Thursday, March 1, 2012

thursdays with cc: the problem with compliance

It's Sunday Mass. And I am trying to focus, to tune in. Then I get distracted by this churchgoer, this lady arriving late, in the middle of the first reading. She tries not to call attention to herself but you can't help but notice her attire: shorts and spaghetti strap. Good grief! Doesn't she have any notion of decency at all? She arrives late and wears this provocative clothing, as if she's going to the beach. Ugh. The nerve.

Or there would be this mother who can't seem to control her kids. They are talking, moving about, fighting with each other, all while in the church. No manners at all! She can't even control her kids. How could I even concentrate?

An elderly goes up to her and speaks to her about her kids. Under her breath, she is almost scolding her. And I can only applaud the elderly for her stance. Contemptuous!

I notice this attitude change when I start being very obedient to rules and regulations. And this is not limited to church guidelines. This kind of 'righteous' attitude pervades in everything. As a law-abiding driver, I am appalled at those who blatantly disregard traffic rules. And I can hate them so much. I can be quite harsh on people who do not seem to have regard for law and order! And I would very easily confine them to the dustbins of society.

This, for me, is the worst kind of pride. A pride rooted in 'righteousness', in obedience and compliance. And this is something I am so guilty of. In my head, being obedient gives me the right to judge and condemn. Perhaps because I know how it is to be human. And I feel that it is a total lack of character when one fails to follow.

Now that I have some awareness, I intend to be more mindful of this attitude. And stop myself from feeling that way. This is the enemy of compassion and generosity.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Anonymous said...

I think righteous anger is deserved. It is not being judgemental, it is simply asking for the same respect that you have accorded them by following what is, at the very least, required in those situations.

Anonymous said...

I don't like those kinds of church-goers too. Mass is a ritual.