I was quite disheartened by an article I read in the paper last night. Not just by the article, but also by the comments left in regards to the article. This particular piece was about a new church opening up in Galesburg. Now, as someone who is currently searching for a new church, I see it as something positive; a new place to check out. What I found sad about the article itself was that the teaching pastor referred to the new church as a "cool drink in dry land". Now, I understand what he means by this as someone who hasn't had luck finding a church, but it sure would offend me if I went to another church in the area and really felt that my place of worship was doing a good job of ministering to the area. As much as I feel it's a person's right to speak his/her mind, I also don't think I would go around saying things like that and implying that there are no purposeful/productive churches in the area. Especially if I wanted community support and to encourage others to check things out.
I was also disheartened by the amount of anger and frustration and what I perceived as hate, directed towards the church in the comments. Comments in regards to another megachurch looking for more money to now Walgreens and Pizza Hut will have to give up their liquor licenses due to proximity to the new church (is this really a city ordinance?).
What I wish people would understand and accept is that worship is not a once size fits all deal. Worship for everyone is so different and individualized. Even among people who attend the same church, worship looks different. In terms of relationships with higher powers, I really feel that people are like plants. Would you plant basil and an oak tree in the same place? Maybe, but the basil could grow and thrive in a small pot in a windowsill whereas the oak tree would need to be planted outside in the ground to reach it's full potential. Cactus plants prefer dry, arid land while Cattails thrive in the wetlands.
Whether you worship better in a small environment, a megachurch environment, worship with a pastor/rabbi/priest/etc who has a serious or dry approach to scriptures or one who uses different approaches like utilizing drama, music, comedy, we all are engaged in different ways. The place of worship that is going to help me build my relationship with God is not necessarily the same that would help you grow in your relationship. We need to honor the fact that we all have different learning styles and different life experiences that we bring with us and to our relationship with God and that may mean that this oak tree is meant to grow in a backyard and not in your windowsill, your desert or your forest.
Let's love and encourage each other to grow in our relationships with God. If you don't like how someone is caring for their garden, then go to another or plant yourself at the park!