Tag Archive: The Gathering Place Defiance

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

road trip

As Polly and I travel the roads of Northwest Ohio, Southern Michigan, and Southeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon during our travels.

The Gathering Place, Defiance, Ohio, Richard Buttermore, pastor According to its website, the church’s mission is:

To present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that turns non-Christians into converts, converts into disciples, and disciples into mature, fruitful leaders, who will in turn go into the world and reach others for Christ

This church wants passersby to know what exactly? As I read their message, I thought of a light bulb that has been dropped and shattered. How “bright”  is this bulb’s light? Just saying… Life teaches us that people can be crushed and harmed in such a way that there is no hope of their “light” shining brightly again. War, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence. and a host of other light-dimming acts of violence we humans afflict on each other — often in the name of God — often cause irreparable harm. And despite what Evangelicals say, Jesus isn’t very good at gathering up the pieces of shattered bulbs, re-affixing their elements, thus allowing them to shine brightly again. As a humanist, my hope is that we work to end violence against not only each other, but that which we commit against our planet and other animals.

the gathering place defiance ohio 2018 (2)

The Gathering Place, Defiance, Ohio, Richard Buttermore, pastor

My only thought was this: not if you wear a condom.

signs rt 49 south of edgerton ohio 2018 (1)signs rt 49 south of edgerton ohio 2018 (2)

These signs are from a residential yard just south of Edgerton, Ohio on State Route 49.

Donald Trump, Thieving Democrats, God is Pro-Life, And Jesus is the Cure for Heroin Addiction

Welcome to Defiance County, Ohio, home to Jesus and Donald Trump.

god-is-pro-life

Evidently, the person who put up this sign has never read the Bible. Had they bothered to do so, they would have found out that God is definitely not pro-life.

thieving-democrats-defiance-ohio

This sign would be hilarious if it wasn’t for the fact that the person who put it up really believes these things. Come Wednesday, I am sure she will be screaming long and hard about how Democrats stole the election from Donald Trump.

gamerz-defiance-ohio

Gamerz is a Defiance, Ohio video game store. While I certainly believe that every American has a right to voice their political views, it is not good for business to do so when you own a small business. Earlier in the day, the owner of Gamerz unfurled and hung two anti-Clinton banners above the sidewalk in the front of his business. He had taken them down by the time I took this photograph. Evidently, the owner is more interested in supporting Trump and disparaging Clinton than he is making money. He shall, most certainly, NOT get any of my money.

the-gathering-place-defiance-3

the-gathering-place-defiance-4

The Gathering Place, Defiance, Ohio is a frequent contributor to my church sign series: On the The Road Looking for God’s True Church. While these signs wisely do not mention Donald Trump, rest assured Gathering Place congregants and pastors support Donald Trump. Those voting for Hillary Clinton will keep their heads down and mouths shut lest they give the appearance of standing against God’s chosen one, Donald, Pussy-gabbing Trump. Turning back our nation is code for “time to evict the Negro from the White House and replace him with an orange and white “baby”  Christian.”

heroin-kills-jesus-saves-3

heroin-kills-jesus-saves-2

V.I.P Nails (and gym) in downtown Defiance wants passerbys to know that Jesus is the ONLY answer for those struggling with heroin addiction. In fact, their banner suggests that local police and drug rehab centers should STOP fighting against heroin and instead lead addicts to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Imagine a man jonesing for a heroin fix — willing to do ANYTHING to feed his need. Get saved? Sure, now can I have some s-m-a-c-k? Telling addicts that only Jesus can cure them is not only dangerous, it could also kill them. Yes, Defiance County has a heroin problem, but the solution is NOT a soul-saving experience with Jesus. What happens when the Jesus-fix wears off? Addicts go right back the streets, looking for the only God who can satisfy their needs.

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

As Polly and I travel the roads of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon in recent weeks.

the gathering place defiance ohio

the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio

The Gathering Place, Defiance, Ohio, Richard Buttermore, pastor. The Gathering Place is a nondenominational church. According to its website, The Gathering place is:

a place for Christian believers to who want to experience the presence of God and mature in their faith and relationship with the creator. What is taught here are promises God has given to us and the walk of life required to reap these promises. We are not here to pass judgement on others about what they have done in the past but to help one another progress towards a better life through Jesus. Everyone is on a different page in their walk with Christ and here we gather to have fellowship amongst other believers where we can come for healing in the physical and the mental aspects of our lives. It is through the power of Jesus who spoke it from the beginning in which we are capable of doing these things so come check out what God is doing here in Defiance.

The Gathering Place wants passersby to know that complaining is some sort of Satanic worship language. I have no idea what they mean by this. Years ago, when I was a student at Midwestern Baptist College, there was a rule that prohibited griping (complaining). Students were expected to keep their mouths shut at all times. Those who dared to complain quickly found themselves in front of the dean explaining exactly why they dared to gripe about the college, its teachers, or any other aspect of student life. Perhaps the message on The Gathering Place sign is meant for church members, not passersby.

The Gathering Place also wants passersby to know that it is up to them to make each day God’s masterpiece. This bit of prose is wrong on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin. First, how can unsaved sinners make any day God’s masterpiece? Are they not the enemies of God, at war with him and headed for hell if they don’t repent? How, then, could their days ever be a masterpiece? Second, I thought God was perfect in all his ways? If it is up to mere mortals to make each day God’s masterpiece, doesn’t that mean that God has created an inferior product? If Christians have the power to improve on God’s handiwork, what does that say about God, his power, and his sovereignty?

trinity united methodist church defiance ohio

Trinity United Methodist Church, Defiance, Ohio. According to the church’s website, “Trinity is all about making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We hope to accomplish this through three simple steps: Connect, Grow, Serve.”

God’s Not Dead 2  is a Christian movie that details the “persecution” American Christians (Evangelicals) face on a daily basis. Its subject matter is every bit as mythical as the miracles found in the Bible. Here is what a few movie critics had to say about God’s Not Dead 2:

  • Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times felt that the underlying issues presented in the film are relevant in today’s world, but criticized its lack of subtlety, saying, “the entire film simply comes off as a two-hour, jazzed-up movie version of a sermon.”
  • Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter criticized the film’s “straw man” argument and its perceived victimizing of Christians: “Pounding its agenda with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, God’s Not Dead 2 will no doubt please its target audience. Everyone else will be left wondering why its fans seem to be suffering from such a persecution complex.”
  • Jordan Hoffman at The Guardian deemed it “a much better movie than God’s Not Dead, but that’s a bit like saying a glass of milk left on the table hasn’t curdled and is merely sour” and stated that “it is unfortunately just professional enough that there are only brief instances of transcendent badness, rather than drawn-out sequences.”

(Wikipedia)

Most people think that mainline churches are progressive or liberal, but as my photographs of local church signs show, mainline churches can be every bit as Evangelical/Fundamentalist as the Baptists.

rock of ages family worship center defiance ohio

Rock of Ages Family Worship Center, Defiance, Ohio. Rock of Ages has no web presence. I do, however, love the message on their sign. I wish more churches would put this same message on their signs.

st marks lutheran church defiance ohio

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Defiance, Ohio. St Mark’s has no web presence. The church is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). While I indeed have many blessings I could count when I can’t sleep, I prefer 30mg of Temazepam (Restoril).

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

As Polly and I travel the roads of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon in recent months.

zion lutheran church defiance ohio

Zion’s Lutheran Church, Defiance, Ohio, Timothy Reynolds, pastor. Zion’s Lutheran is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Tim is a friend of mine, so I won’t be too snarky about his church’s sign. While the message certainly reflects orthodox Christian belief concerning sin, my first impression was to say, no the heart of sin is RELIGION. Remove religion — specifically Christianity — from the human experience and the notion of original sin and the need for redemption go away. Mankind is no longer viewed as broken and in need of fixing. While the concepts of evil and bad behavior would remain, I suspect our “sin” lists would become much smaller.

the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio

The Gathering Place, Defiance, Ohio, Richard Buttermore, pastor. The Gathering Place is a nondenominational church. According to its website, The Gathering place is:

a place for Christian believers to who want to experience the presence of God and mature in their faith and relationship with the creator. What is taught here are promises God has given to us and the walk of life required to reap these promises. We are not here to pass judgement on others about what they have done in the past but to help one another progress towards a better life through Jesus. Everyone is on a different page in their walk with Christ and here we gather to have fellowship amongst other believers where we can come for healing in the physical and the mental aspects of our lives. It is through the power of Jesus who spoke it from the beginning in which we are capable of doing these things so come check out what God is doing here in Defiance.

It is is only March, but I was tempted to give The Gathering Place the Stupidest Church Sign of the Year Award®. I decided to wait. We plan to go a lot of traveling this year, so we could yet stumble upon church signs that would knock The Gathering Place off the Stupid Church Sign Leaderboard.

One side of The Gathering Place’s marquee says, Be an Organ Donor, Give Your Heart to God. So, according to the sign, when people become Christians they give their the blood pumping organ in the upper left side of their chests to God. If we take this literally, how is the Christian God any different from the God of South American tribes centuries ago? Tribal priests would cut the hearts out of people and offer them to their God.  If people literally give their hearts to the Christian God, doesn’t that mean they will  be d-e-a-d after doing so? Perhaps The Gathering Place means for the sign message to be taken in a Biblical or metaphorical sense. But even here, the sign distorts what the Bible actually says about the heart. The Biblical heart is not the blood pumping organ that is central to our existence. A careful study of the word heart reveals that the word means mind or the seat of human will. Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

There are Christians who will dig their literalist heels in on this matter and refuse to accept that the word heart does not mean the organ. I have one question for them. If a Christian has a heart transplant, does that mean he loses his salvation and has to get saved all over again?

The other side of The Gathering Place marquee says, One Nation Under Me, God. Meant to be a statement affirming Christian nationalism, my dirty, carnal, atheistic mind thought, so…God likes to be in top?