Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Goodbye, Central Baptist, Hello . . .

At Government Center Station, I transfer from MetroRail to the MetroMover. The MetroMover is an elevated, Disney World-like automatic train that loops around the downtown area. Each weekday morning it takes me by my Alma Mater, Central Baptist Church.

Today the gold-leaf lettering on the side of the main building, the lettering that announces "Central Baptist Church", is down. The signs at street level have been taken down as well. In their places are temporary banners that announce "Downtown Christ Fellowship".

Baptist churches all over Miami have made these sorts of name changes. Post-modern, post-denominational Christendom is here. The old has passed away, the new has come. But part of the old was some serious theology, and I fear we are trading those inconvenient truths for something that simply feels better.

But I have to add this.

I got off of the MetroMover with a man who is a security guard in my building. He is a small man, but somehow impressive physically, "coal-black" (as my mother from Atlanta used to describe such people) with a face that is almost fierce. But that face, I have noticed, will break into a smile, and over the last several years we have learned to say hello to one another. I believe he is a Haitian.

So today I fell in beside him as we walked to our office building. I asked him how he was, and he said "I'm perfect". So I said, "Well, then, you must be a Christian, and so you are perfect in Jesus." And he said, "Yes, I am a Christian, I know Jesus", and he said that proudly and with his smile. "Well", I said, "I'm covered in Jesus blood, and I'm perfect too!" He smiled again, and we wished each other a happy day, and parted in the lobby.


A friend of mine (who to my surprise looks at the blog now and then) reports that "Christ Fellowship" is formerly First Baptist Church of Perrine. So old Central Baptist seems to have become part of that organization. As I recall, at one point a retired minister from FBC Perrine served as interim pastor for Central. FBC Perrine has a great history. I would hate to analogize the network of Baptist congregations under the Christ Fellowship umbrella to a sort of post-modern presbytery. But, then, why not?

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