Thursday, March 13, 2008

My err May God protect America

One thing you can’t help but noticing in the south of America is the overwhelming presence of churches. Even in Riyadh you won’t find so many places of worship. For some reason or another, the churches are often clustered together. As a result, you can easily drive by 5 or more churches all located right next to each other, which makes them even more visible.

Honestly, the nuances between each and every church are too refined for me to comprehend and the names of the various communities don’t help much either to clarify any difference there might be. In fact, the names are rather confusing since they’re sometimes almost similar to each other, such as “Baptist Missionary Association of America” next to the “National Missionary Baptist Convention of America”… and so on and so on.

Another thing you can see a lot these days before Easter, are huge crosses people put in their gardens. Typically you see three crosses in imitation of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Golgotha, and like all things in America: bigger is better.

It almost seems a competition with Christmas when people decorate their homes and gardens as well. But somehow I got the feeling that the people who put these huge, solemn crosses in their gardens are not the ones who put a cute little…err…huge (remember, America!) Rudolph up on their rooftop. They just don’t seem to be the happy-go-lucky people. But hey, whatever works for you, right?

Most churches also have a big sign in their front yard with either a scripture or they have come up with a statement of their own. The latter are not to be missed: “You will only truly live after you truly die!” (Prince, anyone?), “Be ready for tomorrow, pray today!”. My favorite was a sign that looked like a movie billboard: “COMING SOON: JESUS!”

The sheer presence of so many churches might seem oppressive, but in fact, all those different churches make one message perfectly clear: there is hardly agreement on anything and that leaves room for personal choices. It’s too bad I don’t have a camera with me since it could have perfectly illustrated this point: two same bumper stickers “What would Jesus drive?” I saw on two different cars: an energy-conscious Toyota Prius and a truly huge gas-guzzling Ford Explorer.

It’s always fascinating to see how people interpret God’s intention with us and it goes to show the old wisdom that all thinking about above comes from below. One can only pray that all these different Gods will protect this unique country of America.

4 comments:

Lalebanessa said...

I can't believe you didn't take a camera on a trip like this!!!
Stop off at any Kmart and buy a cheapo one at least.

Lalebanessa

ps I know you didn't want to blog on your vacation, but am really enjoying the travelogue so do keep it up, it's very interesting

Anonymous said...

In "American dream", "pax americana" and similar kliches the term "america" surely make us think of the US nowadays, but "america" is much more than the USA. The use of "America=USA" ignores millions of people who are indeed americans too, starting from Canada all the way down to the Patagonia, south of Chili and Argentina. The confusion -and the irritation of other americans- can be easily avoided refering to the US as "the states", United States, etc.

Anonymous said...

"The sheer presence of so many churches might seem oppressive, but in fact, all those different churches make one message perfectly clear: there is hardly agreement on anything and that leaves room for personal choices."
For a moment, I thought you where talking of Lebanon!

Riemer Brouwer said...

@lalebenessa
Thanks!

Yeah, i could buy a camera but that would mean I'd have to take pics as well and i just don't wanna bother with seeing something, finding a spot to make a u-turn, go back to the exact spot, find a good location to take the picture from, etc etc:-)