Saturday, October 29, 2016
The Sanitized Sanctuary. . . the homogenized Christian life. . .
Imagine how it was possible for folks to worship before a sound system conditioned what hit our ears or heat kept us toasty in winter or the AC kept us cool as cucumbers in summer or pews were padded (or replaced with individual well padded seating that reclines and has cup holders) or pastors realized that after 40 minutes folks may not be listening with their full attention or nurseries kept fussy and noisy kids far from the worshiping congregation. . . Because that is how Luther found church on Sunday morning and most folks before and after him (at least until the more modern age of the last 100 years or more).
How did we get to be so preoccupied with creature comforts and a sanitized setting for church? How did we grow so narrow minded and intolerant of anything that makes us uncomfortable? I wish I could go back in time and prevent it.
I was speaking to a group of grandmothers about marriage and mentioned that the first great commission was to go and multiply and fill the earth. Now you might think that grandmas would stand up and cheer since they live for grandchildren, right? Wrong. Instead I got an icy stare from some and some bitter comments from others "what about those who cannot have children? How do you think they feel?" So, we cannot encourage couples to have children because some cannot (never mind that more of them are simply choosing not to have them). . . When did we become so sensitive to our feelings that to affirm something not everyone might have was being rude or callous or harsh?
I dare say that there was a time when truth trumped feelings, when the norm was said even when some were not able to live up to it, when we did not wear our feelings on our shirtsleeves and took offense at everything we did not like. I wish I could remember that day! If the pastor looks at us in the wrong way or someone forgets our names or someone fails to acknowledge who we are or what we have done or has the nerve to disagree with us, we pack up our toys and leaves. Every pastor and every congregation knows the reality of this and wrestles with the line between integrity and pandering. What has made us so fragile and weak that we must have a sanitized sanctuary on Sunday morning and live a homogenized life. . . or else?
Just wondering. . . aloud. . . today. . . And for those who think me rude, I am not immune from these self-absorbed feelings either. That does not make it good or right, however.