"Most churches have the uncanny ability to make their visitors feel very welcome and very awkward at the very same time." - Dick Lucas
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Alright, fine! The quote doesn't exactly come from Dick Lucas... it comes from me and is the best paraphrase of something very profound that Lucas once said that I didn't bother to write down. Nevertheless, while Lucas's original quotation was certainly better worded than mine, even in my poor paraphrase one gets the thrust of Lucas's point. Namely, churches that are strange to us make us feel... well... strange.
Moreover, I think the paraphrase makes a good point and perhaps even gives us occasion as Christians and churchmen to laugh at our own strangeness. Laughing is certainly something we should do more of. Yes, we want to take our beliefs seriously. We want to take the worship of God seriously. But we don't want to take ourselves too seriously. For if we do, any visitor bringing to our gatherings a fresh set of eyes will see the absurdity of our pretense. Let us embrace our eccentricities and delight in our God who is gracious enough to redeem people such as ourselves!
(BTW, you'll want to make sure you don't miss the singing of 'All Creatures of Our God and King' at the end... the recollection of this video has often made it difficult for me to remain dignified while singing this hymn in church.)