It isn't just people that congregate at my church. The lawn between the building and parking lot attracts Canada geese. For those of you unfamiliar with the species, or who are blessed to live in a region beyond their imperial ambitions, allow me to explain. Canada geese are evil.
They swoop in like alien invaders and occupy a community's grassy areas, especially golf courses, parks, and playing fields. At first their presence is viewed as benign, particularly as their little goslings add a storybook charm to the scene.
But these are not graceful swans or timid ducks. Draw too near and the birds extend their wings, lower their heads, and release an unholy hiss like a fell beast of Mordor. If the warning is unheeded, they will charge and attack with astonishing speed—something I witnessed firsthand in high school as a friend on rollerblades nearly lost his ear to a rogue goose. With their lifeless black eyes and taste for blood, Canada geese are the Great Whites of suburbia.
Why are they attracted to my church? I cannot say for certain. But the presence of these demon birds (I'm convinced they were the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's film) illustrates something about the spiritual enemy we contend with. Like the unseen "powers and authorities" the apostle Paul says we strive against (Eph. 6:12), the geese are not always visible on Sunday mornings. But their presence is still felt by all as we dodge their copious droppings on the sidewalk.
Every week as we prepare to exit our minivan, my four-year-old daughter pauses and reminds us of the danger: "We're going to church. Watch out for poop." Indeed, I think to myself.
In many church communities, mine included, talk ...