Love Thy Neighbor, But Don’t Sit Near Them

I’m going to church this morning.

Whenever I go to church, I try to sit in the far back, where nobody else is sitting .

Then I listen for an hour as the priest talks about the importance of loving your neighbor.  I nod my head.

As he talks, people sit near me.  They chat.  So I get up and move.  Then I listen to the importance of loving your neighbor again.

As I try to focus on loving one’s neighbor, another one of these idiot neighbors sits right next to me.  He smells like he bathed in cologne.  So I scoot down the pew.

I listen again.  I nod my head.  A couple with a young kid sits next to me.  The kid pulls the hymn books out of the pew and throws them down.  They laugh.  I move.

By the end of the service, I’m in complete agreement with everything the priest has said.  And I’ve moved seats four times to avoid all of the morons around me.

I see no inconsistency in any of this.

God only says to love one’s neighbor.

He says nothing about having to like them.

26 thoughts on “Love Thy Neighbor, But Don’t Sit Near Them

  1. Amen, sir.
    I HATE the talking in church. I sometimes just want to turn around and go “SHUT UP!”
    And don’t even get me started on the footwear I see…
    I love my neighbor…when I’m far away…

  2. Maybe you should sit in front of the church if you don’t want to sit near anyone. No one sits in the front at my church.

  3. We are not like golden coins to be liked by everybody. However, there are some of us who are less a pain and respect our neighbors, and viceversa.

    I realized that the people I like the most are most often more educated and have their minds always busy at work.

    BTW, I haven’t been to a mass in years and I have become something like a hermit in the last couple years.

    I’ll share this post with friends. We were discussing the personality of Rat for a lecture on the psychology of Comics and its characters I am preparing.

  4. This reminded me of the time I watched The Pirates of Penzance in an outdoor theatre. People were horseplaying, talking and using cell phones towards the end.

    How rude! I had to move three times. Then I thought of you. Goat would have blogged about it, but I’m not sure how Rat would handle this.

    Rat would probably have casted real pirates in the play.

  5. Oh, cologne makes me crazy. And people that sit there and text the whole time. Not entirely sure what the point of coming is if you aren’t going to pay attention!

  6. I’ve discovered a new type I will put on the death list when I rule the world-people who play loud, obnoxious music in their car early Sunday morning…I was sitting at the bus stop, waiting to go to work before 8am, when some nimrod pulls up oto the light on the other side of the street, blasting techno beats.
    Now, maybe the rave just got over-I don’t know, and I DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!! It’s bad enough I have to get yelled at by customers because I’m working on Sunday, but to have to listen to badly distorted techno music, too?

    The next guy was blasting Metallica-him, I’ll just hamstring…

  7. A good reason to stop being a “Catholic” (quotes used for a reason) and go to a church where that doesn’t happen…like mine.🙂

  8. Stephan, a friend said this in response to your “going to church” post:

    Sorry, Stephan. That’s what you find in the back row. The lowly and contemptible: talkers, destructive urchins, excessively smelly people, and worse…. cartoonists.
    😉

  9. I didn’t know you went to church. That just gave me a whole new respect for you. That reminds me what happened to me and my friends during one of our church services. Every week i have my friends sit next to me in my row. This week we all had colds and kept sneezing and wiping our nose. We were fixing to get up to sing when this lady behind us grabs my friends shoulder and says, “Take your snotty rags with you!” Then the next week she complained to all our parents that we were loud and obnoxious children and that we should be punished. I think people shouldn’t be all loud or disrespectful during church, but i also think some of the older people need to just relax!

  10. Next time, don’t take a bath or a shower for a week. They’ll be the ones moving away from you.

  11. “God only says to love one’s neighbor.

    He says nothing about having to like them.”

    I teach 2nd grade at a Catholic school and this is EXACTLY what I tell my students!

  12. Sorry, Steve. That’s what you find in the back row. The lowly and contemptible: talkers, destructive urchins, excessively smelly people, and worse…. cartoonists.

  13. It’s like you read C.S. Lewis before writing this. He explains the difference between liking and loving yourself. Really interesting. Funny piece.

  14. You’re right about the love vs like thing Stephan. Most of us believe that the two are on a continuum–i.e. first you like someone and then eventually you grow to love them.

    But true tolerance and humanity actually requires that you operate in the reverse. Love is the baseline feeling. Whether or not you like or dislike the person is completely unrelated.

    Your writing is fantastic.

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