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Yesterday Sunday
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I went to church early. It was such a beautiful morning, and I felt so buoyed up by the cool air, sunshine, birds twittering, that I wanted to get there early, talk to my friends, enjoy the sense of community and life.

All was well until the Story for All Ages. I guess the RE director fancies herself a junior minister, because her "stories" have become more strident and preachier in the last few weeks. Yesterday there was no story at all. For 15 minutes she harangued the children (and us) on why we must take care of the planet, our only home.

I sincerely don't like being preached at (note the preposition) and I spent the time reading the hymn book, looking for old favorites.

The next speaker was supposed to be a brief self introduction by a person who was to lead a discussion group on farm worker justice after the service. Well, he felt the call to preach, too, so we were treated to another 10 minutes of having our consciences activated, our guilt aroused.

This was followed by the collection, during which process I gathered up my tent and stole silently away.

One of the main reasons I abandoned mainstream Christian churches is that I cannot abide being preached at, scolded, guilted. And still can't. Encouraged, uplifted, inspired, focussed--yes; shamed and guilt-ridden--no.

We do many things wrong and we could do better in so many more, but harassment by guilt and shame is not the way to change the world. That path leads to anger and resentment and self-righteousness.

I hope next Sunday will be better.

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