I hate driving in Oregon.  Actually I don’t hate driving in Oregon, I hate getting gas in Oregon.  I keep forgetting that you cannot pump your own gas there.  I had to fill my tank three times there during my trip to Washington.  The reason I hate it is because the gas station attendants are so rude when they see you getting out of your car.  Twice I was yelled at because I forgot.  They don’t have to yell, but I should remember to stay in the car.  It occurs to me too, that I don’t know how to “order” gas.


I have this preconceived idea that gas station attendants in Oregon are just rude.  Those few times I remember, I pull into the station just waiting for some rude person to walk up to my car and yell, “What do YOU want?”  I know that all of them are not that way; in fact, I was out of my car at one station and the guy walked up and asked, “Can I help you?”  I realized my mistake and apologized and got in my car, the guy was really nice about it.


I want to remind you that people have the same kind of preconceived idea about Christians.  They expect us to walk up and say, “You are going straight to hell when you die!”  They know we are judging and condemning them.  I am aware of two types of behavior that occur when people find out I am a pastor.  Either they start apologizing for every “bad” thing that they say, or they try to say the worst things imaginable in order to get a reaction out of me.  I try not to react either way.   When I was more active with the Fire Department, I used to tell them I was in sales, not management, and if they wanted to apologize, they should talk to my boss. 

As for the “ordering” gas idea, the same thing holds.  If a person wants to talk about religion, they often do not know how to go about it.  They are afraid of doing it wrongbecause someone must have laughed at them or got angry or judgmental about the question.  I recognize that it makes things difficult when a person asks a question when they don’t really know how (or what) to ask.  We are not sure how to answer. I have found that asking what I think they are asking, for clarification, really helps.


There will always be the kind of Christians who rush to judgment and are perfectly willing to bring condemnation into their conversations with nonChristians; let us strive to not be that way.