So the coming Sunday I was all ready to go to church.
Imagine a Che Guevara all dressed up for a rollerskating disco night - a Steve Martin wild and crazy guy with beard - popping up at the neighborhood church for the Sunday morning mass. I was an instant hit!
The sermon was boring and uninspiring, a reading from the bible fallowed by a long and forced attempt to a moralized interpretation of the scripture. Then some guy passed the collection basket - which was a total surprise for me - I didn't have any money so I felt like a real shit head with the basket propped in front of me for what it felt like an eternity. After that the congregation split, with most of the people leaving and a few, mostly elderly ladies remaining for a cake and soda type of gathering.
I thought this was the moment for my pledge for help. "You should have come here last week, we had our monthly charity" They told me. But I don't want charity. I need help getting a job. "Why don't you come back next month, we'll have another charity" They answered.
Something was going on. The people were unwilling or unable to relate to me, or I wasn't able to express my need. I don't want charity I need help! I went back home very disappointed and depressed, my hopes and plans have totally back fired.
My girlfriend stopped by that noon but I was to bombed to go out. "Do you really, really want to get a job?" She asked. No! I want to be an unemployed bum and have you pay for all the diners and movie tickets for the rest of my life. What kind of retarded question was that? She took a minute to gather her strength and then she said: " If you want to get a job, you have to cut your hair, trim or shave your beard, get a blue or dark suit, white shirt and tie." And why was this such a big secret that nobody wanted to tell me? "They didn't want to hurt your feelings." So, let me get this straight; seeing a man crumbling in despair and poverty was OK but for God's sake don't tell him to shape up cause it might hurt his feelings?
I don't get it.
So I took her advice and, bingo! I landed a job.
I went back to the church for another Sunday morning mass. What a difference a job and a 3 piece suit makes! I was welcomed and even asked to help with the next charity event - being that I could speak immigreeze. I said to them: What the immigrants need is not a fish meal but the knowledge and skill to fish for themselves! Bad idea. It didn't go well with the natives. It turns out the only thing they were interested in was the handouts, the "charity work" as they put it. The one day a month when they will have something to do with the needy without getting too close or too involved with their lives.
I realized that church was just a place where they went once a week for an hour to bribe their way into heaven. Going to church had nothing to do with spirituality, it was just a way to wash away the guilt so Monday morning they would go back to their Northrop jobs, building stealth planes and intelligent bombs. - Isn't that an oxymoron, "intelligent bombs"? Aren't bombs inherent stupid?
Any way, this church going thing was not what I was looking for. I didn't want to join a religion just to buy my sins off and get a free pass to heaven. I wanted Gods acknowledgment of my existence. I wanted Gods love and presence in my life 24/7 not only on a Sunday morning inconvenient intermission.