We thought we had a foolproof plan. We had a pretty innocuous discussion topic (friendship), we scoped out seating arrangements (we all sit together), and we were excited about the fondue. For once, in the 5 ½ years of planning these monthly church people dinners, we felt kinda good about how easy the evening was going to be.
Then it all fell to shit.
I mean, HOW COULD A CONVERSATION ABOUT FRIENDSHIP TURN TO SHIT?? HOW, in the name of all that’s good and American, can a group of thirtysomething 4thers turn a mild exploration of how we make friends, keep friends, love friends, have friends – how could THIS turn into seminary debate team? HOW could an evening in soft lighting, melted cheese, wine and FONDUE suddenly make a pastor depressed over whiskey, make three women so mad they wanted to EAT their cigarettes and put us all in despair over the future of progressive Christianity?
I’ll tell you how.
Get a man who misses the social mores of 1850 and put him next to me, my roomie and our sharp lawyer friend K- and THEN have him say that a single woman having lunch/dinner/coffee/wine with a married male friend of hers alone is tantamount to pedophilic priests being left alone with children.
Get a woman who teaches at a local university and get her to say that she doesn’t think healthcare should be provided for seniors or poor people and put her across from a Scottish pastor (who sings songs by the wobblies from the pulpit) and watch things get so bad he calls her hateful from across the table.
Get a brainy, argumentative Ph.D in neuroscience, put a drink in his hand and then have him crack open his brain and watch him get into aggressive debate defending strict Calvinism, apostle paul, women's submission in church and watch the table fall silent with dismay.
Get a young perky girl and get her to ask the three of us if religion plays a part in who we date and then one of us says No and watch us suddenly get on the hotseat about why we were deacons then.
That’s how a nice evening can turn to shit.