ok, this is my disclaimer. i am a southern baptist, by choice, so please don't think i'm hating on any one denomination. some recent occurrences have brought some questions to my mind. if you have answers or thoughts please share.
1. should all be welcomed into a church? i always thought yes, healthy people don't go to the hospital for extended treatment. we are all sinners and we all need the grace of God. we recently had "church in the park" this is when we meet at the local park sing great old hymns, and cook out. i invited one of my best friends ever. she is not a mooch and so she brought baked beans, yummy, with her to the gathering. we waited until everyone else had gone through the line before we got up to get our food. while standing in line she over heard a discussion about how unwanted all of the "extra" people were. as if her mere presence was offensive. she didn't come to mooch free food. she came to enjoy the fellowship. it probably goes without saying that she was furious. i attempted to make it better, but how could i excuse such horrible behavior. i was bent for the rest of the day trying to make sense with what had happened.
2. why are certain people made to feel unwelcome when they go to church? i personally don't think God has a real negative opinion about any socioeconomic group, but hey i could be wrong. i remember my grandpa quoting abe lincoln "God must have love poor people best, that's why he made so many of us." for a while we had several lower end people attending our church. i am lower end, so please don't think i am trying to be hateful. i tend to deal with and enjoy this class of people more than the wealthy. anywho, they one by one stopped attending. these people were in our choir and were our sunday school teachers. someone said something offensive about them or there families and they stopped attending. now i don't believe in running away from problems, but why create them.
3. why are visitors not called or visited? this really irks me because we as Christians should be going out and telling of our faith, and the people that visit our churches should know that we have the desire to keep them in our church. if our church isn't the best fit, that's fine too. some effort should be made on behalf of these people. we attended our current church for almost a year before we joined, and not once did anyone darken our door. might i add that we live in a town of 600 people. when we went to one of the huge churches in canyon, we were visited after our attendance. our sunday school class has taken this as one of our duties. we are going to call and visit our visitors. we want them to feel welcomed and needed at our church.
4. why would you naturally assume the your congregation was not capable of random kindness? a few weeks ago my sunday school teacher, the pianist, his wife, and the family of finch spent an entire sunday afternoon baking cookies. we then packed them into bags to take out to the rest of of sunday school class that doesn't come very often. one of the couples wasn't home, so we left their bag by their door. it wasn't until we got back to the church that we realized we hadn't put who the cookies were from, but we had listed all of the times our church met. we assumed they would recognize the times and know they were from us, we were wrong. the recipient of the cookies called her mom to tell her what they had received and wondered if she knew what church they were from. i should add at this point that both the mom and daughter had been members of our church forever. the mom said what a nice thing it was, but that it couldn't have been our church. WOW i felt like i had been kicked in the stomach.
Christianity as i understand it is all about love. this interpretation could have something to do with the lack of love i felt as a child, but that is how i see it. when i was living at the children's home in canadian we went to church camp every summer. one summer we were listening to the speakers and it was the invitation. i heard a man's voice whisper "come to me child i will not leave you. i will never forsake you. i will be your father. i will always love you and always care for you." i almost ran down the aisle. i wanted that. why can't other people in our churches understand that other people need that too. they thirst for what we have. let's give it to them. there is plenty to go around and God's love is infinite and meant to be shared. if you are a Christian act in love. hope everyone has a blessed week.