David Spencer stepped into St. Augustus' Baptist Church a particular degree of trepidation. Institutions bring with them connotations, the imposing edifice of stone and concrete brought with it a full spectrum of reluctant emotions. It was not a traditional set of them. He did not weep at it's door. He did not rage at it's structure. He did not feel joy at it's foundations. David Spencer's range of Church-based emotions ranged from his aforementioned trepidation to suspicion. He wondered if trepidation was, strictly speaking, an emotion. As he thrust an imaginary door open (the real door, of course, remained always open, a beckoning welcome to wayward souls such as himself) and gained a few peculiar looks from a housewife. David Spencer had, of course, assumed she was a housewife. It was a fair assumption. The time was 12:51 on a thursday. His lunch hour. What reason could she have to be here at that time? Perhaps it was her lunch hour. She did not seem to be the sort. Her dress almost seemed grandmotherly. Could she be an early retiree seeking spiritual guidance? At thursday lunchtime? If she was that age, she would have been here earlier. Would she, though? Wouldn't a housewife have found her way here after the morning rituals of kids-to-school, of washing and cleaning? Wouldn't she be more suited to appear in a Church at this time?
The irony of questioning why someone would appear in a church was not lost on David Spencer. He was there entirely out of character. His presence had no rational explanation. Even he was aware that the absence of emotion in the wake of a tragedy was not impetus for pursuing faith.
These were the words David Spencer thought in. Growing up, he had been a smart child. Not a straight A student, or any reasonable facsimile thereof, he had coasted through his childhood education knowing that he was perfectly capable of excellent performance, but refusing to do anything more than necessary. Aged 15, and growing older every day, he would often question his religious studies teacher about the very nature of God at a fundamentally asinine level. His contempt for the institution was palpable, and the weak, poorly constructed answers of his teacher didn't help at all.
“But sir, what form of benevolent God creates a reality purely to test those that enter it completely innocent?”
“Well, that's not really the purpose of the universe, is it?”
“But, the final act of all souls is to face judgement and pass through to heaven or hell, depending on their actions?”
“Yes, of course.”
“And God is the one that places those souls into the world?”
“And they enter it innocent?”
“David, what exactly is your point?”
“Well, isn't it an entirely sadistic act to construct a reality which is nothing more than a trial run for a state of existence in which you technically were already a part of?”
“Well... That's a good point... But I think we're losing sight of the point.”
David Spencer knew he was being an ass.
It was entirely his point. He had seen the face of organised religion, and was spitting in it. It was certainly odd, then, that he was standing in the entryway of the Baptist Church that he'd found himself visiting. The supposed housewife approached.
“I'm Sister Francine. How may I help you?”
The obvious. A woman in a church building was not necessarily a visitor. What made him assume otherwise? There was nothing about her that suggested she was anything but a member of the clergy. It was systematic. It was symptomatic. Despite whatever he may believe, his first instinct was woman as homemaker.
“Nothing, I... I... I should be going.”
David Spencer had decided that St. Augustus' Baptist Church was not for him.