terça-feira, setembro 07, 2004

Leisure Time on the Hill of Goodness

A few months ago, I began my work in a neighborhood called the Hill of Goodness. Anxious to get to know the community, I researched the options for spending my leisure time on the Hill.
There is no bowling alley or mini-golf course on the Hill, probably because no one could afford to use it if there were. The free-time activities, as far as I have been able to discern, include church services, drinking, dancing, sleeping with someone else's wife or girlfriend, and shooting people who have been sleeping with your wife or girlfriend.

Having little interest in sleeping with anyone's wife or shooting people, I have chosen the “Church Track”. There is no lack of churches on the Hill, just as there is no lack of bars. I chose the Methodist Church, a small community-minded church who believe in “Integral Evangelism”(caring for both the spiritual and physical needs of people).

Each church on the Hill convenes for services and meetings about 80 times a week. Observing the activities available there, I have deduced that this is because of the limited options for members of the “Church Track”. If there were services only on Sunday, that would leave the rest of the week for the members to either do nothing at all, or drink and shoot people. Most people on the Hill are unemployed, so they have an unbearable amount of leisure time to begin with. Hence, the 80 church services.

I enjoy the services and meetings, though since every event is attended by the same six people I frequently become confused as to which one I am participating in. Sometimes, forgetting whether we are in the Young People's Group, the Outreach Committee Meeting, the Worship Team Meeting, or the Sunday School Teacher's Meeting, I have to tap someone on the shoulder and ask, “What meeting are we in?”

Luckily, the other 5 people are usually more on top of things than I am, and will clue me in: “This is the church Leadership Meeting.” Aah, yes, of course.

And with the music blaring from the bars nearly drowning out our prayer (the lyrics usually are something to the effect of “The Love of a Prostitute is Very Good” or “I Am Cheating on You Baby”), we continue with our service on the Hill of Goodness.