As many of my readers know, I speak to and coach faith-based groups, religious denominations, and leaders all across the U.S., and, as a consequence, I've been in virtually every communion imaginable. But of all the Christian churches I've visited across America in the past 20 years, I've never seen seen one quite as welcoming as the one I'm told had the following "welcome" printed in its bulletin. You can draw your own conclusions, but this is a church I could attend.
All are welcome here. But, we extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, lesbian, transgender, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can't carry a note in a bucket. You're welcome here if you're "just browsing," just woke up or just got out of jail. We don't care if you're more Catholic than the Pope, or haven't been in church since little Joey's Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you're having problems or you're down in the dumps or if you don't like "organized religion," we've been there too.
We endorse all people but we make it a point not to promote any particular politician. If you need a church that does or a minister who screams and yells from the Ambo about how everybody who doesn't believe as he believes (or, she believes) is going to hell... well, you're probably not going to like this church. Here, you can be Democrat, Republican, Independent... heck, even a Socialist. You'll understand, we're sort of struck with Jesus and, especially, his teachings. The way we figure it -- if we follow his teachings, the world will be a happier and healthier place for everybody. Healthier and happier, too, for those not interested in religion, not even ours.
If you blew all your offering money last night at the dog track, tough luck for us. You're still welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don't work, can't spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts ... In short, we welcome you!
See what I mean? This is a church I could attend! And, oh, I'm still looking for it...