Twenty members of a new, forward-thinking Christian congregation may decide to disband since they can't agree on an acceptable name for their church, or even how to worship.
Joseph Yeckering, who was reluctant to be singled out to speak for the group, said the members know they believe in Jesus Christ, but have trouble mouthing the words.
"We'd rather not say His name or use His image for fear of alienating an already super-sensitive, politically correct membership," Yeckering said, nodding toward the group of huffy Chicago suburbanites just waiting for the opportunity to explode at the suggestion of anything.
"So far, we can't agree on anything except that we all want to spend an hour here every Sunday morning to ensure eternal salvation. But if we start talking about Jesus, well, that just might be offensive to some people. We can't come to a consensus on the word 'God,' either. Some want to call Him 'Creator,' and some want to call Her 'Creator.'"
The congregation has met for several months just to discuss church policy, but has yet to put anything down on paper and hasn't gotten around to worship yet.
"Oh no, we're a long, long way from praying," Yeckering said.
The group's goal is to be all-inclusive, but as soon as someone offers a worship form or format, the others object, oftentimes in profanity-laced language.
Most meetings end in shouting matches, however, the group does agree its gatherings are "for the right reason" and should count on their spiritual scorecard as "having attended church."
"We're trying to bring down barriers that prevent the children of ... well ... uh ... hmmm ... the All-Knowing, All-Loving Invisible Presence from freely coming to Him or Her or It," said Yeckering, striving to find the least-offensive middle ground. "This shit's wearing me out."
Gretchen Voyles, a yoga instructor, said she is firmly against using the greeting "Merry Christmas" and would just as soon say "Merry December 25th" as hurt someone's sensibilities.
"We don't want to turn people off to religion," she said. "Ultimately, we may just follow the lead of most department stores and say "Happy Holidays" to keep the peace.
"I think the business community has its priorities in order by taking down symbols like crucifixes and manger scenes. People want to shop without having certain beliefs shoved down their throats. We should look to human resources directors at big box stores for answers on faith."
Yeckering said, ultimately, the group may just end up getting together on Sundays and sitting quietly with their hands folded. Someone will set a timer, and when the hour's up, leave.
"That way, no one gets pissed off," he said. "Maybe we'll call it The Church of Good Intentions."