Ben and I moved to a new area and were looking for a new church. Inadvertently, the first service we attended happened to be their Vision Sunday. For those who don’t know, Vision Sunday is the service the pastor will tell you not to invite your unchurched friends, because he’s going to ask for money, and he’s going to tell you what the church is planning to do with it. So we realized we turned up on the Sunday they didn’t want us to be there when the usher at the door apologized in advance for the fact it was Vision Sunday. But we actually thought it was fortuitous – we were about to learn everything we needed to know.
Building programs. Acquisition aspirations. Grand designs and grandiose proclamations. No surprises. Not until the Pastor turned to his Bible to offer the key scripture he believed the good lord led him to whilst planning for these great visionary schemes were being dreamed up.
Genesis 11:6 “The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”
Aaaaaaarm, ok?In this particular scripture, God is ruing the fact human beings have disobeyed him by uniting to build a skyscraper in direct defiance of gods will, planning to build it so high its top touched gods basement. God had opposed the project from the start, and showed his displeasure by scattering the key element of their unity and strength – their common language. In effect, the people got too big for their boots, so god fucked up their Vision Sunday project.
The bastardization of holy scripture isn’t uncommon amongst such congregations, but this was really, even to our jaded ears, something else. The pastor basically completely inverted the contextual meaning of the scripture to justify his own means and ends. It was flabbergasting, but the congregation clapped and cheered in agreement. Needless to say, we didn’t go to that church again. In fact, we got up and walked out right there and then.
If you must go to one of these churches, do yourself a favour and turn up to a Vision Sunday, or check out their podcast or YouTube broadcast. Ask for a transcript. And be advised. Vision Sunday is when their true colours are revealed – because there’s nothing they need more than your cold, hard cash, and they’ll go to almost any lengths – even twisting the words of their most holy book – to get it.
What’s your experience?