Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pastor Tom and my camping trip

Before I share some of my camping adventures with you, and arrange the photographs for your enjoyment, I want to take a small detour.  Are any of my readers familiar with Cowboy Church?  
It is a network looking to rope in new Christians and to provide a place to worship outside the traditional church setting.  I think that is great...for them. What isn't so great is the insistence on trying to witness to others, when they so clearly have not shown an interest in joining up.  Now, Pastor Tom was just doing what he signed up for-you can Google Oregon cowboy churches, and Pastor Tom will probably show up.  I met Pastor Tom on my first day at Lily Glen, and had just come back to my campsite with Woodrow.  Woody had been fussing at the stream crossing, and I spent more than an hour working him over it.  Needless to say, we were tired, and a bit frustrated with one another.  Pastor Tom came over, introduced himself, and invited us to church that weekend.  I declined politely and steered the conversation to horsemanship.  We had a great conversation about horse training, and parted ways.  

The next day, I was invited again.  

That evening, as I was riding past Pastor Tom's camp, he invited me again.  Then after chatting, he asked me if I was a Christian.  I know he was "witnessing", but it's so baldly rude.  So I told him the truth.  No.  And asked  why aren't there Cowboy Synagogues?  Humor wouldn't dissuade him, and he persisted in grilling me.  I finally said my spiritual beliefs come from a 12 step program, and at that, he told me that if I believed in a Higher Power, then I'd eventually become a Christian.  

This was so arrogant, and so misguided, and so disrespectful of another's path in life...I  was left shaking my head.   Pastor Tom did me a big favor, though, in unintentionally pointing out how my own work through the 12 steps has helped me become more accepting of others and genuinely kind. Thanks Pastor Tom, and thanks for the training tips...really.    

3 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about Pastor Tom's pushiness. I've never met him, of course, but as a non-christian myself (and an Oregonian, coincidentally!), I can completely relate. But I'm glad you got some good training tips and nice conversation as well. :) Witnesses for any religion can be annoying and sometimes even offensive, but they generally mean well. :D

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  2. The most effective form of witnessing/proselytizing , IMHO, is living your life by the example you want to set. :) If one's heart is obscured by (well-meaning) words, it might be time to be quiet......

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  3. Oh, I could have written this post myself....except I can't ride a horse:-) In my own experience, the 12 steps brought me to a spiritual home However I think the deepest part of spiritual life is humility and compassion which is not something I would be sensing in these interactions.

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