There’s been much adieu lately about a dual-purpose local establishment known as the Mosaic Church and/or Club Fathom. This front for turning the youths of Chattanooga around has done much more for producing chaos and promoting ass-capping than delivering gun-brandishing gangbangers from evil.
Police calls to the establishment for violence (not fist fights mind you, but 9mm potshots) date back to 2006. But the capper (no pun intended) was the Christmas Eve shooting this year that left nine “churchgoers” injured in the streets just about the time Mary was giving birth to the baby Jesus some 2,000 years ago.
Mosaic Pastor Tim Reid says that his non-violent GANG (Gathering A New Generation) was “ambushed” by both the Crips and the Bloods, who apparently called a truce on the holiest of days to join forces against the renegade God-fearing group at their BYOB (Bring Your Own Bible) party. Police concluded that the Bloods and Crips were actually inside the club together. Once outside they started shooting so randomly they actually thwarted Reid’s account by hitting each other instead of the non-violent GANG members. All of this took place at the church’s alter ego—Club Fathom.
When the club transforms itself back into Mosaic Church, Reid holds regular services under a disco ball without disturbances of any kind. I’m sure he does a fine job ministering to the kids. There’s no doubt in my mind that, with pure intentions, Reid would make a fine youth minister at a traditional, established church. But then again, that’s before the sun goes down.
When daylight turns to dusk, the devil dogs start howling at the moon. The fog rolls in and once forgiving eyes turn into daggers of deceit, aimed at one thing and one thing only—gatherin’ up the Benjamin’s. Somebody’s gotta pay for all that communion “juice,” so how do you squeeze blood from a turnip? Throw a dance party.
Thinly veiled as a ministry outreach designed to attract those thugs who wouldn’t go near a traditional church, the Mosaic transforms at night into the fly hip-hop hideaway known as Club Fathom. I can only imagine what happens inside, and what you’re about to read is a daydream sequence.
[Pastor to the choir]: “OK everyone, time to turn this mutha out.” [Choir members break away robes to reveal hoochie-mama dresses and XXXXXXL T-shirts, chains and sideways stiff-billed baseball caps.] “You got it Rev—let’s ice down the hunch punch, er, communion wine for the evening service.”
[Pastor to the 6-foot, 300-lb. doorman]: “Tubs, you got the door?” [Tubs]: “Yee-ah.” [Pastor]: “So there’s a $5 cover charge, er, offering for the first 100 people, then $10 once we’ve established a party, er, service, and then it goes up to $15 when everyone is dying to get in, um, clamoring for eternal life—got it?” [Tubs]: “Yee-ah … Whoa, bossman—you want me to pat down these folks?” [Pastor]: “No, my son. Who would bring liquor and guns to a hip-hop sock hop? You’ve got a lot to learn about youth outreach Tubs—am I right?” [Tubs] “Yee-ah.”
[Meanwhile in line outside the club, a Crip says]: “Man I can’t wait to get in there and pop me a Blood, er, celebrate the blood of the lamb.” [Blood]: “I know what you mean, man. I’ll get my religion on as soon as I can get saved for the sins I’m about to commit.” [Crip] “Word … but no pun intended.” [Blood] “Right, right, right.”
Truth is I don’t understand how any preacher can “fathom” that transforming a church into a hip-hop dance club would save souls. Surely Reid’s smart enough to know that gangs would be drawn to that kind of event, so he’ll have those who need religion most right in front of him. But when rival gangs see an opportunity to “randomly meet” at an event they might all feel comfortable attending anyway, the only result will be trouble. And that’s just plain stupidity.
No good deed goes unpunished. Reid’s naïve efforts have not only caused many to get injured (who might’ve been killed), but Club Fathom, like like 401 Fire & Ice and Midtown, have already done wonders to push downtown a few negative steps backward after many have worked so hard to move it forward.
Chuck Crowder is a local writer and general man about town. His opinions are just that. Everything expressed is loosely based on fact and crap he hears people talking about. Take what you read with a grain of salt, but let it pepper your thoughts.