Story of a Sunday Morning

He was planning on sipping on the cup of dark roast while writing in his journal in a dark corner of the cafe. He forgot it was about the time people would be getting out of church. Crap! Sure enough, a small group of people from the church he recently left came into the shop. He had come to enjoy his peaceful Sunday mornings. This was probably the first Sunday he forgot about church. Serves him right! Only the unprepared get ambushed, and he was about to be ambushed royally. He could see it in their triumphant eyes.

They invited him to sit with them. Argh! Better be nice. So he did.

What unfolded was something he’ll never forget. As they were talking to him in their pitiful tones with the look of genuine concern in their eyes and the occasional sympathetic touch on the arm, he imagined himself in palliative care being visited by these strange people. He was as good as dead… invalid… and they, the vital living validators delivered condolence after condolence until he felt he was swimming in syrup. Kill me now!

In a sudden move that startled his comforters, he stood up and said he had to go. He had an appointment. (It was with himself but he didn’t tell them that.) They wouldn’t understand. If those looks could save someone from the flames of Hell they would.

He never got a word in.

They never noticed.

He left knowing he had made the right choice.

They stayed knowing they’d made theirs.

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • Carol

    Dave I know u well as both a pastor and a friend. You are and will always be the best with both! You and Lisa are great people. You don’t judge and try to be do understand and love, really love. I remember your 50th birthday. I was in a very, very needing so much to talk to someone. That night I felt urged to call you and make an appointment to talk. I didn’t. Obviously, you know that. I chose to continue on and struggle and seek counseling. You were the one though that I felt wouldn’t judge, would show love, and most of all, I trust you and Lisa. You are loved and appreciated. I’m so glad back in 1997 when Noah was born, you did not show us pity or sadness but rejoiced we had a new son and prayed with us and showed love in practical ways.

    There is one thing I’ve used as a tool these last couple years. Where I have trouble with trusting others I say to myself…… Listen to what others have to say but don’t let them tell me who they are and trust them blindly like I use to. Watch them, let them SHOW me who you are. If people watch you, you are who you say you are.
    Hugs to you and your family. You are a blessing!
    P.S. I was checking out your beautiful art up town the other evening and I definitely want to buy a signed copy if your book.
    Love;
    Carol

  • Carol

    Sorry for typos I let the iPhone finish words for me. Opps

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks carol. now i’m all misty-eyed.

  • Stephanie Butcher

    I can honestly say, that in the past few weeks that I found your site, I have grown more as a person than I have in – well, a long time! I feel such a new freedom, and an excitement that I have found like-minded people that I can continue to grow and learn with/from!! I wait for your writings everyday, lol! Keep them coming!!

  • Crystal

    Hi David,

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and enjoy your approach to Christianity. Now I find myself without a church, since like you, I decided to leave the toxic environment of mine. I was in an upfront ministry so it wasn’t easy. I went through a grieving process and wrote everything down in my journal, otherwise I swear I would have gone insane!

    I think I’m over the worst, although, unlike you, I haven’t yet been able to re-enter those doors yet. (It’s only been five months, so I may need more time.)

    I could relate to your Sunday morning cafe experience. My Sunday mornings are peaceful once more after so many years. People mean well, but they are so misguided and arrogant. I honestly don’t know if I ever want to attend an institutional church again. I’m scared of my fellow “christians” and how they practice their faith. At least I know that I am not alone. Your writing has helped me a lot, especially because you are a pastor and have broken free of the restraints. I told someone the other day that I have a new pastor now and he is naked. You should have seen that person’s face! (Don’t worry, I told him about your blog.)

    I love your cartoons and artwork. Please keep the blog going. You are touching so many people with it, as I’m sure you must realize. God must surely be pleased that you’ve let him out of his confining box. At last he can breathe. And so can you. Love from Crystal.

  • fishon

    You don’t judge
    –Now that is interesting.

  • andrée (the other francofun…)

    I was sad reading about how people react to that person who had left the church (I don’t know if you were talking about you David , if it was fictional or if it happened to a friend) but still, I understood how that person might have felt. Please would you tell me what would be the loving way to react ? I assume that when someone leaves the church that person may have been through difficult things and need compassion at that moment although I realize that for some it is not the case. I just really want to know what to doand what not to do. I don’t want to hurt people…help please

  • http:donrogers.org Don Rogers

    I recently read an article about these very people (these Christians). Is the love they express unconditional or conditional? I think you know the answer. The article is at: http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/
    It is called, “For God so liked the world”. I really enjoy your blog. Thank you.

  • http://www.fallenpastor.com Arthur Dimmesdale

    I kinda know the feeling, but to a different extreme. Being totally ignored after falling from grace.

    You have an amazing way with words and I love reading your stuff. I rue the judgmentalism in church, but I rue more the fact that I was a part of it when I preached.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    thanks arthur. i know. been there done that. still do prob.

  • http://www.talkgod.ca Lauren

    That seems like a difficult situation to be put in. I know from experience that leaving a church can be hard, especially when you live in a small town. Well-meaning people just don’t know the right things to say (or not to say) sometimes. They were so focused on trying to say the right thing they didn’t even notice you didn’t say a word. Probably not the best approach.

    Church politics aren’t fun, but not every church is bad for it. People are people everywhere you go, of course there are going to be troubles in churches, because they are full of broken people!

    But if we keep allowing all our offenses to build up and up, we harden our own heart to God and to people. I know also from experience the havoc bitterness reaps on a soul. It’s hard watching someone’s faith (and maybe even your own) get shipwrecked due to offense, but there’s hope in forgiveness.


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