Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Walled Off

Casa de Crazy is nestled down in the middle of Redneck Central. One of the things about living here is, the place ain't exactly crawling with pagans. Oh, sure, there a few here and there, but they're difficult to suss out what with the fear of cross-burnings in the yard, ostracism, stoning (not the fun kind) and job loss. Georgia's a right-to-hire/fire state, so yes, we can be fired for our religious leanings. Heck, just mention you're Catholic around your Baptist boss and you're likely to get your walking papers before you finish your cup-o-noodles lunch! They don't have to say why, and it's not so easy to prove religious persecution.

There are lots of churches around here, of every flavor, although the Methodists and Baptists seem to have cornered the largest part of the market for souls.

Some of the churches haven't changed much over the decades - built generations ago, they're quaint, brick and white clapboard with lovely steeples and stained-glass windows and columns out front, with gracefully arching doors and wide, welcoming porches.

Some of the churches, though have grown...and the growing isn't pretty. There's one in town that spurs a great deal of thought on my part. It was once a lovely brick building surrounded by lawn and old oak trees, their branches wide and welcoming.

Not any more.

No, their numbers grew , and rather than add more services, they decided to enlarge the building. Now, I've seen churches grow, build additions that match the existing structure. I know it can be done. These folks, though...that wasn't good enough for them. They had to build a whole new structure. Huge, featureless brick walls without windows, a steel-beam bell tower with a bell that never rings. Paved over the lawn, cut down the trees, put in a parking lot.

In the front corner of the parking lot is one of those new-fangled flashing electronic/digital marquis signs, in full color.

Maybe you're asking "So what? What's wrong with growing and expanding to better serve your spiritual community, Kyddryn? What, do you want all the church-goers to be in the dark about basketball camps, Bible study groups, and Weight Watcher meetings? Are you evil??"

No, I'm not evil (at least, not that anyone can prove...) and I don't have anything against an informed populace. I certainly don't object to a strong spiritual foundation. Yes, I'm sure I'm pagan.

But...I can't help thinking, when I see this building that looks like a prison with its ostentatious, flashing sign...

What happened to God?

I wonder how their God feels about all this. Is he fine with it? Is he happy, even? Is he really good with people cutting down his lovely old trees, building huge edifices in his name, blocking the air and light from his worshipers, closing them into what amounts to a large coffin, cutting them off from his creation? Wouldn't he rather they had a smaller building, maybe worship under one of his trees while the grass tickles their toes and reminds them of his kind and loving presence in their life? Wouldn't he rather they used an old-fashioned church bulletin or marquis sign and used the money for that digital contraption to feed, clothe, and house people who need it? Those signs aren't cheap, you know.

I mean...if I was a god and I made a beautiful planet for my people...I might be a mite irked when they dug it up, plowed it under, cut the tops off the hills, knocked down the trees, ripped stone from one place and forest from another to put a building up that would keep my people from seeing my beauty and cut them off from me, then paved the rest of it...all in my name.

Adding another service or two would have done the trick...but god forbid (hah!) anyone should have to get up earlier or perhaps have a later lunch in order to worship. That would be inconvenient.

So there they sit, spending all that money on frippery while people all around them are jobless, hungry, soon to be homeless, struggling, and not terribly interested in the latest full-color, flashing notice about the next musical group to grace the auditorium, tickets on sale for only $29.99...there they sit, behind thick walls, cut off from the sun, the wind, the world in general, walled off from everything real.

I feel sorry for them.


Anonymous said...


That church is way too frivolous. If I were a member of the congregation I would have left on the whole principal of the thing.

I too miss the beauty of the simple dwellings of old churches and buildings. Why does everything have to be so intrusive? Can't they build things that blend in with nature?

SHARON said...

I will NEVER understand why churchs must build multi-million dollar buildings when there are homeless people sleeping on heat grates 2 blocks down the street.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Sounds like it SUCKS to have a god-Ego so bland-minded...

M said...

It's funny (not funny as in HaHa, but funny as in coincidentally odd) but I had almost the same kind of experience just a couple of weeks ago. I had to take my mum-in-law to the doc's and it's not a route I usually take. I noticed they had just finished construction on something, and at first I was a bit shocked and perplexed that they would build a jail in such a close residential community. As I got closer I thought, no, that just can't be...it's got to be a school or a warehouse (because a lot of schools down here look like prisons or warehouses to me too), but when I got close enough to see the sign I saw that it was a church. Gary block, no windows, just an ugly squat building.

Looking at that building made me feel disturbed, and oddly almost afraid. I'm sure there are people that go to that church that are not bad people, but all I could think was how awful for them to go to a place like that to feel spiritually connected.

MomZombie said...

Recently I found myself in a nearby suburb I'd not visited before and discovered a religious compound. I don't know what else to call it. It takes up about a square mile. All entrances are gated and the entire place is surrounded by thick woods. I cannot imagine being a part of something so exclusive and secretive that it needs gates.
**I finished typing my last word and looked down and gates is the word verification.**