Friday, February 13, 2009

Hi, my name is 'Mr. Church'

And I have so many siblings and cousins, we are very proud of who we are.

You may see us in every nook and corner of America and all over the world.

In some places we are underground but in America we are mostly overground and we think it's okay either ways.

We stand there in various shapes, styles and names.

Some of us are dwarfs and some are tall and fat. The more fatter we are, the more successful our care-taker is.

All of us have care-takers called - pastors, priests, rabbis etc and they all come in different flavors depending on which family there were born or who converted them later on.

Have you seen Jesus's statues in us? Aren't they beautiful? Some of our Jesus' are bleeding, some are blessing, some are gloomy and depressed. But as long it has a beard and a divine light around its head, it is Jesus.

Some people love us and some hate us, but we really don't care.

Sometimes we think that it's funny people build us so beautiful but use only for few hours a week and pay mortgages year-round. LOL! Well, may be it isn't that funny!

Some of us are 'mega' and it usually depends on the charisma of our care-taker.

People build gymnasiums, swimming pools, prayer rooms, cafes, delis etc inside us and the more entertainment, the more happy the residents are. Isn't that cool? Oh! by the way, we love the poor.

Some of us are like iMax theaters - cushion chairs with cup holders on it, huge screens for the play. We don't mind if you take a nap sitting in our comfy chairs or enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the play. Hey, after all we are there to make you comfortable!

Is your marriage in trouble? Come to us, we have marriage seminars!

Would you like to learn how to raise your kids in Christian discipline? You are welcome to attend our 'Parenting lessons on strict christian worldview'.

Do you aspire to become a leader (and ultimately a care-taker of one of us)? Come on in, we have leadership seminars!

We have solutions for pretty much any problems people face - social, political, cultural, behavioral, you name it.

Are you confused whom to cast your vote? Listen to our pastor!
Are you confused whom to marry?Attend our youth ministry, you sure will find your soul mate there. But don't mess with the freedom there, we are against abortions.

Some of our pastors might talk about Jesus and His love, grace, blah blah, but don't worry if those things don't work, we have enough other tools and techniques to make you a good christian.

Sitting in our pews, you will feel the peace jesus offered, because we have dim lights, slow music, comfy chairs and air-conditioned halls.

Some of us are 'Full Gospel', some are Half Gospel and some are No Gospel.

Would you like to experience a little more 'glory' while you worship? Pick the ones with stained glasses and distinguished arts in it.

After all you are free to pick us. You have Freedom!

By the way, are you too lazy to wake up early on Sundays? The sermons preached by our pastor is available on DVD for a minimum donation of $60. Who can beat that price?

If you are first time visiting, feel free to pass that offering plate to the next person; but if you are a member, well, you know...

Most of us have visions. If you want to know our vision, check our website.

Some of our siblings and cousins fight and don't like each other, but don't worry we all believe the same thing.

Now, you are not a big fan of those slow hymns? Looking for a little 'high'? No worries, some of us have rock and roll worship, you will surely enjoy those. Feel free to use the freedom to dance and feel good.

Too shy to dance and worship? We provide dance lessons and worship practices. Make use of those free classes. They are absolutely free. There is no catch.

Are you someone who likes to dress up and show off? We have both contemporary and traditional services. Contemporary is 'come as you are' (blue jeans ok), traditional is more of suit and tie. Pick the one you like.

Have you never been to one of us before? There are 'seeker friendly' ones. Check them out! They are pretty cool. And, hey, pls. don't forget to fill out the visitor cards. It's very important to us.

Some of us are very politically correct and post modern, we accept pretty much any ideas under the sun. How cool is that?

You don't like the shape of some of us? Check out our newly introduced 'home' ones. You will feel like at home.

We usually operate around our pastors, who are usually very smart. We don't exist without them, so respect them, ok?

17 comments:

Amy said...

Bino,
This is excellent. Love the usage of humor, but also the irony, contradictions, etc. Such demonstrations of Mr. and Mrs. "Churches."

Blessings,
~Amy :)

RJW said...

You are VERY, VERY BAD!! I think that's why we love each other so much. :D

Please tell me MORE about your techniques, JUST IN CASE, Jesus, IN ME ISN'T ENOUGH!! And I'll have a mocha friggin' latte, while I wait.

Free Spirit said...

Hi... my name is Mrs. BE.
Is it Ok if I just AM for a while?

I wasn't sure that I found anything in your description, just for me.

I'm really quite comfortable right where I'm at... a little fat with satisfaction, one might say.

But... it's nice to meet you Mr. Church.
I met a Mr. Grace just awhile back... unfortunately, for you, he seemed a bit more my type. But, thanks for letting me know you're out there.

BTW: I think there's a lot more like me "in every nook and corner" of the world... if you'll kindly keep us out of your business. :)

lionwoman said...

ha ha ha ha ha.... DH and I are both cracking up at this one... too true...

Leonard said...

Mr. Church, where can I find one of those comfy chairs with the cup holder for home, I never know where to put my coffee...

ps. Thanks for the great read.
Best

John Fincher said...

Why, almost as cynical as me!

But down here (in God's country) we wouldn't dare have statues of Jesus. That's idolatry!

But, we DO have pastors who have replaced the Holy Spirit in directing our lives.

Gary Kirkham said...

Mr. Church,

I heard I had to come to you to meet Jesus, is that true?


Great post Bino!

Love ya, brother.

Gary

Bino M. said...

Amy, Jamie, FS, LW, Leonard, John, Gary - Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. It encourages me.

Love you all!

JMBMOMMY said...

Wow, really? I love the people that make up the local churches. And there are a lot to love. I am sure I could find a lot of problems within each and a lot of problems in each member--but I think a better way to see them are God's beautiful Creations--each person is. And that is a million different opport. to love.

Bino M. said...

JMBMOMMY - I too love the people that make up the local churches, but I just don't buy into the double talk, legalism, mixing of law and grace and the contrast in the message of institutionalized churches directly contradicting the message of Gospel (love and grace provided by Christ Jesus).

John Edwards said...

I enjoyed this article very much. It seems that there are many people leaving church in search of Jesus. I have written a similar article at www.junkerjorge1.blogspot.com
Be blessed!

John Edwards said...

I enjoyed this article very much. It seems that there are many people leaving church in search of Jesus. I have written a similar article at www.junkerjorge1.blogspot.com
Be blessed!

Bino M. said...

Thanks John! I will check out your post.

Ike said...

In the book of Revelation the Lord Jesus Christ speaks to seven churches in the Roman Empire. He first gives a word of commendation, and then He gives a word of condemnation. That is His method, but the exceptions should be noted. There is no word of condemnation to Smyrna or Philadelphia. Smyrna was the martyr church, and He is not about to condemn that church. Philadelphia was the missionary church that was getting out His Word, and He didn't condemn it. He has no word of commendation for Laodicea, the apostate church.
We are living in the "Laodicean" period today, and the church is failing to witness to the saving grace of God.

Bino M. said...

Ike - Good to hear from you!

Though the churches today seem to be institutionalized, mechanical and religious, the true church (ecclesia, the body of Christ) is still a dynamic and lively entity.

Joe said...

Bino,

I enjoyed--that has to be a bad way of describing this--this post. I see some of this in my church, but thankfully, a very few.

There is a "mega-church" in my local area that recently moved in to it's new location. Last summer they had an "open house" that my wife and I attended. I have to bite my tongue whenever I bring up that church because it has your post written all over it.

Some of the things I took issue with:
1) They put in security cameras everywhere. That's nice for the safety of the children, but I thought: man, what about the people who have to attend church in secret in places like China, where there is the threat of execution? Are we that unsafe that there are cameras everywhere to protect (gasp!) your shiny new BMW in the parking lot?
2) Not only does it have a new cafe, but they have the latte cart right in front so you can get a nice, hot, cup of coffee before you go in.
3) They have a huge building dedicated to children's ministry. They even have different rooms for different age groups and will hand to a nice restaurant-style pager to reach you if your kid goes nuts. It's nice on the one hand, but I was creeped out by the whole thing.
4) The auditorium--I still have a problem with this term as it applies to church--was huge. I felt like I was entering a concert hall. Yeah, comfy chairs abounded but alas, no cup holders. You could even go up to the balcony to sit and hide (but I'm sure the security cameras could find you). They had a nice fancy elevator to get you up there if you didn't feel like taking the stairs.
5) In the massive lobby, right in the middle is the bookstore. Now, I liked this because I'm a book-fiend. But after I gathered my thoughts, I was waiting for Jesus to come in with His cords and drive out the moneychangers.

This isn't my home church. We visit occasionally and I have been fed by the Word there. I have a personal issues with it. Is big bad? I don't know. But I guess where do we draw the line with this stuff? Would it be okay after you get rid of the Starbucks and Barnes & Noble element? Would that help?

I think so. But I'd be curious to get other's feedback as well.

Bino M. said...

Joe - Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts! I am not a 'churchy' person. :)

I left institutionalized church about 2 years ago due to the fact that I couldn't stand the legalism or commingling of law and grace there. I am not against the concept of local church but I am yet to find a church which teaches pure grace in the area where I live. I am not really desperately looking for a local church, but I am open for genuine fellowship with other believers.

My concept about church has been gone through a revolution these past two years. Church is NOT a place we go to. We are the church (body of Christ, ecclesia) and it is a healthy practice if we can have fellowship with other believers in Christ, but in order to do that, the place, building, day or time do not matter. If we are genuinely inspired by the love and grace of Christ Jesus, we surely long to share that love with others. It's natural. There is no agenda, obligation or pressure.

I am not a big fan of 'mega' churches because I think that destroys the whole purpose of assembling of believers. It is impossible to have an intimate relationship with others in a mega environment. Also, the pulpit-pew system, in my opinion, is man-made. It's not in the Bible. There were no hierarchy or a one-man-show like today in the early NT churches.

To me, the coffee shop or the book store is not the real issue. The real issue is, we lost the definition/purpose of the concept of assembling in the first place (That was the point I was trying to make through the post).

Grace and love to you,
Bino.