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August 23, 2009

Dexter Lake Church

Church of the Nice and Easy

I went to the Dexter Lake Church today; that used to have this huge congregation, but is going thru some life changes and hard times; as we all do.

The old minister left; the new one is young, long winded, the congregation has shrunk,  and the remainder seem a bit testy.  (Something like, I guess, what's happened since Donnie Swaggart took over from Dad Jimmy.)

It's one of those....well the word escapes me.... (pentacostal?) churches where most everyone stands throughout the service, people say "Amen!" to ever 3rd word uttered by the preacher, and rock and sway back and forth like they've had a few too many... waving their arms in motion to the music and the minister's words.....their eyes gradually starting to roll back into the top of their heads ... where there's a giant stage, musical instruments like an iterant 70s rock band might have, and a HUGE rear screen that flashes pictures -- reminded me of Fillmore West in SF in 69, except I looked all around and couldn't see any tie-dyed t-shirts,  Bill Graham, Grace Slick, Big Brother and the Holding Company, County Joe, or Janis Joplin in the church audience.

The screen didn't changes images, but had something like: "Dexter Lake Church" -- Experience it. Believe it. (Or something like that, I hadn't brought a pencil or notepad with me.)

Now, that should have been more than a WARNING, since I'm a fallen-away-Catholic, a borderline agnostic...questioning most everything......searching for faith, and thus Sunday church hopping.

Right then, I thought "Nope, this ain't my cup of tea."

But I got a ride over with a friend.

I wanted to be nice.

Most of all, I didn't want to walk the 4 miles back to my own car.

So I sat and listened to the preacher...and tried to concentrate on what he was yelling about ... something to do with a half full clay jar of olive oil, and then he went and actually got a clay jar off the stage, as a prop I guess, and he'd wave the jar in the air while he preached, and I kept hoping he wouldn't spill the olive oil. 

          He was starting to sway and roll on the balls of his feet ... breathing heavy....wiping sweat from forehead with a white hanky ... alternating cadence of loud breathing and pauses.....that reminded me a bit of foreplay and that nasty Tina Turner rift ("We only do it nice...and easy").

I looked around and realized I was probably the only one not getting it ...  and not getting into the spirit of the occasion.

So, I kept day dreaming....checking out people in the other pews.....

A few rows up and to the right were five churchgoers together ...in profile.....two men...three women....and I think they were related. They were all chewing gum (most of the people in the church seemed to be chewing gum). But these five were chewing gum in sync, like the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th violin chairs in the Battle Creek Symphony orchestra. Or The Beastie Boys. Or the Spice girls. Or The Temptations.

"How do they do that?," I wondered to myself.

After about 40 minutes of this, I excused myself from my friend, and went out to the car....and started reading the last chapters of THE ODESSA FILE.

Next Sunday I'll try a bit more mainstream church....

And I won't write about the experience here.

Or will I?

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