A couple of days ago I was the guest speaker at the local Kiwanis Club. I went there to talk about my book, The Red Shoe and hopefully to sell a few copies. There was a nice mixture of people and they were certainly friendly. Everyone shook hands and entered into various forms of communication. My seat was at the front of course and so for a few minutes I sat alone and watched the proceedings. It was the same sort of friendliness I observe at Westgate on Sunday. It was certainly a feel good environment. We all got in line at the buffet and filled our plates. I tried to go light because I was going to speak. The food was good and the incoming club president took a seat beside me. He asked some questions and we had a friendly chat.
When the meeting began we sang “God Bless America” and then pledged the flag of the United States of America. Very fine. Then a gentleman led us in prayer. It was a typical Christian prayer and invoked the name of Jesus. There was a chorus of amens.
I gave my talk and answered questions without having given any notice of what had taken place. This was a civic club but it acted like a church. It sang a song about God and repeated a pledge about God and offered a prayer to God through his son. I later wondered why the ACLU hadn’t crashed the party. Like most wiregrass Christians I assumed that everyone there was just like me. But they weren’t. They held their own beliefs but made no issue of them.
When I began to sign books a gentleman said to me, “Please don’t mention religion because we’re Jewish.” No big thing. He enjoyed the club and was a vital part but he didn’t pray in Jesus’s name. He didn’t make a deal of it when someone else did. Maybe there was a total unbeliever in the audience or a humanist. Who knows. They were united for a purpose and that was to serve youth and community. They were able to do that even though they possibly had lots of different beliefs.
Sometimes we can’t do that even in a church where we all are “one in Christ.” I had to think about the government. They are supposed to be united for a purpose but they let every little thing divide them. They can’t even sit together on the same side of the building. Makes you wonder when people put their own agenda first if they really are committed to a common good. I don’t know if Kiwanians argue and fuss but I know they cross the aisle and forget their personal feelings long enough to make a positive impact on the town in which they live. All of us could learn a good lesson from them.