Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oddly Named and a Question or Two

The Overcoming Faith Church in nearby Ozark, Missouri, has such an odd name—at least this Unitarian thinks it’s strange.

Then, I noticed the local newspaper’s Faith Directory had the Cornerstone Church with the tagline: “Your Home Improvement Center.” I wonder what their services are like. Think they could show me how to fix my rattling air conditioner?

We even have Quakers in Springfield. They have a silent worship at 11:30 a.m., but you have to call to find out where. They are low-keyed. We have several kinds of Baptists—missionary, freewill, Southern and some called ABC-CBF. I’m not sure what they are, but it appears the Baptists outnumber even the Assembly of God, which has its national headquarters here. I went to a country Baptist church until I was a teenager whose mother could no longer drag out her of bed on Sunday mornings. That’s probably the most trouble I ever gave my mother. She never did understand why I chose to be a Unitarian, questioning often, “Have you ever thought about going to church?”

All in all, Springfield is a “Godly” town. We have Episcopal, Presbyterian, Catholic, Church of Christ, Lutheran (both Missouri and Wisconsin varieties), Seventh Day Adventist, Unity, Bah’i Faith, Anglican, Christian Disciples, Orthodox, Salvation Army and Vineyard. I may have overlooked a kind or two. But I always wondered why God needed so many denominations.


Joe said...

I love this post. As I was growing up it seemed like there were a million different churches in the community. I always wondered why this was.

As I grew older yet, I noticed there were a million different cliques in the community, mostly built around the different churches, and it seemed like none of them associated with each other. Once again, I wondered why this was.

Then one day I went to a wedding at my church, and the priest conducting the ceremony was about to offer communion, but before he did he made it known to everyone in the church that if they weren't part of the church they were not welcome at the alter for communion. That was the day I really grew up.

I truly believe God is looking down at us from heaven, scratching his head, asking Jesus and all the Angels "I wonder why they need so many denominations?"

Jay said...

The reason there are so many denominations is the same reason Baskin-Robbins offers so many flavors of ice cream.

Indeed--for more than 25 years I have guest-lectured in religion classes at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. Inevitably the question arises: "Why so many denominations?"

So I ask, "What is your favorite ice cream flavor?" Of course, there is a variety of answers.

Then I answer, "My favorite flavor is pistachio, probably because it is my mother's favorite. Not many people even know there is pistachio ice cream, or what a pistachio is."

Then I ask, "Which is the RIGHT flavor?"

This provokes a bit more discussion. "But, John over there says chocolate is the best. Why do you choose vanilla?"

This comes up so often that whenever I'n available to visit a class I simply E-mail the professor: "Want an ice cream survey?" She knows immediately what I'm talking about.

Will do my schtick in October when we take Yvonne to visit Gallaudet. This will be her first plane ride, even though she used to live within walking distance of the Montgomery airport.

Sheila said...

I guess I wasn't the only one puzzled. Yes, I have trouble understanding how one denomination can be superior to others if the core beliefs are the same.

Rev. Jay, (yes, Jay is a Reverend of the Episcopal "flavor")
I love your explanation as much as I love Baskin-Robbins ice cream. I'm most intrigued by your question, "Which is the right flavor?"

I wish I could hear your schtick. I'll bet the students at Gallaudet provide a lively discussion. It must be an exciting time for Yvonne (a young woman Jay and his wife are helping).

On a side note. Scott is taking a world religions class at Hendrix which he loves.

Sarge Charlie said...

God don't need it, the followers do.

Don said...

No LDS there?

Sheila said...

Okay, that's one I forgot that we have. I was looking at the ones which advertised in the paper's Saturday religion listing and didn't see the Mormans but they are in the phonebook--quite a few actually. Who else did I forget?

Marion said...

Is that where your son got it...the inability to get out of bed in the morning? lol

Sheila said...

Oh Marion, that's funny. I never connected that with my own "trick." According to son, he is getting himself up and hauling himself into class despite his sleepy history just as everyone told me he would.

Miss Trashahassee said...


I was raised in the Assemblies of God. All of our Sunday School and church literature had "Springfield, MO" on it. I always wanted to go there.

Miss T

Sheila said...

Look me up if you ever get this far west of Florida. Springfield is a nice town and other than the fact that folks drown their fried chicken in brown gravy and call it "Cashew Chicken," it has a lot going for it. Plus, nearly the whole state of Missouri is beautiful. I have even lived here before and can't wait to go camping again if I can get over my fear of ticks.

p.s. I hope I didn't "tick off" too many Missourians with my opinion on the chicken issue.

Jay Croft said...

Fear not.

When my kids visit here and we go to a Southern style restaurant, they're always amused when they see macaroni and cheese classified as a vegetable.

Naomi said...

Great post Sheila. There are many different religions in England too. I always think the important think is that you are a decent person whether you go to church or not.

Sheila said...

Mac and cheese is about as far from a vegetable as is a potato chip.

I'm with you on that one.

Jay Croft said...

Actually a potato chip has a valid claim to be classified as a vegetable. After all, it's a potato that has been sliced and fried.

Sheila said...

Just like ketchup is a vegetable. Ha.

Jay Croft said...

Catsup is a vegetable only for Republicans.