Monday, January 7, 2013

Tribal Feeling

Several times since we joined this community we have been invited to participate in a local church's celebrations. Every single time I have left these "events," I have asked myself, "what was that?"

Last night was not an exception. Our neighbor's son and wife are leaving next week for a two year missionary stint in eastern Africa. The event last night was their commission. For a couple of weeks my Dutch hub has been asking me what this means to have a "commission." As a long time Christian, I guess I should have known. But as usual the locals always either prove me wrong or surprise the heck out of me.

Most of the ceremony was churchlike, and the young pastor, as usual, showed us all how sharp and knowledgeable he is about "The Bible." In fact, his interpretation of the Old Testament reminds me of my favorite childhood minister. We also learned all about the two year challenge from our friend who is leaving in one week. So that was informative.

Then it happened! A mass of deacons and pastors of other churches (all men) crowded around the missionary couple and prayed. From where we were sitting, I could not see my former tutoring colleague and her author husband. They were surrounded by mostly elderly men. All at once I felt that I was transported to a village tribal meeting in Africa where only the "elder" men participated.

Not a good feeling for me.

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