Personal Questions.

Once upon a time, I knew a man who was a really good person. He was a Christian, but you know by now that I already think that it wouldn’t matter what religion he was. Good is as good does. Well, he thought it mattered. He’d chosen to minister to those around him by being as good a Christian as he humanly could, as Christlike as he could be. He clothed the naked, fed the hungry (for which I am profoundly grateful as that meant me and Biff, my preacherman ex, on occasion), consoled the heartbroken, and gave shelter to those who didn’t have a place (see earlier parenthetical note). He ran the Renaissance Faire circuit pretty regularly back in the 80s/90s (I think he still does). Anybody who spent much time around them probably knows exactly and precisely who I’m talking about right now because he was not quiet about his faith, though he wasn’t obnoxious or anything, just really up-front in that way that only humble religious people manage. The guy not only didn’t have a skeleton in his closet, I don’t think he even had a closet. Maybe not even a house. If I found out he yelled at his wife or dealt drugs, it’d do more to rattle me than finding out prayers aren’t magic spells ever did.

He told me once as he treated me and Biff to a Chinese buffet in that one little place near Texas Renfest (this was while I was still Christian) that he’d had to conquer pride as his greatest sin. WTF? I was shocked, but he went on to say that he knew, you see, that he was a good person, and he struggled with the pride he felt as he went through the world helping others. He told me he’d realized he had a problem when one of his neighbors once came up to him while he was packing his trailer for a festival and said, “You’re so nice. You’re one of the nicest people I know. Can I ask you a personal question?”

His heart leapt in his chest. Finally! It’d paid off! All that effort! With visions of impromptu bathtub baptisms in his head, my friend nodded and said, “Yes, of course you can.”

The neighbor gave him that squinty look and asked hesitantly…

“Are you a vegetarian?”

Much love to those who are trying their best today. We see you. We know you’re there. Thank you for being part of the tapestry.

A performance of human chess at the Northern C...

A performance of human chess at the Northern California Renaissance Faire in Santa Clara County. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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About Captain Cassidy

Cassidy was raised Catholic, converted to Pentecostalism in her mid-teens, married a preacher, and deconverted after college. She blogs about religion, deconversion, video and tabletop gaming, psychology, modern culture, and other such topics at Roll to Disbelieve and contributes to Ex-Communications for Recovering from Religion, both hosted at Patheos.

  • http://soundslikeorange.com Orange (a/k/a David)

    Touching and sad. The poor guy to be reduced to eating habits.

  • http://arguablyatheist.wordpress.com Ben

    Hah wow. I wish I could imagine the look on his face after that question.

    Too bad about the lesson he took away from it though. No problems being proud to do the right thing IMO.

  • http://clergyguy.blogspot.com Clergyguy

    ROTF laughing at the man’s question. I would have been tempted to answer, “No I’m Presbyterian… or Sagittarius, I forget which.”

    You’re friend sounds like the real deal. “Good is as good does…” is an apt phrase.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve Captain Cassidy

    Yup! Pride’s a perfectly rational human emotion in response to a job well done! :)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve Captain Cassidy

    The funny thing was that because of all the charity he did for others, he didn’t eat a lot of meat… ;)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve Captain Cassidy

    Thank you :) And what a funny answer! I’m tempted to say “oh, Sagg, of course!”

    I geographically left the Faire circuit when I fled Biff, but I wish I’d been able to keep up with it, not the least because I miss my old friends. It was like being with a traveling circus, all one big dysfunctional family, but some folks stood out as the stability in the whole mewing, barking pack of Rennies. He really was a treasure of a friend in many ways beyond that, a fount of unceasing acceptance and understanding. I learned a lot from him that’s stuck through decades of feckless peregrination. <3

  • http://villainousintent.wordpress.com Psycho Gecko

    “No, I’m a humanitarian.”

    Which carries somewhat different connotations if you’re knowledgeable about TV Tropes.

    But that bit about pride reminds me of the Tzadikim Nistarim. Found out about it originally thanks to Neil Gaiman, but it’s a nice concept. I read a lot of superhero stuff, so they sound somewhat familiar. 36 hidden people who use special powers to protect and save people, staying anonymous and without knowing each other. They themselves don’t even know they are what they are because one of the virtues they carry so absolutely is that of humility. Tzadikim are too humble to ever think they are Tzadikim. It also means anyone claiming to be one absolutely can’t be one.

    Though I do think some pride is appropriate for good acts.


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