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Cleansing the Temple

January 20, 2011

I went to a mega church in Tennessee on Christmas Eve with my family once. I was astounded by the audacious carnival-like atmosphere of the place and the lavish display of wealth. The walls were lined with huge LCD screens broadcasting the service in the auditorium to the lobby. The church hosted a full band and choir with state of the art audio equipment complete with a transparent drum isolation chamber. Outside in the massive lobby was a full-sized carousel, popcorn and cotton candy booths and a mini petting zoo with a donkey you could touch if you squeezed your hand in between the wooden planks of its fence. Literature and christian apparel was sold in the lobby as well and several of the screens played flashy, professional-quality advertisements for their “extreme” youth groups.

A wealthy church is nothing new, but the cathedrals of catholicism were at least beautiful – commissioning masters like Michelangelo and Da Vinci to adorn the surfaces of their structures that were already architectural marvels…This mega church, although surely costing several millions to construct was as ugly as sin. Furthermore, the atmosphere inside was downright profane. The story of the cleansing of the temple comes to mind:

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.(Matthew 21:12)”

The parallel of the livestock being scattered by Jesus in the cleansing of the temple and the livestock inside of the mega church only adds to the relevance of the passage…To the vainglorious mega churches, exploitative televangelists, and cash crazed “prosperity gospel” adherants: You’re lucky Jesus doesn’t exist because if he did, he would rage so hard on your ass when he sees what you’re doing with his temples!


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