I know some of you have a love/hate relationship with your church buildings. Your church’s floors may have asbestos in them and the roof may leak and the sanctuary is not wheelchair accessible. Maybe you are secretly hoping for a strategically placed tornado.
Or maybe you should sell your building? Wouldn’t that make life easier?
Whenever something sad or evil happens in the world, I think of the church. I mean, that particular church on the corner, up the street, where there may be a pastor, weak or strong, and a congregation, weak or strong, a little band of pray-ers and lovers and singers and sinners.
We played “Stump the Pastor” at my church recently. Everyone wrote down a question about the bible, the church or theology, and I drew them out of two baskets—one for kids and one for adults—and tried to answer them on the spot.
Of course, we only got a few answered in the 15-minute sermon slot. The rest of the questions were left on my desk to rummage through on Tuesday morning. Some were designed to trick me (How many animals did Moses take on the ark?); some were skeptical (How many mistakes has God made?) and some were sad (If we are spirits in heaven, how will I recognize my loved ones?). And then, one question made my heart skip a beat.
At first they sounded to me like the names of medieval cricket teams, but it turns out that mendicants and anchorites were actually two different types of ancient monastics. Mendicantswere nomadic monks who never acquired property. They travelled around and lived by begging from strangers.