It was noontime and the crowds were scurrying here and there. Some were heading to restaurants. Others had errands to run. The summertime sidewalks of Irvine were filled with people.
But what was strange about this particular lunch hour was the old man with a Chicago Cubs baseball hat on his head, standing directly across the street from where I was sitting. He held a microphone in his right hand. Then, from time to time, he stopped passersby and held the microphone up to their faces. It looked like he was interviewing them.
From my vantage point, sitting outside a Starbucks Coffee Shop, my curiosity was stoked. Could he be a newspaper reporter writing a human interest story for the LA Times? Or better yet, a panhandler with a new angle on shaking down people for money?
Having nothing better to do, I crossed the boulevard to check him out.
As I approached from behind, he turned and looked at me. He motioned with his hand for me to stop
“Would you be so kind as to answer a quick question for me?” he asked
“What do you think is wrong with the American Church system?” he asked.
Then, he held the microphone in front of my face for a response.
My mind went blank. Normally, I am quick witted and respond without much forethought, but his query caught me off guard. What is wrong with churches? I thought.
To be honest, I was not a religious person. My parents were not church goers. So, from early on, I had not given much thought about churches, one way or another. Of course, I had attended a few from time to time for funerals, marriages and visiting with friends. Yet I had never been what you would call a regular member of a church.
As I stood there, I thought over some possibilities. Isn’t church a place where you go and give money to be completely bored? Doesn’t everyone think that it is the longest hour of the week? When you exit a church service, you are no better off than when you came, right? And guess what, the following Sunday, more of the same old, same old will be offered to you with the same results.
Finally, I shrugged my shoulders.
“There’s nothing wrong with the American Church system. It’s the one institution which never seems to change much,” I said.
The man thanked me for my time and I headed back to Starbucks.
This is a short story from the upcoming novel, Deceived Dead And Delivered by Larry Nevenhoven.