Churches and people can be deceiving

no-entry.jpg Sometimes looks can be deceiving. People can surprise you. I walked past a man last week who looked a right grump. I was sure his demeanor was saying , "you won't get past me, there is no entry into my soul." I said, good morning to him and his face lit up, he had a wonderful smile. Looks can certainly deceive. However often our looks speak about the loss and the sadness we feel inside. Dealing with loss as the world moves on is one of the most difficult experiences of life. It could be the loss of a loved one due to death but it could also be the loss of a friend due to a family break up. I know a lady who grieves for her ex son in law. She never sees him anymore, since her daughter got re married. She can't talk about him in the family circle. She told me she had a great relationship with him and that she is angry that he won't visit her. However she is sad that she has lost a wonderful son. I know of parents who have lost children not because they have died but because they have walked out of their lives. For them it is worse than death, its a living rejection. The thing is, it is such a delicate subject that no one speaks about the pain. So we have all these no entry signs up all over the place. It is part of our work within the Christian family to find places and spaces and opportunities to allow people to explore the challenge of taking down the no entry signs. I also think that we in the church family need to see the no entry signs that we put up. I think Paul is right that sometimes people feel alienated from the church because of the formality and customs that seem to be attached to churches. I think the most obvious is the fact that we have buildings standing in the heart of communities with closed doors. We pride ourselves in Bo'ness St Andrew's that we are open almost seven days a week, but the front door is closed, you get into our church using the back door. Maybe we have become too informal? Maybe we have become too laid back? Our noticeboard has been vandalised for the past six months and we are still debating how to replace it. This week we had the front doors open while the joiner was putting new office units in the church vestibule We have no more space for the staff so we're moving three desks into the vestibule of the church. Guess what? We had two people visit us through the front door because it was open. It's got me thinking, a closed front door and a vandalised noticeboard speaks of decline and death. Yet the reality is that life is bursting out all over St Andrew's. Just like the man I spoke to whose face lit up when spoken to. I think we need to make the physical image of our church match the life and openness of our identity.

Posted By: italker   On: 13 Sep 2007   At: 5:33pm

I really hope that we can find people who will help to make such a dream possible.


Posted By: Jackie   On: 11 Sep 2007   At: 8:45pm

The Church of Scotland is trying to encourage the spiritual side of tourists when coming to our country,  the opening of the front door will help in this area,  with several beautiful and historic churches in Bo’ness they need to have a front door open to look and see.    Also the man on the street in Bo’ness is not aware that St Andrews has a work force inside with a back door open,  some of the team moving and the new design of St Andrews will only help us be an open and alive church.

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