I’m fascinated by recent discussions on whether or not churches should have greeting times. I’m fascinated at the awkwardness and plastic nature of it. Many are averse to such things, especially introverts.
Perhaps we need to get back to basics, shall we? Introverts only need a few good friends. But that has to start somewhere. Initial greetings are often awkward, especially those that end in marriage. (My wife thought I was completely and obnoxiously extroverted. We have two incredibly boyz now. Clearly, we got over awkward. Though, she does say I still have to work on the obnoxious extroversion.
Another basic we need to get over is community. Church is a community. As we out it at my church, we’re one happy dysfunctional family. We got issues, and that’s ok because of what Jesus did. Our mistakes are covered. One of the things we value is the individual, not just the church at home. So, we make it a point to say Hi! Hospitality doesn’t mean we change who we are. Being polite and civil means saying hi.
One last thing we need to back to. The idea that something ritual isn’t authentic is absurd. Spontaneity does not equal authenticity. I read the inside of my wedding ring each time I out it on. I pray with my boyz each night. Is that inauthentic because it’s routine, or is the authenticity of those relationships what drives the ritual? Ritual matters and it’s a beautiful language that can serve communities well.
Saying Hello! may be awkward or plastic at first. Then you get to know the person. Hello suddenly carries weight and meaning because bodily language is often unique to each person. The sudden aversion to Hello! has a flip side. Perhaps it can also be a cynical attitude based on an increasingly shallow culture for those who loath it. Or perhaps the ritual of saying hello is really the training ground for true authenticity.
So. Hello. How are you?