role reversal...

This morning, I spent some time in a coffee shop in East Town. When I walked in the front door I saw something that brought a smile to my tired face. Hanging from the ceiling close to the wall were three large stained glass windows salvaged from some church that had seen its last day. I thought to myself, "Isn't this interesting, the coffee shop is looking like the church while churches are trying their darndest to look like coffee shops." So many churches are promoting themselves as a "coffee shop atmosphere" where you can relax. Now coffee shops are promoting themselves as church atmospheres where you can relax. What gives?

Here's what I think...whether you sell coffee or Jesus, whether you have decaf or dechurched, whether you like heavy cream or heavy sermons...what makes an atmosphere is the people that fill it. Stained glass has never turned people away from God. It has been the "fall guy" for too long used by many to deflect attention away from their raging incompetencies. Pews aren't the blame for sleeping people in church...boring preachers are. Ornate thrones on the stage aren't responsible for the condesending nature of religion...narcissistic pastors are. Over dressed ushers with carnations stuffed in their lapels don't turn people off...judgemental, pious, snubbing and backstabing Christians do. Steeples, pipe organs, bulletins, missionary corkboards, dark paneling, flannelgraphs, three piece suits, offering plates, shag carpet, monolythic pulpits, foyers, hymnals...all these things aren't the blame for the irrelevance of the local church, human beings are. Because it doesn't matter whether you're at a coffee house trying to be like a church or a church trying to be like a coffee house, neither will be successful if the people don't show up. Because atmosphere is mostly people, not decor. I've been in churches that feel like hell and bars that feel like heaven...it just depends on whether or not humans are fully alive inside the particular building that envelopes them.

So enough with all this talk of archaic this and progressive that...the people set the tone, the people set the table, the people set the pace...it's the people everyone...it's always been the people.

Comments

a-squared said…
I would add that Christians should be less concerned with how to package it, and just try living it.
Jerry said…
Jason that is a sweet thought. By the way I love the cd.
caleb said…
i have never seen or heard it like that, that simply made my day. seriously.
BeththeBlue said…
Hey- I got my c.d. today- thank-you so much! I'm enjoying it immensely.

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