Even to me it seemed sacrilegious and hypocritical; nonetheless, at bedtime last night, I found myself on hands and knees praying for a miracle.
Ordinarily, I’m not the praying type. Though I’m technically Jewish, I don’t practice my faith, haven’t been to a temple in years, and would be quite content never to set foot in one for the rest of my life. Nor do I seek a replacement religion. I’d rather fill my spiritual void with nachos and beer than embrace Christianity, Islam or any other major or minor sect.
I’m sure my flippant attitude wouldn’t square well with most Georgians. In my experience, practically everyone here attends church on Sundays and proudly proclaims their affiliations. They also commonly include their church memberships in resumes and other forms of self-promotion. Perhaps most importantly, in my county at least, everyone assumes the same of all their neighbors.
Up north where I grew up, relatively few people paraded their beliefs so openly, and the diversity of faiths in the region precluded any assumptions regarding a person’s religion. I didn’t advertise my Jewish background there, and I’ve seen no reason to advertise it down here. Consequently, I presume most people I’ve met in Georgia assume I’m a churchgoing Christian.
As I learned last night, “most people” include one of my clients and his wife. I’ve been Matthew’s lawyer for years. Nonetheless, prior to dinner at his house yesterday, I’d avoided discussing my religious leanings. I didn’t have a change of heart over soup either. No, my traitorous wife, of all people, raised the subject out of the blue.
As I contentedly slurped my bowl of mushroom bisque, Sophia (who happens to be Catholic) asked Matthew’s wife what church they belong to. Dawn answered and posed the same question to Sophia. With an unswallowed mouthful suspended above my gullet, I anxiously awaited her reply. I didn’t think Matthew would fire me once he learned I was Jewish, but …
I needn’t have worried about Sophia outing me, because she did not state the obvious: “Well, we don’t go to church, because Richard’s Jewish.” Instead, she volunteered: “We haven’t found the right place of worship yet.”
After I read Sophia the riot act on our way home, she attempted to defend her actions. She claimed she’d only tried to make conversation. She also insisted no one could’ve foreseen Dawn’s comeback, telling me: “How was I supposed to know she’d say her church hosts a weekly couples’ Bible study, and then invite us to join?”
Like I told the Mrs. last night, “It’s not Dawn’s invitation I minded so much as your answer – ‘Sure, we’d love to!’ That’s what left me choking on a crouton!”
And that’s how I came to pray to the Lord for a miracle last night … so I don’t have to begin Christian Bible study tomorrow.