Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resolution Number One: Mclean Bible Church

With Twenty Ten now a whopping three days old, I have today fulfilled one of my resolutions for the year. That resolution was a pretty straightforward one. I vowed to at some point attend Mclean Bible Church.

That congregation is the 800 pound Jeezilla in the Washington Metropolitan Area. It's a megachurch in every way, shape, and form. It's got a huge honking main campus near Tysons Corner. It has several satellite campuses. It has scores of ministries, and scores of pastors. It has tens of thousands who attend regularly, or, at least, semi-regularly. They are the AmeriChrist Inc. Industry Standard, as ranked by J.D. Power and Associates.

I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about MBC. I freely admit it. But for all of my kvetching about their odd take on scripture, snarking at their fundamentalism and grumbling at their fungally spreading immensitude, I've never been there. That seems, at a bare minimum, unfair. How can I criticize something I've never experienced? How can I claim to have knowledge of a place I've never been, or make statements about a worship in which I've never participated?

Well, to be honest, one can talk about things one hasn't experienced. But I felt like adding some basis in reality to my perceptions of the place. Heck, up until today, I'd never even been to anything that could be described as a megachurch. I've been to biggish churches, sure, with attendance in the high hundreds or even close to a thousand. But the Jesus MegaCenter experience was not something I could claim to ever have had.

So having returned from vacay just a tiny bit early, and with a Sunday morning ahead of me, I decided to descend into the MBC vortex. Before I went, I spent some time getting myself centered and focused. Do not prejudge. Do not enter with preconceptions. Cleanse your mind, and enter as if you had no knowledge of this place.

I spent some time in prayer. I spent some time reading scripture. I girded my loins. Or at least took a shower and put on some fresh underwear. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

I got in my car, and trundled off to meet Goliath.

Tomorrow: What Mclean Bible Church Does Right.