Monday, August 17, 2009

Which is the Warehouse?

As we think about the words and the public image we in the church project to the world, we might ask, "What do other people see and hear?" Take at look at the first two picutres here. Which one is the warehouse, and which one is the church?

You might think it would be the all-glass box, a sort of rectangular crystal cathedral. Actually, that's the Honda parts distribution center.
The first one is the church. It's one block east of the Honda warehouse and built of the same tilt-up concrete slabs that comprise the warehouses all around it out in east Multnomah County. Boeing of Portland is only a few blocks to the east.
Even the cyclone fence around the parking area and the blue signs directing vehicle traffic offer no clue. There's a modest logo. No cross of Christ. No word "church". Aha! We are in the parking, bookstore and cafe business. Or?

The only clue might come at the marquee sign along NE Sandy Blvd. Tucked way underneath "New Beginnings" are the barely visible words "Christian Center".
What's a "Christian center"? Is it a center that is Christian? A center of what? Is it a center for Christians? If so, then where does Christ fit into the picture? Or to the Christians? On the periphery somewhere?

The official word is "We Do Church Different". I guess so. Shouldn't it say "We Do Church Differently"?
Are we a manufacturing business or a church? If the former, what is our product? If the latter, where's the connection to and with the community? How much of the power in those new high tension lines gets consumed for heat, light, air conditioning and sound?
"And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love; yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love..."
Or by our building? What exactly is a Christian and a center?
I think I've finally found the cross on the property. Seems to be in that tall power pole. At last! I was beginning to wonder.


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