As I was driving out of my neighborhood on this beautiful, clear day, I was reminded of why I named this blog as I did. I live up on a ridge and as I drive down the ridge each day, I can look out and see all of Chattanooga. On clear days, I can see the steeple of the United Methodist Church, where I work. In fact, I can see the steeples of many churches in downtown Chattanooga: First Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, Patten Chapel at UTC, the Christian Science church, and even the steeple of the “old stone church,” formerly First Methodist. So let me share with you the thoughts that inspired the name of this blog.
I see the steeple of the United Methodist Church nearly everyday. Sometimes I see it from a long distance as I drive out of my neighborhood. I see the steeple from the front of the church and the back. From certain perspectives, I can see the bell in the steeple. And each time I walk to my office from my car, I walk underneath the steeple. All these “perspectives” of the steeple inspired the question in my mind, “What do people think when they see this steeple?” I wondered what kind of feelings the steeple inspire in people’s hearts. I can only imagine the feelings stirred up in the hearts of longtime members of this church who watched that steeple be erected are different from the feelings of an atheist who, for instance, is new to Chattanooga.
In a lot of ways, it’s the same way with the church. Those of us who work in the church see a slightly different “side” of the church than those who show up to worship on Sunday morning. Likewise, those who have never been to church look at the church with a different perspective than those who grew up in the church. Or, those who have been hurt by the church feel differently about the institution than those who have found “sanctuary” in the church.
When it comes to doing our part to build the Kingdom of God, all of these perspectives are important. If the church is to be all that God intends it to be, then it is critical that all these vantage points of the church are taken seriously. I’m not saying that everyone’s view of the steeple has to be the same, only that we should strive to build the church such that, no matter how we view the steeple (or the church beneath it), we feel the joy and hope that is from God.