“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here.
This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…
Come further up, come further in!”
C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
(Augusta National Club)
So the other day, a friend and I were chatting when the conversation rolled around to the
story about how her daughter had flown home this past weekend in order to attend a wedding
and the festive reception aftermath.
The shindig was held at one of Atlanta’s myriad of private “country” clubs.
City clubs, country clubs, tennis clubs, swim clubs, golf clubs, polo clubs…
clubs, clubs, clubs…
Atlanta has always had its fair share of clubs.
However, this particular club is one of Atlanta’s oldest and finest.
Back in college, I had the pleasure of attending a friend’s debut at this said club…
Do they still have such things as debuts??…
Those rights of passage for the more upper-crust amongst us?
Anywho, back to clubs.
This was my first and seemingly last visit to this particular club.
I checked it off my list of things to do before I died..wink, wink.
This club is one of Atlanta’s most prestigious, oldest and most exclusive.
It was founded in 1887 as a private club for Atlanta’s post-war elite males.
It was called a ‘driving’ club because of the carriages that were driven to the club.
This club did eventually allow women and the naturally flowing of families…
but there are still very few, if any, Jewish members and only but a handful of African American members.
In fact Jimmy Carter’s Attorney General, Atlanta’s own Griffin Bell,
a long-standing member of this club,
had to relinquish his membership, back in the day, when he was appointed US AG—
He had to part ways with the club due to its limitations of membership.
The waiting list is currently decades-long, shrouded in mystery and the fees to join is
that of a nice sized fortune.
Plus you need to “know” someone in order to get a foot in the door.
So certainly it is more trouble than most folks want to mess with…hence why
there are other clubs for all sorts of folks.
It’s an old vestige to a different time.
Now I really have no issues with “exclusive” clubs nor do I really care about their
existence or not…
They’ve been around as long as I can remember and I’ve known many
friends who have been members as well as those who would never want to be members…
Much like ancient secretive societes.
And yes, I will confess that my parents did join what was a new country club back
in the early 1960’s…
They joined just so they could take us swimming and have a place to go eat from time to time.
But knowing my dad like I did, it was a far cry from a whos who sort of club as he
would never pay dues for such…he just wanted to get us out of the house and dump us
off to swim throughout the summer.
Now whereas I don’t care who belongs to clubs or not…
there are those who do care…and some who care very much.
For the longest time, Augusta, Georgia’s home of the Master’s Golf tournament,
Agusta’s National Country Club, did not allow women or minorities as members.
I think Condoleezza Rice was the first of both…
a great choice as I really like Ms. Rice, but I digress…
However it was under the pressure of the press, along with various special interest groups,
that the club has since allowed women and minorities to become members…
However, due to the fees and dues, along with the necessity of knowing someone,
plus an often forever waiting list, these are hindrances that put the idea of membership
out of the grasp of most average folks.
And again, like I say, I really don’t give a hoot one way or another
but the irony of this notion of exclusivity is not lost on my thoughts.
Maybe if I played golf or tennis or wanted to socialize on a level beyond socializing
at the grocery store or at the post office, I might be interested…
but since I don’t…I’m good.
However, not all folks feel like I do.
Lot’s of folks do not like the notion of ‘exclusive’
Our overtly equity driven and level playing field culture does care and they care
very very much…
They care so much so that they petition, boycott and rage a twitter war while
wrecking all sorts of havoc…
They busy themselves shaming those exclusive places and those who want exclusiveness
into opening their doors to one and all…in turn, ending any and all exclusiveness…
because everyone will now equal…so yay for our equal culture…
But really…who cares?
Why do I want to pay and play a part when I’m not keen on paying or playing
in the first place?
So let’s let sleeping dogs lie…or is that lay?
Lets leave those who wish to be exclusive, to their exclusiveness.
All of this is fine and good…but…when we seem to find the shoe on the other foot…
when what we do, what we say and how we react becomes a key to all this exclusiveness
while we allow such to become paramount…we find ourselves in a full-blown tizzy.
We want desperately to knock the high horses low while elevating the lowly to the higher position…
It’s an age-old human conundrum…envy, coveting and lusting…
as we yearn to assuage our egos by placing everyone even an even keel.
So guess what…here’s a brain explosion…
Something you may have never considered.
Heaven is actually exclusive.
Yeah, I know how you hate hearing such…
In fact, you don’t like hearing such, nor do you even agree…
But it’s true whether you like it or not…
Heaven is truly exclusive.
It’s exclusive to and for all those who hold the fact that Jesus Christ
is Lord and Savior.
Matters not whether you consider yourself a ‘good’ person or that you live
a ‘good’ life…
the one key factor to “getting” in is that you have made Jesus Christ your
lord and savior.
The entrance fee has been paid in full.
The monthly dues have been paid in full.
The membership is open to anyone no matter skin color, financial holdings, social
level or educational accomplishments…in fact, you don’t need any accomplishments…
Plus there’s only one person you need to know in order to help you get in…
It’s that simple.
And yet despite the clamors and protests by the counter culture and our uber progressive
society, Heaven will always remain exclusive…
The one key for membership…Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.