Church Trap

Via Cris Campbell, I learned of the above image from Cory Doctorow. There are lots of things that one might say about it. But certainly all would agree that there are churches and other institutions which lure people in under false pretenses.

I would much prefer honesty. Rather than promising answers we cannot give, why not offer to be a place where questions can be explored openly and with the support of a community? Why do we so often think that offering that is not enough, and we have to snazz things up to lure people to come in? Why do so many instead offer a false sense of certainty that traps people who desperately need to be set free?

I resisted the temptation to try to insert Admiral Ackbar into the image…


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  • Lothar Lorraine

    Hello James, this post touches directly my heart for this a situation I’m struggling with.
    As you know I am neither liberal nor conservative and finds that “progressive” is a nice word to describe my position and beliefs.
    What I’ve explained on my blog post

    is what countless Christians are experiencing every day all over the world.

    I’m also an agnostic Christian in that I don’t know if there is a personal good God or not while I’m convinced reality includes much more than mindless particles wandering in the Cosmos.
    So I choose to hope in God and believe that if He exists, He most likely revealed Himself through Jesus of Nazareth.

    Unlike liberals, I am completely open to the possibility of miracles both in the present and in the past and for me Christianity cannot without the supernatural, tough under supernatural I don’t mean the violation of the laws of nature.

    But there are very few things I am sure of, as Socrate (and to some extent Einstein) famously said.

    So James, what kind of Churches would you recommend to me?
    You can give names of American congregations, this would be useful for most of your readers and the others would seek something equivalent in Europe.

    I’m really searching for a spiritual home.

    Lovely greetings from Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    • James F. McGrath

      Since few denominations lack diversity, it is hard to generalize. I can say that there are American Baptist churches and Episcopal churches where you would fit in no problem!

      • Ian

        In the UK, all kinds of ‘mainline’ protestant denominations would be fine.

        Methodist, URC, Baptist, Episcopal (Anglican), Lutheran, Presbyterian.

        Few would outright make miraculous claims for miraculous events nowadays, but few would deny them outright too. And often churches with highly developed liturgies are good places if you aren’t comfortable with the personal-God thing, because the ritual and tradition is so inherently communal.

        But, as James said, the variation in each is at least as big as the variation between. There are some highly evangelical, highly charismatic, infallable bible Anglican churches, through to Anglican churches whose ministers believe only in God as a symbol or myth. So I’d say try specific churches in your city, rather than go by denomination first.

        • Ian

          [Accidental reply to James’s reply rather than to Lothar]