Tuesday, February 24, 2015

31 Flavors

On the road that passes by my house, they can be found at nearly every intersection. 31 flavors of what might amount to the same thing, or not. Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal, Unitarian, Protestant, Episcopal, Mormon, and who knows what else. I only went a mile in each direction.

Solid structures, built to last. Campaigns to raise untold millions to erect brick and mortar structures to reflect our desires to be with our own kind, to feel assured about our morality and our salvation. Altars built to celebrate us and our greatness, until we decide to move on to the next thing and start again.

Clawing and scratching to drum up money to keep the lights on and pay the salary of folks whose focus is forced on setting up for the next show. Those stage sets and fancy lighting displays don't come cheaply, so schemes are put into place to fill up those metal plates with envelopes using whatever tactics their advisors push on them. However, most of their draw struggle to put together enough scratch to pay their rent or have gas money to get to their crummy jobs. But you can't punch your ticket to eternity without playing this game apparently.

Most of these places sit with nearly empty parking lots on Sundays. Yet a couple of times per year, another one opens their doors to siphon off customers that the others already can't afford to lose. More altars built to ourselves and to celebrate us.

Will I get a different definition of Jesus and God depending on which door I walk through? Is there one right answer? What if I choose the wrong team because I happened to like the landscaping of one place over another? If there is no difference, then why is everyone so divided? How can any of these myriad possible directions make any sense to the unchurched? If we "insiders" don't present a unified and clear picture, doesn't that prove our disarray and impact our message of the one true God? Can any of this be pleasing in our God's sight?