Does God Need a Church?

In my part of the world, “churches” (read: pastors) are clamoring for the right to open their doors as CV-19 (supposedly) winds down. They are complaining that their congregations need a place to gather and console one another, and without it they are “suffering irreparable harm.”

According to them, “The public interest is furthered by allowing people to fully exercise their right to worship and conduct their business.” (Emphasis mine)

Since our State Governor disagrees, they have filed lawsuits.

An attorney who represents two of the local churches claims the coronavirus restrictions made sense in the beginning, but continuing to extend a ban that prevents churchgoers from “assembling at their places of worship is too great an infringement on their constitutional rights.”

By the way, as a reminder, the First Amendment to the Constitution prevents the government from making laws which regulate an establishment of religion, and it may not prohibit the free exercise of religion.

From my perspective, neither of these “rights” come into play here. Especially the second one since no one is being prohibited from exercising their religion … they’re just not being allowed to do it within a designated building.

This attorney further claims the Governor’s orders imply that church services, weddings, and youth group meetings are not essential — and then he goes on to compare them with places like Costco or Home Depot (that have been allowed to stay open).

(I’m not sure I get the connection … ??)  

He goes on to say that “churches do a lot for people’s spiritual and emotional and mental health.” Hmmm. Does the “church” do this … or does their God?

Considering all this, the question that comes to my mind is … why do God-Lovers (or at least their leaders) insist they need a place to pray and worship their imaginary being? Didn’t Jesus say “I am with you always?” Or did I miss that part where he added … so long as you’re in a church building?

Of course the bottom line to all this isn’t that people need a place to worship. It’s that  Church Leaders are suffering –just like the many other “non-essential” workers– and they’re trying to use religion to get around the Governor’s restrictions.

So what else is new in the world of Christianity?

Message From God?

Here we go again …

Poll: US believers see message of change from God in virus

The coronavirus has prompted almost two-thirds of American believers of all faiths to feel that God is telling humanity to change how it lives.

[…]

Kathryn Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Yale University, interpreted the high number of Americans perceiving the virus as a message from God about change as an expression of “fear that if we don’t change, this misery will continue.”

Oh dear, oh dear. We’ve become such baaad people! Poor God has had to step in –once again– to tell us to straighten up and fly right.

Gosh, people. When are we going to get the message?

Of course one can’t help but wonder why this almighty powerful entity messes around with a silly virus. Why doesn’t “he” just wipe out the human race as “he” did in Noah’s day and start over?

What? You say that didn’t work? You mean to tell me “his” all-perfect vision of things that were, are, and will be was out of whack that day? In other words, God goofed?

Well surely “he” would want to try again, right? I mean, practice does makes perfect, doesn’t it? (Or so they say.)

In any case, so long as we’re still here, maybe we should all consider doing our part to keep this virus from reaching out and touching someone we know and love by taking the recommended precautions. 

Hopefully, if we do what’s right God will reward our efforts and we’ll get to stick around a bit longer.

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Image by kropekk_pl from Pixabay

God and Space

There’s been so much attention and focus on the ongoing pandemic and all that entails (e.g., Trump prevarications), I thought it might be good to switch gears and elevate our thinking to another realm.

It has been reported that NASA is developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s. In fact, according to the NASA.gov website, “Mars is a rich destination for scientific discovery and robotic and human exploration as we expand our presence into the solar system.” (emphasis added)

I’d be curious to know what Christians think about this. According to scripture, God created the heavens and the earth. There is no mention of other planets and, in religious vernacular, “the heavens” denote the place where beings such as gods, angels, spirits, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate and/or abide. Rarely, if ever, is the scientific definition used in religious circles, i.e., “the expanse of space surrounding the earth.”

So when scientists talk of humans traveling to Mars — and expanding our presence in the solar system — (even possibly encountering alien life), what role does God play in all this? From all spiritual indications, humans were created to live their lives on earth

Interestingly, it’s been reported that C.S. Lewis, the highly-venerated religious writer, opined about space exploration and alien life in one of his lesser-known books. He felt that should such life exist, it would be necessary to determine if the alien beings were rational, had a “spiritual sense,” and were “fallen” as humans are. If all qualities were present, the human task might be to evangelize them.

REALLY??!!?

In any event, I would be interested in hearing from the religious sector on whether you think God or the bible addresses the potentiality of traveling to and/or living on other planets. And of course, please share your thoughts related to encountering alien life.

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Selling Religion

Yesterday evening when I opened the front door in response to the dog’s barking (aka the doorbell), I came face-to-face with two young, well-groomed fellows standing on our front porch. Before either said a word, I politely told them I wasn’t interested in what they were selling. The “lead” individual smiled broadly and said, “Oh, we’re not selling anything.”

I smiled back and politely responded, “Yes, you are. You’re selling religion.”

Somewhat taken aback, but still continuing his shining smile, he countered, “No, we’re not selling anything.”

I reiterated (with my own best smile), “Yes, you are.  You’re selling religion.”

As he shook his head and opened his mouth to again offer his denial, I looked into the eyes of his partner, then back at him, and assured both of them that … “Really. I’m not interested.”

By now, I could tell he knew that I knew why he was there so he thanked me … and apologized for disturbing the dog. 🙂

I never asked, but assumed they were two-by-two Mormons. Nice-looking, well-dressed, polite. But obviously (at least to me) … on their “mission.”

I feel fairly certain that few believers consider it “selling their religion” when they talk to you about their “God.” But what else should it be called? When they want to offer you something (they think) you don’t have and (in their opinion) you need, is this not a form of selling? No money may exchange hands, but if you accept their offer, a (heavenly) transaction has definitely taken place.

What I think is disturbing to many of us is we’re simply not in the market for heavenly goods. We may have owned them in the past but over time, they lost their value so we permanently discarded them. Some simply have never had any desire to make that initial “purchase.” And some discovered the goods were so fraught with blemishes and flaws that they cursed the maker and vowed never again.

It’s an unfortunate truth, but religious salespeople seem to be everywhere you turn. It almost makes one want to start carrying a sign or wearing a badge that says “No Soliciting. No Exceptions.”