Somewhere in the heart of each gospel is one of my favorite stories. The story goes like this: Jesus goes into temple, looks around, gets very very angry and just starts going all Hurricane Katrina on the place. He breaks out a whip and starts whipping the life of out the place and everyone in it. Now, I want to first know why Jesus had a whip to begin with. Because quite frankly, Jesus went into Chuck Norris territory when he pulled that stunt. Seriously, before the whole beating the life out people in the Temple courtyard, Jesus was kind of passive. He would get mad, but never brought down the hellfire. So then we get this Rambo Jesus whipping people. Why? Because He is God that’s why.
Don't believe me?
Well how about some real photographic evidence:
Okay, that rant really does not have much to do with this post. But I was just
trying to think about any biblical comparison to what we experience in the “lobby.” And in a way the Temple courtyard where the “Jesus with the Whip of Justice” incident occurred is not dissimilar. Both our church lobby and the temple courtyard had in essence a kind of circus going for it just outside the confines of “the Holy of Holies” (of course our holy of holies being the altar).
And this allows the tie-in I imagined for this post: Much of our identity is defined by the church service and what happens inside. But there is a whole jackyl-and-hyde kind of thing here where a whole other part of us comes out in the church lobby, just outside the sanctuary to which much of our spiritual identity is defined.
It is in the lobby circus that much of our social maneuvering is found: The winds of gossip find their epicenter here. Our strange “survival of the fittest” dating rituals are also found here in their most intense capacity. Church sign-up sheets for the next “pot-luck dinner” or church clean-up day are found here. Mints are sold and guest cards are filled out so that the church will have their own kind of spamming mechanism in mailings.
Perhaps most importantly for our youth, it is in the lobby that arguments are made and attacked regarding the restaurant of choice to which even more social meandering is to take place amongst a hearty meal or two.
But the apostolic love for lobby is not bound to the church itself. For it is at general conference/camp/convention wherein the lobby takes on the role of “Super lobby.” No hotel chain that sells its services to board apostolics amongst their church conferences realizes what exactly they are getting into. For when apostolic sign up to stay in a hotel, they are more specifically signing up to form a kind of crusade-esque take over of the lobby. Simply because guys and girls are not allowed to go about their mating processes within the hotel rooms themselves (guys aren’t allowed in girl’s room, visa-versa).
Lastly, I ask us as a reading community to ponder the role and origin of the lobby rat. The lobby rat is he/she who seems to never be found in church during service. Rather the only place where we know they can be located is in the lobby itself. Before or after church, the lobby rat’s presence is always prominent within the lobby itself however. Their spirits seem to be at an all time high of elation and euphoria when the lobby is invaded upon by the rest of the church congregation. As if the lobby rat were the owner of the lobby and thus was welcoming each and everyone of the congregation members in his home as a special guest. In spite of the term “rat” I do not want to paint the picture of the lobby rat in a negative sense. Rather, I have found all lobby rats as very hospitable and pleasing people to talk to.