Sunday, December 11, 2011

Read The Fine Print

I was visiting a church website this morning. On the opening page, they had lots of smiling happy people. There were tag lines about belonging, acceptance, freedom. You were encouraged to come as you are, be part of the community.

How welcoming.

However, like most companies trying to sell you something, there is the fineprint. To absolve themselves from feeling dishonest in any way, they have to tell you what they really think. However, they do not put it on the front page with accompanying pictures. None of the taglines will mention these details. You will have to click a few links in to find their belief statements. Their ultimate confession will usually be the last one listed.

Even while stating it last, they will attempt to minimize it. The fineprint is this: You are going to Hell if you do not join our church or one like it. They have books worth of theology on this point, but it will probably be reduced to a subordinate clause within a sentence. In fact, they will most likely avoid the word Hell and just talk about separation from God. They will by no means detail the torture that awaits you.... but it is there, between the lines of the fineprint.

It reminds me of Stephen King's Misery. Annie Wilkes proclaims her love for Paul Sheldon.

Does anyone really want a love like that?


Michelle said...

CLASSIC. So true, and how much do I love the Annie analogy?! Well done.

Chad said...

This post might seem a bit long but I totally agree with you. First let me explain that by the grace of God I feel saved. I believe Jesus came and gave us a knew covenant and with that he gave us 2 commandments. Let me explain on how I feel about church, religion or my walk. I must admit that this story comes from Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel fame and if that turns someone off then shame on you. To understand my walk this story illustrates it best. "According greek mythology there is an island of Sirens, filled with beautiful women who sing so well that the sailors who hear there song row towards shore. As the boat nears the shore the rocks unseen tear the underpart of the boat and the men are captured and done whatever it is they do with them. Some stories say they are eaten. Two men lived to tell the tell. Ulysses told his crew to tie him to the mast and under no circumstances untie him. The crew put wax in their ears so they couldn't hear the singing. As they neared the islands Ulysses struggled to get untied and have the crew row towards the shore as the music was so beautiful that is all he wanted to hear the rest of his life. Eventually they were out of range of the music and Ulysses survived.
Orpheus' crew came within range of the island and as they heard the sounds they started to row towards the island. Orpheus, a musician himself, started doing his music. Orpheus' music was so much more beautiful than the island's that the crew only heard Orpheus' music and rowed out of range."

I look at church this way. We can go and be tied down and do all the "right" things and we'll be safe. I call this following "the law".

I feel like I'm hearing a much more beautiful music that the lure of doing things and acting in ways that are immoral or against human decency don't have the hold they once had on me.

If I feel like my church is tying me up will be the day that I will need to find another church.

Hopefully this thought came over clear and understandable.

Don said...

To of the best quotes on this subject I put in a recent post:
"Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect," Jesus instructs his disciples. That perfection can be summed up in three words, each an expression of divine love: justice, mercy and forgiveness. Standing alone, justice might allow for the creation of hell, but mercy and forgiveness render it morally impossible.

~Rev. Forrest Church

* Quote fron my friend Robert Rutherford: "

If I created a man and placed within him the ability to make a choice that would land him in an un-ending torture chamber… that I created… well…..
I would feel like a jerk.. and a loser… and, maybe, a dumbass.

Don said...

TWO not TO !! Inexcusable for a former educator. Sorry

Lynn123 said...

Great post!

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