After leaving our much-loved little country church due to out-of-control gossip, we visited around for a while, hoping to find a church that would appeal to us. Surprisingly, it was a new large church at the edge of town where we liked the preacher the best. You could tell, that there were various social levels there who mostly associating with their own kind, but every church, like every person, has its flaws. Unfortunately, one sub-freezing evening, my wife chose to wear jeans to church and had some little old rich lady look at her and wrinkle up her nose. She never went back there, or to any other church since.
We look a little suspiciously on big churches for reasons understood by most, but the preacher seemed to continue preaching good sermons. We knew this because he managed to get his services broadcast on a local Christian network.
Recently, the church has purchase that particular network. Suddenly, the programming went from what might be termed eclectic Christian to nearly 24-hour-a-day tapes of services from that church. Also, the preacher is beginning to push his yearly tours to the Holy Land. They’ve done them for several years now; they’ve just never had such a “bully-pulpit” before. Also, the “commercials” for the church show an almost spa-like atmosphere.
I seem to remember that all of Judaism had only ONE temple, not one for every priest. There were many synagogues, but they usually weren’t all that large and doubled as schools. The only reference to Jesus meeting in a separate building was a rented room, and wherever He went, He usually walked. On a more modern note, Billy Graham, who has probably spoken to more people than anyone in history, has never sought to build a cathedral or organize Holy Land tours.
Understand that I see nothing wrong with those who can afford it taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Holy Land. However, I get a little suspicious when a church promotes it on a yearly basis. Obviously, only the rich members can go, for I have yet to hear of a church footing the bill for poorer members. Even if they did, would that be the proper use of the Lord’s money, when there are probably people going hungry within a mile of the church? It seems to me the practice is just a way for the upper-crust in the church to hobnob with the preacher and one another. Similar attitudes and/or practices, even in small churches, are part of the reason that I quit tithing to the church many years ago and try to give directly to those who need it. They’re also part of why we’re no longer in church.
I’m sure that Jesus would prefer us in church somewhere, and many of my fellow Christians are quick to condemn us because we’re not. But I have to wonder: where is a church of which HE would approve? © 2013