Sunday, June 18, 2006

Church #7: Mt. Carmel Christian Church

1. Who attended? Bradley & Erica

How was the experience?
1: I was so uncomfortable and/or offended that I did not stay to the end of services.
10: This church was welcoming and thought-provoking. I would recommend that others experience this church.

ERICA: 8. It would be a 10 if it weren't for the anti-homosexual messages.
BRAD: 9. Due to the fact that I know a member*

3. Picture(s) of the church

4. Name/location of the church:
Mt. Carmel Christian Church
4183 Mt. Carmel Tobasco Road
Cincinnati, OH 45245

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Yes! Finally, and indirectly, an invite! Dad was at a park and people were handing out free bottles of water and invitations to the church. Dad brought it home to us and we decided it was directed our way.

6. Time/duration of services:

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
Christians? It seemed pretty non-denominational.

8. Who did you meet?
No one-- I just realized that. Oops.

9. If applicable, scans of handouts, tracts, etc

10. Church Hopper’s personal experience with the church, additional details:

ERICA: This church was amazing and I thought we'd finally found a "ten." There was a fun band + good music... the church itself was beautiful and contemporary... everyone who spoke was casual and articulate... and most of all, there seemed to really be an air of "let's do things to make people's lives better, through our belief."

Then, finally, came the part when a woman came up and started talking about the therapy and counseling they offer to homosexuals. She read from the Bible about how it wasn't originally God's plan (which I buy, I guess), but then she made it clear that she thinks people can be "talked out of it." I cannot stand behind thinking like that. I think it's great that they offer a community outreach program regarding homosexuality-- I think it's rather cutting-edge of a church. However, when that program offers to "fix the problem," that's when my blood starts to boil. I have a few gay friends myself, and none of them consider it a "problem." They see people's reactions as a problem, and the lack of acceptance as a problem, but their lfiestyle in general is not problematic. I stand behind my friends and it truly wounded me to listen to the diatribe that took place. Especially when it ruined what was otherwise the best church I'd been to, ever.

Brad: Well, first of all, this church was great. That being said, I would have given it a 10, but I really did not like there message about gays, but I'll get to that later.

*When we got there, they had a really cool picture display, and I liked the way they had there tech booth setup (that's a hard thing to do) but I noticed that one of my subs from school was there, Mr. D, who is the coolest sub I've ever had. I knew he must be the singer. ANYWAY, this church had a very, very nice band, that sang some songs that I thought were different, in the sense that they were a little more modern. I don't know why, but that made all the difference to me. Also, I noticed I was a little overdressed (AGAIN!) for this service, but when the day that I fit right in comes, I'll be dancing in the streets.

Here comes the part I didn't like. A very nice woman came up to read a brief message about what our donations were going to lateley. I figured it was the standard relife funds in Mexico, or buying some more eithernet cable for the church's tech booth, but it turns out it was going to helping people battle the disease of homosexuallity. I didn't agree with this one bit. While they have a right to there opinion, I do too, and I just think that's wrong. It's choice you make, but something really didn't sit right with me that you have to be with one kind of person to be right with God. It hard to make a vailid point when I'm this angry, but you catch my idea. I didn't like it.

Now, they kept having people switch out who was giving a certain message, but this guy that really knew what he was doing came up. I couldn't place his accent, but he started talking about Father's Day. He gave a brief history about it, and went into a sermon (?) about it, what it is, and how great it feels to be a dad. That also lead into the messages about how we sometimes are so focused on makeing sure other people do things right, we forget to do the right things ourselves. It was all very well put together.


Jenny said...

Yuck... it's too bad the experience had to be ruined like that. I definitely think it's stupid to think people can be "talked out of" homosexuality, because I don't think it's a choice- and why would it be? It's not like it's easy or beneficial in any way to be homosexual in the U.S. I guess it's nice for them to have a program for homosexuals, but it still sounds very unaccepting, and that's weird to me.

Gail said...

I just wanted to thank you guys for posting your thoughts and perceptions on your church visits. For those of us that work in churches it is really interesting to see the thoughts of someone that is visiting our church for the first time. Thanks for doing this.

Eebs said...

Thank YOU! Do you represent this particular church?

Gail said...

Yup. I'm the one that did the "anti-homosexual" piece. I'm sorry you heard it as that, that wasn't what I intended.

Eebs said...

The way I see it, if you want to convince someone to live a different lifestyle, you must see it as a bad thing. Most of that is assumption on my part, I suppose, but if you tried to talk me out of being a woman I might be a little offended. To me-- and I tried to present this as my opinion-- homosexuality is not a choice that can be made or unmade.

Gail said...

That's cool. I'm not about debating reparitive therapy cause I know there are widely differing views and I'm perfectly comfortable with that. Please know I'm not about "forcing" someone to change something they are satisfied and happy with, ministries like Prodgial and Exodus exist for people that are struggling with feeling hopeless, dissatisfied or confused. I'll leave it at that cause your blog is about your experiences at churches and I don't want to turn it into a debate of any variety (and I didn't mean to do that). I really do think it's cool what you guys are doing with posting your impressions and thoughts about churches. I've really enjoyed what you have had to say about each of the churches. Hope you visit MCCC again and post more. It's a great learning experience. If you ever have any questions about why MCCC does something or about churches in general, feel free to email me. My email is on our web page.

Bradley G said...

Thanks for your support, and I'm glad you can take something from what we do, because we try and take something from what you guys do.

Eebs said...

Thank you very much for your openness and your willingness to discuss. My brother, Bradley, just posted his opinions on the church so I hope you can take something from those, too.

If you can supply me with the link to Prodigal and/or Exodus, I will gladly post it as a resource for anyone whose beliefs align more with yours than with mine.

Thank you again for reading and responding-- it means a lot to the blog, just as it does to the church, to have feedback.

Gail Rizzo said...

Thanks for noticing the tech booth! That's my area so I'm pretty darn proud of it!

For links for any one that wants to read more, the ones that I would suggest are: (no, that's a typo)

Have a great week!

Gail said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you in my last comment that the pastor's accent is because he is from Zimbabwe

Eebs said...

Ha-- that's delightful! I think my exact words to Brad were, "Sounds like half Boston, half Australia."

I loved the accent. Now I know what a Zimbabwe accent sounds like.

Anonymous said...

Dear Erica and Bradley,
Let me echo Gail's thanks for sharing with us your experience and insights. I am the guy with the accent that Bradley mentioned (Zimbabwe, Africa). I usually introduce myself before I start to talk but must have had a major brain ____! So let me catch up "Hello, my name is Didi Bacon and I am the Lead Pastor - I am so thrilled you responded to our invitation (vicariously through your Dad) to try out Mt Carmel." There my guilt has left the building! I will be sharing your blog site with my staff so that we can benefit from your experiences. By the way - MR.D. was once in my youth group and is a great friend. I think he is pretty kool too.

Eebs said...

Wow... thank you so much for your response! Bradley and I have been working on Church Hop for a couple of months now and we weren't really prepared for this kind of attention. We will continue to be as honest as we can about the churches we visit, if you promise to take it all with a grain of salt because it is all tempered with our own opinions.

Bradley and I decided that we would re-visit our favorite church(es) around Christmastime, so perhaps we will meet again. Thank you again for your response.

Didi said...

Just remember I am the one who talks funny - should be easy to find.

Chris said...

I appreciate the frankness of your thoughts in terms of your visit with us at Mt. Carmel and hope that you will visit with us again some time.

As the missions pastor I am keenly aware of the message that we send out and its "acceptability". Your uncomfortable feel with the presentation of one of our missions partners was interesting to me. I felt it important to note that we support Prodigal Ministries because we believe they have the capability of presenting the message of the Gospel more effectively to those involved in or associated with the homosexual lifestyle. This is a message that is presented not out of ignorance or an intolerance for people, but rather a heartfelt desire to see people come to Christ and bring about the wholeness only He can provide. We will always be intolerant of what we believe to be against God's word, but hopefully that intolerance does not affect our ability to love others as Christ loves us.

Eebs said...

I truly appreciate everyone's ability to further explain your beliefs to me-- that's the reason I go to different churches in the first place: to see/experience what others believe.

You have your right to believe what you believe just as Bradley and I have ours-- thank you for expressing yourself without cutting my beliefs down. I hope you do not feel that I've belittled you in the course of expressing my opinions.

Chris said...

Thank you again for your honesty and reflection of our service. I pray that God will lead you to a comfortable church somewhere and that your title of agnostic will soon be but a memory.

Bradley G said...

I just want to thank everybody for the comments they've left us, it's very nice to see that you people like you can read this and share your views, we started this site in hopes that we would get feedback like yours, which is very nice, and I thank you for everyone that's shared an opinion, I've learned a lot, like Erica said, it's nice that people can share a further knowlage of their belives, so that I can understand how things work a little better.

Anonymous said...

I can't begin to tell you how refreshing it is to see you and your brother doing this. Let me introduce myself, my name is Tim Dunn and I am the Youth Pastor at Mt. Carmel. I have the awesome priveledge of working with the Jr. and Sr. High kids at the church. I wanted to just say thanks for coming to the church and seeing what we are all about. If more people would choose to make informed decisions on things the world would be much more educated.

Godspeed, and I hope to see you soon.

Bradley G said...

Thank you for your support Mr. Dunn

Anonymous said...

Your website is not rendering properly in IE. You may want to check your code.

Bradley G said...

Dear Anonymous,

All I can say to your comment, is that at the bottom of this page, there is a text that reads "This site is best viewed on Firefox (1.5+)", and while I know not everyone has the ability to download Firefox (Link at the bottom) I checked it in IE. I found nothing wrong. So user, all I can say is that maybe your version of IE is outdated, and I suggest switiching to Firefox in the near future.
Thanks for your concern and comment

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't you make it viewable by anyone? I have the most up to date of IE. I really don't feel like changing my browser I prefer IE. I have checked this on multiple computers. I think it's a problem with the resolution on which the page is displayed. I am viewing at 1024x768. It is the largest setting I can view the page. The menu is being pushed all the way to the bottom of all the posts on the left side. Can you please fix this?

Bradley G said...

I'm sorry anonymous,

But over %50 of our readers us Firefox, and have had no complants, and I don't want to change the template setting, because it works fine on MFF. I can suggest that you lower the size of your text, because the images are what are throwing the side-bar "all the way to the bottom", but if you would like to read the blog a different way, you can subscribe to the feed located also at the bottom of the page, or near the blogger button the side bar. Thank you

Jared Cherup said...

Bradley. I checked this out on my computers. The sidebar is being pushed to the bottom. You really might want to try to fix this considering there are still people who won't use firefox even initially on your site. Saying that it looks better in Firefox when it looks bad in IE isn't much of a promise. Just a thought -_o .

Jenny said...

Yay for open-minded, intelligent people. :)

I wish you lived closer to Kokomo, because I think it'd be really cool to see what you thought of my church.

Ryan said...

Checked it on my great in Firefox, not so good in IE (using the Firefox extension) pushes the links to the bottom left.