When someone suggested to me that church could be compared to processed food, it was a bit of a jolt – but it also struck a chord.
It struck a chord because all through my childhood and into my teenage, “Church” mostly meant going to a rather cold stone building for a church service, finding one’s seat in a pew, waiting in hushed silence for the service to begin, and only whispering if talking was needed.
And when the service itself started, it followed the same prepared pattern of hymns, prayers, Bible readings, the choir singing a song or two perhaps, and a brief homily or sermon by the resident vicar. Our only involvement in the proceedings was to follow along.
Which is where the comparison with processed food came in. Because in pre-packaged processed food all the work has been done already too. It’s all been prepared ahead of time and put in a container, and all you have to do – as your part in the process – is follow the instructions on the package.
So, yes, I suppose church can be compared to processed food, when it’s a pre-packaged denominational set of beliefs you just go along with, and you sit in a service with a pre-packaged format each week, and you’re accepting the pre-packaged rituals, traditions and interpretations of Scripture handed down from the fourth century, or the Reformation, or from whoever leads or founded one’s church.
But I never questioned it, because it was comforting. If I faithfully followed the routine and requirements of my church, I felt I was on firm ground. A tad boring some of it could be but I’d done my church bit, so I didn’t need to do anything else, like think for myself, or worry if something didn’t make sense. Just “do the package” and all would be well.
I’ve realized since, however, that church, like science, evolves. It discards the out-of-date, the meaningless and irrelevant, and invites critical thinking, as in Paul’s advice to Timothy: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, as a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.
In other words, do some thinking for ourselves too. Pre-packaged processed food has its good side, like having something tucked away to fall back on when too tired to prepare a meal from scratch. But doesn’t the joy of cooking come from putting something really good and healthy together from what you’ve studied and learnt about food yourself?
One thought on “Can church be compared to processed food?”
That is so true. It’s high time to put off the old garments and put on something new. The old is only good for the garbage dump now, having become worn out and thread bare from overuse.
As far as home cooked meals go as opposed to prepackaged foods, there’s simply no comparison to the quality or flavour between the two. We can say the same thing about vegetables from heirloom seeds as opposed to vegetables from GMO seeds, or pasture raised beef as opposed to stockyard raised beef, or free run eggs as opposed to cage laid eggs, or wild caught fish as opposed to farmed fish. They are all like polar opposites—the one is filled with healthy nutrients, the other…not so much. When it comes right down to it, it’s all about the MONEY. Where can they get the most “bang for their buck.” (No pun intended.)
Isn’t that how these mega, corporate churches are though? They practice the “traditions of the elders” while “tickling” the ears of their hearers—blind guides leading the blind. Rather than attending to the spiritual welfare of their “sheep,” they are more concerned about how much they can “fleece” from them, so that they can fill up their collection plates for “filthy lucre’s sake.” (Titus 1:11) ….. It’s all about the money.
It’s the same with our governments, educational systems, banking systems, health care systems, retail and business sectors, and so on and so forth. It’s really all about almighty MAMMON—the god of this world—and power that tends to ride along with it. And so it’s been since time immemorial.
Thankfully, in these latter times, the “Berean spirit” has come out of the woodwork to expose the works of darkness, and bring some light into the world. And so we can expect to see changes taking place, sooner or later—in a big way, in all walks of life—according to the will and purpose of GOD Almighty for the age to come!! …..Oh, praise the Lord!!