Friday, September 29, 2006

On the Same Note

I remember in Divinity School, people would walk around asking each other about their prayer practice. They said it in this very breathy, kind of holier-than-thou way. "What are you doing for your prayer practice?" they'd say. "Oh, I'm doing this amazing prayer practice."

It made me very cranky. One day this intimidatingly beautiful, wispy woman with huge eyes and the clearest skin in the world said to me, "Do you have a prayer practice?" and I was just so fed up I said, "NO. I HATE PRAYER."

To this day, if I ever see her, she gives me the gentlest, most understanding smile in the world like the kind you would give to a dangerously insane person after determining that they were safely shackled to the wall.


Blogger Philocrites said...

Ah, one of my Div School Pet Peeves: the prayer fascist! (I've got spirituality, how 'bout you?)

The prayer fascist was a close cousin to the sociopastor, who transformed almost every social encounter into an opportunity to exude "ministerial presence" and invasive concern. Most seminarians recover from an early bout of sociopastoralism within a few years because it creeps people out. For example: "How are you?" asks the casual seminary acquaintance, who then tilts her head ever so gently and adds, "No, how are you really?"

Blogger RevThom said...

Philocrites - you forgot the ever important elbow-touch. The sociopastor always lightly touches your elbow while asking invasive questions.

(But who am I to talk? Whose days in seminary would stand up to the scrutiny?)

Blogger Girl said...

Oooooo...I HATE gentle, understanding smiles.


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