Monday, October 08, 2007
Chuck E. Church?
Welcome to Chuck E. Church. It's the ultimate experience for professional church-goers. There are two sections for the discriminating non-participant. The first section is filled with predictability and security. Auto matrons sing three hundred year old hymns, with prayers and scripture readings spliced in at the appropriate and expected points. Male only servers deliver up the Supper, in silence and with training that every submissive woman can only dream of being able to carry out. And then the real fun begins. A robot in suit and tie, carrying a "family size" KJV, delivers up a message of orthodoxy, guilt, and exclusivism. This is followed by an "everybody sings" rendition of Just As I Am - An always Will Be. All who attend are satisfied they can deal with whatever the next week can throw at them, because they will be back next week - or die trying.
The second section of Chuck E. Church is much louder and more animated. There are numerous sing-a-long-robots on the stage, the audience is impressed with their big sound, and everyone feels free to clap, raise hands, or shout spiritual cliche' to one another. It's slick, it's professional, and it's different. The songs are all radio hits, the words are projected, personal, and praise oriented. The Supper is served by - well - anyone who wants to serve it! There is a sense of freedom that says it's okay to laugh, cry, or watch. The MC, in a three-button golf shirt and carrying a purple leather Max Lucado New Testament, shares a lesson about overcoming mediocrity. It's all good. People leave feeling their needs have been met, and if they can't make it back next week - it's okay - because no one will notice.
No, this is not about my cynical opinions any more than it's about which Chuck E. Church is right. Here's my point. When we forget that our togetherness is supposed to be a giving opportunity - a relationship building opportunity, then we might as well rip the sign off the front of the building and call it Chuck E. Church - the place that's all about getting what I want. When we use it for what God intended - the section you attend becomes irrelevant.