Clientele: (n) the customers
Long ago in a universe that was far-out, but not far away, there existed a gathering of human souls called “church.”
Like every idea which is acted out by human beings, it was flawed from inception.
But at the root was a watering hole, where people could get together, rub up against each other, feel uncomfortable and blessed at the same
time, and walk out at the end of an hour inspired and also entertained because the children’s choir broke rank and failed to deliver the perfect performance that the young director from college had envisioned.
It was elegantly imperfect–which made it adorable.
The laughing was equal to the crying.
The “amens” were matched by groans of conviction.
It might have continued in that format as a great, uplifting experience had the accountants and the fanatics stayed away.
The church treasurers became very concerned that all bills be paid and money set aside for the carpet that would need to be purchased three years from now.
And then there were the fanatics–those who discovered that if they could get people to be afraid or nervous, they could stimulate attendance and keep people “fired up.”
Somewhere along the line, this organism called “the church” welcomed in nasty clientele.
These individuals were pious, knowing more about Bible verses than life, caring more about the vestibule than the hungry and homeless in the community, and were determined to maintain purity instead of welcoming the stained.
The innocent were targeted.
Races were rejected.
Preferences were labeled “abominable.”
The church became a repellent to anyone who wanted to find a location for a soul-stirring, emotional rejuvenation–a penitentiary full of guards with nobody willing to be prisoners.
Procedure became more important than salvation.
So the more humble folk, who knew they were sinners but prayed for God’s grace, gradually slipped out the front door, to never return again, leaving behind a quorum of quasi-religious critics.
Is it possible that the clientele could be changed and we could return to an assembly that was meant for humans instead of one that tries to gear its programming only to an Almighty God?