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Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Interview

Happy Sunday, dear readers. I got a pleasant surprise at the Carmelite church tonight because the African priest who's last Mass I'd attended had been so terrible (he was VERY long-winded and rambling) that I almost designated him as the first African priest I DIDN'T like, redeemed himself by being concise and orthodox with a stirring sermon about virtue. I was most pleased to see that his connection to the Holy Spirit was strong tonight. I usually have a very positive opinion of African priests (Indian ones too) because the ones I've met were well-catechized, orthodox and usually more intelligent than the average American priest I encountered. I suppose he was having a bad day that time and it just happened to be the first Mass I saw him in. Oh well. He's back in my good graces now and life can continue on as usual.

On Thursday, my husband had a job interview. He applied to work as a janitor at a local Presbyterian church, and the office called him in to be interviewed. Since there were errands to be run, I tagged along on this dreadfully hot day.

It may surprise some of you to learn that despite my die-hard Catholicism, this was not the first time I've been to a Presbyterian church. When I was growing up, my family joined an up-n-coming Serbian Orthodox church in the suburbs close to my home town. Before then, we'd been either going to the churches in the city of Chicago or the monastery in Lake County. Since the church parish was still so new, we didn't have a proper church of our own, so the managers were renting out the side chapel of a huge Presbyterian church in Deerfield, IL. I don't remember much about this place since I was a kid during the time we went there, but I remember the chapel being small, dark, and dusty with cobwebs on the windows. However, the building it was connected to was quite large. There was a hall behind the choir area which led to a kitchen and that was where the coffee hours were held. The basement was huge because that's where the Sunday school, Serbian language/culture, and dance classes were held and where the caretakers lived (they would regularly complain about the rambunctious kids banging on the door that led to their living quarters). I also remember my Serbian language teacher taking us on a tour of the building where we went past the double doors in the basement separating the part where the side chapel was to the main building, seeing the school classrooms there, and going into the actual main church itself. I don't remember exactly what the interior of the church looked like, but I remember there being alot of nice woodwork and it was dark. The second time I was in a Presbyterian church was when I was in 6th grade. It was for a comparative religions class which also included a trip to a local mosque and the huge Presbyterian church which was located in my hometown's downtown. Like my family's starter church, this local Presbyterian church had some nice dark woodwork inside and lovely stonework on the outside, though I remember looking at the tiny medicine cup-sized communion cups and kitschy-print missalettes in front of me in the pew and thinking this place looked more like the bank my parents did business with (at the time) than any church I was familiar with. There were crosses and banners proclaiming the glory of God, but not a single crucifix could be found anywhere.

Playing with her sunglasses


On this trip, I would not be checking out the church. I would be sitting in the office waiting area while my husband was interviewed. The secretary was kind and got the baby and I some water, but just like my previous trips to Presbyterian churches, the property was huge (this one was large enough to sustain a proper school). While the actual office itself was roomy and light with bright cabinets and clear windows, the waiting area was kinda dark. It had dark woodwork with kitschy stained glass depictions of biblical scenes and Christian themes lining the top of the room, but there was an entire wall which was designated as a sort of gift shop with trinkets, books, handmade quilted items, fair-trade coffees and mugs with the image of the church printed on them all for sale. The office waiting area itself was not very big, but it was large enough to walk around and the baby could crawl on the carpet without interruption. There was also a large china cabinet that held some mementos off to the side behind the chairs and on the coffee table in the middle of the room were two copies of some Billy Graham evangelical magazine keeping a "bible" company (I put bible in quotes because it wasn't exactly a Bible. It was selections from the Bible arranged to form some kind of storyline). I skimmed through the magazines and the "bible", but the baby kept me from delving into too much of this heresy by crawling around on the floor.

After the main office lady called my husband to the back for his interview, I walked around the waiting area and looked at the various things on display, both in the china cabinet and a nook across from the door. It was in the china cabinet that I first noticed a book with Cyrillic writing on the cover. Given my Slavic background, it piqued my interest and I took a closer look at it. On the shelf where the book was, I also noticed a pair of cloth dolls dressed in traditional Russian costumes half-hidden behind a folded sign explaining the items on display. I couldn't tell exactly what the dolls costumes looked like or where they were from in Russia, but I had the impression that the costumes were pre-Kievan Rus, based on the headdresses. On the shelf below was also a lacquered cup in traditional floral patterns. Below the Russian mementos was a display from Romania. There was either a place mat or a belt woven in a traditional pattern underneath a small Romanian flag and a plaque from the city of Timisoara.

The china cabinet. Not pictured: Russian cloth dolls in traditional costumes. Also, what is it with Presbyterians and dark wood?! It's too East Coast for this part of the country


The contents of both the Russian and Romanian shelves, the display signs read, were donated to the church by evangelical bible societies doing missionary work in their respective countries. I began feeling my blood pressure go up in anger as I read the sign on the Russian shelf which stated that the book which caught my attention was apparently a Russian bible and that it had been donated by a family evangelizing in Russia on behalf of the Wycliff Bible Society. These maggots have NO business poaching my people away from the REAL Church, just adding fodder to their CIA/Masonic front! I may have been suspicious of Protestantism in my previous life, but my conversion to Catholicism and subsequent marriage to my husband introduced in me a militant hatred of them, with bible-thumping evangelicals taking the lead in the hate list. Also, while reading Cyrillic is slow-work for me, the book did NOT say "Bibliya" or "Holy Bible" on the cover. It said "Hosh Habar", which Google translate says means "Aromatic Message" (Google also suggested that it was in the Kazakh dialect, which I thought might explain the costumes on the dolls, but an image search didn't match up any costumes from Kazakhstan that were remotely close to what I'd seen). Fortunately, I had the baby to look after and she provided a much-needed distraction to keep me from raging and destroying that cabinet.

Finally, after about thirty minutes or so, my husband came back. I refrained from saying anything about what I thought of the Presbyterians until we had left the church property, keeping the subject limited to his interview. My husband felt positive about the job interview, but gave it a 50-50 chance that he would be hired. He told me he was interviewed by three people, which I thought odd because if you're a qualified candidate for a job, you typically have only one interview with whoever is the person doing the hiring. Once we were out of the parking lot and away from any prying ears, I told my husband about the Russian mementos and how furious I was to see my people being led away from the Faith. I also complained how the decor in the office was in bad taste because it was dark wood with cheesy stained glass images, to which my husband surmised that because Presbyterians are outside of the Church, they can never know the true beauty of the Faith and can only resort to making copies of what they think it should be.

Well, it's been a few days since the interview and we haven't heard anything back from the Presbyterian church. My husband assumes it's a no-go and has proceeded to apply for other means of stable employment. The temp and inventory counting jobs are few and far between right now, so he's been trying to get more regular employment. So far, he's been canvassing for a political office, but that job ends the first week of July. Time to keep looking.

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