Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Millennial Church

His friend urged him to seek
A spiritual entity
To help him through a time-frame bleak,
A time of hopeless misery;
He thought about that, thought it strange
And even bordered on inane
But felt compelled to rearrange
His thoughts...or simply go insane.

And so he hit upon a plan,
To wit, some churches just explore
And see if they could help him span
This time and thus some hope restore;
He was an avid hard-rock fan,
Hard metal, too, with its bombast...
So...opposites – those things to ban
Seemed apropos...dial down the blast.

He figured worship quiet, calm,
Was just the thing to soothe his nerves,
A sort of sterile, lyric psalm
Almost like drugs in his reserves,
Though drugs had not helped out this time –
Another reason for the church,
To give his life a brand-new rhyme...
A just reward for brand-new search.

A careful yellow-pages search
Revealed church listings by the score,
He closed his eyes to find the church,
Brought down his thumb on Restore Faith;
A church named Restore Faith, he thought,
Might satisfy his needs, for sure,
Though too much change would not be sought –
Enough for temporary cure.

The next Lord's Day he set alarm
To make sure he was up in time,
He figured church would do no harm,
Might even be worthwhile, sublime;
Restore Faith Church's parking lot
Filled five acres of new asphalt,
At last he found a parking spot
And took a long walk by default.

When he got close he felt the beat
And heard through amps he knew were huge,
He sensed vibrations in his feet
And when he entered...sound deluge;
The music leader wore his jeans
With holes at both knees, threads awry,
His T-shirt pictured palm-tree scenes,
His mike mouth-close as either eye.

There was a praise-team – mini-skirts
For all four girls in hip-hop groove,
Four guys with wild unbuttoned shirts
Joined with the girls in every move;
They sang “Praise God” some fifty times,
Then sang “Praise Christ” some fifty more,
These three words passed for all their rhymes,
He sat there stunned, both eardrums sore.

And then the preacher came stage-right
Dressed all in earth-tones...sort of beige...
With gold necklace that was so bright
Reflected foot-lights lit the stage;
In ear-locked mike he screamed “Praise God,”
And then said “Let's give God a hand,”
The clapping crashed...then with a nod
He stopped it cold...and cued praise-band.

The singers and the band conspired
For fifteen minutes so amped-up
That words were never heard, just mired
In chaos titled “Bitter Cup;”
And then the preacher reappeared,
Said “Let's praise God,” the people clapped,
He preached that Satan was not feared
Except by those when tithes they zapped.

A quarter-hour the preacher spoke,
His ears still ringing, he took note,
The subject: “Fix it 'cause it's broke,”
Delivered as if just by rote;
One size fits all, he then surmised,
Is what the preacher emphasized...
Just pay the tenth and be surprised
As blessings are then realized.

He left before the final prayer
To beat the crowd across the lot,
His misery was not still there
Since he had learned what he was not,
To wit, he was not greedy...no,
Or suckered by the morning show...
Or satisfied with status quo—
But knew of God he had to know.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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