My family went to Minneapolis this past weekend to attend the wedding of Ivy’s youngest niece. It was a very nice and simple ceremony at a United Methodist Church in the suburbs. The reception was on a riverboat that was totally reserved for the wedding party. There is something about going down the river at a very relaxed speed and watching the shoreline and river that appeals to me.
On Sunday morning, we decided to go to a church service in the suburbs near our hotel. We went to a satellite campus of a mega church called Eagle Brook. A satellite church means that you are in a physical church facility, but the sermon is delivered electronically to large screens in the front of the auditorium. I simply wanted to experience this worship format and must state it was different.
Eagle Brook is a 20,000-plus type of church. Our facility could easily seat 4,000. We got there a half hour early, and the place was almost vacant. We walked into a friendly atmosphere and immediately saw the book store and café. No offerings would be taken during the service as there were kiosks and huge hallways leading to the sanctuary.
I got a cup of coffee for $2.50 and then realized that coffee was free just outside of the sanctuary entrance. We got our seats in the upper back of the theater-styled sanctuary. We then sat there for over 20 minutes in an essentially empty auditorium.
Ivy and I looked at each other wondering what we had gotten into. A 4,000 seat sanctuary is downright empty when there are only 50 people sitting in it. At eight minutes to the start of service everything changed.
People streamed in from every entrance. At the start of service there were very few seats left open. I was amazed. Then a live band appeared on the stage and started singing a Dolly Parton song, which certainly surprised me. Then the band transitioned to contemporary Christian music.
A live minister then got on the stage and gave a brief comment about that particular satellite facility. Then we got the live streamed video sermon. I guess I have watched a lot of tv over the years because I felt totally at ease with the format. What I was not prepared for was the ending.
The video minister told everyone thanks for coming and to have a good day. The attendees then left in mass similar to the end of an Illini game. Traffic was rather intense in leaving the facility, but we got on the interstate and headed home.
We made great time until we got to the Wisconsin Dells. Three miles west of the Dells, the high speed interstate became a parking lot.
We were literally stopped on I90. I thought maybe there was a wreck or a lot of people leaving the Dells. There were no wrecks. Every on ramp had traffic backed up trying to get on the interstate. The reality of the next two hours was stop and go traffic on a rural interstate, with what I believe were Chicago residents trying to get back to the city from upper Wisconsin and the Dells. The traffic never cleared in Wisconsin until we crossed the state line at Beloit and entered Illinois where there were more lanes for the mass of traffic.
That Wisconsin traffic jam made me think of the Democratic presidential primary. There are simply too Democratic candidates for the lanes of traffic. The Democratic base is now strongly leaning to the left, if not progressive/socialist. Candidate Biden who certainly has a history of being more centrist cannot find a lane of open traffic. Booker, Sanders, Harris, Warren, and many others, have occupied the traffic lanes of Democratic politics.
The Democratic primary should be an open race on high speed lanes to the American public. At this moment I do not see serious separation between the candidates. They appear to be clustered in a pack on the highway that simply cannot support the amount of traffic it is being asked to service.
The Democrats are in a somewhat similar situation to the Republicans of four years ago. In that race, Trump chose to achieve separation from the pack and found an open lane. Today’s Democrats could learn from Trump and seek that separation. Unfortunately for the Democr4ats I see them trying to all squeeze into that far left lane, and simply increase that traffic jam.