Were You There?

Friday, March 23, 2007

by Charlie Howell

When I ask myself the question "what would Nashville be without our churches," the cynic in me might quickly retort "BETTER OFF". However, the more positive, trusting, more Pollyanna me revolts at that idea. What if I drove around my neighborhood and there was no Presbyterian Church, Christian Church, no Synagogue, Church of Christ, no Methodist Church, No Baptist or Lutheran Church, no Episcopal Church out the way and no hospital built by an order of Catholic Nuns? On your way to shop or to work today look around you and consider my query. I am inspired to ask these questions by a sermon of Reverend Gay Reese who preached recently on Evangelism at my home congregation.

Would you and your community be better off without the churches, related schools, hospitals, homes for seniors, and dozens of other institutes spawned by your religious organizations and serve your community? I do not think so!

Would they prosper better in some other community than yours? I do not think so!

Would our nation or the world be a worse place without them? I think not!

Did you pass through the doors of one of the thousands of spiritual groups in Tennessee last weekend? I hope so.

If not why not?

Too worn out (or lazy) to get up and dress the children: If your mother did not get up to dress and take you, she may be the first I have heard about whose child would admit it!

Disenchanted with all spiritual activities: Being disenchanted is standard fare for college kids but surely, you have outgrown that excuse.

Out of the habit: Getting out of the habit is easy but not a good reason to dump the concept!

Not a believer any longer: If you are not a believer, I ask "what donét you believe in that prohibits you from participating?" I hope there is a spiritual group somewhere in your community who will welcome you in your current state of disbelief or agnosticism!

Need some recreation on Sunday: Recreation is what many churches are about. Find one and play your heart out with the young people or your peer groups! All need re-creation of one kind or another.

You say the financial commitment is a problem: During the depression, my mother kept our home together on $2 per week while our father was out of town scratching out a slim living. We never missed Sunday School and Church on Sunday morning and I always put something in the collection plate. They were hard times but we were there to hear her sing in the choir and tagged along with her to take part in the "missionary society" during the week. (By the way, I was impressed that Brother Adams always humbly kneeled by his chair for the Morning Prayer.)

The little country church we attended is now among the largest in our state with a giant outreach program and they fill their pews regularly.

It is still true. Our communities are improved one full pew at a time. From one skeptic to another- if you missed participating in a religious or spiritual experience this weekend put the excuses behind you and get with the program. Fill a pew! Attend the service of your choice next weekend! You will be glad you did!