I am fighting a battle. It is a minor battle, a skirmish even, and I think there is a good chance that only I know that I am fighting it. Perhaps that makes it a very British battle. Or a very Christian battle. It is the battle of the church door.
The church I belong to meets in a building which is fairly typical of British Methodist churches of its era, all heavy looking with wooden doors at the front. Inside is a small porch area where people are greeted and handed any books, leaflets and any other information that they may need. The problem is that generally only open one door out of a possible four is opened, and in winter that is hastily shut again to conserve heat as soon as people have passed through.
Closed even when open
This makes the church look shut and un-used. Even for someone like myself who knows the church is open it still looks shut. Shut and unused. I can’t help thinking that to those who aren’t in the know, it must always look shut.
The idea of opening up the front of the church by having glass doors and a larger porch area has been discussed, but in the meantime every time I use the front door I leave it open. I know it will get closed behind me but I have to do my bit. For those few seconds the church looks like it might be in use (if not exactly welcoming). I know that if I had to stand in the doorway welcoming people the cold might annoy me. I also know that this if they knew that my action was deliberate it could be seen as childish or petulant – though they probably think I am just thoughtless. I choose to see it as subversive – that is better for my self-image.
Your petulant battles
Are you fighting any subversive/petulant battles with your church? Use the comment form below, we need to know!
I am illustrating this piece with a cartoon by Dave Walker. It is one of many that you can find at his website, www.cartoonchurch.com . They make me laugh because I recognise so much of the everyday church nuttiness he depicts. This cartoon originally appeared in the Church Times.