That will make about a dozen gyms/fitness centers in this relatively small town. So why do most of its citizens appear to be out of shape? In fact, there seems to be a morbidly close relationship between the availability of gyms, diets, and “weight loss systems”* and the prevalence of obese people. Both are growing at an enormous rate. Pun intended.
I don’t have an answer, but it got me to thinking about another question. Is there an inverse relationship between the amount of faith in the world and the number of churches? Again, evidence points to an answer in the affirmative.
Too many churches and
Not enough truth.
Unfortunately, there’s too much truth in that lyric. The search for truth has taken a back seat to spiritual experiences and a search for personal fulfillment, truth be damned. One of the results we see is this extraordinary proliferation of churches.
Speaking once more of my town, there are three churches of Christian orientation on my street. They are all within sight of each other. If you laid them out as a golf hole (not necessarily a bad idea) it would be a relatively short par 4… dog leg left. For what it’s worth, that same mile-long street is also home to a mosque and a Hindu temple. But only one of each. Wow.
In another part of town not all that far away, there are two churches in the same building, with two more a few hundred feet away. (That would at least make for a legitimate par 5.)
All of this seems pretty bizarre in a faith whose Founder’s heart declared, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.” Yet there are many tens of thousands of separate denominations that claim allegiance to that Founder.
Again, I ask, why?
Jesus continues that prayer in the very next sentence, saying, “And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (Emphasis mine. Seriously, do you really have to be told that? Does anyone think there are italics or bolds in scripture? Yet I see that note all the time. Go figure.)
With so much division, is it any wonder that most of the world doesn’t really believe God sent Jesus into it? Why should they? We haven’t given them reason to, according to our own Leader’s criteria.
At least our hard-heartedness gives us great jokes like this one from Emo Philips:
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.
I said, “Don’t do it!”
He said, “Nobody loves me.”
I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
He said, “A Christian.”
I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.
I laughed till I cried.
* For my take on diet and fitness, read my new book. I printed the whole thing at the bottom of this post.