Friday, August 11, 2006

Culture: Generations Collide in Church, Youth Sports Spine!

When talking about my brother Dave, what can I say? Dave has a brilliant mind with a brand new punk spine (1983), which included the word, “OI” carved onto each side of his head. This was an agreement between the folks and Dave for a straight “A” report card (not a difficult task for the boy).

How do generations collide at church? A Warden at St. Margaret’s Church, Woodbridge, Virginia liked to instill fear and respect in the youth of the congregation. It was a game, his game, no one else liked it. No loss of trust and mutual respect, there was no trust from the beginning and no chance to win him over. Young people were deviant and that was the end of the story. The warden always tried to catch young people out and inflict them with, “I am watching you.” A large hand would be placed upon your head and a firm uncomfortable squeeze would be initiated.

Sunday, Sunday, this Sunday was a little different. My brother thought about his hair and felt a little shy (right!) about his hair and being a distraction in the church service. The service is not about David and he knew this. So my brother finds a little black beanie to wear over his spiney, in a show of respect for others! Okay, this may have been a coaxing from Dad, but I was not privy to this information.

Dave used to use soap scum back in the day, as there were no extreme hard gels on the market. He would scrape the soft soap scum from beneath the bar and add it directly to his hair. As the soap dried it would harden and assist the hair in it’s standing at attention. However, today he used the soap scum, but did not stand the hair up. The scum was for after church.

Dave looked like an East coast fisherman as we approached the church doors. I walked directly behind my brother as we entered the doors. Suddenly and not surprisingly a large hand grasped Dave’s black beanie and ripped it off. “Boy, show some respect! You are in the house of God!,” he exclaimed. Dave tilted his head a little and looked back over his right shoulder at the Warden. Dave expressed a quirky smile, placed both hands on his head and straightened his spines. The hair was standing straight up. Dave turned and walked all the way to the front row pew of the church, sitting directly beneath the pulpit.

The Warden’s jaw dropped and he was speechless, still holding onto the little black (respectful) beanie, he was shaking. I knew what he was thinking, “What have I done?” This was a life changing event for the Warden. After the shock of this special day, the Warden found a new respect for the next generation (X). The Warden turned from his old ways.

During the service, the priest glanced down more than a few times, especially during the sermon, but I give him credit, as he stayed the course and delivered the message in style.

Remember: Every action has a reaction, so think before you act! The reaction might not turn out the way you plan or intend.

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