building a mystery

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Saturday, June 21st, 2008

building a mystery

lake village baptist church

so, i’m currently writing from the balcony at lake village baptist church in sunny lake village, ar (you know, i have to say that lake village—as promised—is pretty dead, but i have to say, some of these old vacant buildings along lake chicot have a lot of charm and character to them…so, props to lake village for being the most dead, yet interesting little town that i have been to in awhile…). christen’s shooting the wedding of one of my best friend rob’s mom (congrats to sheila and david, by the way), so we’re hanging out preparing for the game to begin.

this church is your prototypical old southern baptist church building (i saw a little plaque in the lobby that says it was built in 1861). it has a lot of character to it—with its towering old stained glass windows, crickety wooden pews, dueling organ/piano setup up front and that classic old-church-building-built-in-the-1800’s-smell. i can really appreciate the interesting architectural stamp and the preservation of form and materials. christen’s actually really excited to shoot in a place that has some of that old character that most modern auditorium-style churches don’t have.

with all that said, though, being in a place like this reminds me of a journey in which the church has traveled over the last several hundred years that i’m not exactly sure christ and the apostles foresaw when they embarked upon the road to the church a couple thousand years ago. now, let me pause, before i go any further, and say that this is in no way a commentary upon the people here at the church or their motivations or their character. what i’ve found is that this journey (which is more the majority than minority), is full of people who are trying to follow christ and build the church in a way that is sincere and the best way that they know how.

what i’m reminded of, though, is the distinct disconnect between the world and the church. the church universal has chosen to build shrines to somehow show the magnitude of god and the church. these kinds of buildings are almost like a military memorial of sorts that simply says, ‘here lies what used to be current and relevant and “now.” it tells a story of a group of people who, once upon a time, were relevant and erected buildings that accommodated the current culture. these shirines, though, simply stand, now, as symbols of a church that has become, by and large, irrelevant to modern society.

by all means, let me reiterate that this isn’t a reflection of the hearts of the people here. everyone i’ve met have been great people who clearly are doing their best to follow christ in a way that makes sense to them. this criticism is more a broad statement about a church culture that has chosen to make itself peculiar in every way besides the way the bible instructs us to be.

let us be people who are culturally relevant and equally peculiar in ways that honor the account of scripture and the character of christ. whether it be in the way we live our lives or the buildings we erect, my prayer is that we can be people who honor this balance.