Frame of Reference

I really need to watch what I say, and to whom I say it. I managed to upset someone considerably yesterday, simply because we have completely different frames of reference!

She's one of the local church leaders - of the church where my membership still lies (for employment purposes, sad to say) and which I left ages ago, the same church whose elder stopped by to chat the other day. I used to be SO involved there, running a lot of programmes and trying to enthuse the pew-sitters. But I'm not there now, and she wants me back. Specifically she wants my "talents" back - the willingness to beat myself to a pulp in service, to run programmes, to conform to the set way things are done and to play the piano. She said she's still going to come ask me to help out soon - and I told her straight out she needn't bother - I'm going to say no anyway.

That upset her already, but, being me, I ploughed on.

She asked when I'm coming back. I said probably never. Or something like that. I said I was trying to be a Christian instead of a Churchian and that church for me might be serving in the community or hanging out with someone talking about God or helping develop a community garden in a squatter camp. I may never be involved in traditional church again for all I know - but I don't know where this exploration will end.

At which point she was really upset!

I told her this was just my journey. She asked if it was OK if others didn't feel the same. I told her I'm never going to judge another's journey, that we're all on different paths (sorta hinting "don't judge me either!"). That it's different for everyone, and what one person needs may not be what another needs.

I don't think she was convinced...

I probably blew it. She has no frame of reference for what I'm talking about. She knows nothing of life outside organized institutional religion, and for her church is not only essential, but if you're not going you're not a good Christian. You're backslidden and isolating yourself from "your people" and simply not going to survive.

It's really hard to talk to people who have no clue how your mind works. And I blow it regularly. I need to learn to stop, take a breath, think about their viewpoint, and ONLY THEN open my big fat mouth.

But I dunno if I'll ever learn... :)

I'm a whole lot better at just journeying than explaining where I'm at.