Talk. Talk. Talk. Pray. Sing. And talk some more. If you’re lucky they might even sing a few more times. So predictable! Every Sunday you can find my grandma in the fourth pew from the front on the right hand side of the aisle that divides the church between the deep-rooted members and the newbies that come to see just what the church is all about. You can tell just by looking at the position of the people sitting in the pews which members have been here for generations, the faith passed down to each generation by it’s elders that came before them, and those who have only attended for a short time. The differences between the two are as noticeable as a snowstorm in the tropics.
As I sit there listening to the pastor go on and on about how Christmas came about according to the ancient stories that were told long ago, I peek around the church and notice just how apparent this difference really is. The new, and typically much younger, members sit in their pews and listen carefully to what the pastor has to say. A kid that looked at if he was no more than thirteen years old catches my eye. He was sitting with his parents and siblings on the left hand side of the church, therefore, signifying that his family was a new addition to the congregation. I sat there admiring how intensely he was attempting to pay attention to the droning speech the pastor was giving us all. After a few minutes of my staring, he turned and looked me straight in the eyes. A wink and a sly smile from me was enough for him to blush and return to his rigid, church-approved forward facing pose. My visual observations of how separated this church’s congregation was continued on and brought my eyes upon the elderly couple sitting in front of me. They sat there so confidently; so assured that they were ready for the future as long as they paid attention to every word their holy leader had to say to them and that by listening closely, they would be guaranteed they would to go to Heaven. I witnessed this appearance of contentment in almost every individual who sat ever so comfortably on the right side of the invisible line that segregated the community of the church.
The isolation of the worshippers on the left side and the worshippers on the right side of this dividing line was as inconceivable to me as the idea of segregation between the races. The fact that the leaders refused to amend this overwhelming predicament occurring like this within the walls of their church was appalling to me. Not only did they reject the idea that maybe this segregation was an uncomfortable environment for any potential members and therefore alter the ways of the church, but they also decided to treat the issue as if it did not even exist. The realization that occurred to me from their ignorance and behavior that I so strongly condone, was one of great magnitude in my life. From that very day, I decided that if a church would go to these great lengths to avoid having to correct these injustices, then I do not desire to be a part of such religious organizations. Acceptance between new members and old members is crucial for a religious society to proceed happily. This I believe.
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