I don’t mind talking to people on planes, if they only wanted to talk about themselves. But at this point, I’m so bored with my own story I basically start snoring as I’m telling it.
One of my friends said, “Just lie. You work in banking. Nobody will ask any more questions. Problem solved.”
A large, ruddy red-cheeked man sat down in the seat next to me on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Miami, smiled and said “So why were you in Brazil?.”
And I couldn’t help it. I could not have one more fake conversation where I smiled and nodded and then tried to answer with fake modesty when he said, “WOW, you must be SO good at wedding photography then!!!”
I answered with half truths at first — I really was in Navegantes for a work conference. But as he delved — I work for a bank…ummmm I’m in human resources. Uummmm, it was…a human resources conference? — he became more suspicious. He told me that his dad was once on the cover of Human Resources Magazine and finally, I broke down.
“LISTEN. I’m don’t work for a bank. I’m a photographer who flies around the world shooting weddings for brides and grooms in exotic destinations and I own a CrossFit gym in Chile because I used to be married to a Chilean, but people are always too curious about these things and sometimes I’m exhausted and don’t want to talk, so I tried to lie to you about it.”
“You just told a lie to a pastor….
You’re going straight to Hell.”
Turns out this man was one of those mega-church dudes, who has written a thousand books and has a million followers on Twitter and was meeting with Jeb Bush the next day to endorse his presidential campaign.
He is, in fact, an awesome and hilarious guy and was totally joking about the going straight to hell thing, but it was just my luck to try out that whole lying bit on a religious guru.
As the conversation carried on, I mentioned I was often irked by the self righteous language people used in conjunction with their beliefs.
“‘Planting a church,’ for instance. You don’t ‘Plant a relationship.’ You don’t ‘Plant a business,’ so why can’t you ‘Start a church’ the way you would ‘Start a business,’ or ‘Start a relationship’?”
“It just annoys me,” I added, “Stop acting like a goddamn self righteous Christian hipster and talk like a normal human being,”
I just wanted to make sure I dug the grave a little deeper.
Ed Stezter laughed, a little sheepishly, but seemingly unoffended, and responded, “That terminology kind of came from me…I have like, three New York Time best-seller books with the words ‘Church-planting’ in the titles. I popularized calling it ‘church-planting.’”
Then, he apologized for being so fat his arms spilled over my arm-rest while l waited until he passed out, so I could pour my schnnaps into my diet coke. So he wouldn’t see me. You know, to make sure I wasn’t really going to Hell.