Church Welfare, Part 1

A long while back, I signed my girls up for a church program in another congregation. We were offered a scholarship for the week-based on a trade of services--which we gladly accepted. When we walked in and filled out paperwork, a kind volunteer asked me to pay the registration fee. I immediately thought, “Oh no. You are going to make me say out loud that we are scholarship people?” Pregnant pause. Yes, I am going to have to say it out loud. I swallow my pride and say, “Well, I believe it's already taken care of by your pastor.” I hoped that would be the end of it because good grief—I was beginning to sweat and a small circle of people I know were waiting to talk to me. The exchange continued, “Oh. I see. Well, you need to go and talk to so and so at that other table about getting a scholarship.” At this point, I smiled and recalled my best teenager self and walked away as the helpful volunteer was mid-sentence. Sometimes, I am twelve.

During this sweaty five minutes, a small voice in my head kept saying, “Teachable moment, Jodi.” Actually, it was my friend Phil's voice saying, “Welcome pride-sucking humbling moment. What have you to teach me?” He is very Zen. And of course I already knew what the learning was—it sucks to needy. Or to be seen as needy. It sucks to not be in the position of power. It sucks to have kind, well meaning church people look at you with pity. Well, played, Teachable Moment #47290.

This little experience serves as a reminder to all of us that it's way, way more fun to give things away (position of power) than to be on the receiving end. Also, if someone even hints that they might need a scholarship—go with it. Don't make them discuss it in front of God and everyone else waiting to register. If your program goes broke or belly up because you gave out so many scholarships—you did it! You moved from “club” to church and thanks be to God for that. Next year, give the whole thing away for free and see what happens.

Now, listen to this piece of brilliance by the Bottle Rockets and move onto Part 2.