Sunday, May 15, 2011
The Very Conservative Restoration preachers have tended to be a grumpy lot, and have developed some tropes to fall back on. The above banner appeared in local newspapers during the 50's and 60's on the religion page, often sponsored by a local funeral home, since few things shunted your mind to The Eternal Verities like reminders of your mortality.
The aforementioned grumpy preachers excelled at Us vs. Them rhetoric. This was, after all, during the Cold War, and we knew Who our enemies were: The Russkies on the geopolitical stage, and the denominational ecumenicists on the religious front. Adding a jot or tittle beyond what the Bible said (or what the grumpies preached) pretty well landed you into the latter classification. If you had a church HQ, you were in the enemy camp.
(Allow me to interject my view that the divisions in Christendom are not a good thing, that the almighty insistence upon MY way rather than God's is abhorrent, and lends itself to divisiveness which in no way honors nor obeys Jesus Christ.)
One of the doctrinal windmills at which the grumpies liked to tilt was that selfsame banner "Go to the church of your choice." With polemical fervor they would cry "There is only one church, the church that Christ died for. You should go to the church of Christ's choice, not the church of your choice!" Such grannying fuss played well to the audience, who perceived "church of your choice" as being ecumenical "any brand will do-ism". It was a reliable rant, which reliably missed the point. This was, after all, during the Cold War, and our Great Enemy was Godless Communism. They had the Church of the State's choice. Period. Here in the free good ol' YouEssofAY we had jillions of churches on jillions of street corners! All that, and you could choose which one to attend; no commissar pointed your way. The ad was not a celebration of errant denominationalism...it was a paean to religious freedom in the West. If you have trouble with that, you must be a Commie, too, and we may well question your fondness for apple pie as well.
No-one ever saw through to that last bit. Apparently, they never saw the freedom bit either.
To paraphrase the Space Quest games "What a smart person I am!" Wonder if I could get Gary Owens to record that.
Those that note the time stamp on my post (and I have so many reader that someone is bound to notice) will see that I am playing the hypocrite, and that I Am Not At Church. Yesterday your Aardvark was shanghaied into being a judge at a local BBQ cookoff.
Yes, I know. Weep for me.
I got to enjoy four pieces of chicken, and five pork ribs. Then we had BBQ sandwiches for supper.
Are you still weeping?
Having done this, I have discovered a new syndrome: Acute Barbecue Poisoning. Maybe I can start an ABP telethon. Let's just say that digestive time-dilation is involved and leave it at that.
Unfortunately, like the drunkard in Proverbs my response to the next cookoff may be "when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.".