My friend and collegue David Weber posted the following link to a Huffington Post article and I marked down yet another reason why I will not go to Branson, or as I refer to it, “the place where the Love Boat sank.” This story is wrong on so many levels, the most important of which is as Rev. Weber points out, that for the $5 million the Branson cross is expected to cost, 500 wells could be dug in Africa and other areas where people are dying for the lack of clean water. Given the choice between one monument where people who lack little if anything can go and be guaranteed an audience with Jesus, or 500 wells where hundreds of thousands of people with little or nothing can go and be assured of receiving life sustaining water, I wonder WWJV, which would Jesus visit?
The other levels where this is wrong include the fact that developers are promising visitors an “encounter” with Jesus. While certainly Jesus can be encountered anywhere, even at the “Magnificent, Monumental Branson Cross,” it seems that “the developers” are working as booking agents for Jesus. Here’s assuming he’s there for 8 shows a week, and don’t forget to tip your elevator operators.
Yet another level where this is wrong is the claim that, while the Golden Gate Bridge and the Gateway Arch are “secular” monuments, the “Magnficent, Monumental Cross in Branson” will be the first “monument to the ‘spirit of man.,” Putting aside there are other monumental crosses that are theoretically non-secular, executive director Kerry Brown probably meant to say that the cross is built to the Spirit of God, though his original statement is probably closer to reality.
This article offers insight and examples of misunderstandings so many persons and institutions of faith have regarding humanity and God. A continuing challenge for many Christians and congregations is the reality that the purposes for which they were originally created, to honor, serve and glorify God, can become secularized, and lose their sacred calling. When congregations fail to keep putting the desires and ministry of Christ first, fail to put first the great commission to make disciples of Christ, and when they fail to put the needs of non-church members ahead of what they the congregation want or think they need, they lose their sacredness, their being set aside by God to do the work of Christ and become secular monuments to the glory of themselves.