Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)
TITLE: Fruity-Tofutti Evangelism
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge
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With a huge smile, Maggie continued. “Pete’s setting-up chairs for group, and I ask him to set out one more, explaining someone’s bringing a colleague. He knew Betty had been praying for her co-worker a long time, and was thrilled she was coming. I explained though there was something he needed to know, Betty’s colleague was extremely sensitive, offended easily, and needed to be handled with kid gloves.”
“Maggie, I know the type,” I said, refilling our coffee cups.
“Yea, but Doreen actually had another side to her. She was also rather outspoken and bold. For a first-timer, she took me by surprise.”
“How?” I asked.
“Well, when they arrived, she was amiable, handing me containers of food she’d prepared for our mealtime. She explained she brings her own food everywhere she goes, and that she brought extra to share too. I asked Pete to put them on the buffet table. A few minutes later, he pulls me aside. He said, “Mag-pie, nothing Doreen brought is recognizable. Actually that’s not so, it looks like puke on kitty-litter.” Leave it to Pete… so, I give him the speech about making people feel welcome, especially unsaved visitors, and how he had better be cordial and accommodate her… which also meant, tasting whatever it was she’d brought.”
“How did he take that?” I asked, giggling.
“He bristled at first, but we came to an agreement, and went back into the living room, now filled with the regulars. After some fellowship time and introducing Doreen to the gang, we settled down to begin. Now we’re maybe ten minutes into the lesson, when Doreen raises her hand. I’m thrilled, thinking she’s really getting into the session.”
“Why do I get the feeling her question wasn’t on topic?” I asked, smiling with anticipation.
“Because you’re right, she was about as off topic as you can get. She asks if we would please extinguish the scented candles, because she couldn’t concentrate on the teaching with them burning. Trying to be accommodating, and remembering what, Betty told me about Doreen’s sensitivity, I signal for Pete, to put them out but I admit I was taken back.”
“Was she allergic?”
“That was my first thought too. But while, Pete, was blowing out the candles, she begins preaching on the dangers of scented candles to your health… like how they emit poisonous gases, and cause serious illnesses, even cancer. Now I’d never heard these claims before, but try to act interested. Well, one of the regulars, Joanie, wasn’t as convivial. Joanie asked where she’d heard such bunk. Her husband, Harold, started choking on his drink. So, Doreen, hops on her platform. Half the group was adversarial, the rest were laughing. I could see Betty, who brought Doreen, dying of embarrassment. I’m sitting there, watching and listening, wondering how to get us back on track without offending anyone.”
As I watched Maggie tell her tale, I sensed there was more. I was right.
“Finally getting back to the lesson, Doreen, interrupts again. “Are we eating soon? It’s not healthy to be eating so late at night. Lecture 2 begins on the digestive tract. I’m realizing Miss Sensitive is anything but sensitive when it comes to others. One of the guys suggested we continue the study next week and just fellowship over dinner. Feeling defeated, I agreed.”
“Speaking of food,” I asked, “Maggie, you sure you don’t want anything to eat?”
Maggie signaled no, and continued.
“Finally at the table, Doreen starts pushing her concoctions. Pete, not willing to eat anything uglier than a plate of octopus, refuses. Lecture 3 begins about free-range, organic, non-hormone injected, no red meat… it didn’t end! We lost our appetites, except Pete. He engorged himself on everything she warned against.”
“One of those,” I snickered. After a good laugh, Maggie got serious.
“Pete hoped Doreen wouldn’t return, saying she was weird and out-of-sync with our group. First agreeing, the Holy Spirit convicted me. Was food more important than Doreen’s soul? Couldn’t I eat differently once a week not to offend her ? Her stuff wasn’t half-bad. Hadn’t we prayed for our group to become evangelistic? Well after a month of tofu, during group, Doreen accepted Christ, and I lost a few pounds! Pete now calls it our fruity-tofutti group.”
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