Thursday, November 5, 2009

More church names

I have written before about churches with strange names that seem to conceal their religion rather than reveal it. Today I received a flyer in the mail from another one, the Harmony Community Church. In the fine print, it says it is Southern Baptist, but nothing much else on the flyer would give you that idea. I'm also not too sure about the motto on the back of the flyer, "Family is everything...come be a part of ours." If you're a Southern Baptist, or any sort of Christian, it's pretty clear that family isn't everything. No doubt they are exaggerating in order to attract visitors, but it grates on me to see it expressed in such terms. Couldn't they have said, "Family is important," or even "Family is vital"? "Family is everything" sends the wrong message, in my opinion.

This reminds me of one of the first churches I attended after getting married, a Lutheran church in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. They gave us a refrigerator magnet with the motto, "There's a place for you!" Now, there should be a place for everyone in a Christian church, so in that sense the motto is perfectly reasonable. However, after attending the church, it seemed to me to be a hint that it was a church without strong beliefs; "Come join our church," it seemed to be saying, "we don't have any core dogmas!" Again, I recognize that there is room for a lot of flexibility in one's understanding of religion within a church, but there ought to be some uncontestable beliefs. When I read about one Anglican priest who didn't even believe that Christ had died for people's sins, I had to wonder why he wanted to be in the church at all.

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