I saw a friend in the city the other day and we both remarked that we hadn't seen each other for a while and that it was because we'd both left the church where we'd met. I think I said, "Too much shit from the pulpit." He said they'd left for similar reasons, "Too much talk about 'The House.'"
In the end, I'm left wondering what the point of that entire movement is. Ostensibly Christian, and yet the purpose of the community and the meetings is for those who attend, not for those who don't. Programmes are designed around asserting Pente-culturalism and hoping that visitors will be moved by the experience so much that it results in a conversion.
Or at least membership. Or some regular financial contribution.
Occassionally one would hear of a beautiful redemption - a drug user made clean; a lonely person comforted - but these are rare. More likely one will hear stories of how giving money resulted in getting money; how sacrificing everything for The House resulted in all bills being paid. (It's interesting to note that the structure of the services will engender a jubilant emotional response from the audience, whereas the litany of selfish sermons I'm now thinking about is only engendering rage within me.)
The very idea that the church exists only for the benefit of its members is anathema. And, as every parent knows, it is not the words that you say which will be left in the mind and personality of the child, it is the action that you take. Likewise, it is not enough to merely say that a church exists for those who are not yet there - the programmes must be geared around it as well. And this particular church found it sorely lacking.
Enough of my rage. For now.