The Theater of Religion
I am sure, by now, many of you have heard the story of the 103 year old lady who was recently banned from a church she had attended since she was 13 years old and even the secretary of that church for a number of years. Like most of you, when I first heard it I was upset because the God that I know is not the God that this church, and many others like it, don’t. The God that I know accepts all regardless of color, sex, and even sins but apparently this church and its leaders seem to wish to develop what they call a place of God into their vision instead of leaving it to God to form that building as he/she sees fit. Part of the story is presented below.
The title of this article is “103-year-old Georgia woman banned from lifelong church” from MyFoxAtlanta sourcing from TheGrio.com states “A 103-year-old Georgia woman was recently banned from attending her lifelong Baptist church, causing a rift in the local community. reports, Genora Hamm Biggs has been worshiping God for the past 103 years. She says she reads her Bible daily and prays often. So, she was surprised when she received a letter in the mail from her pastor telling her that she was banned from returning to church. Ms. Biggs was banned for not liking the preaching style of the current preacher. MyFoxAtlanta reports, Genora Hamm Biggs has been worshiping God for the past 103 years. She says she reads her Bible daily and prays often. So, she was surprised when she received a letter in the mail from her pastor telling her that she was banned from returning to church. According to Fox Carolina, the letter reads:
Dear Mrs. Genora Hamm Biggs,
This letter is to inform you that according to the by-laws of the Union Grove Baptist Church, and by vote of the active members, any membership or associations that you have had with this church are now officially revoked. Therefore, you cannot attend Union Grove Baptist Church for any reason whatsoever. You are not to come to the property of the Union Grove Baptist Church located at 680 Pulliam Street, Elberton, Georgia 30635.
The members and officers of the Union Grove Baptist Church.
“I was shocked,” Hamm Biggs said of receiving the letter. Hamm Biggs and the Reverend Tim Mattox had been at odds for since Mattox was hired six years ago. They disagreed over Mattox’s preaching style. “At one point, he had a crew in here and they were hollering and falling out in the middle of the floor. We don’t do that in the Baptist Church,” said Hamm Biggs. But just because she disagreed with his style doesn’t mean she wanted out of the church, so despite the letter, she returned to church the next Sunday. At that point, Mattox called the police on her, but the police said they could do nothing, as it was a civil dispute. Since the letter, many other members of the congregation have left the church. “You can’t do that to somebody,” church member Ezell Land, who recently left the church after 50 years, told Fox. “She has been part of this church her whole life. She was even the church secretary for 40 years. That’s just no good pastoring to do that.”
Now like I said, my first thoughts after hearing this was to present a case as to why she should have never been banned, to display reasons why attempting to make a building God’s house has never been correct and never will. In my interpretation, God’s house has never been and never will be any man-made object. God’s place is and always will be the soul. It’s the soul because the soul is a God made entity and only something made by God could ever be of God. You see, we carry around with us our church everywhere we go which allows us to call upon and be the example of God where ever we may be. To think that any mortal has the power and authority to dictate how any other should act is senseless and downright arrogant. Arrogance is as much as sin as greed, homosexuality, bearing false witness, lying, cheating and so many more. To display arrogance in any fashion whether your intentions are good or bad means only that we all need to grow a little more in the eyes of Christ and that our true imperfections are showing.
You cannot teach others how to properly serve and love the Lord; you can show them how you do it by your actions each and every day. You cannot control nor demand obedience toward what you set as policy for anything relating to God because that authority has never and shall never be granted to any mortal. The God I know loves, caring and compassionate, who does not and never have hated so to teach hatred is contrary to the claiming of the title Christian. Now having said that let me say this.
There is a very good lesson in this story for us to learn. One that seems to escape all of us all of the time. That lesson is to “judge not and ye shall not be judged”. We hear stories like this and so many other types, and then we immediately began to judge them based on what we read. We create a space for defense of that belief without even taking a few minutes to gather the evidence we need to truly make a Godly decision about anything. To make a Godly decision we must hear all sides and all points of view, treating each with equal care and consideration before making our grand stand. What if the way Ms. Biggs opposed the pastor was wrong. It was not done as the Bible suggests in the privacy and just between them. What if Ms. Biggs was voicing her concerns in testimonial form? Now many of you will say two wrongs does not make a right but being human, who here will not strike back if we ever feel as though we were struck? This is part and parcel of nothing more than the theater of religion. Doing whatever it takes to get butts in the seats because now we pay pastors to teach us about Christ when Christ has never charged anyone a dime to learn about him. Two wrongs may never make a right but remember people, you will not only be responsible for the choices you made or didn’t make come judgment day but you will also be responsible for the wrong directions you helped steer another person toward. In common English, the lies you tell to get others to follow you, will be the very lies you will be held responsible for and the lies that you accept as gospel when you know full well within your very soul that they are wrong to follow will be yours to answer for. Let’s get away from the theater of religion and began increasing the one and only true place of God.