Sunday, July 1, 2012


When I walk into a pristine church, it doesn't feel real.  I suppose by some people's standards a building like that is a first-rate place to hear a sermon.  The pews are comfy enough, people appear well-bred and refined in their wrinkle-free clothing, the unadorned walls don't offer distraction, the music is simple and focused.  Everything's orderly.  But, you know, after a few consecutive visits in such a church I feel more and more uneasy in a vague sort of way.  I think that's because the place is too clean, making the atmosphere unnaturally stiff.

In contrast, I've experienced other churches of various denominations in which the walls are decked out with banners or paintings, people quietly chatter and maybe engage in spontaneous prayer or lift their hands during worship.  Sometimes there are chairs instead of pews or else cobwebs lie in corners or rainwater drips from tiny leaks in the roof.  After attending a few Sundays, I'm relaxed in the sense that I can just simply beAt a church like that I can arrive, broken as I am, to come alongside other people who also acknowledge their brokenness.

But faith is not a church building.  It's a gift.

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