Sunday, July 24, 2011
Of Baptisms and Record Books
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27)
Greeted by "size-up" handshakes and questions of attendance
with no concern of the Spirit's descent,
I talk amongst my peers of God-called men--
who just happen to wonder about such things.
Which church is the biggest? Which church sign is the brightest?
Which is now teaching Zumba classes and which crowd's the largest?
While widows in nursing homes live another week unvisited
by men who just happen to wonder about such things.
The bulletin recognizes a jump in small group participation--
due to a class that teaches money management & wealth administration.
While the orphan down the road is yet again rejected
and the Father promises to provide our daily bread.
The annual report in the associational meeting
recognizes baptisms by number, with no regard to names or meaning.
I wonder when so many souls became numbers?
Some point to the book of Acts and the Gospels for support.
During all the record keeping and hand shaking,
is there something that God's church is forsaking?
Is the savior a numerical Jesus?
Is heaven an accounting firm?
People who are processed often fall through the cracks
when ministry is often discarded as menial tasks.
And the song of chalkboard baptisms and ink-filled record books
plays over the call to true religion once again.