An Interesting Perspective

As a pastor I often find myself wondering what people REALLY think when they visit a church. I meet first time guests to Cross Point out in the lobby every Sunday and they generally give our church very positive feedback. But come on, we live in the South. Even if they hated it I’m not sure they would actually tell me. :)

A couple weeks ago a lady by the name of Vanessa Pinto visited Cross Point. My understanding is Vanessa had not been to any kind of religious gathering since she was a child. She also happened to be from San Fransisco (that’s not in the South) and is a writer for the Huffington Post. Last week they published an article she wrote entitled “What’s Wrong With A Little Faith” which was about her visit to Cross Point. I found her perspective extremely interesting.

Here’s an excerpt…

I find it fascinating that in a city as free as San Francisco, church, synagogue and practicing as a believer in a traditional form of religion and/or God is not a subject people bring up often or at all. In the most enlightened and compassionate circles, to say that you are religious, or a believer, you are deemed less than, weak, hateful or ignorant because you need God to believe in.

While in the South doing research for my book, one of the things that made headlines and the news was the opening of a new campus of a church called Cross Point. What I found interesting was that every news truck was there to cover it — ABC, CBS, NBC and more. I was intrigued to see a church of all things, be such big news. But again, I come from San Francisco, where the only church you read about is Glide during the holiday season.

In an unusual set of circumstances, I was invited to and accepted an invitation by Cross Point to attend their first Sunday service of church at their new campus, located in the heart of Nashville. I go to a lot of events and openings, so why is it that it felt so strange to attend one that has to do with God? I got up early on a Sunday and did something I hadn’t done in many years. I went to church.

When I arrived, I was shocked by how many people show up for church in the South. It was raining and snowing, but the parking lot was overflowing with cars. When I walked into the church, they had a children’s area, a book store, coffee and cafe seating set up along with the platform in the sanctuary. There was singing and screens so people could see easier. The first thing I noticed was the age of the attendees, ranging from early 20s to 70s, all visiting with one another. There was a huge population of gay parishioners and people of every color. Cross Point clearly welcomes all attendees and those attending were waiting to hear from Senior Pastor Pete Wilson.

On this Sunday before Easter, he had an interesting sermon. It wasn’t filled with promises of fire and brimstone for those who were not believers; it was simply a message filled with hope and the acceptance that life is not always within our control and that while that can be difficult, it can also be something one can become comfortable with. I kept waiting for some tone of hatred and fear or a pitch for cash, but none came.

Due to my experience with religion as a child, I assumed that all religion has a hell or terrible after life that you will go to if you don’t believe… that if you didn’t conform to a particular mold, you weren’t welcome and that God was cruelly judgmental and vengeful. None of what happened when I was a child happened on this day.

However, here is what did happen: I realized I was guilty of what most people are when it comes to church and people of faith: judging those who believe and the places without really giving it a fair chance.

It’s funny. We live in a city where we are encouraged to try everything out, but God or religion is definitely not one of them. Practicing Christians and Jews are the minority here, spiritually. And that said, once I let my own pre-conceived notions about church go and allowed the hour to unfold, it was all very normal and nice. I met some of the people who work at Cross Point, families who call it home and people who have retained their identity while still attending church.

To read the entire article you can click HERE.

 

21 Responses to “An Interesting Perspective”

  1. That says a lot about your church and the non-compromising inclusiveness that most churches haven’t figured out. The news trucks were there because a church that gets it right is news no matter what part of the country you’re from!

  2. Laura Anne says:

    What a lovely article. Testament to the message taught and lived out at CP Nashville?

  3. Amanda says:

    This is great! Love it!!

  4. Ashley Leech says:

    Speaking of San Francisco, Pete…this is an interesting GQ article on Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants, who recently became a Christian. He’s one of the highest paid players in baseball, was a total bust until last year when things turned around:
    http://www.gq.com/sports/profiles/201304/barry-zito-q-a

  5. Deb says:

    This article was written because the author was invited to church. How many people have you interacted with this week? How many did you invite to church? Well, I’ll admit my number is zero. So I have five days to change that number.

  6. katdish says:

    That’s a wonderful article. Strengthens my belief that we don’t need to sell people Jesus, we only need to show people Jesus. Clearly the family at Crosspoint did just that.

  7. diane1230 says:

    That is awesome! It’s my prayer that every church — no matter what denomination — would have the same review written of it. & like someone said — it happened because someone invited her to church. I know I need to invite more people to church & pray they too have the same experiences.

  8. Wilbur says:

    Zeke 謝謝你 重要的不是解釋世界 而是改變世界 但願我們在嘗試解釋之餘也有能力改變 Ivy 是啊 梁美芬出線了 這對勾結的雙方都是一支強心針 且放長雙眼 看看他們哪天會違背對方的期待 哼哼 對了 Obama大戰McCain 你那邊有甚麼見聞 mr. 我不刪你這個留言 原因只有一個 讓你在這裡獻世 明明連對方是誰也不知道 竟敢一上來就亂扣帽子 管你是特別白痴的基督徒也好是反基分子反串的也好 就是有你這種下賤之輩 人類才會蒙昧到一次又一次被野心家煽動 既然你不舉證就亂作指控 本來我也沒有義務向你解釋你那兩個毫無內容的 質疑 不過為免有讀者真的不懂 姑且說說 一 方舟被發現 一說有多虛假 光是 當然你可以又抹黑他們全部是 東方閃電 派來的 二 那裡說的是蘇穎智如何在講道裡用多種暗示為梁美芬助選 當然你可以 覺得 教牧叫信徒投保皇黨完全no plrboem 或 覺得 保皇黨完全no plrboem 呵 貓姐 時代論壇那邊好像兩日前已有人貼過了 談到具體的教會情況 貓姐你比我更熟悉 大可詳加發揮呢

  9. I don’t know who you wrote this for but you helped a brother out.

  10. Normally I’m against killing but this article slaughtered my ignorance.

  11. Glad I’ve finally found something I agree with!

  12. You’ve really impressed me with that answer!

  13. This forum needed shaking up and you’ve just done that. Great post!

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