Moving across the country has involved a lot of “news”: a new house, new neighborhood, new friends, new car (hopefully), new job. One of the first “new” things that we had to do was choose a church. As a former P.K., this was a rare occurrence. Besides a brief stint in college at church hunting, I have never had the job of picking out a church before. And in Dallas, this task isn’t easy. Churches are everywhere, and each one courts new members with brochures, candy, coffee mugs, and other free stuff. My sister and I are now settled in a nice one, but it took some work to find. This summer, we were able to check out quite a few of the establishments. Here is how I would describe some of the more memorable ones:
1. The tourist church. As we attended a Tuesday evening function, cars filled the parking lot and were parked on both sides of the street for a half mile. Food trucks packed with customers sat beside the huge facility, and security guards in sunglasses and vests watched us suspiciously. Every seat in the place was filled, and a stadium-like excitement infused the room. As soon as the service was over, huge swarms of bodies hurried to cars to avoid getting stuck in an after-church traffic jam.
2. The cootie church. The average age of a member of this church was about 25. People came in pairs, and a lot of rubbing, patting, and snuggling commenced. I got the feeling that if I stood in one place too long, I’d be married and then pregnant within six months.
3. The intellectual church. After a 50 minute sermon, people headed to classrooms to listen to another 60 minute lecture. The “school” in Sunday school was quite obvious. I left feeling like knowledge had descended upon me.
4. The Southern Gospel church. As the banjo and fiddle dueled with each other, I couldn’t help but smile. As “In the Sweet By and By” closed out the service, my dad let loose a rousing “Yeehaw!” My 13-year-old sister was completely scandalized.
In Dallas, the hard part isn’t finding a good church; it is deciding between all the good ones available. Each one on the list has been a very solid church, and it is fun to see the differences between them.