Alone with un-familar faces.

The other day as I sat having breakfast in the assembly hall of a large church in Houston, TX, I was  looking over the crowd, hundreds from all over the country in small groups enjoying the chatter over the eggs, a slice of sausage, a biscuit with gravy, I caught myself scanning from one to another wanting to know if there was anyone present I would or could recognize. Looking at their facial composition, skin tones from light to pitch dark, looking at the eyes and the raised brows above, ripples, the shapes of the nose, mouth and chin, the cheek bones and crevices flowing out from the eyes, from the sides of the nose down to edges of their lips, by their head of hair hiding or circling the ears, mustaches and beards, whether they were wearing glasses or still had good eyesight. All those unique features within an average ovalish area of 8 to 9” by 5 or 6”. There were many older folks close to or in retirement, many in the 50’s pushing the golden years, those still young enough that their hair was without grey streaks, 20’s to 30’s, teens and elementary children too were eating away before the morning devotional.

Nope, I did not recognize anyone. Hundreds of un-familiar faces.

My mind then wondered, how is this, why is this? Hundreds of people, each with totally different facial features contained within such a small oval shape.  Look at the features of a group of horses or herds of cows, a few monkeys and their head features are so similar, it is hard to distinguish one monkey from another, one cow from another. Would one monkey be able to recognize his cousin from a dozen of others perched in a nearby tree?

Humans are unique. Our DNA is unique. Our designer has made us this way. A photo of a face is used to identify a criminal walking the streets. Our finger prints are used as an identifying tool. The one and only designer must have wanted to be able to recognize each and everyone of us as an individual, as a unique person so very different from all the rest.  The designer, the grand architect wanted to recognize each one of us distinguished from the millions. Surely the maker could have formed us a bit more like monkeys with the addition of free will,  intelligence and enough curiosity to invent technology.

Yep, The Almighty creator made us this way so, that when I call upon Him, He can say: “yes Arnold, glad to hear your voice today? How can I help?”

I then entered the auditorium of this church where the morning worship service was about to start.  Ah, what a different atmosphere this was compared to the churches I’m accustomed to in my old age. Lights streaming across the stage, a large TV type screen on each adjacent wall, the lights flashed a large picture of the pastor standing on the center stage. It did not have a pulpit raised up as many of the older cathedral churches have, most having two, one for the pastor to use as he delivered his morning sermon, and one for announcements. In the rear of this thousand plus seat auditorium, there was the sound booth with 3 guys adjusting the controls of the computer driven sound system changing the booming effects to large speakers, adjusting the lighting effects streaking down from the ceiling.

From the street, I would not have recognized the building as a church except for the steeple atop the pointed roof and the name emblazed on the marquee on the street.  It appeared more like an auditorium. In America there is the divide between Catholicism and the numerous protestant denominations and sects, but the basics are the same adhering to the one God, the creator of all things sacrificing part of Himself to remove our transgressions so that we could enjoy that blessed reunion in that heavenly realm along with those we never recognized here on earth.

Author: Arnold Kropp

About the Author. Back in the days when I was a kid growing up in south Chicago, freely roaming around the neighborhood was common and just a part of life in the late 40's and early 50's. A train track was less than a mile away and a favorite place to walk along the rails. A large city park was a bit closer with areas of dense trees and areas of open grassy picnic grounds. A public golf course was just two blocks away, but the famed 4-lane busy Western avenue had to be crossed to get to it, and we crossed in the middle of the block running between the cars and trucks. We knew the risks. In the winters, we would climb that fence making our way to one of the ponds, we’d push and shovel away the snow and play a spontaneous game of hockey, or bring a sled and slide down the hillside ; no adults, no special padding, just a group of kids enjoying the contest. Dad was at work, mom was home tending to the washing and preparing the family meal for promptly at 6 pm. Life was good. It was fun. Sunday mornings were dress up in suit and tie, polished shoes for Sunday school and the worship service, then to a restaurant. Arnold went on to college immediately after high school, but could not find a subject, a major that was really up his alley, so he enlisted in the Army and served in Germany during the years the Berlin wall was built. Seeing what effects Soviet communism had on the people of East Germany left an impression on him. During those years, he would write many long letters home starting a desire to write more than just letters. Many years later Arnold developed a blog where he posted hundreds of articles on the political side of American life. Some of those are available in the collection named "Ramblings". Today, Society is totally different from that of the 50's, a whole lot different. Today, it has become scary to let the kids roam. Today it has become organized to the hilt with 2nd graders playing organized football. In my present relatively quiet neighborhood, I do see kids walking the streets, but there is a difference as the kids seem to be apprehensive and on guard or intently operating a telephone as they walk, not running after each other. Today, the above freedoms of the 50's are suspect and avoided as being dangerous activities. And that is sad. It's sad that today's kids do not have that freedom, and it may be having a direct effect on their development. Consider, one fact that is readily apparent today compared to yesterday; the preponderance of overweight and obese kids, even pre-school kids are heavier than we were, and this has to be affecting the rest of their daily lives. No doubt about it. But, I'd better hush, can't talk about those things. Yes, in the 50’s there were Semi-trucks, public transportation, murders, rape, robberies, house fires, sickness and diseases resulting in death, and yes, there were deadly vehicle accidents too. There was even poverty and homosexuals too. We went to public schools, and the high school was integrated. This was Chicago, but those events did not make the headlines, as news was only broadcast at 6pm and possibly 10pm nightcap. Days of the cold war kept us together as a nation. We saw the "Victory at Sea" war clips before the main feature at the theaters. And now technology dominates life. A cell phone in every handy pocket posting selfies. A computer saving everything to one of those cumulous clouds. Room size TV’s broadcasting everything 24/7. This is more information than I want. Let me decide something. I think. therefore, I am. I was born a male, therefore I am. I was born-again, therefore I am. I have life within, therefore I am. The news is not my guide. The TV is not my Sheppard.

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