I KNOW! I KNOW! BEFORE YOU TAKE UP ARMS, JUST HOLD ON AND READ THE WHOLE BLOG FIRST! :o)
If you clicked on this particular blog, then that must mean that you are familiar with the phrase associated with the blog title. However, just in case you’re not, the phrase goes a little something like this:
“The church is like a hospital. Sick people come here to get healed.”
HALLELUJAH and AMEN right?
Well, perhaps not… and here’s why in a neat little 3-part blog series…
On Sunday, 7/20/2014, my wife and I were named as Godparents to the child of family friends (aka “framily”) of ours. Afterwards, we went out to dinner to celebrate with the family and I ended up sitting beside my Godson’s grandfather (to which I will refer to as SENIOR for the remainder of this blog series). As we were talking, joking, and cutting up, we started on the subject of the difficulty of ministry for ministry leaders and other church related subjects. The conversation eventually led to me saying the phrase “the church is like a hospital” to which SENIOR replied (paraphrased):
“That’s a bad analogy. The church is not like a hospital. Think about those who have been in the church all their life. Who wants to say ‘I’ve been in the hospital all my life?’ Besides, you VISIT hospitals. You don’t go to stay.”
Simply put, that blew my mind. Being that I am a person of research who likes learning the “Why?” behind why people believe what they believe, I wanted to dig a little deeper into this one to see SENIOR’s point of view (beyond the obvious point of a physical church building is nothing like a physical hospital building). The one thing that I do know (as a good ol’ Baptist church boy born and bred) is that so often we hear phrases in the church and just wholeheartedly accept and regurgitate it without really thinking about the impact of the actual meaning. That alone was enough to make me want to dig into SENIOR’s statement, but I really had to process what SENIOR said in my head for a while before I could even write this blog because here in lies the dilemma:
On the one hand, we consistently hear that the church is like a hospital in the sense that you can get healed either physically, spiritually, or both.
On the other hand, if you think about what a hospital actually is and it’s function, is it right to compare the church to a hospital (whether physically, spiritually, or both)?
Are you thinking? Do you feel your brain juices percolating? Do you feel like your religious rhetoric is being challenged? I know mine was.