Millennial Life: When the Spirits Call You to Action
An older gentleman in a well-used pickup pulled up in front of our driveway as we were setting up Halloween decor on our porch. My husband told me later that he thought it might be someone I knew or who might have something to do with my campaign for city council. But the gentleman was working on another campaign of sorts, one that involved inviting us and our kids to a church event.
He asked us if we go to a church, specifically directing the question at my husband as I muttered to myself, detangling a spiderweb with lights. The stranger explained that the Bible had made him a better father and a better husband. In a way that a wife can see quickly, my husband bristled. The stranger asked again, more pointedly, "Do you all have a church home?"
My husband sighed, "We're atheists," as I took the pamphlet from the deflated stranger and wished him well. As the man drove off, I told my husband, "Speak for yourself. Because 10-1, he was likely moved by the Spirit to talk to us, and I would have really liked to ask him if he's sure about which one did."
I wasn't raised in a religious home, but I've watched people engage with religion much like a tourist would in a culture she's not at home in -- respectful and curious. However, I am a bit befuddled when a believer asserts their belief should be imposed on how I live. There once seemed to be an understanding of You Do You, and now, that has percolated into a version of My Doing Will Be Your Doing, even if it's everyone's undoing.
In my last column, I wrote that the campaign felt like the strangest job interview, and one part was how invasive the questions seemed. One phone call on Halloween was of note. I had 15 minutes before we went trick-or-treating; I could call a voter back who had called me earlier in the day.
"I'm not sure if I'm allowed to ask these questions," she started. I replied, "Well, with a lead-in like that, let's go!"
She asked me if I was a lifelong resident. I told her no, only 20 years; I came for college. She asked me if I was a Democrat or Republican. I told her it was a nonpartisan race, but that I was a Democrat. She asked what I thought about abortion. I told her it was a part of health care.
"You call it health care, then," and quoted the Bible. She asked me if I had children and was surprised that I did. She asked me if I was religious, and I told her I was mostly agnostic. "So, an atheist, then," she said.
I replied, "No, not atheist, but go ahead."
"So, what does that mean?"
I rambled about how we were likely too small to comprehend how the universe worked, but there was a certain magic that I couldn't deny. She replied, "It's simple; it's all in Genesis."
"Ma'am, I wish it were that simple for me," I said.
She ended the conversation by telling me that she would pray for me. I thanked her, because when people tell me that, I actually do appreciate it. She's sending her energy out, weaving a spell she hopes a deity might fulfill. However, I wished her energy matched with action, so I also thanked her for being willing to get more informed and said that regardless of who she voted for, I hoped she would.
The grace we extend others is part of the magic that binds us in this universe, but so does action. A broken city pipe isn't fixed with prayer. A lawn for soccer games won't be mowed with prayer. Gun violence won't be solved with prayer. It starts with people and actions that move us toward a better version of our future.
Cassie McClure is a writer, millennial, and unapologetic fan of the Oxford comma. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Cassie McClure and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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