One Voice, One Opinion


I was reading in an article in the local  paper about religion and churches. No, I am not here to pick on what church you go to, and I am not going to say a word about whether you go to church or not.

At first when I was scanning the article my mind was thinking, sour puss. Yes, I described this person as someone who is going to church other than Sundays to get help. She wasn’t getting the help she was hoping for. She was given various reasons and so now she is venting publicly. In a way I guess, I thought she/he was just rebelling; trying to get back with words.

As I read through the words I was a little concerned because some of this writer’s words hit home with me. I personally don’t go to church at this time, and I have written about it in past posts so I won’t get into details in this post.

But I have recognized some of the words. Elaborate churches, people sticking with people. A church on every corner. Refusal of help. Evidently, there is more to the story than what I am reading, but I have to stop and think about it.

I can remember back to a time when I was in a situation that I was forced to look to a church for just food. I went to a few in my home town on foot, as I had no vehicle; but received basically the same words. If you don’t belong to this church, we can not help you.

That always bothered me. Whether I went to or belonged to this one or that one; this wasn’t the point. The point was, I was hungry and starving.

I have seen churches in reality and on TV programs that were so big my home could be placed inside of them and never be seen. I do always admire the huge stained-glass windows.stained glass window They are exquisite, especially when the light catches Jesus hanging from the cross.

I have been involved with a few churches for several years. It takes a while but I can pick out the group. By this I mean the ones who dress nice, have lots of money. They are on every board and everyone wants to be like them, well some people do.

What is a church? This comes from only my brain, my thoughts. It isn’t meant to degrade or pick at anyone. But to me, a church is a building. A cold steel, brick or wooden four-walled structure.

It can have plain or beautiful windows. It can have golden-oak doors or simple like a school door. But what is a plain or fancy building without the contents that are inside?

A church today is a place where people can come together to praise and worship God. Could we do this at the lake, out in the open, at the city park? Of course we could. What about a home or a business that has closed down. Could we convert that already standing building where many seats could be placed? Could we add a stereo with lots of speakers or maybe a piano? Yes we could.

What is the purpose of going to church on Sunday or for that matter any other day of the week? Is it to show off our clothes or our money? Is it to judge? Not in my opinion. We all know in our hearts, there is only one judge.  I can see this type of behavior any day of the week. I don’t have to go to church on Sunday to get even more views of it.

My dream church would be a building. A plain building not boasting of how much money it has. It would boast of parking lots full of cars. People walking down the side-walks, anxious to get inside before they are left to stand in the back because the seats are all taken.

A god-fearing man who loves God more than life itself would not stand behind the pulpit and preach to or at me. He would walk among us, talk with us, listen to us. We would sing many songs, raise our hands in the air, praising God. We would bow down on our knees and ask God for forgiveness. We would spend a great deal of time together, maybe in circles or groups.

We would listen to each others  problems. We would pray right there for each one who is suffering. When you walk through the front door you would bring food. Maybe canned, or bread, vegetables or dairy.

We would place it in baskets and after our final prayer for each other, the needy could fill their sacks to help feed their family throughout the week. Finally, there would be fellowship. Outdoors if possible; a gathering, a picnic. A time to share our food one with another. A time to get to know the new family or single person that came this morning.

A time to volunteer your time and talent would be made available, but no pushing. It is just a fact that when we feel loved and cared about we want to help. When we feel like we are equals of the heart and mind we want to dig in. We would leave the services with a sadness and yet anxious to be able to go back again.

Do we need big churches with huge investments and clicks of people or fancy clothes? No, we need a family, a foundation, a common ground. We will help each other and those that need help on the outside, just as Jesus did. No questions asked, no red tape, and if we don’t know the answer or don’t have the ability to help, we will help you find the answer.

To me, this is the perfect church. The building, the people, a common denominator of God and love and sharing. I am ashamed that this writer had an experience where these feelings arose. As I end this post, I think back to what I have read in the Bible. Jesus fed strangers. Jesus wore plain clothing. Jesus healed the sick. This is what we were born into this world for. Our purpose is to help others, share the word of God, and love one another as we ourselves want to be loved.

Thank-you for letting me have the freedom of choice to express my thoughts.

18 thoughts on “One Voice, One Opinion

  1. Terry …thank- you for sharing this as we want to remember that church is in our hearts … My husband always says he invites people to join his church.. The church of joy and gratitude ! Heart to Heart Terry you are loved!

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      • Love you Terry…Heading to California for my daughters college graduation…in three days..taking my church in my heart with me…Just knowing that you do the same wherever you go!
        Heart to Heart Robyn

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  2. Terry, it is sad when people have bad experiences with churches. Our mandate should be to help the needy. Jesus said what we need to do is love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Our church mandate is “Love God, love others, win the world”. Isaiah wrote: “Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry ans bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.'” This is a pretty clear mandate of what Christians should do, individually and through what we call the church.

    I am blessed to be part of a church purposely planted in one of the worst neighborhoods in our city so we can minister to the community. We used to have free BBQs on the front lawn and anyone could come to eat. We do help with food and other things when people are in need – not only the people of our congregation. We used to have a clothing ministry but after a time there was no one to open it up to the public or to sort the clothes. Eventually we needed the rooms for Sunday school and gave the clothes to another ministry. We are a small church as far as numbers are concerned, but the building is large – a beautiful old building built before 1900. We get street people in from time to time and do not turn them away. We have no dress code. A few dress up to a degree, some come in jeans and T-shirts, some in nice casual wear, some in shorts. All are received with love.

    But there is another side to helping the needy. Years ago there was a man in our church who was known for going from church to church just to get. His wife would go to a different church and get from them. Once they became known, they no longer got handouts. They were not really in need. So I do think pastors have to be discerning while at the same time help those who genuinely need help. It can be a difficult role to play.

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    • Yes, I do understand the words, “to get”. I have been blessed with helping Toys For Tots and this situation has happened so many times. I hate that it has to be done, but there are many who need help and when the same people abuse the gift, there has to be consequences, the same as raising a child. but thankfully, these people are the minority, and the phrase,”there is one bad apple in every group” remains in force today in all areas and walks of life. A great church you attend. While reading it, visions of scenes in Sister Act replayed in my mind. That may have been a movie, but what was portrayed was real. Hugs Diane

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  3. Currently I go to and contribute to two churches. One is an ELCA Lutheran church, memberships around 4000, partly because SwedishLutheran is all one word, and partly because it offers me wonderful options for worship and contribution to issues of social justice as well as very special fellowship. The other is a small presbyterian church (84 members) near my home because, as a member of a small choir, my voice makes a difference, and because the education period after the service offers the opportunity to learn and to do more for social justice. I am grateful for the acceptance I experience in both places. And, yes, it is interesting to compare the sermons in the two venues on the same topic. Keeps my theological mind active.

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  4. Great post, and made me think. I am heavily involved in my church and I admit that when I first began to attend it was for what I could get from it – you know, comfort, some sort of purpose, some space to feel spiritually close to God etc . But now it’s different. I am there because it’s a place from which I can serve other people, both from in the church and outside it. I can’t do it on my own and it is very much a team effort, which has been great for me in my non-church life too. I agree with you that there is a BIG difference between church as a building, and church as a body of people. Maybe it’s different here in the UK to the US, but we have some amazing church buildings (cathedrals, abbeys, stained glass, statues etc) and there is a body of people who value them for just that, the architecture. There are more people who value them for the space they afford the REAL church, the people, to come together to worship God and express themselves emotionally and spiritually. Sadly, too many of the “keep the church open because it’s a lovely building” brigade have too much of a voice and it means it becomes closed off from the community rather than being a part of it. Personally I do love a proper stone built, full of stained glass and vaulted ceilings type building, but but I love the body of people it represents far more than stone and glass. Church is people, not buildings.

    I pray that your experience of being closed out and turned away hasn’t turned you away from God. God is far bigger than any church could ever be and his arms are always wide open.

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    • I also love a beautiful building, and the stained glass windows. I choose not to go to church right now because of what has happened with my brother. My post was about another lady who was turned away. I felt bad for her because this is not what church is all about

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  5. There is nothing better than a good church; nothing worse than a wrong church. Trouble is, right or wrong, churches are made up of people; people who are weak, sinful, selfish by nature, as God’s Word says we all are. That means there are going to be problems. A good church has a pastor/people who know how to deal with those problems without rejecting or displacing the people.Of course, that’s not ALL that a good church does, but without that vital ability, it won’t be a church that has its arms wide open.

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    • This is very true, but sometimes I think there are too many rules, too many restrictions. I don’t think Jesus had any rules or restrictions against anyone, and neither do I, but whether beautiful or plain, a church is a building filled with sick people and the building represents a hospital, a healing from the almighty doctor, God. Hugs my friend

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  6. I will not get into my thoughts here – for it would become a post.
    But – I am so on the same page as you with a lot of what you say here..
    {Hugs}

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