5 Dumb Things



This is a hard one for me. As I sit here, eating Golden Flake Sweet Heat™ chips, watching a Night Court episode featuring Dr. Joyce Brothers, and catching up on reading, I am convicted by a piece I just read.

You see, I’m weird. Probably clinically weird, if that’s a thing.

And that’s just for starters, guys. Srsly. It gets worse, as the article I share at the end of this post rolls on. You might relate, you might not. You can probably judge how true this read rings on both counts, y’know?

I’m not sure how weird I am, or even if weirdness can be quantified. (Click the link for my Weirdometer result. As you’ll see, I’m weirder than 66%, at least.) But I am a decidedly strange, eccentric human being, more so than most. I worry that I’m exceptionally bizarre, possibly to the point of being off-putting. That concerns me, because, if I am off-putting, then (I assume) my impact and outreach as a Christian suffers as a direct result. I wish the behaviors that blunt my impact stopped at weirdness, but newp.

Bone-headed, idiot behaviors—like being overtly political, being bad at handling conflict, playing at “selective ‘sin-ranking'” (as if it were an Olympic sport, you’d think), and wrongfully judging others—seem to clutter the path, every place I’ve trod. If we’re being honest, I’ve not exactly been a marketing boon for God.

Yuppers. I’ve sometimes been guilty of all of these “dumb” behaviors, as a human, and a follower of Christ. Every time my number of “Facebook friends” takes a dip, I’m convinced that it’s probably due to being too much of a “Holy Jo[an]” walking Chick tract–or, paradoxically, that it’s due to my having a heaping helping of heathen hagiography. That is what happens, isn’t it? (Please insert your own super-salient point about me over-thinking it, or a reminder that other folks’ worlds don’t exactly revolve around me.)

Hmmm. Maybe part of my “weirdness” involves insecurity. Anyway, I’m hoping my fellow believers will read this and examine themselves accordingly, because Church-y people can be pretty awkward, marginalizing, even cruel. I can tell you that if I had a nickel for every time I’ve done any of the 5 things listed, and pushed people away, then I could probably buy that 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I’ve had my heart set on since 6th grade. Or, alternately, I could snag that ’59 Caddy Hearse with the sick fins, that I’ve wanted since my late teens…and still want. (Yeah. Again, weird.)

I’d also like to apologise to my friends of other/no faith traditions, for all the times I’ve been this particular kind of dumb. Other kinds of dumb, too, now that I think about it. If I hurt, annoy, or otherwise disappoint you, please come to me. Let me know. Suggest an amends that would help things heal between us. Whatever you do, I hope you’ll “not go gently into that good night” without letting me know I’m part of the problem with religious life, rather than that “soft answer” I’m supposed to be that turns away wrath. Deal?

Without further adieu, here are 5 Dumb Things The Church Needs To Stop Doing.




About cathsparks

cathsparks is a 1970 model writer, disability advocate, spouse of 22 years, and adoptive parent of grown children. She's been creating stories since early childhood, when she wrote her earliest work, "The Dog Who Ate Spaghetti". (Spoiler alert: It's about a dog who---wait for it---eats spaghetti.) Cathy enjoys backroads travel, ethnic cuisine, reading dystopian and mystery fiction, watching classic and documentary film, and doing family history research. Professionally, she's been everything from a small-town waitress, to a youth minister, a hat and handbag saleslady, a licensed early childhood ed director, and even a case manager for kids with Severe Emotional Disturbance. Currently, she writes, consults, does research, and is a city-appointed poll official. Politically an odd duck, she has friends that run the gamut from Socialist to Constitution Party, and nearly everywhere in between. Likewise, Cath has many chums who share her Christian faith, to be sure, but also enjoys meaningful friendships with folks who embrace other paths, including agnostics and atheists. There is no singular Sparks litmus test for fellowship, other than an honest effort at mutual respect. She and her husband, Jason (who was her first kiss, 29 years ago), live with their oldest, a son---an accomplished artist and Special Olympian---and several ferocious house-cats. (Half of them "grand-kitties", and one 92+, in human years.) They also have a "grand-lizard" and a "grand-pup", both in other states.) This son has activities several days a week, lots of friends, and is active in community group, and men's bible study nights (though he skips the suds), retreats, church work days, and more. His sweet sometime girlfriend attends church with him, and they enjoy dining out and double/group outings to the movies. He's developing job skills through volunteer programs, and striving for appropriate independence in all these areas and more. He's excited to be in the dorms 3 nights for a preview at a college for people with intellectual disabilities. It lies farther North, even, than the homes of either of his siblings. All 3 of cathsparks' and hubsy's kids were raised to travel, and, like their parents, are happy wanderers. Their daughter---a college Senior in the Midwest---lives in a rented house and is a happy newlywed, while at college, she's double-majoring. (That's a lot of hyphenates!) She's active in ministry, plays drums for chapel, and lived for a semester in Siberian Russia. Her husband is an ordained minister. Between the 2 of them, post-honeymoon, they've been to 9 different countries. and a great many prominent American cities. Recently, they've opened their home to a young friend in need of temporary placement---the first (honorary) human grandson! Cath and Jason enjoy spending time with their grown-up kids, at their small 1940 Tudor revival, in East Nashville's Inglewood neighborhood, during their holidays and school breaks. Their youngest and his bride live in an adjoining Southern state, where he's taken classes, drives a forklift, and is building a steady career in middle management, at a company where he has the respect and appreciation of those who work with him. The twosome have a brilliant and beautiful 2 year old girl, who Grammy and Gramps adore, and recently added another sweet even-tempered baby girl to love in August 2017. The parental pair recently moved to a larger rented home, to give their girls more room to play in. That's good, as baby # 3, a boy, will arrive this September, a couple of weeks after their younger girl's 1st birthday. Both the two younger, married sibs are following a familiar family pattern, in terms of housing. Cath and Jase rented a small home, themselves, before buying the family home in 2000, after 4 years of marriage. Back in Nashville, Cath, Jason, and their oldest son attend Restoration, a diverse, loving body of believers who accept them, flaws and all. They are sin-prone, messy creatures, living in a temperamental 78 year old Tudor cottage with too many books, lots of iced tea, and their maximum number of felines.

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