Outside of the small town of Cleveland, Texas, is this small church, Security First Baptist Church. Dwayne and I frequently took motorcycle rides up this way and were struck by the oxymoron: Security First? Really? Of course we were in east Texas where everyone drives a pickup and promises to shoot first and ask questions later …
Security is a big concern in a changing world … and I can understand why people would take comfort in a church that promises to protect or safeguard them. And while the Church has often been a sanctuary for people in dangerous times, it’s first priority is not security or comfort. We are not called to shelter in place, but to step out, take risks, and go to the messy and dangerous places. Our own PC(USA) Book of Order states:
The Church is to be a community of faith, entrusting itself to God alone, even at the risk of losing its life. (F-1.0301)
I am hoping that we, the presbyteries of New Brunswick and Monmouth, will be stepping out together over the next few years … that we will be willing to try new things … that we will be willing to take risks and loosen the grip on our human and natural desire for preservation in order to witness to the assurance and love of Jesus Christ. I expect that will take us to messy places and, even, dangerous places.
So, Dwayne took a ride to Cleveland the other night to take this picture for me … and as he was riding home, he noticed another small Baptist church on the other side of town: Happy Life Baptist Church!