Growing up in a Catholic home, daily recital of the rosary and Sunday Mass were regular occurrences. Also, present was the respect my mother afforded other people of other religions who stopped by in pursuit of redeeming her soul. Little did they know that she cornered that market long ago. It was not unusual for my mother to welcome other people of different religions into our home who wanted to discuss God or the Bible. My dad did not approve, but she continued. She told her family, “when two or more people are gathered in His name, then it’s a good thing.”
On that religious note, my son, whom I raised as a Catholic, begin attending Flatirons Community Church a few years ago. I was not a happy Catholic with that decision, but he is an adult who makes his own decisions. Since then, he has asked me to join him to check out this up and coming new way of God’s teaching. With mom’s inherited fairness, I accompanied him.
With folded arms, but an open mind, I entered FCC, where smiling faces greeted me. We poured ourselves complimentary coffee and helped ourselves to bagels and cream cheese, but secretly wondered about the cost to serve the few thousand in attendance. Score 1 for FCC, cynic 0. My thought process established that this was a financially secure church with solid supporters/donations, FCC 2, cynic 0. Continuing my observation of this new venture, and in pursuit of an inevitable negative, I entered the church and thoroughly felt the buzz and excitement of a pre-concert, FCC 3, cynic, 0. The two screens in the two-tiered church showed the day’s sermon titled, Kingdom. Also on display was the countdown (2 minutes, 4 seconds) to the start. As I viewed the band, we moved near the aisle and awaited the “rock star” start. As the mostly young band members gathered and tested their instruments, I studied the crowd, who seemed genuine and happy to be there, I tallied the score, FCC 4, cynic, 0. As the service begin, the group mostly under age 50, rocked to the extremely talented lead singer as he broke out into a concert-type lyrics about Jesus and because music moves me, this cynic was impressed, FCC 5, cynic 0.
Still in pursuit of the first negative, I closely studied the physically fit and the articulate Pastor Scott, who cleverly incorporated National Basketball Association (NBA) stars past and present into the sermon. What better way to grab your audience with nationally recognized stars, nothing wrong with that, FCC 6, cynic 0. The sermon flowed with both reason and passion, FCC 7, cynic 0.
Throughout this session, I heard references to the word religion and that concept as unaccepting. Aha! FCC 7, cynic 1. I also heard reference to unnecessary repetition of prayer that obviously spoke to the Catholic Rosary recitation. FCC 7, cynic 2. As the session neared its ending, the band continued a series of great “Christian” music and the church’s helpers passed little red plastic buckets with communion “croutons” and a tiny packaged juice. I picked up a crouton, and with all due respect to my Catholic background and my saintly mother, I theoretically replaced the crouton for the communion wafer given at Catholic Mass. I prayed and knew that God accepted the replacement. I felt a bit disappointed, however, in the casualness of communion, such an important Catholic ritual, but remained respectful, FCC 7, cynic 3. I secretly winced as I was handed a packaged “juice” that represented the communion wine and remembered the unfortunate followers of Jim Jones.
We left the service and this lifelong and still devout Catholic could not find any real negative about the Flatirons Community Church. My mother popped into my thoughts with, “respect commands respect.” All in attendance today appeared genuinely real and devout of this new way of accepting God’s word. And, as we respect each other’s differences in a changing world, churches must also respect each other’s teachings.
The Flatirons Community Church is a combination of knowing your audience, good people using great music and godly teachings to reach a younger and hip generation. And although grandma would be happy with her grandson if he continued his Catholic faith, she also knows that, “if two or more people are gathered in His name, then it’s a good thing.”