The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 30
The Thinking About Church Episode
The last thing Rich remembered from the radio before drifting off to sleep was that rain was expected tomorrow.
He had plans to keep everything dry on the trip except for himself. He bought rain gear at a Montgomery Wards store in Keene the day before.
In the morning he restarted the fire and heated a can of corned beef hash. It was terribly dry, but the tea helped wash it down. He broke camp, crept out of the woods, onto the road, and peddled eastward.
It was dark and remained dark for quite some time. Indeed, it looked as though it was going to rain.
This was Sunday and he thought about church. Rich was always uncomfortable in church. It was not the building itself. He thought of a church as a good place to meditate and be close to God, but it was the people that made him uncomfortable. Perhaps it was my own guilt or feelings of inadequacy, however that’s the way it came out.
Rich recalled a time going to Sunday School with his cousin. They were about ten. It was soon after Rich’s sister’s wedding. It was a Lutheran church. It was much like the Catholic church.
Everybody seemed to know what they were doing, except Rich. In Sunday school class they had a roll call. Somehow Rich’s name appeared on the roll. He didn’t know how, but it did. The teacher called out the names and everybody responded by saying “here,” or “present.” He knew what “here” meant, but was not certain what “present” meant.
Rich was nervous and certainly wanted to impress his new religious brethren so when his name was called he responded, “I didn‘t know I had to bring something, but I’ll bring something next week .”
Everyone laughed. The Sunday school teacher’s brow furled and corrected him. He felt embarrassed and foolish. He never returned.
Occasionally Rich strayed into a church at the invitation of a friend. Seldom did he return. If church was going to make him like the people who attended there, he was just as well off to stay away.
Rich heard sermons about the lonely soul in shabby clothing entering the back of the church and sitting in the last pew. He wondered, “Did it ever really happen? What would happen? Perhaps today he shall put it to the test and give the preacher something to preach about for years to come. How my soul was wayward and I was downtrodden and he lifted me from the depths of perdition’s evil grip into the hallows and glories of the sweet holy promised land of religious pretentiousness.”
Rich was nearly giddy with the prospect. He had a shot at academia only a few days ago, now he shall set his sights on religion.
On his way to Concord he spotted a brick church. It was not cathedral-like, but more like a ranch style home with a steeple. A sign was draped above the entrance, “Billy Bopper Evangelist.”
It was special. “I dare not resist the preaching of Billy Bopper.”