Convinced that the world is a threat to our lives and existence, Christians have become overwhelmed by our own culture of fear. Who could forget the tragic events that took place at New Life Church in Colorado Springs on December 9, 2007, when a young gunman opened fire on church members after Sunday morning worship? We both (the authors) remember watchin the news coverage after the event and feeling compassion for the families that lost loves ones as well as the traumatized church community. It was a truly terrifying and horrible event.
But what also struck us as odd and problematic was the tremendous amount of praise showered upon the security officer who supposedly fired upon and killed the young gunman. (It was later discovered that this young man had actually killed himself, a possibility not even mentioned in the fanfare.) We must admit that it left us with a bitterly confused taste in our mouths, wondering what message it sent for Christians to employ security guards at our churches and for us to so publicly laud the killing of a threat to our people. We were left wondering whether we have not let on infatuation with security take control of us, having turned us into a people of fear. Protect our schools, protect our families, protect our churches , protect our investments and our national interests. But in this search for security where has our mission gone? With all this emphasis on protection what exactly are we giving? Is it any wonder that the world finds our message to be so selfish, so hateful, so ugly?
Condor and Rhodes, Free For All, p 215
Hello. My name is Phyll Douglas Anthony McBrian, and as a self-appointed spokesperson for the emergent church, or whatever we are calling ourselves nowadays (as if it mattered), I have decided that I simply must address this heinous thing in the church that my fellow emergents Condor and Rhodes have touched upon.
The church is too safe.
I remember, years ago, I was attending a particular church. I wanderd by the nursery area, and do you know what I found there? I found toys that were considered appropriate for children of that age, rubber duckies and blocks, not a single choking hazard at all. To my dismay, I learned that there would be "adult supervision", intended to keep the children safe. And to my horror, I learned that they were going to give them a snack. It's not that a few cookies were so bad, but that they were going to make the kids wash their hands before eating. With soap!!
And this church was filled with other horrible examples of their mad addiction to security. They had stairs, and those stairs had handrails, so people could more safely go up and down them. I even saw an elevator for those with wheelchairs or other handicaps that would make make it unsafe for them to use the stairs. And on the outside there was a wheelchair ramp! With rails!!
And I saw horrible impliments of safety, like fire alarms and fire extinguishers, and emergency exits. There was even a first-aid kit or two about.
And, finally, I bet that if I had accessed their computers, I would have found security software on it--anti-virus, anti-malware, all kinds of anti-hacker things.
I bet they even had insurance. The pastor and others probably had health assurance. Their cars probably had car insurance.
Could you believe it? What a bunch of selfish, hateful, and ugly people!! How dare they try to protect themselves, the old people visiting, the children in their nursery! What kind of message is that sending? How dare they fear that their children might choke on a toy not appropriate for their age! How dare they fear fire so badly that they have alarms and extinguishers! How dare they fear hackers to such an extend that they put protective software on their computers!
I never returned to the church of those safety-idolators.