Sunday, July 1, 2007

Bump In The Road

(Originally posted May, 2007).

So, apparently I make children cry, AND piss off little old ladies.

OK, only one little old lady.

That I know of.

Seems she doesn't think it's right that I use Spanish "from the pulpit." Even though HappyChurch hired me because I'm bilingual and wanted me to bring that to their worship...

...I I'm second-guessing myself...

HappyChurch is an English-speaking church, she says, and there's no place for Spanish in worship. Anywhere else is fine, she says, but not from the pulpit. "Those people" should learn English, and HappyChurch is an English-speaking church.

Does it help her to know that any Spanish I use, either in my sermon or in the liturgy, is immediately translated? I admit I could have made that more clear, and I said so to her...does that help her?

Nope. It's just wrong, and she can't really articulate why it's so upsetting.

But if I ever do it again, she will get up and walk out. And she's been going here since 19thirty-whatever.

And now I remember why I never wanted to do this work.


1 comment:

  1. (original post comments)
    # Tess Says:
    Oh dear me. Perhaps you could warn her next time you’re going to spout all that nasty Spanish, so she can go outside with those poor children and comfort them…

    # Mrs. M Says:
    You know that in church, it’s heretical to change The Way We’ve Always Done It. Might be a language issue, might just be that old fun resistance to change, wanting to come to the party again.

    # tngirl Says:
    Could she feel threatened by what she can’t ‘really’ hear when a foreign tongue is spoken? Like, it makes her feel out of control or something.

    # Towanda Says:
    Thanks to all of you for your responses. I don’t know what’s up with this lady, who otherwise has been quite kind to me. I asked her several times over what upset her so much about hearing Spanish and she just could not say. Clearly it’s setting off something deep inside…but what, I don’t know.

    I’m happy to say, though, that the church leaders have my back. So that’s good! ;-)

    # Iris Says:
    “the church leaders have my back.”

    That makes all the difference in the world. Hey, at least she was upfront with you about her displeasure. I’m curious, what did she think about the Hebrew in your sermon?

    Keep your chin up. I read your sermon and it was incredible, so please don’t second guess yourself.

    # Towanda Says:
    Yup, Iris, it does make all the difference. And I did thank her, several times, for coming to me with her concerns.

    I have a feeling she didn’t even know the first part was Hebrew. She said nothing about that at all. I suspect she thought it was all Spanish.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    # hipchickmamma Says:
    wow…sometimes i am shocked at the strange reactions folks can have to stuff. i am impressed by your reaction to her, concern for understanding why she had such a visceral reaction.

    it’s also wonderful that you have support of the other pastors. so what do you do next? do you call her to let her know that youll be using spanish in a sermon?

    wow…i am amazed by all the odd things encountered in ministry and am constantly amazed by the wonderful and caring reactions pastors have towards folks haveing the crazy reactions.

    have you always reacted with concern first or is this a skill you’ve picked up along the way? it’s usually more difficult to react with care and then anger later. thanks for demonstrating that it can be done!

    # reverendmother Says:
    At least she didn’t say, “If English was good enough for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for me.” :-)

    Good for you for being compassionate. It’s hard for me not to cater to the random displeased person rather than accept that there will always be someone disappointed in me/us. Such is life. (Ugh, I hate even typing that! Like me, everyone, like me!)

    # Towanda Says:
    RM, you are too funny.

    Y’all are very kind…if you’d heard me cussing about this to CoolPastor yesterday, you might not think I was so compassionate. ;-) Hipchick, I wish I could say concern is my first reponse, but honestly it’s a skill I’ve had to work on precisely because it hasn’t been. I think I’m getting better at it.

    The church moderator made clear to me yesterday that this person will not be catered to. But you are right, RM, it is hard when you realize not everyone likes you.

    # Sarcastic Lutheran Says:
    I don’t have anything clever to add, just that I talked to a parishioner from Happy Church today who totally thinks you’re great!

    # Towanda Says:
    Thanks, SL, I love you!


Howdy and thanks for looking in the window. Glad to have your comments here, just please remember to be kind.