One of my favorite blogs is Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like. It’s mostly a satirical look at some of the “stuff” that we as Christians can get attached to or distracted by, from how “metrosexual” the worship leader is to how singles are treated at church (a topic that I in particular can relate to). It’s one of the funniest (and cleanest) websites that I’ve read and if, like me, you were raised going to church and you still have your sense of humor intact you’ll probably enjoy it as well.
There are, however, many posts that are of a serious or thought-provoking nature, and I am highly encouraged/challenged by those as well. One of my favorites
was apparently a lot of others’ favorites as well, as Acuff listed it as the #1 post for 2012 on his blog. In this particular post he recognizes a Catholic church that has a remarkable and inspiring welcome message in its bulletin. Here it is in its entirety:
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, y no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.
If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!
I have to agree with Acuff in wishing that all churches carried this same message of welcome. How awesome (and how awesomely different) would this world look if we not only said these words in print but also lived them out? How would it be if our churches saw all people, regardless of background, status or lifestyle, as those in need of love and acceptance and leapt to meet those needs? I think things would be radically different.
Check out Acuff’s post and more of his writing here