Honest Christianity – hardly a kingdom welcome

Blackberry Oct 2010 372
This week I have seen one of those common signs: “Only food bought on these premises can be eaten here”. Now I understand that not all establishments can offer table and chairs for everybody eating their packed lunch or cake bought from the take away. If they did, I am sure they would be concerned that there may not be enough seats for potential customers and therefore they may go out of business.

I reflected if this is not how the Church is seen sometimes. This is hardly a kingdom welcome. You are only welcome if you only consume what we feed you on the premises. As many of us will testify this does not work for religious and spiritual consumption in today’s culture. We have been nourished by a varied diet, we have eaten before we get to Church. It also got me thinking about how hospitable we are to vegetarian newcomers to our meat eating dining room.

It seems to depend on the culture of our local church, what the attitude is towards those who are from a different tradition, have different beliefs and values. Being welcoming, hospitable before joining seems Kingdom to me, all welcome.

I am not sure we could put the equivalent to a sign outside that says “come in, take a seat, bring your own food or let us serve you”, but it’s worth figuring out what it might say.


2 thoughts on “Honest Christianity – hardly a kingdom welcome

  1. I have been thinking a lot recently about how welcoming/unwelcoming Church can seem as after being too ill to go to church regularly for several years have been a long to a couple of churches. It is quite interesting to be there as a newbie (not in a professional role) an wonder what it would be like for a non Christian or someone who had never been into a church building before. I think it would be a lot like some Christians walking into a betting shop or maybe a sex shop (not that I am advocating the later in particular!) When I go into a new church I often just sit there and see if anyone comes to talk to me (whilst doing a bit of people watching!). It can be quite enlightening at times in both positive and negative ways.

    I have always found it difficult with my wheat allergy and am sure it is the same for a lot of people with allergies. It also seems to be assumed everyone drinks coffee! I think things like that can sadly make a lot of people feel excluded from communion, social events or maybe church in general.

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