Whilst in the Gold Coast we met up with a family who showed us excellent hospitality in their mansion of a house. It was a real treat. They were a religious bunch so on Sunday we all trundled off to the church of their choice. This was situated in the heart of Surfers Paradise.
Now I've been to some fairly spectacular church services in my time but this one took the prize as the most excessive to date. From the outside you couldn't even tell that it was a church. It looked like any other building in the party city. It was very commercial in appearance more like a business building. Of course it was a business building. It was the business of God. We were lead up several levels and then a flight of stairs to the top floor of course. Where else would God live? Then along a long corridor and up a final set of stairs to enter a large auditorium filled with noisy music from a full on band, people and lights. Man, we had entered a rock concert by mistake. An early Sunday morning rock concert--- no-----it was a church service because all the screens projected religious lyrics for the masses to read and chant.
This kind of thing is not new. It is the American way that now pollutes our shores as does all things American. But this one had the edge. It had a pastor who actually looked like a rock star and was in fact a Melbourne muso in the '80's. His misses was also up there on stage belting it out. He looked like a Nick Cave type and she--------she------- well, bright orange hair---sequined denims low hung guitar-----need I say more? These guys couldn't crack it in Satan's world so they went into God's and did.
After a totally overblown and over loud performance came the sermon---errr---no-----you guessed it----the ads. The big screens offered all kinds of DVD crap for sale and events to relieve the believers of their hard earned. Excuse me---didn't Christ have a problem with this sort of thing in the table turning routine? Oh well all's fair in capturing and saving souls I guess. Then it's on to the main event. The guy was a true pro showman. He was full of gags whilst he belted out his message for the day. He was truly excellent at laughing at his own jokes too. He needed to reinforce that he was joking. I believed him completely. I thought " You gotta be joking!"
Anyways after the service we proceeded down to the Gloria Jean's coffee lounge which was within the church building of course. Now I didn't want to pay for a coffee. Part of the deal in suffering through a service like this had to be a free coffee at the end. It's only fair. The guy we were staying with said they offered free Gloria Jeans coffee if you went into ----wait for it---- The Connect Lounge. I was sold and off we went to get a free one. I stormed in to an intimate little room. The first thing I noticed was a plate of the most excellent biscuits. All my favourites. Alongside this was a line of perfect Cappucino waiting for me. This is God's place coz here was Heaven. When my eyes finally left this magnificent scene and I looked around further they fell onto the most disturbing sight I have ever witnessed. On the other side of the table stood the most perfect specimens of female beauty I had seen in a long while. They smiled at me in the most alluring way. They were true angels or were they. A man is not good in facing such a thing. Thoughts can wander. Not mine of course--but many men. I could see it all--marketing---fill em with Coffee, biscuits, beautiful women ---all the pleasures of the world--- then bring em home to daddy.
I chose to talk not to the good looking girls in there but to a safer subject. A very handsome young man. He was there for converting the girls or the gays of course but he had to put up with me. I talked at a million miles an hour about our trip and frantically gulped at my coffee till it was finished whilst watching his jaw muscles tighten and loosen in the strain of it because his agenda was not being met and he was strained. Then I did the old escape routine when my saviour arrived saying Pete-- we gotta go. I was saved that day. By my good buddy Ben.