Behold: a new beginning

Ed Smith
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I'm giving you the opportunity to join a wonderful church.
No history of scandal of any kind, no history of child abuse or taking advantage of the working poor - or the non-working poor. No sexual exploitation of men, women or children. No history of cultism or fanatical acceptance of crazy doctrines or fanatical rejection of crazy doctrines.
I know I have your interest, you who are weary of the same old scandals and abuses and cults among churches and denominations that once had your trust.
"Where is this wonderful church?" you're crying. "Is it the Church Of the Woolly-Haired Sacrificial Lambs that you talk so much about?"
No, it isn't. Sadly the last pastor of that church started a close encounter of the finest kind with the organist who, he claimed, seduced him by grabbing him by the organ one Sunday night after services. She denied it all, of course, stating the pastor had offered to get to know her better in the biblical sense. She thought he was talking about the Beatitudes. He was talking about the "begats."
In that case, you're saying, I don't believe such a church exists.
You're right. It doesn't. I'm about to start it.
I think the time is ripe for a new church with a new set of parameters, new doctrines and new commandments. With that as the basis, I plan to organize a whole new system of church-based religion.
You have to admit the time has come. Centuries-old church institutions are falling like tall trees in a hurricane, shaken to the foundations by accusations of the worst kind, namely that they're interested mostly in your money.
Church leaders are opening their mouths and making some of the most ridiculous statements since Noah yelled out to his sons, "We've got to build her bigger, boys. I just saw a couple of viruses headed this way!"
From the Pope to the Archbishop of Canterbury to Pat Buchanan, they're inserting their whole bodies inside their gums. Four hundred years ago some of those fellows would have been naturals for court fools. No further training required.
There will be many basic differences in my new church.
(1) There will be no need to believe anything you don't want to believe. A-ha, you say, now you're talking about the United Church. No I'm not. The United Church says that it doesn't care what you believe; if you want to be part of us, come on in. That's a big difference. Of course, I may have it all wrong. Haven't checked out that stuff for a while.
It's also different from saying you must believe exactly this or exactly that or you can't be one of us. That's a rule of our poker club having to do with the relative monetary values of various colour poker chips.
(2) There will be some commandments but they will be different.
First, honour your children. That's setting the bar pretty high for some church people, not to mention a cleric or two. Wouldn't need the commandment about honouring your parents if we could follow that first one.
Second, do not lay hands on your neighbour's four-wheeler. The law about staying away from your neighbour's ass is pretty outdated and is obviously one of the lesser sins. On the sin-to-fun ratio, it's a lot more fun for a lot less sin. Also, it doesn't hold nearly the potential for making your neighbor really pissed off as does making off with his snowmobile, for example.
Third, if you can find any of those other gods mentioned in the first of the original commandments - and I say if - shop and compare. Follow the one who gives you the best deal.
Fourth, get as many material things for yourself as possible. If it's all yours, you won't covet what belongs to somebody else.
Fifth, do not kill, except in self-defense, or when someone else you know is in danger of being killed, or your country goes to war, or someone is breaking into your house or some bugger is making off with your money.
Six, do not tell lies about your friends. Instead, tell lies about your enemies; they're the ones who deserve them. Besides, it's a good way to get even.
(3) There will be no church buildings. Buildings simply cost money, and the more money that goes into the buildings, the less goes into the pockets of the church leaders where it belongs. Not only will my church leaders be right up there with athletes, salary-wise, but they'll also enjoy the same amount of respect. The reason church authorities often don't have enough respect is that they're too poor. People respect and obey the rich.
(4) There will be no rituals to observe, no special clothes to wear and no books to buy. That will separate my church from the others in a hurry.
(5) In my mind, one of the biggest differences in belonging to God and belonging to the devil is that God's people have to attend all those meetings. Therefore, in my new church there will be no meetings.
(6) No one has to go to church. This will do away with all those other people in the community who point at people who do attend church and say, "People who go to church are nothing but hypocrites," thus calling down judgment on themselves for judging others. Of course there will be no church to go to, anyway. (Almost forgot that.)
(7) There will be no church collections. However, a church-based retail outlet modeled on Costco will be available to all church members who can afford membership cards.
(8) The new church will be open to Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians and anyone else that might fall in between. Current members of the Church of the Woolly-Haired Sacrificial Lambs are also welcome. The only condition is that all must agree to abide by the charter statements as outlined above.
I foresee great things to come!

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is

Organizations: Church Of the Woolly-Haired Sacrificial Lambs, United Church, Costco

Geographic location: Springdale

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