Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Christian Book Store

I was browsing in a Christian bookstore yesterday, as I had a little time to kill. They're going out of business, and I was hoping to pick up a discounted children's Bible for a friend who would like to have one.

I had made it halfway through the store when some voices I'd been hearing faintly were raised significantly. I came across three women having a political discussion. It was heating up, and now the entire store rang with the echoes of their voices.

There were two white women and one black woman. Most of the 'discussion' was really one-sided, and was being carried on loudly by a skinny white woman with an earnest, pinched face, glasses perched on her nose, and gray hair pulled severely back into a braided pony tail. She resembled an anxious librarian.

"I'm telling you," she announced shrilly, "That the Holy Spirit himself told me that Barack Obama is demon possessed!"

This announcement was met with long "Ohhhhhs" as the other women took it all in, nodding in approval.

She continued "YES! He is in the clutches of the Devil! There is not a Christian out there that should vote for that man! Hillary's not much better, but if Barack gets the nomination, it's over for us as a nation! It is! Why, I voted for Huckabee and he is a God-Fearin' man! But the Holy Spirit told me, he told me himself, that Barack Obama is pure eeeevil! And there are more black people that should be getting behind me on this! Black people could sway the election if they would just wake up! They're more worried about race than if he's a good candidate!"

The others made various approving noises, and it continued on in that vein for a while.

Although the woman was obviously a cuckoo short of a clock, I do have to confess that I did vote for Huckabee and am leery of Obama's ties to the Muslim faith. But as I listened to this woman drone on at the top of her lungs, I watched other customers moving about the store, skirting the three women like skittish colts.

This had been going on for at least 10 minutes by the time I'd had enough. I couldn't even concentrate enough to find the book I was looking for and customers were leaving the store. Those women were obviously aggressively determined to cram their views down everyones' throats, like it or not.

Finally I shouted (I had to shout in order to be heard over the woman) "Ladies! Ladies! Is this discussion really appropriate in the middle of the Bible store? What's the Bible verse about not offending your lesser brethren...? There may be some people who are not in agreement with you here, and you are being needlessly loud and offensive!"

The other white woman straightened up, said loudly "Well! I would've thought that surely here everyone would be in agreement!!!"

I have never had the experience of someone looking down their nose at me before, but she drew herself up, puffed out her chest, straightened her chin, and peered at me in the same manner as a hungry chicken peering at a worm.

"Uh huh," I said in a mild tone edged with steel, "I guess there's no knowing, is there?"

She snorted, wheeled about on one heel, and marched up to the front of the store: I kid you not. It was almost comical.

The black woman shot me an apologetic look and quietly vaporized. I was left alone with the librarian.

"Well!" she also gasped, tossing her braid to the side, "I don't know about you, but the Holy Spirit told me this himself, and *I* LISTEN to God!"

"Well," I retorted, "it might have been a spirit, but are you sure you were listening to the Holy Spirit?!"

At this her eyes goggled and she hollered "I KNOW my LORD! I KNOW his VOICE! I KNOW what he is SAYing to ME! I have a PERsonal reLAYshunship with MY LORD!"

"Great!" I said cheerfully. "Isn't that nice? How wonderful for you!" I stepped away from her and went back to browsing among the books.

To this she could have no further reply, so she stomped off angrily.

There was a refreshing, supreme peace for a couple minutes while I began to scan the titles again. It was broken by a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see a tiny little old lady at my elbow.

"You're my hero," she said in a thin, quavery voice before she tottered off into another aisle.

As I left the bookstore, I saw the librarian on duty behind the cash register. Now I know why they're going out of business.

I wonder if the owner knows, too?

In the Bible, it says that the only unforgiveable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which results in a straight ticket to hell. I hope the librarian is weighing her words.


Jungle Mom said...

This would be funny if it were not so sad!

Uncle Joe said...

the obvious question is: are you sure you weren't in Oklahoma?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Jungle Mom, isn't that the truth?!

Unka Joe, unless I passed through some type of space or time warp, I'm betting it was in Florida, Land of the Chads. ;o)

The Lazy Iguana said...

See this is why I avoid Christian Bookstores. Too many crazy people.

I would have had so much fun. I would have reminded the lady that hearing voices is a sign of mental illness, and she should seek help before she ended up in the middle of US 41 howling at the moon.

Then I would have said that the Holy Spirit told me to tell that to her, just to watch her get all worked up and accuse me of being of the Devil.

Obama has no ties to the Muslim faith. That "story" was made up by Fox. The whole Madrassa thing was disproved. Fox even apologized - very quietly and only once. At 3 AM when nobody was watching.

People like her are used to getting their way. The Republican party allowed crazies like her to take over. And now, it is all about to explode. Huckabee will not win, and if by some chance he does then say goodbye to all the independents and most of the moderates.

If I lived closer, I would go to the store and look the place over. When she asked "can I help you" I would say "No, I am just here at my master Satan's bidding. He told me that he caused this place to go belly up so that I could open a Satanic Bookstore. He promised I would make tons of money. But before I open up for business, this place will be the Obama for President HQ building for the area".

Or maybe not. I am too lazy.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, You really had me chuckling over that.

Well, she's ULTRA crazy and the Republican party could never have made use of her or wanted her. And I have to say that the religious fundamentalists never hijacked the Republican party. If they had, we would have had President Pat Robertson and President Pat Buchannon. And there are so many different beliefs in Christianity (even among the fundamentalists) that there are few things that can be solidly agreed upon.

George Bush thought he would appeal to weak-minded religious people by claiming to be a christian, but not even THEY buy THAT any more and yet you don't see some sort of uprising over it.

Hey, where did you get the story on Fox's retraction? Do you know where I could read about it?

Heather said...

Saur, here is one article on the retraction and the issues Fox reporters were having after it -

Nice job diffusing the old ladies.

green said...

Wow. What some people will say or do in public.
Doesn't she know that Satan pretends to be an angel of light? Easier to deceive the masses that way.

Good but sadly pathetic story.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Saur - like you said, even the fundies can not agree on everything. And really, Pat Buchannon on MSNBC is a lot mellower. Compared to Bush, I think Buchannon would be a good President. Even I would vote for Pat before George!!!

At least Pat can make a complete and proper sentence. And he can speak in complete thoughts. I may not agree with everything the man says, but at least I can understand what he is saying. I think that these qualities are important things for public officials to possess.

You really need to rent "Jesus Camp" from Netflix. Or if you do not have Netflix let me know and I will rent it (again) and then mail it to you. When you are done just drop it in the mail. People like her are NOT as uncommon as you might think.

Let me know if you want the documentary. Ill send it to you.

daveawayfromhome said...

Saur, I've long wondered if the commandment about not taking the Lord's name in vain hasnt been misinterpretted. Seems to me that it is less about the occassional "goddammit", which are mere words without any invocation of a deity behind them for most people (except folks like Pat Robertson who seem to feel free to call down the Wrath of God on anyone they dont like), and more about using God to somehow make yourself feel like a "better" person, such as those who confuse Faith with Knowledge (I know what God wants, and it's for Gays to burn in Hell, Mike Huckabee to Prezdent, and the Republican Party to rule Amerika for 1000 years!) or like your "librarian" who took such offense when you dared challenge her. If that's not using God to bolster your own ego (i.e., vanity), I dont know what is.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daveawayfromhome, Actually, there are many highly respected fundamentalist Biblical scholars who would agree with YOU far more than they'd agree with Pat Robertson. Most believe that blasphemy is ascribing actions or assertions to God that he hasn't done and wouldn't take ownership of. For instance, bombing an abortion clinic because 'God told you so' would be blasphemous under that definition.

Others think that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is rejection of salvation, as the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian believer.

Others think that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit would be railing against him or speaking disparagingly of him. We just don't know for sure - it wasn't made clear. But it's very unlikely to be a simple cuss invoking a generic deity.

Lazy, I actually like Pat Buchannon (I do NOT like Pat Robertson). As for your offer, that's so sweet of you! But I wonder if BlockBuster has it...? I'll check!

Green, amen, brother!

Heather, thanks so much, hon! I'll check it out!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I think you did well. About politics, Jesus said (paraphrasing because I am too lazy to look it up) Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and render unto God that which is holy and of God.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Saur - Blockbuster may have it. Not in a store, but possibly online. Netflix has it. No matter where you get it from, it is worth watching. It is a documentary, but it is not all one sided. The people in the film are allowed plenty of time to say whatever they want to say. They do a great job of hanging themselves.

The best part is when they have kids "worship" a life size cardboard cutout of George Bush, and give thanks to God that he was selected by the Supreme Court.

Really - you have to see it.