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I sat quietly with the hard wooden church pew digging into the bones of my skinny butt. The bench wasn't meant to provide comfort for the faithful, and neither was the sermon being roared from the pulpit. The silver-haired preacher was revved up for takeoff, spittle flying from his downturned mouth into what I secretly liked to call the "splash zone." The suckups in the first few rows got little sprinkles of holy water with every bitten consonant.              I’d been squirming all morning, but my attention had quite recently become riveted to the beams that supported the roof of God's house. They were sturdy, wood-hewn, painted a humble brown against the arched white ceiling. Whoever built the place was clearly going for aesthetics resembling a mental institution. From the stained white walls to the green shag carpet, God had His work cut out for Him broadcasting spiritual inspiration to the scant population of this backwoods Alaskan church.              …

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