Keep God Out of the Waste Basket

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I am a transplant to the area I currently live and it is not unusual to find a billboard of the Ten Commandments about every quarter mile along the roadsides (no really, we counted 75). You can imagine I’m generally not surprised when I get a religious flyer on the door or see a float in the local parade with an illuminated cross on top. However, last week I was a bit stunned to receive a full 8.5 x 11 inch laminated color mailer from the local Baptist church depicting a full-on vision of Armageddon. A cross complete with bloody spikes where the hands and feet of Jesus once were acted as a bridge across a fiery chasm into a shining Biblical village of adobe and light. An evil city of neon on the other side pointed the way to the road to hell where throngs of zombie-like humans walked into flame.

It’s a free country, and you can believe as you will, but the thing is I’ve actually read the New Testament and it seems to me I recall Jesus wanted us to spend most of our time helping the weak, the sick, the old, the young, and the poor. Since this flyer was not only delivered to my home but to every post office box at the two mailing locations in town I have to assume that everyone within city limits received one. This means a minimum of 20,000 of these things were mailed out at a cost that I can only assume based on my previous color print orders into the thousands ($). I also know from the families digging through the local recycling center for anything they might sell (copper, etc) that poverty is not restricted to city ghettos. So I am compelled to ask, why is a church acting like a capitalist corporation putting growth over the general welfare of the people it serves? Even worse, the two trash cans near the post office boxes were stuffed with these things indicating we are tired of others shoving their beliefs down our throats. How about we focus on doing what Jesus directed and not use cheap tactics to terrorize people into your church? As I have always felt I would rather take 60 years to win a man’s heart than ten minutes to win a convert through fear.

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