I had the pleasure to attend the ordination of a friend of mine this weekend. As you are probably all too well aware, I am not a religious person and have in pretty much decided that atheism is where it is at. That being said, it was an honor to be invited to witness such an important event in the life of a truly wonderful person. If there is going to be religion in the world at least there will be kind, honest, open, non-judging, intelligent people like my friend Kendra helping to lead the way.
Having never attended any church service other than for weddings and funerals the whole experience was a bit strange to me. I kind of felt like there was a blinking light above me that flashed "Non-Believer, Non-Believer" over and over again so that everyone could tell I didn't belong in there. There was one point when everyone spontaneously got up and started shaking hands with each other and going to other pews and greeting people. They were saying things involving words like "peace be with you" and something about "blessing" and all I kept thinking was "what is going on here?" and (most importantly) "Don't make eye contact. Don't make eye contact. If you don't look at them they won't come over here!". I saw one parishioner out of the corner of my eye look like he was going to try touch my hand and say church-y things to me but my deft use of uncomfortable body language and the lack of eye contact saved me from interaction. Needless to say this interacting with your neighbor thing made me a little uncomfortable. Come to find out, this happens at services all the time. I was totally unaware.
Oh, and the Pastor referred to the non-baptized (hello, sitting in one of your pews) as "enemies of the church". Nice to know I have a title.
Seriously though, I wish Kendra all the best in her calling. I admit to jealousy that someone feels so strongly about something she is willing to devote not just her career but her entire existence to a particular calling. I wish my path in life were that clear. Rarely do we get a chance to celebrate those kinds of moments in our lives and I am proud to have helped Kendra celebrate hers. You Lutherans got a good one here! Treat her well.