Every so often, I meet people who claim to be Jesus followers and after a brief conversation I have to bite my tongue because I really, really, really want to ask them to please never tell anyone that they are a “Christian.” No, I’m not perfect. I freely admit that I am a work in progress. And I will screw up and hurt people’s feelings from time to time I know that. But the news is full of stories about churches that are more focused on hate than they are the 2 greatest commandments – Love God with everything you have, and love your fellow man like you do yourself (my paraphrase).
A local church sent out letters to the homes in the area stating that the street-side parking by their building is theirs and they will tow any vehicle parked there. We happen to be one of those homes and got the letter yesterday.
Um . . . what?!
This church has a small gravel parking lot that is very definitely on their property. It sits rather empty most Sundays. In the summer, our church doesn’t do Sunday School and holds the morning service at nine (no theological reason – it was started by a previous pastor who wanted to get an earlier tee time!) Frequently, on summer Sundays, I come home to find that I cannot park in front of my own house because church-goers across the street have filled not only the angled-in parking spots, but also the other side of the street. And their lot? Almost completely empty.
Hubby made a few phone calls after getting the letter from this church and discovered that the parking spots are within the public right of way and the church has no right to tow the vehicles that are there. Then my hubby did the pastor of that church a favor and called him to let him know what had been discovered. He even passed on the name and number of the person he (hubby) spoke to so this pastor could follow up on the conversation. Then the pastor said something that made me sigh – “If you are right then we are just going to stop plowing those parking spots.”
Here’s the problem. If my hubby’s information is correct, these parking spots are like a sidewalk – you cannot tell people they aren’t allowed to walk on there and you MUST keep it cleared of anything that might cause a slip and fall accident.
This whole thing saddens me. This church is surrounded on ALL sides by homes. What impression are they hoping to leave with their neighbors? Will they sit in their building and scratch their heads, wondering why no one from the neighborhood attends? They really shouldn’t. They take up most of the on-street parking – leaving their private lot virtually unused – and have been known to throw outdoor parties with loud music into the night (great for the families with little ones or those who need to get to bed early because of work schedules!). Just what kind of message are these people trying to send?! And how can those of us who disagree vehemently with the behavior undo the damage?!