A Church in Search of a Spiritual Mission; A Spiritual Mission in Search of a Church

“Church apologizes for pastor’s request for White greeters only? That’s what a black pastor in Charlotte, N.C., requested. But church leaders quickly apologized for the “white greeters only” email. What does it take to be a church greeter?”    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2013/0904/White-greeters-only-Church-apologizes-for-pastor-s-request

 

First, where/when did the spiritual mission and purpose go so wrong? I am not sure I could be part of a religious institution that is so unaware as to the fundamental symbolic meaning of the opening and welcoming for all, and any people to enter the “church’s doors”. I don’t believe that this memo was a “mistake”, and it was not a “random renegade act”. It was in a response to a perceived problem; there was a  discussion, and a proposed solution. It was an expression of policy that was born in a core cultural belief. It was purposely designed to be delivered by the (only) Black Pastor; who is either very naive (I am being generous here); or she lacks the courage of faith to simply say: “No this is insulting, it is wrong, and I am not doing it”. She was unwise (again with the generosity) to accept the assignment…and now she alone must fall on the sword of public rebuke. But looking at the churches senior “team” ( http://freedomhouse.cc/team/ ); there is more going on here when their smiling faces meet the eye. Did they ever think that maybe “Urshering” was the only high profile job available to the church’s Black members? Perhaps their “diversity” campaign can start with the church’s leadership. But this sad event points to a much deeper crises in organized Christianity: the love of the material over the spiritual. People are increasingly being shepherd into seeing God as a great galactic cash machine. Worship has been reduced to a supernatural successful career coaching seminar session. We can attend church and live large in sin, without any fear of prophetic admonishment or rebuke. “Seek” the riches of this world, not service to those who are poor, in spirit and living conditions. “Get yours”; “get it now”, (Blessing?) at any cost. “God make me a winner in the lottery of life”; and by definition make others losers. “Seek to be served and transformed by the world”; not transform the world through your service. There is no sin; everything is permitted, anything that fits the members “world-view” is allowed. I can remain: “just as I am”. The Christian path is presented as a way to “make it” in this world; not as a way to make it through this world serving as a Christ-like model of sacrifice. We are reminded by recent national commemorations recognizing the 1963 March on Washington, of the Churches role as advocate and antagonist  on behalf of the disinherited, denied and, disconnected  poor of our nation. Augustine’s  question of, in which city do you choose to live; is still a central question of Christendom. And the wrong answer/choice (“The city of man”); is the reason that the centrality of the power and meaning of the Cross for our own personal sacrifice goes unspoken. Be (pretend to be) a “Christian” for a few hours, once a week; and then, it’s on to a most un-Christ like behavior!  And so, if there is absolutely no philosophical distinction being expressed (or observed), between the “world” and the church; why bother going? We often hear about people being “lost” and in search of the  sacred, and a “spiritual home”. Perhaps it is that too many of our churches are themselves lost, and in search of serving as a home for the sacred, and a place for the development of a deep spiritual life.