By Rev. James L. Snyder Contributing Columnist
March 7, 2014
I have been going to church for more years than I care to remember. If I tried to remember how many years it is, I might then remember how old I am. Knowing how old I am does not have any appeal to me.
I rather like going to church. I do not go to church because I have to. I go to church because it is a wonderful place and it is filled with wonderful people. Are there hypocrites in the church? Yes, a whole lot more.
You would be surprised at the people that go to church. No matter how crazy you might be, I am sure there will be somebody to relate to in any church you go to. Church is not for the perfect, just for those who love the Lord. I think I could make myself comfortable in any Christian church.
I do not always have to amend my thinking. Lately I had to amend this thinking that I could make myself comfortable in any Christian church.
In the news recently was the snake handling church in Kentucky. These people believe that you can pick up a poisonous snake and if it bites you, it will not kill you. I know the Scripture they use for that, but I am not sure they understand what that Scripture really means.
Someone said to a friend of mine, “You mean that if God told you to pick up a snake you wouldn’t do it?”
Without any hesitation, my friend said, “He hasn’t and I ain’t.”
The fact that the minister of that church died from a snakebite might bring into question the validity of what they believe. Go ahead and play with a poisonous snake in church if you want to. Me, I let those things alone and I pray they let me alone.
I would not feel comfortable in that church I am sure.
Then I learned of some other church. I guess in America, there are all kinds of churches for all kinds of people. And in America sanity is not a prerequisite of anything, just look at our politicians. I guess the only thing more insane today than politicians are some preachers, and I happen to be a preacher, hopefully not of the insanity kind.
One of my goals is to keep my insanity at a low level every day that I live so nobody really sees it.
Then I learned of a church in Virginia. I have often had a lot of respect for Virginia and visited quite a few times. Some great men and even presidents have come from the state of Virginia. You can imagine how alarmed I was to hear about this new church.
When somebody told me about it, I thought they were saying it was a “Knewest church.” I never heard of such a thing. My question quite naturally was, what is it that these people knew. I am constantly open for any new information so my curiosity went up.
Then my friend pulled out his Smartphone and showed me a videotape that was on the news about this church. It was not a “Knewest church” but rather a nudist church.
When I watched it, I laughed because I believed my friend was playing a prank on me. There are stupid people in the world, I admit, but I think even stupidity has a limit.
He finally convinced me that this was a real news story of a real nudist church in Virginia. Fortunately, the people who produced this video for the news strategically blurred out certain parts of the video of which I am everlastingly thankful.
It is a legitimate church and the motto, according to the pastor, is that they do not want to judge people by the clothing they are wearing. Really. How about judging people by the clothing they are not wearing?
I have a hard time seeing through that kind of theology. I like to get down to the bare facts, but this is absolutely incredulous.
Of course, it does save a lot of time in the morning trying to figure out what you are going to wear to church. You do not have to look at several neckties to see which one fits with this suit.
Apart from the sheer ridiculousness of this sort of matter, one matter truly annoys me. Where do they keep their offering? On second thought, I do not want to know.
Then a brilliant idea sloshed its way through the corridors of my mind. What if these two congregations had a convention together? The snake handler’s and the nudist churches get together for an annual convention. Can you imagine the craziness of such a thing as that?
Then I got to thinking about it again. That would be grossly unfair to the snakes. Who in the world would they bite first? On the other hand, would they grow legs and run for the nearest door?
I remembered what Jesus said to Peter referring to the church. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).
The church does not belong to men or any one man. It belongs exclusively to God. The more churches look like the world around it the less pleasing it is to Jesus, the head of the church.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, P.O. Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is www.jamessnyderministries.com.