had been noting who had not contributed, and when we reached the back of the church made a beeline to recalcitrant donors, tapping some on the shoulder and pointing to the plate, sign language for "Did you forget something?" It took a minute to corral him.
As we frantically whispered our explanation, he grew mortified. Switching gears and kneeling at eye level, I shook his hand and thanked him for his service. He brightened. Church can produce indelible memories, and this incident shouldn't be a negative one. Besides, when he grows up we are always looking for people to run the pledge campaign....
A Regular Feature of Announcement Time
During announcement time someone got up to denounce the President of the United States, a seemingly weekly occurrence in the modern Episcopal Church. The source of the ire this time was the Administration claim that the media either under-publicize or don't even identify some incidents as terror attacks. This can't be so, the speaker declared, because terrorists always claim responsibility for their deeds.
Well, I mentally objected, why do we have such a cartoonishly simple understanding of the behavior of Jihadists? Have we forgotten about how the investigation into the 1999 Egyptair crash was diverted for years because no one believed that the Islamic pilot (probably not a terrorist) would commit suicide? Or that terrorists would use women and children to kill innocents? Or that they would attack "soft" targets? Haven't the terrorists evolved, too? No, I don't wholly buy into the President's assertion either, but why are we talking about a media dispute in church?
The speaker sat down to a smattering of applause. The Presidency of Donald Trump---whom I didn't vote for---has been remarkably enlightening about the good people whom I work with, care for, and see every day. During the previous Administration they have viewed themselves as morally superior to the people who were upset by President Obama. Now that the worm has turned, their own reaction has been far angrier and more intrusive than anything I saw in the past eight years. I hope that, after the anger passes, they have time to reflect on what their reactions tell them about themselves.