Whose Truth?

Essay by erin906High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2005

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We open on a rural but prosperous church in south central Indiana. A young boy is sitting in a pew flanked by his older brother on his left and his mother on his right. He fidgets. Let me take that back, it isn't a pew. Pews are too "old-fashioned" for this straightforward, progressive church. The truly zealous fill their sanctuary with orange plastic chairs and bolt them to the floor. Marooned in his shiny, pious, orange chair, the boy takes a quick glance towards his mother. She is listening in that seemingly attentive way that gets on his nerves yet depresses him. Her head seems to magically nod at all the right times. The boy has tried in the past to nod with such synchronicity to what was being said before, but he is always falling behind. It's as if he has found himself outside of the subconscious mental link the rest of the congregation shares.

Suddenly, with a great shout from the primarily middle aged, middle class, mentally linked congregation, the entire crowd leaps to their feet and the "music group" heads for the stage. The boy considers (not for the first time) the obscenity that has been worked into modern religion by changing the name of the pulpit to "the stage." Old blowhards are puttin' on a show, alright. To the boy, it was one thing to sit and listen to a bunch of old, gray haired fat guys who refused to admit their own ages to themselves pretend that they were a band; but it was entirely another to suffer through song after song performed by the aforementioned "band" consisting of nothing but lovey-dovey country lyrics that replaced "Baby" with "Jesus." The boy tried his best to simultaneously mouth the words to avoid a scolding...