Thursday, July 10, 2008

Marking Houston

New Bulletin From QG's Bureau of Houston Religious Oddities:

Picture two giant 200 foot tall structures consisting of a cross perched on a globe of the world riding on a smaller chapel-like structure marking the entrances to the city of Houston on the north and south sides of Interstate Highway 45. That's the vision of Grace Community Church, a megachurch of about 12,000 members with two campuses in those locations.

The World's Largest Cross is the Cross at the Crossroads in Effingham, Illinois, measuring a mere 198 feet. Of course, the Texas crosses will be TALLER! Everything's bigger here, right?

See this morning's front page Houston Chronicle story.

Here's the description of the Cross Project from the church's website. Interestingly this page describes the crosses as being only 150 feet high.

Reactions to the plan from non-Christian groups as reported by the Chronicle were surprisingly supportive. A Hindu spokesman said "all religions are related to truth. So if you see a form of religious structure, treat it as a structure of God and move ahead with it." The Muslim spokesman said the US "is a land that promotes marketing of ideas. Muslims have the right to put billboards up that say 'Call 1-800-Why-Islam?' I have seen that in other cities. If Muslims can do that, Christians can put up a large cross, too."

Apparently the FAA may have to get involved in limiting the height of the proposed cross on the south side of town because it is near an airfield.

Since the pastor of Grace Community Church expressed a hope that ultimately there would be one of these crosses at every entrance into Houston, I'm wondering if some day we'll see one near our house on the Southwest Freeway.



10 comments:

Anonymous said...

you might check out the cross at groom, tx

http://www.crossministries.net/

dph

stinuksuk said...

What if the money used for the structures went to the poor, the needy, the hungry, the flooded in the Midwest and recovery in the South from Katrina?
How deeply are they thinking stewardship?

Presbyterian Gal said...

But, Stinuksuk, what is impossible to quantify is, how many more people will be inspired and reminded to give more to such needs after seeing the symbol. We are creatures who forget to do just that and symbols are important to remind us.

And, your city is better than mine. Here in L.A. millions were spent in a campaign to remove the cross from the city seal. Sadly, the movement succeeded.

Becky Ardell Downs said...

I would be bothered by a cross in our city seal-- is the implication that the city represents only Christians? Certainly not the case in LA or Houston. But this is a different issue. Personally, I just think this is tacky. Yes, they have a right to put up whatever they want on their property. But would I want to go to a church that spent a gazillion dollars on a 15-story cross? Nope. Maybe the most unfortunate part of the story was that the pastor referred to this effort as "marking the city for Jesus Christ," which to me is a little too much like what my shepherd-mix does when we go for walks. Jesus can mark his own territory, thank you pastor Steve. (I think it's Steve.) Sinking back into my cold now.

Presbyterian Gal said...

To correct myself: it was LA County seal that took the crosses off (they represented California's founding by Spanish missionaries). But good news! They left Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruits and trees.

I still think those crosses are a nice idea. Though maybe not so high.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that's to be expected, pgal...sad to erase a symbol of historical significance to the area...

If the crosses are on the church' property then that is their choice, unless they violate some zoning reg. regarding height, etc...That would be the case if a church wanted to do that here where I live...

If they get the go ahead to do such a thing, I'd like the design to be more asthetically pleasing than the one proposed...PresbyG

Fergus Carrick said...

I'm with Becky - it is just tacky. But then, nobody ever accused Houston of being a major center of artistic taste. It is more in keeping with our pride that we don’t have zoning laws. Still, it is an improvement on the billboard advertising “Fabric-free Entertainment” that used to greet visitors to the city when they drove from the airport.

Recovering Baptist said...

It is beyond tacky and just plain sad. Sorry, even if it is their property the idea that using the cross as an ornamentaion is no better than the rich and brainless having adopted children or fluffy dogs as a fashion appendage. I can't believe anyone one is inspired by this. Perhaps some of these maga churches should read the minor prophets. Just as Israel's sacrifices became a stench in God's nostrils, in the face of injustice and violence in the Land, the obscene spending on bricks and mortar is probably an offence to God's eyes. I firmly believe God prefers we spend the money "he gives us" helping people.

John Shuck said...

Someone in my congregation forwarded this story to me. I thought of Clarence Jordan of Koinonia Farm and this true story:

Once when he was being given a tour of a new church building, the pastor pointed to the cross on the steeple. The pastor said something like, "That cross alone cost $10,000." Clarence said, "You got cheated. Times were when Christians could get them for free."

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