I attend a small Baptist church. You know, one of those small churches that sit on a hill, the ones that make you think of the Color Purple when Shug and the juke joint folks ran down the dirt road to the church where the choir was singing Speak to Me.
didn’t that chile sing that song!
My church is based on what I like to call old time religion. No pop locking because the choir is singing your favorite song, no huge bands playing R&B mixed with Gospel, no songs that straddle the line between secular and gospel and last but not least, no pretense for participation. My pastor will not wear fancy suits and buy a new car every year just to get attention. It is a bible based church and that’s the way I like it.
I say all of that to ask a question, has the church gone too far?
First let me say that this post is in no way meant to offend anyone or personally attack any specific person’s religious preference, place of worship or religious beliefs.
Not too long ago, World Overcomer’s Outreach Ministries Church here in Memphis, TN caught quite a bit of flack for a statue they had built in front of the church. The Statue of Liberation Through Christ cost the church a whopping $260,000.
The 72 foot statue which is a replica of the Statue of Liberty holds a cross in her right hand and the Ten Commandments in her left hand. You can find the complete breakdown of the statue’s attributes and symbolism here.
Some were outraged by the placement of the statue and called the statue a form of idol worship and proclaimed that the church should be ashamed. My first thought was wow $260,000 that money could have built some low income homes or provided home placement or other necessities to families in need or even a shelter for the homeless….
The same church also came under heavy scrutiny when the pastor and his wife put on a play which sought to teach husbands and wives about their sexual relationships and how to keep your spouse interested. The stage where the pastor normally preaches was set up as a bedroom and the pastor and wife entertained the members of the congregation.
At this point many people felt that it was no longer a question it was true, the church had gone too far!
Then there are the churches that proclaim that the youth must be reached. These churches seem to be willing to bring anything into the church to get the youth to feel welcome and comfortable during worship. They allow things like this to take place in the church:
True, the youth do need to be reached, but is the only way to reach them is to let them lean wit it rock wit in on the church platform?
Along with sex plays and hip hop dancing there is also the lavish lifestyles of many of the pastors that have the eyebrows of many raised and wondering. A while back WLMT Memphis news anchor Jeni Diprizio covered the story “Preacher’s Pads” (which I cannot find the article anywhere, still searching though) where she investigated just how large pastors were living. After the research, the conclusion was that preacher’s were living VERY large. They had huge homes, multiple cars and many of the home’s mortgages were paid by the church. This was no surprise to many because they were members at some of these churches were the preachers drove Escalades while the members struggled to pay utility bills. However for some this was even more proof that church is no longer based on religion and worship but for the most part it is just a paycheck for the preacher and an entertainment outlet for the congregation.
Then there is TBN….
It has been around longer than I can remember and honestly the network does nothing for me. I know that they have a very faithful audience, some who contribute dutifully and others who tune in just to hear the word, but personally some of the stuff broadcast on TBN rubs me the wrong way.
There are a list of reasons TBN doesn’t provoke a Hallelujah from me, a few of the reasons include the prayer cloths, trinkets for donations and astonishing healing services I have an awkward feeling towards the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Remember this is the same network in which scandalous Jimmy Swaggart proclaimed to heal souls and live by the word
did he say he would kill a homosexual????
AND the same network that allowed adulterous Jim Bakker to preach the word for so many years.
With the lavish living, sex in the pulpit and the uncountable number of Unholy Rollers, many people have given up on the church. They no longer believe that it is a place to worship or profess their love for God. These are the people who crinkle their noses at you and quickly say no thank you when invited to worship service. These are the people who believe that religion is overrated and most church services are artificial.
Has the church gone too far?