Tuesday, August 23, 2005

No Perfect People Allowed

I know that I've blogged about this book before, but hang on, cuz this won't be the last. John Burke is the pastor of Gateway Community Church. They print this every weekend in their program: Come as you are... You don't have to dress up. You don't have to be any particular age. We couldn't care less who you voted for in the last election. And please, don't feel the need to pretend about anything. Gateway Community Church is a place where God meets seeking people who are far from perfect. That means anyone is welcome, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey. So learn at your own pace. Ask questions. Seek. We believe you'll find what you're looking for. You'll learn how to relate to God. You'll experience Christian community. And here's the big thing -- you will change. Join us as we seek God together. Just com as you are. AWESOME!! In the context I grew up in (churches, schools, college), although it wasn't stated, here's what we should have written in our "bulletins." Come as we would like you to be... We'd prefer that you dress up at least a little bit and preferable in yesterday's styles. If you didn't vote "republican" in the last election, we'll make sure that you vote right next time. Make sure that you don't drink or smoke or listen to music that we deem questionable (don't even mention the words "sexual orientation"). And for sure, if you do any of these things, do them secretly. Or at least make sure that we don't know about it, because if you have opinions that are different than ours we will seriously doubt whether or not you are serious about religion at all. Please don't ask questions, at least not hard ones. God transcends us so much that there's really no hope of understanding Him anyway, so just pray that you'll have more faith. When you give enough money, follow enough rules, show up often enough and learn to hide any unpolished corners of your personality or lifestyle, then God will accept you and you'll feel his presence. Sorry...I'm feeling a little ornery today!!


Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie, I really agree with what you are saying. I think that if my Dad had felt he could go to church and not have to be perfect he might have gone. He was a good guy when he wasn't drunk, but mean when he was. I have often wondered what he would have been had he had a Father or Father figure who would have encouraged him and stood behind him.
I think we come closest here at NW to welcoming everyone than any church I have ever been a part of.
So the churches did not change much from when I was kid to when you were a kid and yet we both somehow came to Christ in them. Proves only that He can use any place and any situation for His good, uh?
Keep blogging Charlie!

viclyn said...

I love all the statements in what should have been in the "bulletin." I feel like I could have written those words!