I was born into a family that took its Baptist religion straight-up. It was like ordering coffee black; you had to be man or woman enough to handle it without any artificial sweetener. Sometimes bitter, sometimes less so, but just like coffee, always very real to the senses, particularly if you were not crazy about coffee in the first place.
My spiritual immersion was the Southern Baptist version of Christianity. I think when Jesus worked his message to the first listeners he did not exactly have the Southern Baptist church in his vision, but like all things that we think about in our biologically mandated individual manner, mine is only an opinion of one.
The subject comes up because I have been lately stuck on random thoughts about the churches in my area of Dallas-Fort Worth. Everywhere I look in the bible belt that surrounds me I see churches. We have 3 churches per four corners in
When I was young I was sent to church every Sunday morning and Sunday evening. Each service lasted approximately 2 hours. Add the weekly Wednesday evening service and the twice yearly week-long revivals and, well you see my point that I have seen the inside of the southern Christian church and therefore I am not a pretender in writing about the same. At the age of separation from my parents I simply rebelled. No more church. Please God, no more church. I retained my spirituality. I even dared expand it while in the middle of my ‘church rebellion'.
I am struck today by some thoughts worth exploring. Is the 2007 version of the ‘business of church’ still conducive to Christian education? With potential exposure to sounding old and dated I will tell you that by the time I was 14 years old I had read the New Testament 3 times, the entire Bible once and listened to countless sermons on both texts. Does the new ‘business model’ church of 2007 require its youth to read the Bible? Maybe they do, and maybe like so much of life it simply depends on the individual church/teacher in question. Whatever the facts, I have become a questioner of the ‘business model’ approach to the development and continuation of the Christian message. It is always easy to question isn’t it? Too often we ask questions because we want a sure and quick answer rather than having to think, so I will turn the frontal attack on the church on its head and suggest that if the Christian churches are ignored, no matter their ‘model’ status, who is left to move the message forward? Is asking the question dangerous in this way?
What’s next? While Muslims hate and kill and those Muslims that do not hate stand by idly without admonishment for those that do hate, what next for Christianity? Are big business and Crystal Cathedrals all we have to offer the world?
I am full circle to the opening thought that each of us has some origin that we hold no responsibility for. Some of us were born Muslim, some Hindu, some southern Baptist Christians and some were born into the poverty of spiritual absence. As we grow older and learn to discern and think for ourselves, will we gravitate to the message that reaches us; or in contrast, will we move toward the message we have reached out to find?
When we begin to reach, do we reach toward the ‘businesses’ of Christianity, or do we reach for the truth and the peace of knowing something finer, something more meaningful than who might have the largest sanctuary and most televised pastor?