THE NEW INDULGENCE OF THE CHURCH

Today’s Prayer to Passage will be from the book “The Meaning of Human Existence” by E.O. Wilson.

Today I pray, “Dear God, Today I received an uplifting opportunity. I was on my way home from work and I took the Washington Avenue exit off of 35W because Highway 280 is currently under construction and I needed to find a detour. At the stoplight of the exit — to which I seem to continue to return as I am continually forgetting to exit on the earliest detour route, Industrial Boulevard — I sit, waiting to turn left onto the bridge to drive toward the three story building painted with a mural of Jesus standing in front of a rainbow. Nearly every day there is a new person standing at this corner, holding a cardboard sign. It is the only part of my entire commute that bothers me.

Not the closed highway. Not the missed exit to the earliest detour. Not the 25 minutes in stop-and-go traffic only to be halfway home on what is meant to be a 25-minute commute. Not the potholes. Not the gas tank near E. Not even the monotony of it all. It is the man on the street corner, holding a cardboard sign. It bothers me — deeply.

I noticed that this bothers me this week, and during the same timeframe I noticed something else that bothers me. Large church buildings. I am bothered by large church buildings. I don’t like the thought of the money it took to build, buy, or rent them. I am in suffrage over the people with cardboard signs and large church buildings. And this is when it hit me.

This is to be the indulgence of the Church. Housing the man on the streetcorner.

Our cities’ big, expensive buildings should be housing the homeless. New communities. Every person on every route who holds a cardboard sign should be housed in a church building, not contained on a corner. Every church building should be full of people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Until the members of those churches assist to help them find more comfortable housing. With a movement by the people able bodied to start such a movement, there is the opportunity to leverage this into being.

The man on the street corner today held a cardboard sign that read:

‘ANY THING WILL HELP’

I looked down at the console to my right. There was my 8-disc set of ‘A PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE: WHAT ON EARTH AM I HERE FOR?’ I checked to ensure that all the discs were in place, then I rolled down my window. The man walked right up to me and took the CDs and said cheerfully, ‘Thank you. Thank you so much.’ I said back, smiling, ‘Thank YOU.’ Inspirationally involved. This is the narrative of success. Amen.”

Following my prayer, I held the closed book in my hands, concentrating deeply on this purpose, and opened it to reveal this passage:

“The great religions are also, and tragically, sources of ceaseless and unnecessary suffering. They are impediments to the grasp of reality needed to solve most social problems in the real world. Their exquisitely human flaw is tribalism. The instinctual force of tribalism in the genesis of religiosity is far stronger than the yearning for spirituality. People deeply need membership in a group, whether religious or secular. From a lifetime of emotional experience, they know that happiness, and indeed survival itself, require that they bond with others who share some amount of genetic kinship, language, moral beliefs, geographical location, social purpose, and dress code—preferably all of these but at least two or three for most purposes. It is tribalism, not the moral tenets and humanitarian thought of pure religion, that makes good people do bad things.”
—EDWARD O. WILSON

Someone, some day soon, will read this post and be the one to mobilize this revolution. I want to live in a world where all of the churches are Honor and Glory Housing. My dream is to see someone take up this cause as their own. Buildings in scarcity of people no more. No more empty large buildings while people sleep hungry in the streets. No more people on the streets with cardboard signs.

This is a metaphor in a way slight, yet a reminder to us to imagine a world where members of churches show up to worship by washing feet and feeding hungry and tucking in children at night. The very purpose of the Church can be led to the very building where it is meant to be inspired. In house design. The great design of Divinations. Divine nations.

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