So I had another interesting lunch yesterday. No, it didn't involve crazy people being offended that I exist, but it did involve overhearing a rather interesting conversation. I don't mean to eavesdrop, really, but it was impossible not to hear this conversation. And plus once I heard some of it, it was hard to tune out.
Emma and I once again had a day of appointments and errands and stopped for lunch. At the booth right behind us were two older women, they had to be at least in their late 60's and looked the epitome of "grandma." They were just finishing their food when we arrived, but right as I sat down I heard one of them bring up a conversation in a way that implied this conversation was the main thing she had been wanting to talk about all along. She basically told her friend that she thinks she had lost her faith. She describes going through the motions of church, still doing all the churchy stuff, but feeling like there is nothing there. She described it as being like she had been eating at a certain table her whole life but now the table just disappeared and she doesn't know what to do. She clarified that this had nothing to do with anything bad that happened, or anything a person did, it just happened.
I missed what they discussed next, but then I heard her friend suggest she attend an evening service at another church where they do things "differently." The lady replied that she wouldn't be welcome there because she was too old. She then started talking about her relatives who are agnostic but who are deeply committed to a women for peace and justice group. She said this group has been around for over 100 years passionately caring about these things. She said she felt so inadequate just now discovering that she should be caring as well. Her friend just said, I kid you not, "but that's just the social gospel".
That's all I overheard. You can see why I eavesdropped. I found it fascinating to listen to a much older person who has been integrally involved in the traditional church model her whole life having the same crises of faith and awakening to justice issues that many of us in the emerging church are having. Not that I think its weird, just more rare. I felt for her for not feeling welcome at what was most likely an emerging style worship service because of her age. I recall a similar issue at the last Midwest Emerging Women gathering. An older woman showed up to that event and told me that it was the first emerging event she felt welcomed at because of her age. In the promo material I had included a line about how women of all ages are welcome to attend, and it took finally seeing that in print for her to feel like she could participate. I hope this other lady from the restaurant finds a place to connect where her questions are heard and she can pursue Christ's call to justice. I so wanted to jump in on the conversation, but I'm the type person who would never actually do that. I am just grateful for the reminder that these questions are pertinent no matter what age a person is.
Labels: Emerging Church