Countdown to Rapture
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," cursing Facebook one virus at a time! Why, why, why did I ever fall for the latest stupid viral post? If you are my Facebook friend, never believe one thing you see posted by me. I'm about to swear off it for good.
There's a Rapture scheduled for Saturday, and I invite those of you who blog to think about what you might say to anyone who wanders, disillusioned, onto your site in the wake of it. Given the sad history of groups who have made reservations, seen them cancelled, and decided to seek the higher power by committing suicide, this really isn't exactly a laughing matter. (Although, trust me, I'll find some way to be snide about it.)
I was thinking about this Rapture event Sunday afternoon. My daughter The Spare had a choir concert at a local Episcopal church, so I went to hear it. And it was fabulous. There are some upsides to living in Snobville -- everyone else can afford to give their kids singing and music lessons. We even have a bongo player.
Before the concert began, I stared around at the church, which I'd maybe been in one time before. I got to thinking about it. Other than giving blood, I haven't been in a church for a long time. Even the funerals I've gone to in the past few years haven't been held in churches.
An awful lot of beautiful artwork goes into a church, doesn't it? All those stained-glass windows, and carved beams. Eye candy, for sure. Not distracting from the music, but nice to persue in between numbers.
And then the inevitable happened. Except it had been so long since I'd been in a church that I forgot the inevitabilities of every beautiful church building of any pantheon. Namely, you must pay the rent.
A jovial fellow (the music pastor from the church) got up and made a merry little speech about how wonderful it was to have the Snobville choirs perform, but please, as you leave, put a little money in the plate so we can continue to have these concerts. Because, you see, we need to have the lights on for the concert, and we need the air conditioning, and all that stuff costs money. So be generous.
Well, right up pops my faerie Puck, and that bad thing, he whispers in my ear, "Hey, Anne, there's going to be a bowlful of money at the back of this place, and you need to buy a baby shower gift!"
The brat. Can you believe him?
Seriously, however, I found myself thinking: "It's a beautiful day outside. Why do we need to be in this air-conditioned, lit building anyway? We could have had this concert in the courtyard of Snobville High! No air-conditioning, no lights, no stained glass that needs its weekly Windex, no pews that need their Pledge. Just songs in the air, under the sky.
I know that my tax dollars cover music concerts held inside Snobville High. (The building is pretty run-down, given the average income level, but that's because of the way school taxes are collected here in New Jersey.) Snobville High's auditorium is not air-conditioned. It does have microphones and stage lighting. But they never charge admission to a concert. Nor do they ask for an offering. They sell t-shirts and Hershey bars in the lobby, but that's different. You get something in return for your payout.
Part of what always bothered me about the busy god was this constant plea for rent money. I guess it makes sense to petition the faithful for cash on Sunday morning. But an audience of mostly parents who have come in to hear a concert by their kids? Does this suddenly make me responsible for the air-conditioning all the rest of the time when I'm not in the building?
Needless to say, the church did not get any money from me. Also needless to say, I did not heed Puck's suggestion to line my pockets from the coffers. It's just bad form, bad form, to need money so badly that you stick your hand out for an hour-long concert by the local high school, in which the audience was three-quarters or more parents of same.
Get this. The air conditioning wasn't even on. As I said, it was a beautiful day.