If you polled a group of people and asked them if they lie to their dentist I think you would get a 100% response rate of “Yes!” The minute I walk into the dentist’s office my moral compass changes and anything is allowed.
“When was the last time you had a check up?”
“Oh, I think it was last year some time”
“Oh, really? We don’t have it on record”
“OH…that’s funny! I could have sworn it was last year….maybe I went to that other dentist” ….And then the dreaded question that you know will come:
“Now” pause “Do you floss regularly?”
“Yes Dr. Walker….Of course I floss” And then the dentist looks and knows I’m lying.
Silence. The silence holds all the condemnation that can possibly fit in a single room. As my brother once said “If dentists were priests or pastors, churches would be empty” Imagine the first thing a pastor or priest says to you every week “Did you sin?” And the minute you open your mouth, he/she knows you’re lying.
There is a fear and dread about going to the dentist held by women, men, and children world-wide. No matter how much you’ve brushed and flossed, it’s never going to be good enough! Plus there’s always something we are worried about. The dull ache coming from the wisdom tooth; the spot that bleeds every time we brush; the dread that we have to finally get that crown completed – the temporary one having lasted five years longer than was planned.
And then I think about my brothers’ statement and I wonder about the church “Is that how the church is perceived? As a place where nothing you do is good enough? Where there is a dread and fear? Where condemnation hangs heavy like the silence in a dentist’s office?” And I know that the Church, made of imperfect people, sometimes fails miserably.
I had a visit to my dentist last week. I have grudgingly begun to trust (dare I say even like?) this man. He is practical, clear. and laid back. He accepts me where I’m at and takes it from there, with the gentle challenge “Perhaps you could try this. When you’re ready we could talk about that…” And I realize that had I stopped going my teeth would be hurting and I would not be healthy. So can churches be given another chance as well? To get it right, develop a relationship and gently challenge?
Many people feel like they’ve given the Church that chance, and the Church has failed them repeatedly. I know becaus I used to be one.
Like the dentist, I continued going back. I’m gradually learning and growing; slowly trusting this entity that Christ loves so deeply.
It’s not easy, but neither is going to the dentist and the outcome is ultimately more serious. My journey with the Church has not been easy, but I have learned to honor the struggle and trust the author of the journey.
Dr. Walker was good preparation for a much more important journey.
You can read more on my journey with the church here.
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10 thoughts on ““Yes Dr. Walker…Of Course I Floss!””
As usual your post is not about what you started writing on but it somehow links back like most of your posts do, whether they are about something ordinary and everyday or about a special childhood memory, to God and spirituality. Funny thing is that everything in our lives does really go back to God but most of us are too embarrassed to openly discuss our faith or thoughts about Him, some are even embarrassed to think them.
The church is made up of humans and humans of any religion are but humans and are subject to the failing of judging harshly, whereas God who made us and is so aware of every failing and frailty is I am sure, more benevolent and Merciful.
I have met people, both Christians and Muslims who feel that God will put us in hell for the smallest thing. No we wont, for He does not lie and His Mercy has been promised. I trust that promise. I know that I am not always as good as I want to be but that God knows it and when I turn to Him in repentance He forgives, but he does much more than that, when in my transgressions I am being especially stupid, he also protects me from what could be the disastrous results of my own mistakes. That is when I feel the true extent of His Mercy.
What am i saying! Can we humans with our limitations ever be in a position to feel the extent of anything related to God. No impossible! But I feel aware of it as much as I am capable of feeling aware of it. Yes that is more like the truth.
As usual my comment seems to be almost as big as your post. Perhaps even a bit off the subject you began on… but well these are the thoughts that your post inspired.
Your comments are worth every word! I was thinking about the observation of linking some of the memories and even sometimes mundane posts back to God and faith and you’re right. That connection is so all encompassing for me that I can’t separate them. I guess it’s seeing through the faith lens, which I’m sure could be annoying to others at times! Your bringing up the subject of our limitations, our finite minds compared to an infinite God, is so true, and yet we are stamped with his spark of creativity that can’t be denied. I think we are starting a trend of unfinished conversations that we need to decide to finish in person! I still need to respond to one from the other day on God forsaken. I’ve been thinking about that alot!
I have been thinking how about a discussion blog? it could cover inter faith but mainly would be about spirituality which is just something that not only links us back to Our Creator but also links each and everything in Creation to each other.
I had thought a bit about that as well or a blog with a few different authors but writing all to that end. I just don’t want to add another type of blog like that where people lose interest. Let’s talk more. The other thing would be for me to bring a couple more authors into this mix.
well ask your friends… i dont like to think too much about anything if I feel something is right I just go for it. what we could develop would be multi faceted. starting from a thought you had and then it would probably take a life of its own as it went through other minds and hands :)
the other bloggers including me may or may not be able to connect because we connect to people on different levels so are not always able to connect to even those people who are connected with the people we are connected with.. Or we may develop even deeper connections it all depends. So at least till we establish the connections you would be at the centre of it with all connections radiating from there.
Oh and I was thinking you don’t have to begin anything new, we can take it from here. i know you are very busy and maintaining two blogs would be hard. After all you say what you have to say here. we could add to it as comments like I am doing even now, but in a more thorough way so we dont leave loose ends and even if after many days of mulling on something we think of something more we can then add that to the blog as well. it would be a growing, thing with a life of its own and I know one thing that it would help the people who read it in one way or another
Lowell has this theory about our dentist. There’s a routine to the questions. First he checks your mouth, then he pokes around some more, then he says you really need to floss regularly and then he hesitates as if he’s found something and then he says you’re good to go! I had begun to rely on that routine and even to find it amusing in its predictability until the time the dentist changed the script! He checked my mouth, he poked around some more, he said I really needed to floss regularly, he hesitated as if he had found something….he poked again and hesitated some more and then he said I had a cavity! what?? That’s not how it’s supposed to go. That’s not how it ever goes for Lowell. If only a few Hail Mary’s and several rounds of confession would have been all it took to clear it up…. sigh! My dentist priest scheduled me for a second soul searching session to purge me of my desolations and to get to the root of the problem. Sigh….
Loved this – should add it to the post – although in the comment section it is added to the post in a very real way! I love the reference to your “dentist priest” – I did tell my dentist about my brothers comment. …I couldn’t tell if he was offended or contemplative. And Lowell right I think. There seems to be a routine to this and I wonder if they ever say “wow, your teeth are looking good! you must floss alot!” They’d probably have to use CPR to revive the patients whose hearts stopped from shock.
hahahaha I am sure you are right i would surely faint if my dentist said that or in the very least wonder what he was smoking