Last summer I ran into an acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in years. In the world of me, she fits the bill of a typical, genteel, southern Christian woman.
They speak fluent Christianese, believe that God is faithful all the time and wants nothing but the best for his children. They memorize inspiring verses of scripture and apply Godly encouragement or judgement when needed. “Pray-ya changes thangs,” they say, which they promise to do when they hear some juicy bit of gossip.
We chatted for a few minutes catching up on kids and stuff when she asked me what church we were going to these days. I replied, “None.”
For a brief moment, there was a look of utter disbelief on her face. Apparently the notion of not attending a church was inconceivable and repugnant, something she’d never considered possible among the people she knew.
Then she lowered her voice to a near whisper and asked, “Are you an atheist now?”
I was speechless for a moment. She’d just kinda barfed that right up, skipping over all the preliminary in-between conversation that usually leads to such a bold and ballsy question. Maybe it struck me as ballsy for exactly that reason. Like getting smacked upside the head with one of Jesus’ fishes while standing in the food line. From whence did THIS come?
Look, I have a personal rule. I don’t ask questions I don’t want answers to. So, after a slight hesitation, I replied with, “Yes. I am an atheist now.” I half expected a crest-fallen woman busting out in pray-yah for my soul right then and thay-ya in the parking lot!
But she didn’t. In the weirdest kind of way, and quicker than you can spit on a sizzling southern sidewalk, she tossed me into an abyss of wordlessness with just nine little words…
Then you’re right where God wants you to be!
Oh, the irony.