|People pointing at me|
causes circus flashbacks.
In ours, the Bear and the other RCIA teacher were summoned to the front of the Church after a "reflection" [homily] by the lay pastoral assistant.
Did you ever have someone try to do something nice for you that just made you cringe, but there was nothing for it but to grin and bear it? Father had the entire congregation extend their hands "in blessing," while he recited a nice prayer.
Now the Bear needs all the prayers he can get, and appreciates the intent, but the "tradition" of everyone extending one hand in the "Nazi Salute," or -- in this case -- both hands just seems wrong.
First of all, as far as the Bear knows, only priests can properly bless, other than maybe the paternal blessing for children. For example, it bothers the Bear to see "Eucharistic Ministers" bless people who do not take communion.
Also, there is a New Age vibe to it that troubles the Bear. It is just barely possible that New Agers are onto something, and that a group of people focusing their attention on someone can indeed manipulate energy, or channel light, or direct chi, or however you want to put it, according to a particular intention. Without going into detail, let's just say the Bear wouldn't be surprised and doesn't want any part of it.
Finally, it's just a bit too Pentecostal for the Bear. (For the record, the Bear does raise his paws in front of him in a discrete "receiving" gesture during the Our Father because, well, just because. If nothing else it keeps his neighbors from grabbing them. He does not gesture toward the priest at "and with your Spirit.")
Call it what you want, but the Bear calls it odd at best, and voodoo at the worst.
So, what do you think? Is the Bear a carping ingrate? Does he need to loosen up and go with the flow?