Friday, September 08, 2006

Praying in Restaurants

OK, I'm about to tick some people off - well, so, what's new - get your own blog and you can blather on about what an idiot I am. Or in this case, what a heathen.

Topic of the day - I'm sick of people praying aloud in restaurants.

I grew up in the south, where we went to church three times a week, said grace before meals, and feared God. I never, ever prayed aloud in a restaurant. Nor did I ever witness such a thing until the last few years. I'm officially sick of it. It's rude. Yes, that's right, rude.

The other day at Roy's these two twenty-something guys came in and sat down at a table with some other folks (not unusual, there) and proceeded to bow their heads and pray aloud so that everyone at that table, at our table next to them and at the table next to us felt they had to stop their conversation until they were finished. And, this man was relishing in having an audience because he went on for some time - longer than an elder deacon at dinner on the grounds in a southern Baptist Church.

I'm fed up with this "I'm holier than you are and I'm going to demonstrate it right now in front of God and everyone, so maybe you will get a clue and turn from your horrible ways" attitude. God will accept a silent thank you for the bounty before you. You need not engage the entire restaurant in what should be your private relationship with the Almighty.

If you want to demonstrate your Christian attitude, why not do it by not drawing attention to yourself and interrupting the conversation of everyone else in a room? Aren't Christians supposed to be kind to those around us?

I'm all about tolerance, and that includes for those who are fundamentalist Christians. But you are infringing on others rights when you pray aloud, overtaking an entire group's conversation in a restaurant.

You can pray silently, not making a spectacle of yourself - he's God, he'll hear you. There is no need to be as public as possible so everyone knows you're a Christian - or so you would have us believe, anyway. Frankly, I'm always suspicious of people who have to be so adamant about how they are religious or are not gay or are telling the truth or fill in the blank. It almost always means exactly the opposite.

So what am I going to do the next time this happens, as it inevitably will? Well, I want to say that I'm going to keep on talking while the public demonstration of what is to be private piety continues in my midst. In reality, out of reverence, I will no doubt stop my conversation yet again and then be annoyed at the whole situation all over again. It doesn't make me feel reverent.

1 comment:

Patsy Terrell said...

I don't mind when people pray for "everyone" to be forgiven, although I'd much rather they do in in private. But, if they're singling out you or anyone in an accusing way, that's more rude than what I experienced. As for having to wait for them to finish, I'm curious if that bothers you? It's not like you have extra time to wait.

When I share overheard conversation on the blog, it is verbatim. I do not edit it, other than for space between snippets - indicated here by the lines. I do not edit things out to change the meaning of the conversation, but do not include the extraneous parts of the conversation - just capture the gist of the central theme I'm sharing.

In this case, it was easy to take notes because I was at another table. When I'm on the move, I simply stop and write things down as soon as possible.

Having spent years as a journalist, my note taking skills are pretty decent, so I press them in to service for this "less than noble" cause.