IN MY MERRY OLDSMOBILE

After church each Sunday I have to maneuver my car around the gleaming late-model sedans in the church parking lot. On my way home I pass the Wood-ville Primitive Baptist Church. Parked outside are older-model vehicles with pickup trucks and station wagons predominating.

This situation was brought into even sharper focus by a conversation with a carpenter friend. When he found out that I needed the services of a plumber he said, “Oh, you need a plumber? I know a good one. He’s a member of our church.”

As it turned out, just about every trade is represented in the congregation of his church, but few professions are. The opposite is true of my church.

This difference is not news to anyone. Numerous treatises have been written analyzing the sociological factors involved in denominationalism.

I even knew one clergyman who seemed to find some merit in the situation. The caste system that seems to obtain between denominations, he pointed out, is the result of the Protestant recognition of the church as the communion of the saints.

In the Roman Catholic Church, he asserted, the church derives from the priesthood, and each believer more or less celebrates the communion between himself and God, eliminating social involvement. It’s this social involvement that naturally causes people to divide along lines of income and education.

May be But I can’t help feeling that my faith as a white-collar worker is somewhat impoverished by lack of contact with Christians who have a different social setting and different problems.

When the charismatic movement began to move into the “establishment” churches, it did break down some of the more artificial distinctions between Christian communions. However, even it has left the real ...

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