I had an unusual morning this morning. I got suckered into going to the Mayor's Breakfast. Our college President reserved 3 tables at the Mayor's Breakfast, and needed people to fill them. He got quite a few administrators, but he really wanted some faculty. So, he sent Cheryl down the hall to the newest full-time faculty - me and my office mate. We tried to strike the delicate balance between willing and hesitant, while not honestly being able to say we were unavailable. I tried for unavailable by asking what time it started, my class starts at 11, I was hoping the Mayor's Breakfast could more appropriately be considered a brunch. And when I was told it starts at 6:30 am, I responded, "Oh no. I don't do 6:30." (Which brings up a whole other reflection for another day).
Still, I found myself with a ticket in hand, expected to show up at 6:30 am for the Mayor's Breakfast. And so I did. As the program started they said that they had over 700 hundred people in attendance. With that many people, there is no way I can complain about the food. It was good, and they seemed to have plenty of it. They had a choice between sausage or bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy. I had never seen biscuits and gravy before we moved to the South, and now that I have moved to the Midwest, I fully expected to never see it again (and I can't say that I would miss it). But there they were, traditional Southern biscuits and gravy. And my office mate claimed they were a traditional American breakfast. So I learned something. But I kept walking down the line expecting to see a basket of fruit. And when it wasn't there I thought, oh well, it's because this is the hot stuff, the fruit will be outside. No. Not a single piece of fruit.
All of which is not truly the drama of the Mayor's Breakfast. The drama started with the program. It turns out that the Mayor's Breakfast is a prayer service. And for some reason I am kind of bothered by that. Now, I generally consider myself a spiritual person. Most people would label me religious because I do attend church every Sunday. But I was kind of bothered by this whole service that started with a prayer, included a pastor reading a section from the New Testament and expounding on it, a singer singing some kind of crazy modern Christian music (which bothered me all the more because of the quality and she was singing along with a cassette tape) and the Lord's Prayer (the entire congregation was expected to join in singing the Lord's Prayer--since when is that sung and not just spoken?).
I have been thinking about this all day, and wondering why I was bothered by the religious aspects of the Mayor's Breakfast. And I think it simply comes down to the fact that I feel duped. I was asked to go as a representative of my school, a public community college with no religious affiliation at all. It was organized by the Mayor, an elected official who was elected despite any religious affiliation he may have. And it was simply called the Mayor's Breakfast, with no indication at all that there would be any religious aspect, and I was told it was simply a time for the muckey-mucks to rub shoulders. I think I just don't like being tricked into participating in religious events.
Although, if I could look past all of this, the keynote speaker was very interesting. She was traveling in the Philippines with her husband and they were taken hostage by a group affiliated with al-Qaeda who kept them for more than a year. After a year, she was freed by the Philipine military, but her husband was killed in the last gun battle. She had a fascinating story and was a good speaker.
4 years ago