Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I pass this sign on my way to work. When I notice it, I usually do my
best Homer-thinking-about-doughnuts voice and say to myself "mmm, Meth
Church". I wipe the drool from my lip, get quite a giggle, and then
hurry on my way. Could the sign-makers have known that in 2006 the abbreviation would have such a connotation?

On a more serious note, it’s probably where Jesus would be. I’m not ready to call meth users the lepers of today, but I’m sure He’d spend His time with them.

I’m really trying to be a student of Jesus, so that gets me to thinking about my church and if He’d spend any time with us.

A while back RMW asked about churches and Adam wondered how to define them. I didn’t comment on either post, but I’ve been thinking about it and I’ll tell you about something that I dig at my church.

It is hard to miss and it used to kinda bother me, but now I hope it never leaves. You see, there is this little trashcan, the same size as the ones that are under the desk of every office cubical in America. It's tan and has a black liner curling over the edges. What makes it notable is its assigned post.

It sits on the floor of our auditorium along the front wall right next to the stage.

Now our stage is dwarfed by the size of the auditorium’s front wall, so don’t think that because this trash can sits off to the side of the stage it is not front and center—because it is. Right up there in the front, this dumpy little trashcan sits poised for that moment when a speaker has some trash that must be immediately discarded.

Once I moved the trashcan, but before a week passed, it returned. You see, behind this modest trashcan is a hole in the wall. That’s right; an eight inch square hole has been left by some long-since-removed, sound equipment panel. I’m pretty sure that the hole was left by the building’s prior occupants and only became visible a couple of years ago when we downsized our stage. One of our elders, who works part-time as a janitor at the church, put that trashcan there to hide the hole.

For me, that trashcan sits as a reminder that the church should be doing stuff that has nothing to do with the physical appearance of the building. We could spend the money to get it fixed, but our leadership chooses to spend money on ministry—to the detriment of the upkeep of the building.

I like that I worship in a humble building because our money goes to other things like missions and counseling and teens. There are blood drives and abuse support groups and addiction groups and housing challenged people who all use the building. Just this Sunday a representative from the benevolence group stood not 12 feet from that trashcan and with tears in his eyes talked about the people who he had seen blessed by the stuff we spend money on.

Could we do more? Sure. Will somebody volunteer to patch the hole one day? Probably. But I think our priorities are in the right place when a hole goes unpatched and a food box gets filled.


Blogger CJ said...

And here I was thinking the lesson of the trash can was going to be that we shouldn't be "covering up" holes in our lives...my bad.

Awesome to have you blogging again.

Wed Sep 27, 02:42:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Johnny said...

I was following CJ and coming up with my own application of your illustration, which was not the same yours, probably because I didn't know about the hole. You know you should have posted a picture of that meaningful little trash can (being the photographer you are). That is a good characteristic for your group to have.

Wed Sep 27, 09:30:00 PM PDT  
Blogger kristi said...

I love this post. It reminds me of the little house in NE that I call my church home (you know the one!)

Wed Sep 27, 10:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Jason Hill said...

That's a good idea Dad, I just never seem to take my camera to church.

You guys are right on with your differing applications. Perhaps that trashcan has a few more lessons.

Wed Sep 27, 10:15:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mr. T said...

I was merely thinking that the trashcan was there to catch any leaks the ceiling might have. Therefore it represented that no matter what's falling on us in life the church is always there for us to fall on. The church is there to gather us up. I mean come on it's Metro...I'm sure there's a leak somewhere in that building.

Thu Sep 28, 08:44:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Lisa said...

and I was thinking that it represented how we all need to keep a trash can close by to weed out the impurities in our lives and get rid of them.

How many lessons can one trash can hold?

Thu Sep 28, 10:45:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Jason Hill said...

Whoa Matt, I almost mentioned something about the leaky roof. I think one Sunday I counted 4 trashcans collecting water in the foyer. We did finally get that fixed. I do love this church.

Thu Sep 28, 10:12:00 PM PDT  

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