Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lakeside Chapel of Hypocracy

Ecumenical warning. There is a 100% chance that this post will have zero Catholic ecumenism.

There is a "Chapel" in this town that needs serious evangelical revision. Lakeside Community Chapel.

Years ago (prior to my full immersion in Catholicism), a "Christian" friend of mine who attended there talked up this outfits Bible Study sessions after service on Sunday's. So I went, alone.

The sign outside the "Chapel" states "VERSE BY VERSE BIBLE TEACHING". The 9 am service was ordinary 10 minutes of hymns 5 minutes of prayer and 45 minutes of monologue by a Pastor on Romans. An alter call followed. I wasn't particularly enlightened by the Pastors take on Romans but being a benefit of doubt kind of guy, I stayed focused, figured all Pastors have their challenges, stuck it out and headed for "bible study".

I sit down in bible study with about 10 other people and wait for the study Leader. In walks a man who positions himself at a podium and begins to talk about Paul's conversion and the Road to Damascus event. He used practical analogies of thought and was getting my attention on a few levels, I was impressed, he had a take and it was on point and was not overly interpretive. During the study (rather...another monologue) heads nodded throughout the room frequently and the train of comprehension was consistent. At the 40 minute mark it was apparent the topic was concluding and then suddenly, the punch line came out.

This man then begins state "truly converted believers would never be Methodist". He cited a recent decision by the UMC (at that time 5 years ago) to allow a convention of Gay Methodists at the UMC National retreat facility. For 10 minutes the verbal attack escalated, it was as if this man underwent a personality change...real anger began to be displayed. He called for everyone in the room to write protest letters to UMC leadership with names and addresses given. He tried to convey an obligation to anyone in the room that hearing this "cooperation of the UMC with Satan" meaning...biblically...that we were also passively approving of this sin by the UMC and are accountable as well.


After leaving the room stunned by the philosophical whiplash I just experienced, I noticed a rack of Tracts at the lobby exit. There for sale, with retail price tags, was more inter-christian hate publications than a Hotel tourism rack. I stood there reading the cover of each one slowly, MacArthur, Sproul, John Piper, tracts with titles like "The Mormon Road to hell"..."Lutherans Retreat from the Word". One after another, every Protestant denomination, Catholic, Jewish Faith was attacked.

You can imagine my plight. I knew fully I was in Protestant territory, but not a Christian minefield. It was mind numbing and memorable. Since then, I have run into a few members of this "Chapel" and had similar but less intense encounters. One of their members has an active blog in this domain. You will find similar but subtle language there.

I called my Friend that day and discussed the extreme attacking of other Faiths and potentially those in the room, he wasn't surprised at my discovery. "Whats wrong with that? Biblically we are all obligated to save lives from Sin" he said. I told him that in no way biblically is there any call for this type of "ministry" against other Christians, and that even in a Secular approach, attacking a practicing Christian believer of any Faith, that is, initiating an aggressive denouncement of a given Christians spiritual standing using "Satan-sided Faith" language is judgementally hypocritical. I continued to say, the basic principle of denouncing Gays lifestyle as not biblical is not the point, its the twisted interpretation of Christian obligation that those made aware of it are accountable... that is not only hogwash but hypocritical in the "Chapel's" own stated mission...Verse by Verse Bible teaching. Go attack Islamist extremists, and Abortion mills and clear up that mess. Friend stated then.."well its like any Church, take what is uselful and discard the rest".

Again, Oy.

Later that week after, this friends wife called me to agree with my position on the "Chapels" attack of Christians. They subsequently left Lakeside within that year.

The UMC has long had a history of waffling on the Gay/Marriage issues, there are still somewhat divided in their doctrine even as late as the 2008 UMC General Convention. But my point in specific here is twofold:

1) - Don't go to Key West if you cant stand the feather boa's. Pray for those souls in their state of no grace at a minimum.

2) - Don't hold all non-gay citizens of Key West accountable for the AIDS virus worldwide. No logic argument biblically or otherwise supports this approach.

Am I hereby committing hypocracy by posting an "attack" against this "Chapel", I think not. I have balance and have conveyed that here. I am not stating it should close its doors, or denouncing it as Satan-sided. I am saying there is some truth there, but the contrary occurs to overshadow any of its Christian benefit. Have you ever heard the saying "what you do speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say'? I cant join into a "Church" or "Faith" and take what I like and leave the rest that I don't find true. I need a majority of the content if not 100% to square with Christs teaching.


~Joseph the Worker said...

I don't think it was quite that bad (well at times it was), but the Church of Christ sounds very similar to what you were saying about the Chapel. Growing up there, every group is berated in some form or another (especially Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses) and they have tracks with similar names.