if our church looks perfect it’s likely been photo-shopped

WFPC-001I’ve been playing with the idea fitting two images side-by-side in order to get the entire span of Wake Forest Presbyterian Church in one frame. Obviously there are some lighting issues, but as you can see I’m close. Close enough that I can pretty-much guarantee that next time (if I find a suitably overcast day and remember to put my tripod in the car) I’ll be able to post something really cool.

Of course we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect church, and any church that looks perfect – or sounds perfect – has to have been in some way photo-shopped. The photograph above is exactly how WFPC looked when I stood in the parking lot at 8:15 Saturday morning. I tilted one way for the image on the right, and the other way for the image on the left.

Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday

PERSPECTIVE: Somebody else, standing in a different spot, could have an entirely different view. Not just could, but certainly would. Because what we see is contingent on such a wide variety of variables that it couldn’t possibly all be the same.

What we’re looking at in the opening photo (above) is – moving from right to left – the sanctuary, the main entrance, the preschool wing, the courtyard, and the CLC (Christian Life Center). Out of sight are adult education classrooms, the children’s ministry area, the youth room, the office wing, and more.

Looking at the panoramic photograph, and thinking about all the different views and perspectives, reminds me that the members of this church own – between us – at least 800 different points of view.

  • 800 views – but one Jesus.
  • 800 ways that we think about how God is working in our lives – but one Savior, one Lord, one great love for God.
  • 800 honest thought processes when it comes to social issues, politics, and the fine details of doctrine – but one unified commitment to love one-another, and to encourage one-another, and worship as a big, boisterous, multifaceted, 800-members-and-growing family.
  • 800 variations of being wrong about at least something – but one huge pile of grace in which to find forgiveness, to rest in God, to learn from one-another, to bounce ideas around, and to grow as disciples.

I just love the rich color-palette of this community; they way the light bounces around off the various facets; the way Jesus appears so uniquely in individuals, yet with the clarity of an image in stained glass or an impressionist painting when we are viewed as a body; the way our unity finds such traction in love; the way this church is a lighthouse to the world rather than a fortress standing against it.

Today is Palm Sunday, and we’ll be making a lot of noise about Jesus. If you come – and I pray that you do – you will find a church family that’s hard to describe in just a few words. And, if you take a photograph, you’ll never be able to get the whole thing in.

Nobody could, not without some serious photo-shopping… But we don’t tidy up that easily; we don’t need to – we’re just not that kind of a church…




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