Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hospitality or Hypocrisy?

We've been attending our current church for about 2 years. Its supposedly the oldest, still-existing church body in town - and I think maybe even in the state. I'm still not as fully involved with its programs, ministries, and people as I was with previous churches we attended, and I don't yet fully know the vibe of its membership.

On Sunday mornings, the services are well attended. We run 2 concurrent services at 9:00 AM and another two at 10:30. The parking lot is filled to capacity - including spaces designated for visitors.

During the week, however, a chain is draped across the main entrance to the parking lot to prevent folks from entering. The chain remains even on Wednesday nights when the church is abuzz with mid-week activities. (To be fair, a smaller entrance on the other side of the lot IS open during the week.)

I don't know if its purpose is to prevent teens cruising, folks loitering, driver cut-throughs to avoid a nearby stop sign, or what. Its particularly interesting the church chooses the limit who can park in our lots when we're encouraged to park on Sunday mornings in the city-owned, taxpayer-funded parking garage a half-block away.

Although I don't understand the purpose of the chain, it does appear to me our hospitality-inspired church slogan may be a bit in conflict with our outward and visible signs. Car broken down? Hungry? Need to get away from an abusive spouse? Need a place to stay? A teen looking for answers other than bad grades, booze, dope, and getting laid? Cool! We'll help you - just drop by on Sunday when we take down our orange cones and steel links.

Nothing says Open Doors, Open Hearts, and Open Minds more than a "keep out" chain and sign.

I don't mean to trash the church in general or our church specifically. I hope its not a sin to type this. Instead, I hope its a way to hold the church accountable to the teachings of Jesus.


1 comment:

  1. I understand what you are saying. The Methodists haven't cornered the marked on being parking snobs. I parked for 15 minutes at a Catholic Church and got a blood red note on my windshield telling me I was unwelcome unless I went to church there. I'm not sure that Mother Theresa would have approved.