American evangelicals enjoy posting pictures of their swanky church buildings online. These evangelical churches typically expend great effort and spare little expense to make their worship and gathering facilities intriguing and relevant.
As megachurches build out, they're under greater culturally-imposed pressure to make each of their satellites a little hipper and that much more relevant than the last. They've gotta reach people, you know? Who wants to visit a boring-looking church with lame fonts and hymnals? The ancient church's mission is relegated to the backburner. They are now primarily seeker-friendly.
These churches are very proud of themselves when they've completed a remodel. For hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars, wouldn't you be? They're excited to get the pictures on Facebook and in the paper to show off the building, which is always charming and dreamy. It looks happily air-conditioned and they've got snacks! And it probably still smells like drywall. I want to visit it. I bet I'd feel like no terrorist could get me there.
In order for a Christian church to spend that kind of money on this type of thing some substantial cognitive dissonance must be in effect. Ghettos and homelessness are in the same communities as each revamped state-of-the-art church building. In the south, the poor and homeless tend to stay safely away from the middle and upper classes which makes them easier not to think about. On the coasts, poverty and homelessness are usually on the same block as awesome new church buildings that have security systems and espresso in the lobby. In either case, it's super easy to stay away from the poor and needy or just step over them on your way to church. Same goes double for the rest of the week. Just like Jesus said to do. Glory to God!
This post originally appeared on Beliefnet. The original post and comment thread are here.