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Going Nowhere  

In the proud community where I live, there stands a not-so-proud diner. The greasiest of greasy spoons, its notoriety stems less from what’s served inside on its faded Formica countertops than what’s outside.

The pot-holed parking lot has a sizable collection of vehicles going nowhere. Four Fed Ex trucks doze in the back corner. One has its hood tipped back, the boxy engine compartment exposed, as if imminent repairs are coming. They're not. Been that way for months.

As you amble across the lot, you can't miss the ice cream truck adorned with images of tempting frozen treats. It hasn't moved for months. Waiting for summer?

And who can forget the 1970s dark red Cadillac—its massive bench seats cracked with age and sun? You’ll find it parked next to the faded orange “Fire and Restoration” truck.

The parking lot hosts such a wide array of cars and trucks going nowhere, it makes me wonder. Is this graveled place:

  • A hospital for wounded vehicles?
  • A holding pattern for the undecided?
  • A car cemetery for the dead and dying?

Sadly, the scene reminds me a bit of evangelicalism in America. Like that lot, we are surrounded by churches going nowhere fast.

Of course, many dynamic congregations are alive and well, serving Christ and their community with significant impact. But so many historically solid churches are in decline. Churches that were once spiritually vibrant are now attended by seemingly "undecided folks" with one foot in the world and one in a confused Christianity. Then there are the dead and dying churches where nothing is new, nothing will change—and that's the way they like it.

God, spare us from becoming religious museums for a flat-tired faith. Breathe new life into us—and our dead and dying churches.



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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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