Usually, when I visit the feral cats, I'm by myself. The cats don't like a crowd; they barely tolerate me. On one occasion, as I was leaving, I met a couple of girls on rollerblades. They saw me with Buster (the one feral who does like to get his head scratched) and started a conversation. They asked about the cats, if they were pets (no, not really), if I fed them (some times, not all the time), how often I came here (oh, whenever), and if I had accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal savior.
Oh my. I try not to get involved in conversations like this, I have had quite enough of them for a lifetime (starting when I was about their age, by some coincidence.) I mentioned that Jesus was OK by me, but Christianity was really founded and defined by Paul. I opined to them that Paul was really not a very good man. I don't think they were up to a session of comparative early Christian beliefs, but I did indulge them. We talked some more, and then I mentioned that Jesus had never married, that I think anyone who had not been involved in a complete, committed relationship may be somewhat deficient in his life experience. One of the girls was getting a little nervous at the direction the conversation was taking. The other girl, who was emerging as the leader, reiterated her faith.
How does a mature man talk theology to a 16 year-old girl in short-shorts wearing rollerblades? She must be old enough to know of the lies and lusts and deceits of men, of the inequality and repression inherent in the sex roles of most cultures? How the largest Christian faith has absolutely no place of power in its hierarchy for women? She may have been naive, but who was I to shatter her faith? I knew that faith was really a great comfort to her.
They finally did say goodbye, and as they skated off I was left with a feeling of incompleteness. There was a clash of idea systems there that afternoon. Nothing was resolved, no one had a change of heart.
The cats, perhaps wiser than me, said nothing.
First posted August 24, 2005
Summer re-run series