That’s an awful phrase, isn’t it? And yet it’s been said about me.
It was last year at Vacation Bible School, and John, the fellow who assisted me in teaching the 5th grade boys said, “Well, of course I know you, Rebecca. You’re church famous.”
I’d never heard the phrase before, but it’s something that can happen relatively easily in any church, but maybe especially in a very large church where you don’t get to know many people easily and so the few who make announcements or lead singing or are– for one reason or another– up front a lot, become well known.
I guess that has happened to me.
And in case you’re wondering, I’m Not Bragging. I am Definitely Complaining.
Because I don’t want to be “church famous.” I don’t want people to know me from a distance at church, of all places, especially if, with that “fame,” there also come impressions that Aren’t Accurate.
No, what I’d like is to know people Really and Truly, and to have people Really and Truly know me– to know my shortcomings and my misconceptions and mistakes.
Okay. Truth is I don’t want anyone to know those things about me, but I also know that pretending that those things don’t exist Isn’t Good in the Grand Scheme of Things (ie., the Kingdom of Heaven), and so I am willing to allow and even participate in allowing my faults to be made evident. Because while it might be nice (for me) to seem wonderful and perfect and like I have it all together, that would also be a Lie.
And lies never help anyone.
But who knows? Maybe being “church famous” doesn’t mean that people hold one in high regard or anything. Maybe I’m Way overshooting the mark here.
At any rate, I was having lunch today at California Pizza Kitchen with my (I thought) church famous husband. We were just sitting there quietly, discussing the HopeFest and dentists and yard work, when a young woman who worships with us at the Bible Church and is, coincidentally, on the serving staff at California Pizza Kitchen, stopped by our table for a chat.
Also coincidentally, we saw her just two weeks ago at a Harry Potter party at the Barnes and Noble, and it was there that she identified me as “church famous.”
We talked for a few minutes. A friend of hers is a musician who played at last year’s HopeFest, so we talked about that. And then she said, “And how do you two know each other?”
She really did.
She really did ask that.
I didn’t know what to say, although I thought of several things: “Well, we sleep together from time to time,” or, “Bill here is father to my three children,” or “We’ve been married for seventeen years,” or “from college.” But instead I think we sort of blinked and stared at her for a moment before we simply said, “We’re married.”
She was surprised. She didn’t know it. She really didn’t.
Which is good, isn’t it? I mean, I feel good about it. Turns out Bill and Rebecca Stevenson aren’t the center of the known universe. Maybe we’re not all that “church famous” after all.
That’s Fine With Me.