Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Red Carpet

Last week's trip to California for work with the Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music task force groups required four flights, and many hours waiting in airports. I was fascinated by the "perks" granted travelers who elect to pay for the elite or gold star status. One perk is being invited to board the plan first, by means of walking to the jetway via the Red Carpet.

The red carpet is less than an inch away from the regular carpet, and leads to no separate, fancier door. These elite travelers spend megabucks in order to spend more time inside the cramped space of the aircraft (or "airbus" on some flights) with its peculiar -- or at times nonexistent -- flow of artificial air; they are offered pillows and little squares of blankets, and may get free drinks. Who knows, maybe these passengers feel special enough not to mind the intrusive security measures, delays, and countless irritations of air travel.

I can't explain why the red carpet caught my eye as it did, but it has me thinking about those things that we imagine will help people to feel privileged or special. All this could be useful in thinking about recruiting church members, but I'll have to ponder that some other day, when the intensity of stories heard at these meetings has less of a grip on my soul.


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