My future sister in-law gave me a call early Sunday and asked if I would like to attend church with her and her intended. They are scoping out places of worship and figured they'd give Prestonwood a try. It's a Baptist congregation that houses a large complex including a private school, a large sports stadium, and covers an area that one may assume rivals that of Vatican City. We call it Six Flags Over Jesus.
I go intent on it being blog fodder if nothing else and it didn't disappoint. The parking lot was packed in the mega church and we made our way into the hallowed grounds of Baptist worship. There was an enormous cafeteria there, a coffee stand that proudly served Starbucks blends, book stores, ticket booth for concert events, and even a children's play area that had a pictorial of Moses parting the waters where kids can sit on a big fish and roam about at the bottom of the Red Sea.
The three of us order coffee and give ourselves a tour of the tax exempt behemoth. The architecture reminded me of an airport where we were about to board the 747 to the heavenly kingdom. Many lilly white folks walked about with the good book in hand ready to hear the message of the day. They wouldn't let us bring our Starbucks into the worship hall, so we caffeinated ourselves as much as possible then got a seat in the upper section.
Many of you are familiar with televangelists and this church was much like one you'd see on TV, sans the homosexual scandals. They had big screens for those in the nosebleeds, high production values, a full orchestra and choir, and even someone signing the narrative for the hearing impaired. This was less of a church service and more like a concert. Songs were sang for a bit, pleas for charity were made, and finally the pastor took to the podium to deliver a simple, but effective sermon on witnessing for the Holy Spirit.
At the end of the preaching the pastor reminded his flock that the Good Lord took time out from saving souls to assist in their school's win over some dominant team in football. He put on a hat that showed his pride in their divine victory and asked that we all applaud those that were part of this miracle. The television show 'Friday Night Lights' is not fiction, it's a documentary. I felt like I was living in the script.
Afterwards we made our way out of the parking lot and saw a SUV with "Jesus is my homie" written on the side. I was unaware that the Lord and Savior was down with American teenage slang, but as I've been told all things are possible through Christ.
"I even went so far as to become a Southern Baptist for a while, until I realized that they didn't hold 'em under long enough." - Kinky Friedman