I had something happen to me this morning that seemed to sum up a lot about the American church, and why, by all independent measurements, it’s falling to pieces.
Funny thing was, it didn’t take place in a Sunday morning service. Or a congregational board meeting, or an outreach event, or anything like that. No, this happened in a parking lot.
At 8:30 this morning, the family piled into the van to take my wife and daughter to Lifesong, the congregation they attend on Sundays. (God has called me out of the System – see here — but He hasn’t called my wife out. Though she does seem increasingly frustrated with it.) So I pull up in the Lifesong parking lot, Nina and Charlotte get out and head into the building, and I head toward the exit and home.
Only it’s not that easy. Because there’s another family coming into the parking lot – via the exit.
You have to understand that there are two openings to get into/out of the Lifesong lot. One is clearly marked with signs saying “ENTRANCE ONLY” and “DO NOT EXIT”, while the other has signs saying “EXIT ONLY” and “DO NOT ENTER.” These signs are very easy to spot, and they’ve been there for at least 30 years. I was going out the one marked “EXIT ONLY.” The same one that the other vehicle was entering.
So I stop – I had to; the only other option was to plow into them – and point at the signs. The other vehicle starts backing up, and I think, great, now they’ll go in the entrance and I can be on my way, everybody wins. But no – they only back up a couple of feet, then take another run at entering through the exit!
At this point it looks like they might just hit me, so I give them a beep on the horn (universal language for “hey, you’re going to cause an accident if you’re not careful”). Thankfully, they missed – by about six inches. As they rolled on by, I looked incredulously over at them and saw an older husband and wife, the wife smiling blandly at me as they passed. They continued through the exit to their chosen parking space, and I shook my head and left.
As I was on the highway headed home, I couldn’t help but think about this family of Christians (at least, I presume they are) acting so selfishly. What can you think when someone shows such disregard for the signs put up by their own congregation in their own congregation’s parking lot that they can smile as they disobey them, and such disrespect for another person that they can block his rightful use of an exit for their own unlawful use of it?
And then another thought struck me: if people who call themselves by the name of Christ are so self-centered that they willfully disobey a road sign that they can see, no matter who it inconveniences, what are the chances that they would be willing to obey a God they cannot see, especially when doing so would inconvenience them?