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I Think He Said The Quiet Part Out Loud

, , , , , , | Working | February 17, 2023

Even before marriage ever came up between my wife and me, I explained to her how much I hate churches due to things I witnessed growing up. She was understanding and knew my feelings about churches.

Eventually, things keep going and we get engaged. Now, all the wedding planning takes place. [Fiancée]’s got ideas! I tell her any plans she has is okay with me, but the only thing I want is cheesecake for the wedding cake. (It was the best wedding cake ever! Everyone there had multiple pieces to try the three different flavors we had.) We go through a handful of places where we might be able to get married that could accommodate the number of guests [Fiancée] wants but to no avail. The only option left that can accommodate us is the church her family attends.

She hasn’t been to the church herself for years, but she likes the old pastor, and he’s a family friend, so he agrees to do our wedding ceremony even though he’s almost fully retired. The new pastor of the church has been handling weddings as he’s been transitioning into the position, but the old pastor says he’ll handle the ceremony instead, and this makes my fiancée happy.

However, there is one stipulation if we are to be wed at the church; we have to do premarriage counseling classes — a total of three one-hour classes. I roll my eyes at [Fiancée] when she tells me about this, but since this is what she wants, I tell her it won’t be an issue. Our wedding is still a good six-plus months away, so the classes aren’t something that have to happen right away. All three classes are scheduled a few weeks apart.

The day arrives for our first premarriage counseling class. We arrive at the church, and since the new pastor has been taking the lead on things, he is the one doing the premarriage counseling classes. We all exchange pleasantries and chat for a few minutes, and then [Fiancée] and I are taken to different rooms where we’re both given some marriage compatibility test that we have the next forty-five minutes to work on. It’s so stupid, but I read through all the dumb questions and fill in my choices on the answer sheet. I don’t recall if we ever get results back from the test or not, and nothing else of importance happens during that class.

A few weeks later, our second premarriage counseling class is due. We arrive at the church and meet up with the new pastor again. I don’t recall what we even do that day, but I recall we have a bit of time talking. As we sit on the couch in his office across from the pastor behind his desk, he asks questions and we answer. He talks about the church and blah, blah, blah. Things are dull and boring, and there are maybe ten minutes left in our class. Things ARE dull and boring until he drops this on us.

New Pastor: “I understand that [Old Pastor] is going to be doing the ceremony for your wedding, correct?”

Fiancée: “Yes. He was my pastor as I was growing up, and he’s a family friend, so he said he would do our ceremony before he retires this year.”

New Pastor: “Excellent! That’s good to hear. I don’t think I’ve seen you guys attend mass at all, so if you guys are interested, we have mass on [days and times]. We’d love to see you guys join us.”

Fiancée: “That’s something we can certainly think about.”

New Pastor: “That’s good to hear because we’d love to see you guys come in and donate money to us.”

[Fiancée], knowing how I felt about churches and the reasons behind it, noticed that the expression on my face went from an indifferent, don’t-want-to-be-here, bored look to anger. To this day, I’m still not sure what I would have done; I don’t know if I would have gone over the desk and hit him or if I would have just stood up and chewed him out for telling us that that we need to come to the church and give them money.

But [Fiancée] grabbed my arm and pulled me back onto the couch before I could get up. She then took one hand, put it on my cheek, and turned my face toward hers. I could see the fear on her face, and it wasn’t fear of what I was going to do but fear that I would ruin all the work we had put into planning our wedding if I screwed things up here. She didn’t have to say a word to me; the look on her face was enough to calm me down. I just nodded to her, calmly and slowly stood up, and walked out.

I went out to the car and sat there for about five minutes before she came out to join me. I didn’t ask what transpired after I left the office. [Fiancée] told me that our last class would be handled by [Old Pastor], not [New Pastor].

A few weeks went by, and we headed to the church and, sure enough, we met up with [Old Pastor]. We all sat and chatted and had some laughs, and I actually enjoyed my time. I never did see [New Pastor] again, and I don’t know if he decided to continue his work at the church or not.

I still don’t understand how [New Pastor] ever thought it was a good idea to tell people that they needed to come into the church and just give them money.

God Help You If You Touch This Guy’s Cupcakes!

, , , | Right | CREDIT: BecentiComposer | January 21, 2023

I work in a hotel. A local church rented a few adjoining rooms for a week or so for their pastor or other church officials. I’m not sure what their business is, but they seem like they’re busy with meetings, etc. There are always people coming and going, and they like to congregate in our breakfast area by the lounge. They make coffee, bring snacks and refreshments, and meet for a few hours or so. This hasn’t been an issue as we haven’t been particularly busy, but as the holidays approach, we’re steadily getting busier and busier.

They’re not rude per se, but they aren’t exactly pleasant, either. They’ve asked me a number of times for plates, cutlery, etc., which I provide from our stores. After the third time or so, I told them our supplies are running low, so I could only provide so much. They gave me a look like they were thinking, “What kind of place is this?” and took what I offered.

Sometimes, they don’t completely clean up after themselves, either, which is annoying. A few times, they asked me to ask other guests to leave their “meeting area” because they were disturbing them. I informed them that other guests are free to use our public spaces as they like. I didn’t want to sound rude, but I suggested that if they held their meeting in their rooms, no one would disturb them there. I was met with more “What kind of rathole is this?” stares.

We sold out fairly early yesterday, and I was running through the bucket checking information, helping with guests’ phone calls, etc., when one of the church members came to the desk looking grumpier than usual. He was glaring at me with a sour bulldog face as I was hanging up with a guest. I braced and internally prepared for whatever this was going to be.

Guest: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Helping guests at the moment. What can I do for you?”

Guest: “While you’ve been doing whatever you’re doing, people have been eating our cupcakes from our meeting area. They were meant for later.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but what meeting area?”

He pointed to the breakfast area.

Me: “I apologize, sir, but that is our breakfast area, which is open to all our guests. If food is left there unattended, we are not responsible for what happens to it.”

Guest: “So, what should we do, then?”

I’m thinking, “I don’t know. Keep it in one of your rooms until you’re ready for your meeting, maybe?”

Guest: “I saw some dirty-looking kid grab one; now we have to throw the rest out! And there are people drinking at the bar, being loud, and causing a disturbance!”

He went on for a bit, I guess fully expecting me to clear out the area so they could have their meeting in their “meeting area.” I just repeated that it was a public space, so we were not responsible for whatever they left out; my job is to attend to guests and I can’t police their cupcakes or whatever. I didn’t say it like that, but I made my point.

Guest: “I at least expect full compensation for the cupcakes!”

Me: “I can’t clear that because you chose to leave your stuff in a public area, and that isn’t our responsibility at all.”

He got my name and my manager’s cards and left. He didn’t do anything more about the cupcakes, and he didn’t say if they were going to meet there or not, so I just left it.

Near the end of my shift, no one from the church had been by, and the cupcakes were still there, so I just threw them away.

They are only here through Saturday, thank God, and I’m off tomorrow so I don’t have to see them. Praise!

Couldn’t Look Past(or) This Ridiculous Ask

, , , , , , , , | Romantic | January 9, 2023

The pastor of our church asked my husband and me if we would consider refinancing our home. Why? He felt it would be beneficial for us to “donate” the equity to the church to help build a new facility with a basketball court. It was the pastor’s “dream basketball court”, but he promised up and down that it would be for the church’s youth. He ended up convincing several families to donate their home equity toward his— I mean, the church’s project.

I flat-out refused. My husband was furious with me for refusing, and we had several escalating arguments over it. Coupled with pressure from the pastor, including a list of people who had already donated and several quotes from the Bible, it very quickly grew to a head.

I turned on my husband and told him he could keep the church in the divorce, but I was going to sell him our house and give him his half to do whatever the h*** he pleased with it. I made it completely clear that there was no way I was going to put my half of the divorce settlement toward this “project”.

In the end, everyone lost their money, and the building was never built. We have no idea where the pastor is to this day; he just disappeared shortly after enough money was donated.

I put the money down on a new home, and I’m very happy with my single life.

Your Director Is So Fired

, , , , , , , , | Learning | December 25, 2022

When I was around second grade, my church put on a Christmas play involving every child in Sunday school, telling the story of Jesus’s birth. I was cast as one of the three wise men, and our role was to stand in front of the mics, look up at the ceiling, and comment on the Star of Bethlehem. In order to prevent us from looking in three different directions, we were told beforehand to look in the direction of the ceiling fan. Unfortunately, I had no idea where the fan was in the nave, especially in the darkened room.

Wise Man #1: “Wow, look at that star!”

Wise Man #2: “That star is shining so bright!”

Me: “What could that star mean?” *Pauses* “Where is that stupid star?”

My mom told me afterward that all the adults around her thought it was adorable, which totally made up for the other kids telling me their parents were recording the play and I blew their big moment.

If God Created Us, He Created Our Ability To Create Medicine!

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 6, 2022

I’m in college on summer break. I’ve been experiencing occasional stomach pain and cramps for no known reason. I also have thyroid disease, and my doctor has recently changed my meds.

This all comes to a head one Sunday at church with my mom. I’m already not feeling great because of my new thyroid meds, and during the sermon, my stomach starts cramping again. My mom helps me out to the lobby and asks if I can walk to the car. I can’t, so she sits me on a bench and goes to pull the car around.

An acquaintance has followed us out.

Acquaintance: “Are you okay?”

I open my mouth to respond, but another cramp hits me, so all that comes out is a groan.

Acquaintance: “Guess that’s a no. Did you eat something bad?”

Me: “No idea. I already wasn’t feeling well because of my new thyroid medicine, and now this.”

Acquaintance: “You know, being on those pills shows a lack of faith.”

Me: “Excuse me?!”

Acquaintance: “You should stop your medicine. Have faith that you’ll be healed.”

Me: “I’m not stopping my medicine.”

Acquaintance: “Then you don’t have faith.”

I open my mouth to respond, but I hear the senior pastor’s wife’s voice behind me.

Pastor’s Wife: “I’m on thyroid medicine, too. Does that mean I don’t have faith, [Acquaintance]?”

Acquaintance: “Um…”

Pastor’s Wife: “I’d go back to the service if I were you.”

The acquaintance bolts back into the sanctuary. The senior pastor’s wife sits next to me.

Me: “Th-thank you.”

Pastor’s Wife: “No problem. Adjusting to a new thyroid medicine dose is hard. Looks like your mom brought the car around. Let’s get you home to rest.”

She helped me out to the car, as I was now doubled over in pain. The pain went away, but it came back a few days later. I ended up in the Emergency Room, where it was discovered that I had gallstones. I had surgery soon after.

While I was in a recovery room, a balloon, flowers, and a small gift basket were delivered. The senders? My church’s senior pastor, his wife, and the other pastors on staff.