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If I was a Murfreesboro Minister

Or NYC area, doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter much what denomination… or even if I was the chairman of programs at the local humanist group.

This is what I’d do. I’d have a big chicken dinner on a Sunday after church. I’d encourage my congregation to attend, and invite the members of the new Mosque or Community center to join us. Discussion of religion and politics would be discouraged. Discussion about children and grandchildren and good music would be encouraged. Desert would include ice cream. Reciprocal invitations, should they come, I would accept, and encourage my congregation to accept.

Theological differences would not be allowed to be a barrier to friendship. For those who have a gospel to spread, the suggested manner of spreading it would be through a life well lived and open arms to embrace neighbors without precondition. Might this lead to a sympathetic interchange of theological views? Of course it might. In fact, it might work for spreading a gospel better than Chick Tracts, bullhorns, and nervous interviews to ask if the neighbor is certain that if they died today they would go to heaven, and did they know… ?

I would probably try to organize similar functions with other churches, from other denominations, and with local synagogues.

An afterthought to this post. .. If I was who I am, I might e-mail a suggestion of this type to some ministers in the Murfreesboro area, after I thought about it some more. I don’t know how many would be open to such a project, but I’d be willing to bet that the UU fellowship of Murfreesboro would be – even if they don’t have the facilities to make it work… or maybe one of the Nashville congregations. And I’d bet there are United Methodists who might even be willing to extend themselves this way, too. “…But Love and I had the wit to win… we drew a circle and drew him in.”

P.S. …not like this.

5 comments to If I was a Murfreesboro Minister

  • For those who have a gospel to spread, the suggested manner of spreading it would be through a life well lived and open arms to embrace neighbors without precondition.

    Amen!

  • RW

    Interesting concept, but…it’s already available. Anyone can walk into a mosque, church, synagogue, etc., any time and comingle with their fellow plebes at any time. I know that here in the south, hardly a Sunday goes by where there isn’t a “homecoming” at a baptist church (which are as numerous, it seems, as firearms ’round here) where literally any person can walk into the church & hear some singing for free and listen to the pastor for free and then be guests for some of the best cooking (especially fried chicken) on the planet. The cost is nothing. There is only an unwritten rule of etiquette that you bring along a covered dish or some drinks to share with everyone else, but it is not a requirement. I’m not sure how other religions handle those things, but I doubt they’re much different. So, the opportunity for fellowship is bountiful.

    Setting up a specific outing is a nice idea, but is really more a case of symbolism, isn’t it? Sure, it’s nice to have a serene picture of Jews & Arabs & Christians having lunch on the lawn and chatting about whatever is on their minds, but…that can happen right now & there’s nothing stopping anyone. Besides, in an official capacity, my attempts at spreading gospel towards someone that I know FULL WELL isn’t going to accept, it falls under the “throwing pearls before the swine” concept and therefore is taking away from my true vocation as a Christian, to minister to those who are in need, and a devout Muslim or Jew is not in need (although one of my best friends on the planet, a Jew, often participates in discussions with me about our religions, but we’re just chatting, not ‘preaching’).

    How’s about this: have some local Howard Dean/Kossack/Moveon.org type crowd sitting down to break bread with some Tea Party participants. I mean, it’s not like you’re talking about peoples’ religious beliefs, which are the most important things in their lives, but groups of people who think politics is important. What’s the worst that could happen?

    How open to attending a Tea Party rally under the auspices of finding common ground with their fellow man would the lefty crowd be? Why would that challenge be less feasible than one putting opposing religious factions together?

    Kinda puts things in perspective, though, doesn’t it? :)

  • I’ll get back to you on this.. but no, it isn’t the symbolism I’m after. It’s the active and sincere welcome. It’s an active counter to the climate that the newsmakers are building. It’s so that the Muslims of the Brentwood community feel that they are cared for and welcomed, despite what they see on the news about people whose idea of free exercise of religion is “not in my back yard.”

  • RW

    FYI, there’s a comment in your “pending” tab. I included a linkie.

  • It wasn’t in “pending”… it went straight to spam. Weird. It’s approved now, though.

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