This will not be a work of lovely sentiments or humour or creative ideas to boost the dear reader along. The following is a more formal collection of memories in response to a question from a dearheart not seen for many, many years. The questioner had moved far away a few decades past.
“What happened?” Was the question about the closing of a mutually loved dear church. It was of a major protestant denomination that loses annually more previously avowed members than it gains. The numbers lost are in the number of millions.
A long time thinking, and a long time reading my personal journals revealed the truth of the club of callous hearts and self-absorption. People who are not inclined to personal conducts of honesty, loving, compassion, or self-sacrifice for other people.
The most recent reverend had been at the church two minutes early and stayed two minutes late every Sunday for a year. Each sermon was well delivered and brought humour at times. His subject: His dog. EVERY Sunday the sermon topic was the dog, the dog’s antics, the dog’s breeding, and how sweetly the dog played with the children. Not the Bible, not John Wesley, not Jesus or Paul or John. Not one time. However, he was well educated, and well placed in the opinions of the ‘church leadership’.
But, he was a slight improvement over the pastors just before him: a duo referred to as the warring retirees. A man and wife pastoral team who couldn’t make their dollar’s ends meet on their various, multiple retirement incomes that went back and forth as a subject of boasting to cursing their pittances of amounts that were in the six digits annually. Too, they didn’t want to come into the Church’s county from their far away country estate for the middle of the week church meetings, or hospital visits either. Funerals or family visitations would not be done either.
There were other pastors, other, numerous offences to the sensibilities so many as to fill months and months of posts.
Then too, there were the conducts of people of the congregation to be remembered. Several handfuls of various cliques within cliques. Their hearts so cold, so callous that only words will reveal them.
When their church pianist took ill on a Friday evening with blood sugar readings in the four hundred group of numbers, the clique was offended that said pianist did not give them sufficient notice for Sunday morning service. True she was still in the hospital and would be for several months into the future. True that the ‘clique’ would luncheon after every Sunday service at a restaurant within a hundred yards of the Pianist’s hospital room. Other than the visits and care of her family, not one visit was paid her by pastor or group or individual from that church. Not one call was made to the pianist’s family, doctor or even the hospital nurse’s station. Not one
A sadness in action and inaction. A continuation into the present. An embarrassment without apology. Rude disregards without thought or an ‘excuse me’.
Different Sunday, different decade, same cliques, same cold, callous disregard for those people not ‘in’ the group. Scant numbers in pews once packed full. Frequent utterances from people bold and honest of their personal persuasion of bigotry and their commitment to intolerance.
Scant numbers in pews once packed full. Frequent utterances from people bold and honest of their personal persuasion of bigotry and their commitment to intolerance.
Inclusion? None. Embrace? None. Acceptance? None. Loving the neighbour in the pew? Not really. Lip service, hand-shakes, and pats on the back all the utmost perfunctory and fake. As in phoney-baloney.