“Easy Church”

Published on Oct 18th, 2017 by wpd-office | 0

Written by Ken Frantz, District Leadership Team Chair
(This article came from a column entitled, “Fearless Faith”, published in the Haxtun-Fleming Herald)


The envelope in the mail appeared very official.  Stamps of eagles and important looking seals covered its face, with red, white, and blue stripes running along the edges to the back side.  If that wasn’t enough, strict language in stern bold font blazed across the bottom demanding that the postmaster deliver the item in conformance with federal postal regulations.  Sorry, all you route carriers out there.  We won’t stand for anyone but the postmaster interceding on our behalf to insure that each piece of mail is personally attended to, all 500-some million pieces that are processed each day.

Some pieces appear impressively credentialed until one takes time to note the presence of the bulk mail permit that brought said mail to our door.  The outward appearance of the letter is designed for one thing only; to make sure it is opened, no matter its content.   It is simply the foot in the door, the bait in the switch, the baloney in the gullible sandwich.

Once the envelope is opened, there is a renewed focus of attention levied our way.  One particularly favored pitch is to accept a subscription or product by undertaking the hard but necessary task of locating an adhesive sticker labeled ‘Yes,’ peeling it off, and placing it on the correct dotted outline, similar to those found in activity books for young children.  Do that, and the ball is in the sender’s court. We have done our job.

Other stickers ‘earn’ discounts or marginally valuable gift items. If you are smarter than the average bear and most of your neighbors, these stickers can be found interspersed throughout the promotional materials.  By following exact instructions, your focus evolves into the singular task of locating the prescribed information.  In the consumerist hope of upping your chance for approval, you end up shuffling through the very sales arena the marketers intended you to visit.

The fact that you alone have done the hard work of fulfilling all the directions implies that you have a better chance at what is being offered, chosen as it were for your specialness.  It appears fairly certain, however, that if you affix the ‘yes’ or bonus stickers in the wrong place but include a check for payment, you will be completely forgiven and your money gratefully accepted.

What to do, then, with religion that falls for the same nonsense? Do we end up wasting our time looking for things that don’t matter in order to achieve aims that are humanly and not divinely contrived?  The “me first” attitudes emerging from many religious landscapes today are disappointing to say the least.  Find the right sticker, check the correct box, declare the right intention, and many believe they have earned the right to cut in line.

The reality of the Kingdom is simple; there is no cutting in line, no pushing others aside, no advantages gained by displaying the correct sticker. We are asked to care for one another regardless of who our neighbors are, or who they are not.  We are called to be peacemakers to the best of our abilities, to love without reservation, even when we are not loved in return.  There is no easy church, no free pass, no stickers of religious advantage, but there is grace enough for today if we learn to distinguish bulk mailing permits from priority mail.

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