My New Christian Friends
Today I rode about 35 miles on my bike with the Louisville Bike Club, the farthest I have ever rode in a single trip. I almost missed going on the trip altogether because when I arrived at the meeting place to start the ride, I realized that in my hurry to get there on time I had forgotten to grab my helmet and my bike gloves (though the gloves were not a deal-breaker the way the missing helmet was.) I considered giving up and driving back home, but decided instead to hang out and wait for the others and see if anyone had a helmet that I could borrow. As it turned out, someone did. The first people to show up at the ride (and the only ones I saw at the time, since we were not aware that the time had been pushed back an hour to avoid running into the mini-marathon also scheduled for that day) were a very nice married couple who did indeed have a helmet and pair of gloves I could borrow at their house about 4 miles bike ride away. So I rode back to their house with them, feeling a bit naked with only my Buff on my head and no helmet, and got the helmet that I would be wearing for the next few hours. Fortunately, it was a perfect fit and worked well for the rest of the day.
I spent the ride mostly with this couple, since our ride was out of sync with the others in the group due to the change in start time (though this was really no problem at all since the route is the same every Saturday.) There was one little thing about the couple that took me aback just a bit right before we rode to their house to get the helmet. The guy informed me that it was their usual custom to say a prayer before starting the bike ride and asked if this was alright with me. This took me totally off guard, I have to say… at that point I was just so happy that they were helping me out and lending me a helmet for the ride that I was not even going to consider rocking the boat by voicing any kind of objection about prayer. And really, it didn’t matter that much to me at all, so I said that if they wanted to say a prayer that was fine with me.
We didn’t discuss religion at all other than that, though it did come out in discussion that they are members of Southeast Christian Church (for those who are not familiar with Louisville, this is the most famous massive Evangelical megachurch in the city.) I wondered for a while if they were going to try to discuss religion for me, or ask me where I went to church, or if I went to church but they never did. And I wondered what they would think if I told them that my husband and I organize the Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers Meetup, or that I have volunteered as an escort outside the local abortion clinic. I really liked these people and enjoyed riding around town with them, even with the knowledge that we were probably on complete opposite sides on some issues I hold very dear to my heart. Though today it did not matter, and I was perfectly prepared to be straight with them on what my views are if they were to come up in conversation.
After the ride I went to lunch with them, and it did start to get slightly annoyed (though I didn’t show it) when they informed me that they say grace over meals and would this be alright with me? Meh. I’m still fine if they want to say a prayer, but the conspicuous Christianity tactic does get on my nerves a bit. And I wonder if this behavior has anything to do with the Darwin Fish that they probably saw on my car. At any rate, I will still be happy to ride around town with them on future rides.