Sunday, August 21, 2005

Early Service

I woke up Sunday morning in Reno, Nevada (pronounced Nevada, not Nevada) in search of a church service. Not finding one anywhere near my hotel, I grabbed my Bible and made my way over to the most popular place of prayer in town, Harrah's Hotel and Casino. I wasn't there for the ceremony, just the sacraments; Harrah's housed the only Starbucks I knew of within walking distance. (En route, I saw a bumper sticker that read "My Boss Is Bruce Springsteen." Good stuff. I wouldn't try it on Judgment Day, but for now you get a tip of my cap. Clever.)

As I filed in with the other congregants a little past 8 a.m., I was struck by the similarities between the house of cards and many of the houses of God I've attended.

Both feature otherwise disparate people communing around a table.

Both rather shamelessly ask for your money, usually for the next building program.

In neither place do the people look remotely as attractive or interested as they do in the promotional material. (I've missed the church and casino billboards featuring people in wheelchairs, on oxygen tanks, and missing random limbs.)

Both are always looking for the latest technological or cultural innovation to draw people in.

You can usually get breakfast comped in the bigger, more upscale versions of each.

Both strongly encourage evangelism.

Both have promised fulfillment, failed to deliver, and driven people away in despair.


I could only discern three major differences, call it separation of church and casino:

1) at church, you have to go outside to smoke;

2) at the casino, people surrender their money sacrificially; and

3) most people at casinos are both happy to be there and hooked for life.

Perhaps the greatest irony is that casinos pretend they don't want to addict you but do, while churches promote a lifelong commitment but rarely get it.

As for my pilgrimage, I placed a single $2 bet that I'd get a cup of Gold Coast in return for my ante. And - cha-ching! - I won a 16 ounce share of the pot. Amen.

11 comments:

Chris Doggett said...

Grant - I laughed out loud (as usual) at your comments.......however, they are so true. Amen, amen, amen.

Just for the record, did you get a Venti or Grande?

jds said...

Jackie says...

Never double down on a double mocha cappuccino.

But you knew that.

Stephen Bailey said...

Thank you...that's all...just thank you.

Val said...

Are you sure you have to go outside to smoke at church? I see people at church all the time who are blowing smoke.

Donny said...

Grant, sorry I've been away for a while from these hilarious comments. Got a good chuckle out of me, although I think Val's comment ranked the best.

Good to see your mug on the Golf Channel the other day. Wasn't sure if you were still doing that stuff or not.

Joel Quile said...

Here is yet another similarity:

Both were built and exist due to incredible losses. Very different losses albeit.

Great writing. Better wisdom.

Sidenote: "hey Dogget, what planet are you living on bro? Do you get out much? Boone said he dropped only $2.00 and you asked if he got a Grande or a Venti? Hello? Its called a 'Tall' which is really a small which is really 'all' he could get for two bucks at 'Fourbucks'(Starbucks)."

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, church at Harrah's....I'll have to try that next time I'm in New Orleans.....

Anonymous said...

"Help me if you can I'm feeling down" - I also think I must be lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw him on the golf course yesterday. Now this is strange because usually I see him in the supermarket.

Honest really, last time I saw him there he was right in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new lcd tv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a lcd tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger.

Then I'm gonna go home, put ma dancin' suit on, munch me some uppers and freak out to that maaaaaaaaad surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on ma lcd tv .

How cool is that boy?

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I've got a place just like that golf

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