Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

3/18/2006

Church or Marketplace?

Jesus driving out merchantsIn tomorrow's Gospel reading we get the Gospel of John's account of Jesus cleaning out commerce from the Temple in Jerusalem. It says in part, "He told those who were selling the doves, 'Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!'"

I wonder about this passage as we have books for sale in the entry hall at King of Peace. Is there a difference between what was taking place in the Temple which Jesus opposed and that which is now taking place at King of Peace? I hope so, but that could be self-justification.

The doves were sold out of convenience for those wanting to honor God's commandments by offering the required sacrfices. We know from Luke's Gospel that Jesus own mother and father offered two doves in thanksgiving for his birth, though we don't know whether they brought them in or bought them in the Temple. The things we are selling are books not otherwise readily available in or county, which can help someone draw closer to God in this season of Lent. Is there any difference between the two?

coffeehouse churchI don't think that our current practice crosses over into making our house of prayer into a marketplace. But it is always worth considering our actions in the light of the Gospel. What do you think? Have we gone to far? What about churches that have a Starbucks in the lobby? I once bought a Starbucks coffee in the lobby of Chicago's Willow Creek Community Church while there for a conference. Would Jesus have joined me for a Cappuccino or tossed the Lattes out in the gutter?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

2 Comments:

  • At 3/22/2006 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think Jesus' issue with the people selling in the temple was not so much that they were selling, but that they were extorting for personal gain those who had come to make a sacrifice to the Almighty to preserve their souls and were cheating them in the process. I don't think the church offering things at cost or as a fundraiser is immoral as long as things are done appropriately and in good order. I do find a Starbucks inside the church disturbing. Someone IS making a personal gain on that one, I am sure. Jesus' example was one of being a servant. It's hard to say your are truly being a servant if you're turning a generous profit in the process.

     
  • At 12/22/2008 3:50 PM, OpenID stewarthines said…

    I wondered this my self when i was at Willow last spring. They have a book store a cafeteria a starbucks, they have EVERYTHING. it's like mall. I did not get to attend a service, but my wife went there for a year or so. She loves the place, however, from what she describes to me it's like a feel good session. They do great things but you do bring up a great point.

     

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