Churches always seem to be in conflict. Mark Twain said, “ Man- he is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight.” One religion is always after another. The Muslims are set on ridding the earth of the infidel Christians and Jews. If that isn’t bad enough Christians are always at each other throats over theology and whose view is correct. Whether it’s the way we are baptized, what day is the Sabbath, falling from grace, predestination, infant baptism, communion, music, various rituals and a million other things; we must argue. Even within denominations there is strong disagreement such as liberal vs. conservative.
When I was a student at Baylor, I lived in a house filled with ministerial students. It was an enlightening experience. Of the two I like the most, one became an atheist and the other a Unitarian minister after denouncing the miracles, virgin birth and the deity of Christ. I have seen just about everything in the religious spectrum except human sacrifice, but could probably even find that if I looked just a little harder.
One of my roommates in college served as an interim pastor in a small church in Central Texas. While attending a deacons meeting he broke up a fight between two deacons and was stabbed in the shoulder by a misdirected knife. Church members love to be involved in a good fight.
Churches are constantly trying to change in an attempt to bring in new members and appeal to the youth. We now have a lot of praise music with people raising their arms and looking toward the sky as drums pound and amplified guitars rock to songs with lines that are repeated over and over. I know Jesus must be listening but I hope he isn’t crying because we are not reverently listening to him quietly in our hearts.
There is an exodus of many churches out of the downtown area of even the smallest cities. This is in hopes of attracting the younger population who no longer occupy the downtowns. To me this is unfortunate because I have always viewed the church as a solid rock of the community and a permanent fixture sort of like the Rock of Gibraltar. I haven’t noticed them moving Notre Dame Cathedral or Westminster Abbey. I haven’t heard of the Pope considering moving St Peter’s Basilica. Church’s are the bastions of the Christian faith and it’s gives me a sense of security to see them stable and firm in their foundation like a Mighty Fortress filled with an atmosphere of reverence where a thirsting soul may fine the quiet, still waters of communion with God.
As for me, I think I may just stay home in my Fortress of Solitude, which is an enclosed back porch that has large windows facing a serene setting of nature in my back yard. The stillness and quiet I experience there tunes my soul into the spirit of the Christ I knew as a child who was the embodiment of peace and serenity. It beats being in a building with a large group of loud, boisterous, highly emotional people who need a tranquilizer.