Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Devin Dubbs and His Day of Duty

This is Devin Dubbs. Devin is a member of Cloverdale’s small congregation of Universal Unitarians. Although he understands the basic principles of Unitarianism he can't be bothered to give it more than a grumble of interest on a Sunday morning. Devin is like all other teenagers. He is more interested in sleep than church.

The picture was taken last Sunday morning while Devin stood outside Cloverdale's Drive In Theater collecting offerings as the Unitarians left Sunday service. The Unitarians can’t afford a building of their own. Renting a building is out of the question. The next best thing is to rent Cloverdale’s Drive In Theater. Going to church at a drive in theater is the one thing Devin likes. When not on collection duty he can sleep in the back seat of the car during the service.

Every Sunday Morning the Unitarians drive to church. They pull into the Drive In, park at an incline and attach the metal speaker to the inside of the front window. At 10:00 A.M. the leader of the congregation appears on the Snack Bar roof with microphone in one hand and a clip board with his sermon in the other. Music is supplied by tape recorder. The congregation is asked to leave their car windows down (weather permitting) so their singing can be heard car to car. Tail gating is encouraged, so many members arrive well before the sermon for an early morning Coleman stove breakfast.

After the sermon, and an assortment of hymns, the closing of service is announced and all are encouraged to do two things:
1. Attend next Sunday with a friend.
2. Make a donation on the way out of the theater, being careful not to back up or risk severe tire damage on the spikes across the exit gate.

Devin hated last Sunday because he had offering duty at the exit. Everyone hates offering duty. You have to dress up, and for a Unitarian that alone reeked of establishmentarism. Normally Devin wore a t-shirt and shorts to church. What difference did it make? He never left his car so who cared? But on offering duty a shirt and tie was required. Devin's mother took it one step further by making him wear a suit. Offering Duty meant standing in all weather while holding the wicker offering basket. The guidelines for obtaining a donation are:

1. Approach the exiting car with a smile and polite wave.
2. Move cautiously in front of the car thus forcing the driver to stop. Be prepared to move out of its way if the car won't stop.
3. Extend the basket toward any adult female in the car. Adults females are twice as likely to make a donation than males.
4. Be sure to thank everyone in the car for their generous support of the congregation.

Devin got up, showered, and put on his suit. He grumbled loudly when he discovered it was raining. He swore under his breath when he discovered he forgot his umbrella and nobody else could produce one. Why should they? They got to sit in the comfort of their cars while he stood at the exit drenched.

He got out of his car and ran to the exit at the final amen. After a few minutes he looked like a drowned rat. He tried to smile but couldn't tell if it was working because his cheeks seemed frozen in the cold rain. He approached each exiting car with chattering teeth and the basket in hand. Many felt sorry for this dedicated young boy and gave extra that Sunday morning. Devin was not happy about that at all. Returning with a full basket meant you had the ‘look’ and having the ‘look’ meant getting extra donation days. Devin heard of some boys and girls keeping donations in an attempt to avoid getting extra donation duty. Although Devin understood their motives he couldn’t join them. He was too honest.

Devin did well last Sunday. He got home, had a nice Sunday lunch and spent the rest of the day with his video games. He did his duty for his Higher Power and Country. Devin is a True Blue Dunce at heart and a proud member of the Cloverdale’s small yet growing Unitarian community.

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