A few weeks ago I covered a service at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in the Galewood Neighborhood of Chicago.  A month before the congregation had decided to sell its building.  The church was averaging about 25 people at worship each Sunday, and they could no longer pay the bills.

The next day I covered what you might call a revival meeting at Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park.  The 2800 seats in the sanctuary were filled with enthusiastic worshipers.

Here’s my question.  Which one was more successful?

If you answer the question from a sociological, statistical point of view, clearly Living Word is a winner and Good Shepherd is a loser.

But all religions I know of make the claim that they look at reality from a different perspective than what you might call “this world’s point of view.”  They claim that they help people see life from God’s point of view.

Whether this or that religious tradition is able to pull that off is another question.  The point I want to make here is that religion—when it is healthy and authentic—almost always moves our point of view at least at little bit to the right or to the left and sometimes upside down or inside out.

Just entertaining the idea that God might be smiling on Good Shepherd more than Living Word is a perspective changing thought.

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Tom Holmes

Tom's been writing about religion – broadly defined – for years in the Journal. Tom's experience as a retired minister and his curiosity about matters of faith will make for an always insightful exploration...

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