Saints, ministers of the Gospel, I can imagine some of you are a bit disturbed by my attitude when it comes to the Marchers. Or maybe not. In any case, do not think that I have not considered it. To keep it brief, here is my defense.
Picking up in the middle of Elijah’s speech found in first Kings chapter eighteen we find:
“‘…Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.’
And all the people said, ‘That is good idea.’
So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.’
Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, ‘O Baal, answer us.’
But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made.
It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, ‘Call out with loud voice, for he is god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.’
So they cried with loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.”
I’m Pete, not Elijah. But I do know how to read.
Sidebar: See the rest of the story if you think the LORD plays games when it comes to his name.
I’m at a loss. I thought I knew what to expect before going, but there are just some situations in life that can’t be prepared for apparently. Most recently, the situation I’m referring to is attending a mega church. Now you know as well as I do that I’m not talking about anything that has to do with a church’s size. As an example, recently while I was visiting family in Kansas City I attended the largest United Methodist church in the USA. It is not a mega church.
Back in Denver, I visited a mega church last Sunday. What a joke. Seriously. There is no possible way someone can read a single verse from the Old or New Testament and conclude that a mega church is what any of those folks envisioned. The only people I can think of who envision a mega church as having something to do with the gospel or first or second century churches are tenth-graders who just got back from a week-long church camp. Oh, and people who were never taught that it’s okay to have a lot of money. (If you happen to be one of these wealthy heathens, check out Peter Drucker’s idea about profit in his book Management. It explains your dilemma most succinctly, I think. Profit equals responsibility–nothing more. And, yes, we’re all watching you and evaluating your decisions. So please lead by example).
Most church services have a specific routine. They begin with worship, pass the offering plate, preach, sing one final song, and release people in time for football/nascar. Conversely, the mega church begins with preaching. The preaching seems genuine, is crazy professional, and refers to bible verses a few times to help us remember the reason we showed up in the first place. Then, after the preaching comes the worship. It’s a rock concert. Super professional. It’s also difficult to imagine it is at all authentic. I couldn’t help but picture the musicians practicing putting their hands in the air at specific moments in the songs much like Kirk Hammett of Metallica does in the tuning room before he takes the stage. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I guess. Next, only after the crowd is softened up for an hour does the offering plate get passed around. Finally, as if seventh-graders embarrassed to be seen at Kmart with their mom, the auditorium crowd disperses quickly. Now, you might be inclined to think this is because they’re busy people, what with having to painstakingly decide how to spend all that money, but I think it’s because they know what you and I know. That it’s a lie. The whole thing. One. Big. Lie.
But if it makes you feel good and no one gets hurt, what’s the harm in doing it, right?