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TITLE: The hunt
By collette mcfarland

The Hunt
by collette mcfarland
For Sale
Author requests article critique


The Hunt

It's been months of searching and I still haven't found something that fits me. I checked off another entry in the yellow pages and wrote down the next address. Here I go once again. I can only do this once, maybe twice a week.

The building I pulled up to looked decent. The parking lot had several cars present. The people going in looked average. Okay, here goes. I parked in an empty space (I know, it would be hard to park in an occupied space) and entered the worship center. The lobby was pleasant, people milling around were dressed unpretentiously and were genuinely pleased to see me, shaking my hands and admiring my dress (or so I thought.) The main room was crowded and very warm; I took off my jacket and fanned myself. People of every size and age were sitting down, glancing friendlily at me. Okay, good so far. Then it happened. Apparently clothes were optional. As every one started to disrobe I made a hasty retreat, bumping into one nude body after the other since I had my hands protecting my eyes. Fat, skinny, old and wrinkled, people of all sizes. I will never be the same. My feet got tangled up in someones underwear on the floor and I landed at a pair of red polished manicured toes. The man that owned them helped me up. Casting his hands off I ran wildly to my car, fully clothed. Late arrivals stared at me like I was the crazy one. Another entry crossed off, cut out and thrown away. No return visits to the Garden Of Eden Church.

The next week I went to the far outskirts of the city. The address I was looking for was another deceptively nice edifice built in the middle of a large field. Once again all appearances were acceptable. As I was introduced to the attendees every thing seemed kosher. We all sat and got ready. A man came out and spoke. At last I think I'm where I need to be. Nothing seemed amiss, I agreed with what he was teaching. He taught about the good fight, the Christian's armor, the battle with sin, how to be good soldiers for Jesus. Then at the conclusion he announced the meeting of the weekly shooting contest. They have activities for the member, that's great. I questioned someone sitting next to me and learned the shooters were being trained to protect everyone from the IRA representatives forcing them to pay taxes. It wasn't till I drove away I noticed the military equipment in the back lots. Damn, another scratched off entry, they just lost me, I feel paying taxes is a necessary evil but militant action is not the answer, however if they used ex-husbands for target practice.......Cross off The Soldiers of God Church.

The following week I visited, guess what, another congregation. The advertisement in the yellow pages was enormous with an invitation to visitors. It seemed to offer many amenities, bookstore, gift shop etc. It was located in a wealthy part of town. So many expensive cars were in the lot it looked like a car dealership. I slipped my little Nissan Sentra into a corner spot between a Jaguar and Lexus. The auditorium was immense. No way to get emotionally close to a lot of the participants. To cold and informal, but formally dressed. (remember the place I visited that was warm, at least I didn't expect any clothes to be shed, these people spent to much time on their exterior appearances) Well as long as I was here I would give it a chance. The actor on stage was flamboyant, well dressed, well coiffured. Mostly the topic was about him. How great God made him, how much God allowed him to accomplish, how God helped him to make the payments on his Mercedes, blah, blah. As I was leaving a deacon, bent over from the weight of his heavy gold chain necklace, wearing a diamond stick pin and several gold and diamond finger ornaments mentioned he noticed I neglected to place anything in the offering plate and that I still had time before I left, extending one towards me. I retrieved two cents from my pocket and stated I was over paying. Another highly blackened line went into the phone book. That page was beginning to look like a blackout during WWW II. So long to the Church of Heaven's Treasures.

I should have been suspicious of this place. Not many men were in the pews. I'm single and would like to meet someone nice so this will probably go down as a loser also. During the service I learned why the demography favored the XX chromosomes. Apparently Mr. Too Hot To Be Modest on the podium was very out going and spent most of his time going out with his congregation. Most of the children up front called him dad. Thirty five of them. Nudity was a problem here also, just after the sermons. He now had his focus on me, causing sixteen girl/women, (who I decided were more than just fat), to turn and glare. Give me a break, whose going to notice one extra harem girl in a group this size, besides you'll have to lay off the sex for 6 weeks after delivery. I got home and did the routine black marker thing. My finger nails had permanent stains now. Good bye to The Sow the Seed Church .

Next Sunday I didn't even get out of the car. All the members in the parking lot wore black Gothic attire, had pasty white skin and dark black hair and were carrying black cats into the worship center. (I hope they were just pet lovers!) The air had a sweet smell to it coming from the homemade "cigarettes" half hanging out of their mouths, luckily they had beer cans with them to flick the ashes into. Their pants were so baggy I suspected they were concealing high powered weaponry. Many sported obscene tattoos on their arms, legs, backs and other poorly concealed, unmentionable places. They had so much body piercing I didn't want to be near them in an electrical storm. The cross on the roof was upside down and weird emblems were on the entrance. The announcement on the marque was a reminder for the special Halloween services to be held in the woods out back, behind the animal cemetery I now noticed sitting next to a lovely garden of herbal plants, or should I say medicinal plants?. I sped out so fast any police stakeouts wouldn't be able to get my licence plate number. The Church of the Ministers of Light wasn't going to get my name on a visitation card.

I calculated my hunt was penetrating week number ten. That's ten different churches filled with believers of their tenants. This would be the very last chance. I refused to spend anymore time on this project; was I the last living soul with a conscience, with a desire for new testament preaching and living? I walked into this chapel with poor expectations. Why should I feel anything would be different on this visit? My batting average was going down hill. Okay, here goes. I took a deep breath and seated myself in the back hoping no one would flash me, ask me out, offer me a joint, try to sell me a black cat or invite me to the upcoming gun show. I settled down as the minister began to preach. The hour went by quickly. I turned the pages in my bible frequently. He spoke of Jesus being the way to heaven, he spoke of God's love an forgiveness, he spoke of our sinful and helpless nature that could be covered in the blood of Jesus and our hope of a new world. No one got undressed. The minister had only one wife (at a time) and two children sitting up front. I wasn't pressured to finance his living expenses. The age and sex ratio were appropriate. The activities didn't include sleepovers at the minister's house or target practice but offered many pot luck dinners (I have no problem with gluttony), card games,(no strip poker), bingo and family nights out as well as concerts. They appeared to be appropriate family oriented gatherings, not family "producing" gatherings. At last, an aisle I was able to walk down and a place I was able to feel at home. The Church of Jesus welcomed me with open arms, just as I was, a poor sinner, dressed and armed only with spiritual armor and a heart felt love for God and my savior.

Math 7:13-23
James 2:1-4
Rev. 2:14-16
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