Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I saw that one coming

We had visitors in Sunday School last Sunday. A class member ran into these folks at a restaurant on Saturday and invited them to church on Sunday. They were total strangers prior to that. Sometimes that's how things work, you know?

Nice couple. Mid 40's - technically too old for our class, but then again, at least half of us are technically too old for our class. From Vancouver B.C. of all places. Seemed to fit right in.

The lesson was the second of a two-parter on money, using selected Proverbs. We sluggards considered the ant, discussed the folly of co-signing notes, and agreed that generosity was better all around than stinginess. (Which reminds me of the BEST prayer I've ever heard before taking up the offering - "Lord, help us not to be stingy. Amen." Short, sweet and to the point, although it did freak out the pianist as she normally has more time to prepare for the offertory than that.)

When class was dismissed, this couple approached me and commented on the timeliness of that day's study and that they wanted to talk to me further about it and would I have a business card so they could call me on Monday and arrange a time? Call me cynical, but little alarm bells started ringing.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Only if you're thinking Multi-Level Marketing Opportunity.

But... What if they really did want to continue the discussion or have a theological issue to hash out? The ol' ego says,
Well, WHO ELSE would they talk to? I mean they've had to come all the way from CANADA to find answers to their questions. Naturally YOU'LL be the one to set them on the path to enlightenment.
Hmmm. Probably not, but I'd hate to put them off on the off-chance that they are legitimately seeking answers. So I gave them my phone number(s) and told them I was available.

They called yesterday morning and I met them for lunch at the Riscky's (mmmm...barbeque) in the Stockyards. Sure enough, they used Sunday's talk of practicing sound finances as a lever to introduce me to their fast growing business, which coincidentally enough was about financial protection (among other things). Before they started the pitch they telegraphed it by their gushing comments on visiting Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral and how the phrase "If you can believe it, you can achieve it" was in big letters on the side of the building that housed the gift shop. (There are so many things wrong with that last sentence...)

You'd be proud of me (well at least SOME of you would be proud of me) because I listened to their whole spiel with feigned interest, making plenty of eye contact and supportive noises. Pretending to go along with them is the only way to really get rid of these types without starting an argument. (remember, I'm a conflict avoider) And it also shortens the spiel by at least half. Hmmm. I must have retained some of my acting chops from my Hello Dolly gig. I have to admit, I make a pretty good mark (being an adult Sunday School teacher), having already overcome all (well, most anyway) of my fears of speaking in front of people, so even though they didn't really want my spiritual guidance, I can salve my ego with THAT. I left murmuring non-committal noises, pretending interest in the marketing brochures they gave me.

To their credit, they didn't push the hard-sell and were pleasant company. On the negative side, they did use the spiritual angle as a marketing tool, being less than honest about their desire to meet with me in the first place.

Hope they're not too disappointed when the seat they're saving for me at the recruiting meeting (not what THEY called it, but that's what it is) tonight goes unfilled. This is one opportunity of a lifetime that I'm going to have to pass up.

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