Friday, May 5, 2017

Vox Popoli: Mailvox: A church, converged

This is what it looks like. Step by step, the world reels in one congregation after another, simply because the members would not abide by the Scripture.

The church that I grew up in was a place that I loved. My family spent a lot of time volunteering at various functions to help the place run right: setting up for lunch after the service, helping pass out food at funeral services, spending time getting it set up for vacation bible school, etc. A lot of good memories were made in that place that are still cherished to this day. Then came time to go away to college and I spent less time at that church, simply stopping in when I came home.

Looking back and thinking about the things that Vox has brought up, I realize all the signs of a growing convergence were there that we didn’t see. It started with the little things that we went along with because, how much could it hurt right? We no longer sang just the old hymns, and moved onto a mix of contemporary worship songs. Then there were no more hymns. Heaven forbid if the sound system crashed as the congregation would just have to stand there in shock and silence now. Then came the eradication of the clauses in the Bylaws about prohibiting members of the Masons to be elders, because that was simply “an old, archaic thing that didn’t matter anymore”. Then came the church vote on installing women deacons and elders, as both of them had “just done so much for the church”. Then came the hiring of a “new, dynamic pastor” who was certainly going to revitalize the numbers of people that were for some odd reason starting to drift to other churches. He certainly wasn’t Reformed, but that really didn’t matter did it? During the meeting with him before the vote, he was amazed that there was this document called the Heidelberg Catechism and had never heard of it, but promised to go read it when he was able. And finally there came the raiding of the saving account that the giving of the faithful had stored up over a hundred and twenty five years. Now it was all needed to build a “community outreach center” for the “vibrant growth of the unchurched” that would be our new church building and revitalize the area to new heights for God.

Now, I drive through the streets of my hometown out towards the crossroads of the highway to look at that God-forsaken temple to man’s arrogance. It is a grand, new building designed by some snooty architectural firm that is pretty much a mirror image of a movie theater the next town over. No real identifying marks on it, unless you drive around back and stumble upon where there is a cross. Or I guess if you can decode the “Faith Center” or whatever it is called now, and recognize it as a church. I have snuck in once or twice to see the new reality, just to sate my curiosity. After the light show and the semi-professional band is done playing, there is a fifteen minute self-help service that tells us how good we are and cherished we are. People are encouraged to bring their own Bibles, though I can’t see why, as there is no mention of God’s Holy Writ during the service. Must be for show. Or maybe something to rest your gourmet coffee on so as not to stain the new carpet.