Dancing on the Head of a Pin

There is a legend of St Thomas Aquinas asking "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" At this blog we ask all questions dealing with our faith and spirituality. Some are down to earth, rubber meets the road questions, while others are more lofty...like, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Nation's Largest (Attendance) Church

In a recent article on the Augusta Chronicle's website the nation's church with the largest weekly attendance (Lakewood Church in Houston) recently purchased the Compaq Center (a sports arena) and added five stories to it. Lakewood Church has an average of about 32,000 worshippers per weekend. There are two things of interest in this article. The most attended church in America does not have a cross displayed in the church or any other traditional religious symbols for that matter. Recently Fr. Frank Logue from King of Peace posted an article about "sugar glazed theology." What does it mean when the largest attended church in our country doesn't have a cross, the symbol of Christianity, in its worship facility? Is this an example of "sugar glazed theology?" Is this a commentary on the state of the church? The cross certainly is offensive - it was meant to be. The cross is representative of a form of capital punishment. But the cross has been transformed into a symbol of Christ's victory over death. The cross represents (re-presents) the irony of our faith - our victory over death comes when we graft ourselves into Christ who died in order that we might live. In order to live we must die (to self, sin) and through death comes life. It is also to note that the pastor of the most attended Church in American Christendom has never been to seminary. Not that you have to go to seminary to be an educated leader, a faithful disciple, or anything of the sort, but without any denominational accountability, 32,000 people per weekend are listening to and buying the books of a pastor who has never been trained. The article stated that the pastor, Joel Osteen, didn't preach a sermon until a week before his father's death and he took over the leadership of the church. This is not meant to be critical, but to invite thought about how we view our Christian leaders. Would you go to a doctor who has not been to medical school? A lawyer who has not been to law school. Of course not. In the Episcopal Church, there is no national rule (canon) requiring priests to go to seminary (while this is the norm), however, there is a rule that the priest must at least undergo extensive theological training administered by the Diocese. Every parishioner in the Episcopal Church can have confidence that their priest has been trained most likely in an accredited seminary, or by the Diocese. In any event it is always a good idea to learn about the people we listen to on the radio, on television, and whose books we read.

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