Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Church or Pagan Temple?

The other day I was reading some random Messianic site that referred to the church as a pagan temple.  I cringed, reminded of the fact that I attend a church (as a visitor).  I sort of took it as a charge against me...I don't want to be guilty of attending a pagan temple by any means.  So I was interested what thoughts you all might have as to the validity of such an accusation, how I might assess my culpability or lack thereof.

I will say in the church's defense, that they've got some great events lined up later this week:  link to events.  The pastor said something about a prayer service where there's supposed to be members of the  local orthodox community.  I must admit to being a little skeptical that they would show.  But I'm now very curious to see whether it will be so.  And there's supposed to be a...this might sound a little strange and it's possible I misheard him...but there's supposed to be a part of the service where a rabbi--I'm guessing Messianic?--who stands in the middle and then ten people gather around to pray, representing the ten nations or something like that.  

They're also screening a movie that same day about Operation Entebbe.  And this Friday they're having a Shabbat dinner.  Didn't get to attend last time because I wasn't signed up.  But this week we're good to go.  I'm guessing it'll be hosted by someone from the local UMJC synagogue.  So I hope it all goes without incident.  For those who don't know, a Rabbi from the UMJC stopped my marriage some years back.  He found out where we were in a separate town and who would be officiating the marriage and somehow found the guy's phone number and spoke lashon hara about me so that the guy wouldn't want to marry us.  

Anyway, I'm wondering about this whole pagan temple accusation.  What constitutes a pagan temple. I don't know...  There was this prayer chapel that I used to visit infrequently back in a different town.  I know about the history of architecture and I wasn't crazy about the churchy look of the place.  Steeples I'm told are ancient pagan symbols.  But I'd go in anyway.  And inside it felt quite if all the constant prayers had washed the place.  Kind of reminded me of a t.v. show called "The Lost Room" where this guy finds a motel key that when you insert it into any doorknob it creates a portal to this Lost Room, which is a pristine motel room where there's no time, it just sort of exists like the nexus of the universe.  This prayer chapel was like that.  About ten rows of pews, stained glass windows along the sides, a bima at the front with a rough-hewn wooden cross in the middle.  And it's always got the air conditioners running, a soft, white noise sound.  And the vibe in there felt...holy.  

So is holiness something that exists apart from architecture?  But surely there's limits to that.  Perhaps there are grey areas?  

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