When we got home from church, Mom would walk in the front door, pull on her apron, and go to work in the kitchen. A little while later, we’d all take our places at the table for the Sunday meal. It might be chicken fried steak. Or baked lasagna. Or hamburgers.
The church has a long and colorful history of shooting itself in the foot. I’m not talking about cringe-worthy mistakes. Installing shag carpet in the sanctuary in the 1960’s—now that was a mistake. Letting families purchase or rent their own private pews—that was plain dumb. We may shake our heads at these blunders, but we can let them pass. It’s not like they un-churched the church.
The experiment seemed like a cakewalk. “Watch this video,” the researcher said. “You’ll see two teams, one wearing white and one black. They’ll throw a ball back and forth. Count how many times the ball is passed by the team in white.”
It's been baptized by my sweat. The soles of my shoes have shaped and smoothed its contours. It's eavesdropped on my conversations with God and men. Through darkness and light, I've sped along its vagabond ways, ducking drooping limbs and jumping tree roots.
The earliest the McKenzie family ever made it to church was during the closing stanza of the opening hymn. Every Sunday something delayed them. Little James would spit up his breakfast all over his church clothes as they strapped him in the car seat. Lindsey would hog the bathroom and delay Garrett’s shower. Tom and Cindy would hit snooze one too many times.
I can experience almost every aspect of church from the comfort of my own bed. I can prop up my pillow, open my laptop, and enter my very own cyber sanctuary. The music of beautiful hymns can reverberate through my computer. I can read the Bible myself or listen to an audio recording of a trained professional narrate the Scriptures for me. Preachers from across the spectrum of Christianity can squeeze their pulpits within my computer screen.
This is the story of how a small, country church astounded the experts on church growth by becoming a megachurch overnight. Without even trying.
I like the psalms, but I can’t pray some of them with a straight face. Psalm 122 is a prime example. David is a little too cheerful for me as he exclaims, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’”
The earliest the McKenzie family ever made it to church was during the closing stanza of the opening hymn. Every Sunday something delayed them. By the time they piled in the car, broke the speed limit, and pushed open the sanctuary doors, they were anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes late. Every. Single. Sunday.