Thursday, February 5, 2015

Another Jerk for Jesus

Last night my wife and I ate at a local casual dining restaurant. While there we encountered a man who single-handedly offended one entire section of the establishment- and he did it all in the name of Jesus. Here's the story of our encounter with another Jerk for Jesus.

Just as we were being seated in a booth we noticed that a table near us was relocating to another apart of the restaurant. It was fairly crowded in our section and we wrongly assumed that they were just uncomfortable in the space they had been given. It didn't take long for us to begin to guess the real reason they decided to flee. There was a family in the booth behind me featuring a very loud man. I mean LOUD. After our waitress (a wonderful woman named Susan) had taken our drink order she stopped by their booth and asked the man if he wanted cheese on his entree. He said that in response he had something special to tell her. He then began yelling, in some sort of odd voice that was supposed to be an impression of Curly from the 3 Stooges, "Moe, Larry, CHEESE!" After saying it at least a dozen times he asked Susan if she knew what that meant. When she guessed it was a Stooges reference he was impressed- and begin saying it over and over again- AGAIN! You cannot imagine how loudly he was speaking in a restaurant. He continued to talk with his family about a variety of things, mentioning things like bible study and church on various occasions. The brave waitress stopped by to check on them another time and he began yelling, "Never, ever, ever give up!" Repeatedly. He them queried Susan on the origin of that quote, and when she didn't know the answer that he wanted was Winston Churchill he began to lecture her for not knowing her history. He then told her the history of the quote, adding this somewhat accurate but really unnecessary finish: "It's a good thing he didn't give up, or you wouldn't be working here. You'd be living in a concentration camp run by Hitler." Such pleasant dinner conversation.

But he still had one more offensive thing to say before leaving. There was another table right next to us with a a mom, dad and nearly one year old boy. Our new "friend" began clacking together some salad tongs like they were a percussion instrument and the little boy turned to see what was making all the noise. The man then said, "Oh you like that? I bet you remember these from when they pulled you out of mommy!" I cannot make this stuff up. Moments later they were gone, headed for Movie Stop to look for a movie about Helen Keller. I know that because the man never shut up!

All of the above story makes him quite annoying and no fun to share dinner with, but none of that make him a Jerk for Jesus. This does. After they departed I complimented Susan on her patience and bravery in dealing with him, and she informed us that we missed the worst part. At some point before eating he announced that it was time to bless the food. That is a wonderful thing to do. He then began demanding that everyone else in that section of the restaurant join him in prayer. When people (including Susan herself) did not respond, he became agitated and belligerent. His obnoxious attitude and his inappropriate prayer demands were what had caused that table to leave as we were arriving. In doing something I am sure he felt was "in the name of God" he had given a restaurant full of people yet one more piece of evidence that Christians are obnoxious, loud-mouthed jerks. And then to follow that with the rest of his behavior just added fuel to the fire. No one came closer to Jesus through his words and actions. But we know of at least one family that ran away.

God have mercy on us.

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