As is our custom, my wife and I arrived at church about 10:25 am this morning, in anticipation of the 11:00 am worship service. Our most excellent choir happens to practice their anthems in the nave at that time, and it is our habit to sit on the pew in the narthex to listen to their angelic singing.
At around 10:30, the first usher, Mr. J, came grumbling into view.
"Well, I guess it's hurry up and wait! Just like in the Army. They want us here at 10:30 am, but there's not a damn thing we can do until 10:45, when the choir is finished." I think he may have addressed this to myself or my wife, but we both had our eyes closed so as to better focus on the voices of the choir.
Mr. J set to loudly jingling the change in his left trousers pocket, until another parishioner came up the stairs.
"Well, I guess it's hurry up and wait! Just like in the Army. They want us here at 10:30 am, but there's nothing we can do until 10:45, when the choir is finished. Heh heh."
The other parishioner also made no reply to Mr. J, but soon he had a third opportunity to make his little speech about the hardships of usher duty. I believe that the third parishioner gave at least a grunt of acknowledgement in return.
As the choir concluded its rehearsal, it occurred to me why Christianity is losing traction in our culture. It is Mr. J's fault. Well, not just him, but those like him. Those for whom fifteen minutes of standing in silence at the door to the nave to keep the choir from being interrupted is simply just TOO much to bear, an unthinkable burden.
Meanwhile, those whose religion makes them enemies of Christ are often willing to die for their religion. I don't think you can defeat (or outpace) a religion whose adherents are wiling to die in its defense with one whose adherents think that showing up to church fifteen minutes early is in unspeakably horrible imposition.