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  • Baptist Beacon

Fast food versus church

by Brian Jones

TECUMSEH, MI – I don’t know why people do it. Why do they treat fast food restaurants better than they treat churches? Well, if not better, at least in showing more grace. Let me explain what I mean.

Imagine that you went to the local burger fast food chain. Maybe it is known for a certain golden letter of the alphabet. As a hypothetical. You go through the drive thru, which now takes longer than it used to, you pay (which now takes more than it used to), you receive your bag of goodies and head home. And what do you find when you arrive safely to your abode?

A messed-up order.

The double burger that was supposed to be no onion has onions, no pickles, and extra mustard. The fries are cold and the drink now comes in a container big enough to satisfy the thirst of King Kong.

So, what does any reasonable person do at this point? Clearly, they decide that they will never again go to any fast food restaurant. Ever. Anywhere. Of any type. Period.

But that isn’t what happens, at least not in the real world. In the real world you might not go back to that particular clown endorsed establishment (although in truth you will probably end up there again and sooner than you would like to admit). But you will most likely visit another of the same chain, just at a different location. Maybe you are so frustrated that you abandon that chain all together and decide to take your hard-earned money to other dining options. After all, they aren’t the only burger place in town. (Unless they actually are the only burger place in town.) And who said it has to be burgers? Taco Tuesday anyone? Chicken? Chinese? Sub sandwiches? Roast beef sandwiches?

You won’t give up fast food, but you might stop supporting the one that just can’t get it right.

We don’t take one bad experience and throw them all to the curb.

But what do people do when they attend a church?

Imagine that you went to the local Baptist church. And let’s imagine that they were cold and distant. No one greeted you. No one welcomed you to service. And the service was a mess.

So, what does any reasonable person do at this point? Clearly, they decide that they will never again go to any church. Ever. Anywhere. Of any type. Period.

And sometimes, that is exactly what happens.

They don’t give the church another shot. They don’t try other churches of the same denomination. They don’t visit other denominations. They have one bad experience and throw them all to the curb.

Now, it may seem silly to point this out in the official newsletter of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. After all, everyone reading this probably goes to church on a regular basis. But maybe it will come in handy when you talk with others.

One time our church was hosting a health screening, and one of the nurses was mentioning how she didn’t go to church anymore because she caught the pastor and the secretary in an embrace. [This analogy is not meant to diminish the true hurts that people can experience and the analogy isn’t perfect, but hopefully it gets people to think.]

Now, she had told me earlier that she was recently engaged. So, I asked her if all the men she had previously dated treated her well, or if there were some bad experiences. She was quick to respond that she had indeed dated some less than excellent men. And that is when I asked her.

But you didn’t give up on men, did you?

She smiled sheepishly. She understood perfectly.

Men were important enough to her to give them another shot.

For most of us, so is fast food.

For all of us, church should be too.



Pastor Brian Jones, Tecumseh Missionary Baptist Church, MDiv. SBTS. His wife, Lisa, and family came to TMBC in March 2008, and have been privileged to serve at TMBC for over a decade.


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