Monday, July 28, 2008

Hypocrites at Panera: An Illustration of Fallen Human Nature

Last week while my family was on vacation in a state in the "Bible Belt," my wife overheard a conversation that illustrates fallen human nature. (As a fallen sinner myself, my conversations often illustrate that as well! I'm highlighting this conversation because it is particularly striking.)

My wife had just sat down at Panera with her family to enjoy their lunch when two men came over to a table immediately next to them. They conversed rather loudly, and although my wife tried not to listen, she ended up overhearing some of what they said. They were discussing one of the men’s dating relationship (we’ll call him Man A) with a certain woman, and the other man (Man B) was offering sympathy with his friend’s frustration over the relationship’s direction. Here’s a paraphrase of the conversation:
  • Man A: She says she’s just not ready to sleep with someone unless they’re committed to a long-term relationship.
  • Man B: Oh, my. She’s really being too analytical. You know, you’re a good guy. She’s going to lose you if she’s not careful.
  • A: She keeps wanting to talk about the “direction” we’re going. I’m just not ready for conversations like that. I think she’s being too introspective. She’s just over-analyzing this. I really don’t see us being in a long-term relationship.
  • B: Yeah, that’s why I never dated her. I mean, she’s really beautiful and everything, but she does seem to analyze everything too much. If someone’s been single for eight years, there must be a reason.
The two continued discussing their frustration with this “over-analytical” woman. Then my wife was startled to hear Man B ask his friend,
  • B: So, have you been to church lately?
  • A: No, I’ve just gotten fed up with church—all those hypocritical people all dressed up and talking about doing good! They’re not any better the rest of the week for having gone to church.
  • B: You know, you might like my church. It’s different. They’re not pushy about how you should live or anything. They’re just really big on helping other people—like feeding the homeless and stuff.
  • A: Oh, I’d like that! I’m the kind of person who really likes to help other people. I think that’s really important!