I knew a guy, in another parish, who habitually complained about his fellow parishioners. He dismissed them all as country bumpkins (if I can say that in polite company). I naturally grew frustrated by his unwillingness to see the good in the people around him.
One day I had had enough and decided to prove to him that the others in the congregation were interesting people. I asked him if he remembered the streaker at the Montreal Olympics during the closing ceremonies, well he wasn’t a parishioner but the RCMP officer who tackled him was. Obviously, I started with this example as a kind of gentle way to lead into proving my point that he should get to know the other parishioners before he passes judgment.
I pointed out to him that amongst his fellow parishioners were a Rhode Scholar; another who tests electronic gadgets (like cell phones) years before they make it to market; another who was a world renown painter; another person who was abandoned on the streets of Vancouver at age 10 and now is a retired school teacher and on the list went. I’m not sure that I convinced him or that he even believed me.
What was missing, of course, was an opportunity for this man to meet and get to know these people himself. Then he would have known all this himself.
My point is that we, the people of St. Paul’s parish are not country bumpkins but immensely interesting. What is missing, of course, are opportunities for us to get to know one another beyond saying hello and nodding each Sunday morning. Okay, so let’s be honest, the opportunities are there, we’re just not taking advantage of them. Concerts, suppers, pot lucks, study groups and work parties all happen on a regular basis and all of them are great opportunities to meet and get to know your fellow parishioners.
We will all benefit from getting to know one another better; you are, I know, a fascinating and wonderful people. Enjoy yourselves! Oh, and by-the-way, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with being a country bumpkin.