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You Can't Save People

So I thought I had mentioned it on here some point previously but I suppose not. So where I work rents a space in a church, right? I don’t think the church itself is of any particular order, there’s a catholic mass held the chapel every day, there’s definitely a Sunday school and whatever the hell else goes on on Sundays and a Wednesday lunch time service, not to mention the occasional funeral and such. Hey, in the past six months or so they’ve even been renting spaces out for Muslim services twice a week or so. Really they’re the congregation of capitalist venture, in my view, and I’m cool with that. I’m not a fan of religion but at least it is equal opportunity here, so long as you’ve got the cash.


However, since they rent out to us and so many other people there’s kind of a conflict of interest pleasing their renters (my work especially) and what would be considered Christian charity. For a downtown church, not a lot of outreach to the poor, in fact last year “No Loitering” signs went up around the premises. Sometimes, the homeless and the mentally unbalanced come in to warm up/hang out, but they aren’t on the premises for long, I’ve noticed. I do not envy John and his position as the one to have to kick people out. I really think he gets the shittiest end of the stick because he has to be the heavy, deal with fucking crazies, and get the question thrown at him “what the hell, I thought this was a church?” I mean it’s not all bad. I know there’s one guy who is totally harmless that hangs out and talks to John and everything, but for the mast part it his got to suck.


Anyway, so a little while ago, in the summer, this guy and this homeless lady and would hang out in the lobby all day, from opening to early afternoon. It seemed like he was always talking at her about faith and the lord. From the snippets I picked up it was mostly that you have to put effort towards praising god before he’ll let your life turn around. Sometimes the guy would fall asleep during his “lessons” and she would just sit patiently and say nothing until he woke up and would continue. I asked John what the deal was with them and he told me the guy fancies himself a “Bishop” (and interesting title choice, I thought) and she’s his follower. So they hung around for a while. I don’t think John could do anything about them because they kina were using the Church to it’s purpose (i.e. a place to talk about such ideas).


One day toward the end of the summer the lady was all frazzled in the morning. I guess the guy (her Christian guru, for lack of a better word) turned out to be a charlatan and took all her stuff and what little money she had and disappeared. There’s enlightenment for ya. She pretty much fell apart and cracked after a few days of tolerating her mental breakdown the church had to call the cops and take her out. All part of workin’ in the city.


So yesterday morning  I walked in to work and that guy was back in the lobby, preaching to another lady. When I saw him I got so angry. There he was, I thought, preaching another victim who was willing to hang on to his every word promising a better life. Really, like any other con man or religious charlatan he was building up trust before screwing this lady over. I thought, this didn’t seem fair that the church would condone this. So I asked John what the hell happened, why was he there with a new disciple? Sadly, his disciple is not new. It’s the same lady. I didn’t recognize her, it’s like she aged ten years in three months. Hence the reason John really can’t do anything, or if he could, why would he want to get involved in their drama. She obviously has patterns allowing abusive behavior towards her and has forgiven this guy. What’s sadder, on top of this acceptance of abuse, is that she probably thinks this guy is going to offer her some sort of spiritual solace or something. Goes to show, "you can't save poeple."


Anyway that’s kinda a depressing story before this thanksgiving. I guess I just don’t get it, the whole entrusting yourself to someone for spiritual guidance. But then again, I really don’t entrust myself for any of that and I’m an atheist anyway. So it’s all kind of lost on me. Speaking of atheism there was an article on CrossCut about how atheists are discriminated against in public office. I already figured it was pretty impossible to run for public office and be an out atheist, but I was a little surprised (and kind of offended, actually) at the tone of the article calling atheists “blowhards.” I mean some of the world’s very vocal atheists (Dawkings and such) are pretty pompous, but that doesn’t make the whole lot of us blowhards. WTF?






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