Wednesday, October 22, 2003


"Close the door, were you raised in a barn?"

I heard that a lot as a kid. I never understood it.

I knew the intent, "Hey kid, shut the door", but I didn't really comprehend the barn reference. I never lived on a farm, but I assume you would still shut the door even in a barn. Why have barn doors at all if you don't shut them?

Amy has been witnessing for some time to a friend who is not a churchgoer. She and her husband had a "bad experience with church" and stopped attending long before we met them.

I've heard that a lot, and I've seen unhealthy churches. I can see where people would leave a church that they felt was harming them spiritually.

But I don't understand leaving God.

If you had a bad experience at the grocery store would you stop buying food?


The new Yellow Pages arrived the the other day. This morning, I was thinking about the idea of church actually becoming a barrier to a relationship with God and started thumbing through that new phone book. There are literally thousands of churches listed in the San Antonio Yellow Pages. In fact, there are 21 pages of churches (pages 506 through 527). Some have big ads, but hundreds are listed, one after the other, in tiny print...single spaced. Line after line. I suspect there are hundreds of other churches, like ours, that don't buy space in the Yellow Pages at all.

It reminded me of the story of the devout man who was down on his luck. His business was failing so he prayed to God that he would win the lottery. He didn't win and he lost his business. Again, he prayed asking God to let him win the lottery so that he wouldn't lose his house and car. He didn't win. The repo man came. The faithful believer got down on his knees again and begged the Lord, "Please God, I have to win the lottery just to get back on my feet!"

At that point he heard a voice from the Heavens bellow, "Buy a ticket! You have to meet Me halfway!"

It's a two way street.

The folks at the first church Amy and I attended on a regular basis were very devout. They were also very cloistered. We'd do all sorts of outreach projects. We'd wash the cars of anyone who drove by and refuse any offer of a donation...because we wanted to show God's love. We'd hand out cold soft drinks to thirsty high schoolers for free. Those outreach projects didn't work. Very few people came through the door of the church, and when they did they found people inside who didn't relate to them. The people inside didn't listen to secular music. One couple never watched television, except for the Olympics, because the programs were unGodly. There were any number of folks who didn't pay attention to the news because it was "of this world."

When visitors came into the church, they heard the door shutting tightly behind keep the real world out.

Maybe that's why they leave barn doors open....God did.

Proverbs 14:4

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.