Friday, June 08, 2018

Disc Golf and Church

Summer is a time of almost daily disc golf for me.  Whether by myself or with friends, it is the exercise my body desperately needs and the Zen my soul craves.

However, when I approached Valley Regional Park the other day, the lot was overflowing.  Valley is a multi-purpose park, so it is not unusual to see it jam-packed due to sports tournaments, fairs, or other community happenings.

As I pulled in to meet a friend for a round, I saw a sign at the entrance -"Free Event!"  I knew instantly what the temp stage and bouncy houses in the distance meant.  Such vague signage could mean only one thing: Church Event.

Not just any church... these were obviously evangelicals.  No one else could be so gauche.  I know the Evangelical playbook well.  "Church in the Park" is one way that a completely insular group can convince themselves they are a vital part of the community.

I have been out of church life for about 6 years.  I have returned on occasion for a few Catholic Christmas services and a Mormon baptism or two.  In that time though, I had forgotten how truly awful Evangelical services really are.

First, there was the music.  What a cluster @#$% of mind control.  Chorus lines repeated over and over and over reminding everyone how terrible they are... and how lucky they are to have a God who condescends to love them in spite of how terrible they are.  After a few dozen cycles of that message, we moved on to various choruses of "Our God is so much better than everyone else's god!"

I was having a noticeably more visceral reaction to this than my ex-Mormon buddy, but he did agree it was pretty tacky.  Though annoyed by the triggering cult music of my past, I was still on par by hole 3.

We were out of earshot on holes 5-7.  I was grateful for the brief respite.

Somewhere along the eighth fairway, we came back into audio range.  The service had moved on to the sermon and the pastor was dutifully hitting every trope - the "world" thinks it is enjoying life, but they aren't.  Other religions think they know God, but they don't.  Meaning can only be found in our faith.

He wrapped up the sermon with an emotional appeal to Jesus.  I was grateful to be heading out to the back nine before he could build to the ol' sinner's prayer.

When I got home, I looked up the church to take a peek at their event calendar.  I now know which days this summer to visit another course.

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