Good morning, y’all. Well, if you’ve been watching, and weren’t moved to tears by President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention last night, well, I’m guessing you’re in a coma or a staunch supporter of the National Rifle Association. The emotion that came through the screen when President Obama talked about the little lost children of Sandy Hook was overwhelming. You could just see the picture of the owl gifted to the President by the parents of a child who was killed, “so that he would never forget”. Powerful, powerful stuff. All I can say is, “Four More Years, Four More Years, Four More Years!”
Speaking of strong emotions bring us back to the retelling of the history of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. Wednesday morning’s ritual breakfast at IHOP in Blairsville had a festive atmosphere. Christmas was two days away and the restaurant had expanded its menu to included Christmas related items. Elder Diggum opted for pancakes shaped like Santa Claus with a side of “reindeer” bacon.
Elder Wiley stirred his “elf spiced” coffee as he began to speak, “Honest to Pete, I bet I saw more elbows being thrown in ten minutes before the sermon this week than in a whole NBA game.” ” You know for those of us that were Pentecostal, before Pentecostal was cool, this fighting for a spot to worship is wearing a little thin.”
Elder Diggum paused mid-mouthful to interject, “You know some of us are fourth and fifth generation church members.” “We’re just not used to sharing the pews where our family has sat for years, with outsiders.” “Heck, I can point to the initials of my granddaddy, and daddy, where they carved them in the pew in front of our spot.”
“I know, I know”, said Elder Cheatum, “the worst part of it might be than lifelong enemies are being crushed together by the new members.” “I guess as a ‘love one another’ message that’s a good thing, but people don’t always practice the Golden Rule, even in church.”
“I’m afraid”, said Elder Wiley, “that with ‘open carry’ in Georgia, we might have a greater liability situation than the snakes pose.” “I cringe at a breaking news story that would involve shooting and snakes.” ” The Full Gospel Original Church of God would never live down that notoriety.”
“You know, the big leap of faith about us leasing the Crystal Palace is an anxiety I have about our new demographics,” said Elder Cheatum. “Most of these new comers are coming to church in clothes that look like they were pulled out of a Goodwill box.” “They wear these super tight skinny leg jeans, which are totally inappropriate for worship, in my opinion, and I remember our Happy Dalers.”
Elder Cheatum took a bite of his toast and continued, “I am kind of tickled at how many of them wear Chuck Taylor’s or Converse All Stars.” “Inappropriate, but it’s kind of cool to see these young folks appreciating the old standards.”
Elder Cheatum took a big sip of coffee before continuing, “The thing that has hit me the weirdest with these new folks is that they all went to a Super Cuts and picked out the same style from the pictures on the wall.” “Men and women, they’ve all got the same hair cut.” “It’s some sort of unisex thing I don’t understand.”
“Metrosexual”, interrupted Elder Diggum, “they call it Metrosexual.”
“Well, I figured if anyone knew the definition it would be you”, said Elder Wiley as he grinned at Elder Diggum, who had returned to his second order of ‘reindeer’ bacon.
“I think whether you call them unisex, or metosexual, or what-the-sex”, Elder Cheatum continued, “we can all agree that they are a giving lot of people.” “Our average donation per attendee is increased by at least fifty percent.” “That’s the thing I’m hanging our move on, that and the TV money.”
“In God we trust, all others must pay cash”, joked Elder Wiley, “but I do share that concern.” “If the metosexuals find a new something that’s ‘cool’ will they cast us aside?”
“That’s our leap of faith”, replied Elder Cheatum, “thank God we’ve got Reverend Helena on our side.”
Elder Diggum paused his perusal of the IHOP dessert menu to inquire, “Have you heard back from the Crystal Palace leasing agent?”
“Yeah, we’ve basically come to terms”, Elder Cheatum said, “I’ll put it up for a formal vote tonight.”
“Well?” asked Elder Wiley.
“Well”, answered Elder Cheatum, “it’s a two year lease with option to purchase.” “Lease payments will be deducted from purchase price if we decide to buy.” “The purchase price is locked in to today’s value, and we have right of first refusal.” “That way we won’t have to have a fight in two years if the Baptists decide they want the spot after we’ve built it up.”
“Good, good”, Elder Wiley replied, “what about improvements?”
“Improvements are like they are in any lease”, Elder Cheatum answered, “whatever we improve becomes part of the property.” “Of course, if we purchase, it’s not an issue.”
“Well ninety percent of our improvements will be donated, so it’s probably not a big deal either way”, responded Elder Wiley, “I will want to go over the agreement as soon as possible.”
“That’s why I brought you a copy”, Elder Cheatum said as he slid the lease agreement from his Royce Leather legal size notepad holder. “I figured you could give it the ‘once over’ and have it ready to for the vote tonight.”
“Will do”, replied Elder Wiley, “I’ll check to see if the Mormon lawyers interjected any Utah law into the agreement.”
Elder Diggum nearly dropped his fork as he asked, “They can’t do that can they?”
“No, Barry, I was just kidding”, Elder Wiley replied, “but there’s plenty in Georgia law to watch out for.” Is there anythng else?”
“Yeah”, said Elder Cheatum,”I’ve been thinking about Mulva’s reactions to everything, and I’m thinking she is a lot closer to the pulse of the church than we are.” “She rules the Ladies Auxillary, and without them we’d be in a world of hurt.”
Elder Cheatum breathed a low sigh, “The Ladies Auxillary and the ‘husbands auxillary’ have been keeping our church in the black for a long time.” “I want Mulva one hundred percent committed to what we’re going to do.”
The two other Elders were totaling focused on Elder Cheatum.
“To that end, I’m going to propose to Mulva that we have the congregation vote on our two big issues, multiple services on Sunday, and the move to the Crystal Palace.” “I think if we ’empower’ the congregation, Mulva will feel like nobody had their church yanked away from them.”
“That’s a really good idea”, said Elder Wiley, “if Mulva is committed, that may be the biggest battle of the war.”
“Agreed”, replied Elder Diggum. “Mulva carries more weight with the congregation than the three of us together.”
“Well, she is ‘known by her works'”, replied Elder Cheatum. “I planted the seed for what our projected growth could bring with the free trip to the Holy Land.” “I’m sure we’ll have more opportunities to help Mulva see the importance of spreading our message to as many followers as possible.”
“Barry, if we stay any longer they’re going to start serving lunch”, Elder Cheatum said as he got up, “Are you about done, some of us have work to do.”
“Here Barry, here’s the check”, said Elder Wiley as he rose, “and leave a nice tip.”
The Elders left the parking lot of the purveyor of international cuisine for their daily chores.