I had a horrible experience yesterday. I went to eat dinner at a coffeehouse in town. It is a wonderful place - nice atmosphere, good sandwiches, excellent soup.
As I was waiting for my panini to grill, I saw the chalkboard listing upcoming bands and pianists. One band was listed as Christian Rock, another as Worship. I thought, isn't this interesting.
Then I saw a catalog to accompany the inhouse bookstore/gift shop. I grabbed it because I am in need of constant stimulation no matter where I am. As I looked through it I realized that everything was Christian from the books to the CDs to the crosses and such. I closed it up and returned it quickly as if my hands were going to burst into some sort of Biblical flames.
Now I was nervous. Will the other patrons realize they have a pagan in their midst? Will they know that Jesus is not my home boy? Will they cast me out with some strange incantation? Or worse - will they try to convert me? [Please note that I am incredibly tolerant of other religions. I just object to having things thrust in my face and forced upon me.]
I made my way to the bookstore/gift shop in the back of the cafe just to take a look. I seemed to remember that when I first visited the cafe (and I have been quite a few times without feeling inundated with Christian symbols and such), that they had a nice selection of books.
The nice selection has been replaced with "How to Find God" (is he missing again?); "Salvage your relationship if he cheats" (cut off his ding dong); "How to reaffirm your faith" (booze works nicely); and - oddly - Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals.
On my way out I thought, how do I get out as quickly as possible when one of the owners stopped me and asked if she could help. I said, "no, just looking, thanks" and she said "well, feel free to linger" which I am sure is code for "hurry, let's get her to recite a Psalm before she is out of our clutches!"
The day was lovely so I was able to breath, which I sorely needed. Then I took a relaxing drive along the river. I was rejuvenated.
Will I return? Of course. The sandwiches and soup are delicious. I could do without the Jesus. Now that I know what to expect, I will avoid the backroom. I will also avoid going when there is a band.