When I was staying with some friends out of state over a weekend, I was trying to explain to them why I was trying to find an Orthodox church that wasn't too far out of their way. They offered to take me to their church, and I respectfully declined. They retorted, "But we're not like other Pentecostals; we're Church of God." It was hopeless trying to explain that it didn't matter to me what their religion was. Fortunately, we found an Orthodox church just a couple of blocks from theirs. Unfortunately, it didn't have a Liturgy that week, so I went to their church. I brought a book with me and read in the back. Thankfully they didn't have communion at their church. I really didn't want to go there.
People have done this in Orthodox churches as well - reading in the back when a service was going on.
I was at a vigil service at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington. There was a woman (I believe a woman from Russia, but it is beside the point) come in with a teenaged girl. The woman came into the santuary proper and the girl sat in the back, promptly planted herself on the bench and was absorbed in a book -- not the Bible. I saw that and thought it was a bit rude and then went about my own business worshiping.
When the censing of the temple occurred, I noticed the girl was still reading and about her business when the deacon, who was censing, stopped right in front of her. He told her to stand up. He repeated himself and looked a little ticked (rightly so). She looked up with this puzzled "what on earth?" look and stood up. He censed her with a chink (acolyte-speak
) and continued on.
I comment on this and bring this story up because I sympathize with those uncomfortable with what they read and their comments. This girl also didn't look like she wanted to be there. Who knows what her story was. But she was a guest in God's house. Christians are called the witness Christ - be it in a Protestant building as a guest, driving on the beltway, standing in line at a football game , etc. And we ALL fall short in witnessing the Faith.
I'm not saying this to beat you up. You certainly don't have to participate in a gathering like that, take communion, or repond to an altar call. This might not be the last time you are in a situation like that in your life. Please think how actions like that would affect a person who might be pondering joining the Faith and yet sees something like this. Most of us would not like action like this in own own house of worship.
Pray for me, a sinner and all the best to you.
This went off topic on the thread and I apologize.