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[despite the title, there's no poker content here, so if you were looking for discussion on min raises, you should just move along...]

I've actually tried to start this post about 5 times already, and deleted every single one. It's hard to explain to someone not of my generation just how my generation feels about organized religion, and Christianity in general, but to sum it up, unless you're doing it for the kids, that's just not cool, man. And well, if that's cool, I guess I'm not it.

I mean, granted, I'm a very atypical Christian: I study the metaphysical, I have a huge aversion to evangelizing (probably another reason this is so hard to write), I don't criticize anyone for not believing in the same things I do, I believe in the fact that all people no matter what shape, size, color or sex can be called to the priesthood (thank God I was raised Episcopalian), I drink, I dance, I play poker to the point where I've been at the tables for 26 hours straight (and let's be happy I'm not a Baptist, either) and I've shacked up with a boyfriend without being married (among other things that mean unlike Geena Davis, I will never be able to become President of the United States thanks to the skeletons in my closet on that subject).

But despite, or perhaps because of, all that I find with a reasonably decent spiritual grounding. I'm not afraid at all of dying (though I hope it won't be miserable and painful), I don't believe in coincidences, and when things get really awful, I always have someone to turn to and, well, I'll be honest, scream yell swear and/or plead to. I haven't been smote by lightning, so I'm pretty sure He's forgiven me for telling him to "fuck off" (in those words) on more than one occasion. It's rather nice to know that sees me exactly how I am, and while is annoyingly persistent about getting me to improve myself, doesn't blow me off if I sleep in on a Sunday thanks to a weekend poker bender.

Anyway, so, I've ended up back at my childhood church through a series of twists and turns. I ended up singing in the choir, which I hadn't realized I had missed so much (I sung when I was little and eventually got sick of some of the stuff that was going on in the children's choir I was in - but that's another story), and went back to lay reading (which I'd also done in HS). I got involved in a "latetwentysomething/thirtysomethings" group, and that helped solidify another social circle, and then 2 1/2 years ago, our relatively new rector asked me if I'd consider being on the vestry. For those of you who don't know, the rector isn't the End-all-be-all of a parish - we have a group of semi-elected members who are responsible for meeting once a month and dealing with (as dictionary.com puts it) the temporal affairs of the church.

There's quite a difference between "going to church" and being "actively involved." If I say yes to this, I can no longer be Bill-Clinton-esque and say "But, I never inhaled!" However, I have copious issues with saying no, so despite my feelings of "ennnnnh I don't want to be quite this involved", I was flattered at being asked, and ended up saying yes to the three year term this involved. Little did I know during this three year term we'd have a schism in the church at the same time that we were trying to get a construction loan and the parish's approval to begin work on the extension to our current space. This was a little bit more than I'd expected when I signed up, and I began to look forward to the end of this year, when I began to get my Monday nights freed up again as I'd be rolling off the Vestry, and the new building would be complete.

And then about 10 days ago, my priest gives me a call at home. I saw his name on the caller ID, and I know this is horrible, and I hope I'm not the only one who has this feeling, but I practically winced when I picked up the phone, because who ever gets called by a rector for something fun and exciting, like "hey I have an extra pair of cubs tickets, do you want them?" Needless to say, this wasn't the exception to the rule. Instead, the words that came out were something on the order of, "Hey, how would you like to be the new treasurer for the church, since [our current one, replacing the one we lost in the above schism] is too overwhelmed with school and a new job to handle it."

I think my exact reply was: "Uhhhhhhhh."

No, really.

He suggested we get together for lunch, I suggested that I really needed to talk to the person leaving the job. I caught up with her last Sunday at the picnic, and she basically said it was more work than being in charge of the vestry was, and that's a lot of work. My eyes bugged out. I resolved to tell Fr. Matt when I had lunch with him the next week that the only way I was going to take on that job was if we hired someone with accounting skills to move everything from manual clicky clicky copy paste in excel to the Quickbooks that we'd purchased, because this was a whole lot more time than I could see myself spending.

So, Fr. Matt and I had lunch today, and I expressed my reservations, and the fact that our previous long term treasurer was really a husband and wife team, and while my dog is SMART, he's just not that good, etc etc. I suggested that we might even split up the tasks a bit more because really, it is a lot of work. He thought about this, and then said that perhaps what we needed to do was to get the financial committee back in shape and have someone as treasurer to do all the official signing that needs to be done. And, would I, as a member of the vestry, be willing to lead that committee?

... Did I mention I'm not very good at saying no? I thought so.

And then he really gets me good - he turns on not the guilt, but the flattery - how I'm the first person that came to his mind to take this job, and also on several others' top lists, and he understood that I had other time commitments, and we could definitely get someone to do the bank reconciling, and someone to look into converting the old, clunky, manual system into something more modern and easier - we just needed someone to manage the reports and do all the official sign-y type things.

... and I'm so very very bad at saying no. Especially to someone who's wearing a collar (and yes, that includes my dog).

So now I'm in charge of the Baby Jesus's allowance, and likely the committee that's going to repair his slightly cracked piggy bank. In response to that, I'm going to go out and play some poker at my home game.
11 comments or Leave a comment
From: joespeaker Date: September 16th, 2005 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
This gives a whole new meaning to the Bank of MAI GREY.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 19th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha HA! It's a good thing my priest already knows about the poker playing ;)
examorata From: examorata Date: September 16th, 2005 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh hey! I was wondering what happened with this but work's gotten busier this week. Hee, I would have trouble saying "no" also. I'm glad you talked to the priest about it and I hope it is more a rewarding thing than a frustrating thing. Best of luck with it!
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 19th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, no kidding. :)

I think it'll be ok though. I hope. :)
From: gorski Date: September 16th, 2005 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's hard to explain to someone not of my generation just how my generation feels about organized religion, and Christianity in general, but to sum it up, unless you're doing it for the kids, that's just not cool, man. And well, if that's cool, I guess I'm not it.

heh. Must be geographical. Here in the South, at least, our generation seems to be the ones more interested in going back to church--but again from a spiritual standpoint. You go to church for God's sake, not 'cause the preacher told you to do this every week or you'll go to Hell.

Not that I'll assert that I was really ever one who managed to spend much time around "the cool kids"--but then at least of the population I can see, our generation here seems to still be churchgoers even if our parents fall away a bit, and we seem to be the ones adamant about the whole deal--not Christmas and Easter, and not I believe the priest when he says X but not Y. If the cool kids here aren't churchgoers, then it must be that less of the kids here are MTV cool.

I dunno--my two cents.

Good luck with Baby Jesus's allowance--though I'm sure you'll do just fine.

Peace to you, and long-time-no-see greetings,

maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 19th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Weeeell, I think geography plays a part in it, but don't take this the wrong way - you're considerably younger than I am, and I'm at the young end of my generation.

Your generation is different, and I find that a lot more young folks are more interested in religion and it's a different gestalt.
From: gorski Date: September 21st, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, I don't know exactly how old you are--I'll go ahead and say that.

But generationally, I seem to find my cultural peers are older than me, and not younger--I seem to find myself at the tail end of Generation X, as it were.

I can think of at least one friend from New York who claims to be younger than all her Generation X friends but is still a few years older than me--I don't know how this works. Maybe the generational boundary years vary with geography as well--may be that people in North Carolina perceive Generation X as going clear 'til 1980 and people in New York perceive it as having ended in 1975. Or maybe there's an interstitial time between the cultural generations--some of us with some characteristics of Generation X and some characteristics of Generation Y, with not quite enough relation to either to really recognize the difference. I don't know.

...In any case, my original point has to do with folks a few years older than me as well--here, in my little corner of the world, the people born in the 1970s or so do take more of an interest in things spiritual and religious than our "boomer" elders.

Not that it matters a whole lot I suppose--just an observation.

Peace to you,


...and give Baby Jesus my love when you give him his allowance this week, wouldya? <grin>
From: teamscottsmith Date: September 17th, 2005 12:02 am (UTC) (Link)
So as a disclaimer, I'm an atheist.

Here's my thoughts on your job acceptance: If you get out more than you put in, it's a good deal.

And I'm not really talking about funding higher poker limits with Jesus' allowance. I, of course, mean in your heart; in your peace of mind. That is what religion should be about anyway. If it isn't rewarding, don't do it. Tell him you'll try it out for 3 months or something and reevaluate if it is a job for you.

Have you tried any polytheistic churches? Maybe one of them has a god that can do the books himself.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 19th, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you tried any polytheistic churches? Maybe one of them has a god that can do the books himself

HA HA HA!! Good thing I wasn't drinking when I read that. :)

But yes, your point is well taken. I did tell him I wasn't able to do it all, and we'd have to re-evaluate. If I can't do it, I can't do it, and I'll tell him that.

I'm just a type A overachiever so I'll want to do a good job and not feel like i'm 'failing'.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Bend. Carve. Repeat.

Daddy loves altar boys.
maigrey From: maigrey Date: September 19th, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Bend. Carve. Repeat.

Hey, we have altar girls too for your pleasure :)
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