Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hidden Church

This picture is of a wall hanging that my mother quilted. It hangs on the wall of our living room here in Hillsboro. If you look carefully you can see a church building complete with a steeple. Of all the features on this work of art the church is the least visible.
One time a man from Belgium came to the U.S. to visit the plant where I worked. I picked him up at his hotel and brought him to the plant and gave him a tour. I can remember that he was amazed at the number of church buildings there were in Longview, Texas. He said to me "This must be a very religious city to have a church on almost every corner." It was an interesting point of view. In our small town of Hillsboro, population 8256, we have 23 church buildings. The seating capacity of all of these combined is about 5ooo. That leaves 2,256 people who have to stand on Sunday mornings. There are 200 in nursing homes and 20 or so at any one time in the hospital so maybe only 2000 would have to stand on Sunday mornings. It would be great if the number of church buildings in a town was an indication of the piety of its people. None of the churches in our town have standing room only Sunday mornings. According to the pastors I have talked to church attendance is down. Churches seem to go unnoticed by all but outsiders like the man from Belgium. I have been to that man's town and there is only one church building and his town is the same size as Hillsboro. The seating capacity of that building was about 350. There were people buried under the floor of that building, which seemed strange to me.
We are blessed indeed to have such freedom of religion and to have need for more church seating than 350. It would be good if all religions could come together and all believe and teach the truth. If you move to Hillsboro you have 23 churches from which to choose. If you move to that town in Belgium you only have one. My understanding is that that one does not have a seating capacity problem. My son Jason is a missionary in a town in France which does have more than one church building but no where near 23. Our church building is not hidden it is seen by more eyes than any other church building in town because of our location. Why then are not our pews full on Sunday morning? Can a church be hidden when in full view? When I think that there are places in this world which have no church buildings at all I thank God that I live in the United States of America. Also I am thankful that though we may have skeletons in our closets we don't have anyone buried under the floor. God bless you.

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