Driving through the beautiful countryside today and nearly creaming a deer, I was struck with the reality of churches today behaving as a museum for saints. Come and look at how good we are! We want to be more "visible" within the community. What ever happened to being "available" for the community? I recall sitting in my office in Virginia reading an article regarding a certain main line denomination that had two articles that made the front page of the newspaper. Now understand this was a wealthy area and money talked or people walked. Anyway the main story was on the multimillion dollar addition a church had put on and paid for. The article spared no information as to the conveniences this church had incorporated into their new facility. State of the art electronics, the most plush and comfy of seating, etc. You get the idea. But as the article rambled on it said to see a following page for the remainder of the story, but among the fold of the paper was another article about the same main line denomination, probably the same church. Almost as a box ad the small bold font begging for attention proclaimed, "qpvkrndi raise 5000 dollars for missions in Africa".
I remember thinking, "oh that's nice isn't it? People mean everything to the church, especially the ones with money and within our own walls." Shameful is what it is. It was about this time the crystal cathedral announced they would be claiming bankruptcy, and another church was putting in a huge aquarium I their entryway hiring two employees to feed and care for the tank. I admit the tank was impressive and with the verse that says I will make you fishers of men, who could be upset?
I for one was sick with shame to even be associated with these people who have lost their way. I don't recall Jesus being "hung up on" a fish aquarium, or ornate glass or plush seats to sit our pious, better than you, sinner boy, hineys.
I will leave you with my summation. I don't want the church to be a museum for saints anymore, but a hospital for sinners.
Keep it real.