It’s not easy being a Christian and it’s not easy being a christian either. For one, Christians cannot agree what it really means and what it takes to be considered one. In fact, some definitions are so restrictive, no one qualifies other than the one who’s doing the judging.
Juliana, has recalled her old friend, Henry, who railed against people who said “Ah-men” instead of the more proper, “A-men” after a prayer. Different Parishes, preachers and choir directors have their own preferences. Usually, local tradition rules but some insist God only listens to the proper pronunciation, otherwise how would HE (the gender thing is yet another topic) know when we are done praying or agreeing with what is being said?
Is it “Hallelujah” or Hallehlujah? (having a long “a” or a short “a”sound in the middle – even though each is emitting from an actual “e” – go figure). That’s a particularly tough one around Christmas time.
When we visit an unfamiliar church, which is not very often, we walk into the place and are usually greeted warmly – as possible “new meat.” While that is going on, I’m looking around and wondering is this place a, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” church? Is it a “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who’ve sinned against us” church or is it the more tongue-twisting and syncopated, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” church? Over the years, Lovie and I have belonged to each kind so once we know which version it is, there are no embarrassing duets coming from us causing those seated or kneeling nearby to turn and stare. A warning or informational poster at the door would help.
Then there is the ending of the Lord’s Prayer. If it is a protestant church, how many “forever and evers” are there at the end? Some like a single “forever” while others like “forever and ever” even if it is redundant. Many people find extra comfort in redundancies like that. If it is a “forever and ever” church, be on guard because it might also be an “ah-men and ah-men” place (or “a-men and a-men,” for that matter). If it is a Roman Catholic Church, there is no doubt. After saying “deliver us from evil,” it’s over. Done. After all, that’s what it’s all about. There is a nice security in that consistency and perhaps that is why so many go there.
Then there are the creeds and catechisms. I’ve often driven by but I never really went into a Seminary so I’ll skip those topics.
It’s not easy being a Christian, but I guess that’s just our cross to bear.