Good morning, y’all. As the Donald makes his “pivot” on immigration, and begins to take a more Jeb Bush view of the world, we wonder if the diehard loonies are going to drop away from supporting the Donald. One can assume that the “nod and a wink” was delivered to the brown shirts by the Donald’s surrogates, but there may be some potential Trump voters that didn’t get the memo. In case the Donald’s new policy is unclear, let me assure you, he’s just kidding. Like asking Russia to hack America’s email accounts, the Donald is just being ‘sarcastic’. Don’t worry white supremacists, this leopard hasn’t changed his spots, or hair color.
Speaking of a leopard changing his spots brings us back to the retelling of the history of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting was fraught with polar extremes. The crushing disappointment of the weak altar call was tempered by the jubilation of the finances. In spite of the lack of participation at the services, the faithful were still tithing according to plan. The money from TV land was still climbing exponentially. Mulva felt extremely confident that the financial plan that she presented at the meeting to open two day care centers would be a no-brainer. She was extremely surprised to be met with resistance from the Elders. Elder Wiley voiced legal and liability concerns, Elder Diggum voiced infrastructure concerns and Elder Cheatum worried about the best and highest use of the money.
“I see the value as a service”, Elder Cheatum stated, “I’m just not sure that it is the best way to spread our mission.” “If we offer a ‘free daycare’, we’ll have people dropping kids off from all over the tri-state area”, he continued, “people that will never darken our doors on Sunday.” “We have to have whatever services we offer in the community tied to membership, not ‘open to the public'”.
Elder Cheatum finished with, “The money is better spent opening new market areas out of the state, even if we have to pay for the telecasts.”
Elder Diggum jumped in at this point to give the news that there were a couple of Christian cable networks that might support adding an hour from The Full Gospel Original Church of God once they saw the telecast’s popularity.
“Our viewership numbers are phenomenal”, Elder Diggum said, “they’d be foolish not to give us a spot.”
“And we don’t run the risk of being sued if some little urchin spreads Ebola to all of Union county,” replied Elder Wiley.
Mulva finished delivering the rest of the financial news and sat quietly with Reverend Helena while the Elders discussed how they would approach the cable networks.
Finally Elder Cheatum rose and asked, “Anything else?” There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned. Reverend Helena retreated to the rectory before Mulva could tell her how much she had enjoyed her sermon, even though it was over the TV. Mulva guessed they could talk after Sunday’s service.
In spite of an all-over body ache brought on by hiking the trails around Tallulah Falls, Bud made good on his promise to Mulva to attend church on Sunday. In deference to his soreness, he begged off driving into Blairsville to catch the services at the Crystal Palace. It wasn’t the driving that was the issue, it was the four block walk to get to the church from wherever there was an available parking space.
“I guess there’s a price to pay for popularity, and in this case, it’s the fact that some of us who are less spry might choose to attend other services”, thought Bud, “Or maybe no services at all”.
As Bud pulled into the parking lot of the Little Church In The Valley, he continued to muse to himself, ”I’m not saying that the parking situation at the Crystal Palace is creating heathens, because there’s always the telecasts as an alternative”. “I’m just saying that some of the less energetic worshipers might enjoy being inside and in their pew in less than a minute.” “It couldn’t be more convenient here at the little church if it was a Drive-thru.”
As Bud took his place in his traditional pew, his mind continued to wander. “I wonder if anybody ever thought about the concept of a Drive-thru for religion”, he thought, “If not, I’d like to patent/copyright/whatever the idea.”
Bud allowed his imagination to run free as he continued his plan.
“I can see for the Catholics it would work great”, he thought, “Obviously, it would be perfect for communion, right?” “You’d go to the box and order for the car, stop at the tithing window, and then proceed to pick up your order from the priest”. “The priest would give a blanket blessing for the car, a ‘go and sin no more’, and you’d be done for the week”.
Completely lost in the scene playing out in his head, Bud continued.
“Confessions would be a little trickier if you didn’t want to share with the rest of the family.” I’ll have to work on that some. It might be something like the bank with pneumatic tubes. Each family member could put their sins in an envelope with their name on it that would then be sent in to the “confessional”. The hearer of confessions would then open the envelopes, read the confessions and then place a penance response back in the appropriate envelope. Little Johnny might send in “I kicked the dog” in his envelope, and receive a “say ten Hail Mary’s” as his penance. I can see a wall mounted rack of penance cards color coded and graded by severity from top to bottom. The venial sins would be handled by the penance cards closer to Heaven, the mortal sins would be handled by the cards at the bottom, closer to Hell.”
Bud was unaware that the gathering hymn was being sung as he mapped out his plan for world dominance of the “Divine Drive Thru” in his mind.
“The confessional line could be a second drive-thru with just the one extra stop.” “That way the confessors wouldn’t hold up the folks receiving Communion.” “If tens of billions of hamburgers can be served quickly and efficiently using drive-thrus, can’t we expect “the Divine Drive Thru” to be just as successful,” Bud asked himself.
Oblivious to his surroundings, Bud continued on, “What’s really cool is that there is already a network of drive-thrus in almost every community already setup to handle the traffic.” “Chik fil A doesn’t open on Sundays.” “This would be a perfect marriage of functions.” “This could be more successful than the daiquiri drive-thrus in New Orleans.”
The Right Reverend Dale E. Bread’s powerful voice finally broke through the fog of Bud’s brain. This week’s sermon was on God’s watchfulness. The title of the sermon was,“His Eye Is On The Sparrow”. Bud gathered from the message the implication that if God has the time to watch out for something as small as a sparrow, he’s certainly watching over us. Reverend Dale tried to blend in equal parts of “God is watching out for us”, and “God is watching us”. Bud had the feeling that the Reverend was emphasizing the “God is watching us” part a little heavier when Reverend Dale looked Bud in the eye.
Bud remembered one of his favorite scriptures at that moment, John, 8:7, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
Remembering a verse that not only relieved pressure on his feelings and was also on point to the situation was a double bonus for Bud. Bud figured God’s surveillance system had to be at least as good as the cameras that Bud had planted around TackyToo.
“He’s got the Right Reverend dead to rights on a couple of issues”, thought Bud, “I think I’m remembering right that adultery still applies if only one of the parties is married.” “Of course, if both parties are not married, fornication applies.” “I do not see a Heavenly course for the Right Reverend, if the Lord is watching.”
Bud was surprised to see that Reverend Dale had worked a timber rattler back into the testament of faith. The rattler seemed amused by the Right Reverend’s dance of exaltation, but not so amused as to be offended. Bud was happy to see that the new team member played nice and went back into his box without incident.
“Sometimes your prayers are answered”, thought Bud as he got up to leave. “I’m sure Reverend Dale’s were with his new friend.” “I know mine were when the services ended at 12 noon on the dot.”
As Bud left the parking lot of the little church in the valley he thought of the pork butt he had left cooking on the Big Green Egg that needed basting. It would provide a fine supper for he and Mulva while they watched the DVR’d telecast from the Crystal Place later.