Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beam Me Up

This is the sanctuary of Southland Christian Church. It's mega-huge... it has to be; there are 12,000 members and every Sunday there are 8,000 at worship. After nine years in the same city, I finally got the nerve to go there for a Pastors' luncheon. I took my partner church minister, Bela, who is visiting from Transylvania. The church is probably larger than the village he serves (Nyomat). We were late, so we sat in the back of the room filled with 250 conservative ministers, noting that there was an invisible line between Trinitarians and Unitarians. He thought about doing a Borat imitation, but decided not to. Before we were given directions to the lunch by a custodian (we had to go back to the car and DRIVE there), we wandered for some minutes through empty, beautifully decorated, spotless, heated hallways. We couldn't help thinking about all the homeless folks huddled downtown this frigid week, and how warm and cozy they'd be here. But perhaps most entertaining was the name used for the hallways: concourses! It all became clear to me then. Southland Christian is a huge airport. All flights are leaving for Heaven, and everybody's busy buying their tickets and arranging for good seats. Who are these 8,000 people? My hairdresser, to whom this place is progressive, after her childhood in a holiness church. Too many teen agers, some from the UU church who attend because of their friends.... lots of folks whose minister asked them to pray for Brittany Spears last month, and to vote against gay marriage a few years ago. Beam them up.... I'll stay here. One visit was enough!