Then I went home and thought about the signs I had read.
The first church I saw was an Established Church. It had all the hallmarks: membership in a large, historically-rich denomination, big stone building, advantageous location. Its sign read, in part:
ALL ARE WELCOME.
The second church I saw was a Hip Church. It had all the hallmarks: denominationally-indistinct name, logo with a plant in it, building that had obviously been acquired recently. Its sign read, in part:
NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED.
Both signs communicated a point. A mindset. A tone, if you will. Both signs were in keeping with the worldview of the respective churches involved. Of course the Established Church uses the old-fashioned, literal, weather-worn way of welcome. And of course the Hip Church uses a slightly sarcastic, eye-catching, unique catchphrase.
I don't think there should be a place for sarcasm in the work of the church. I don't think that the old way of doing things is of necessity the best way of doing things. I don't think that the church should shut anyone out, even those who believe they're perfect. I don't think the church should be a shelter for self-deceived people who are unaware and unwilling to be aware of their own shortcomings.
In short, I don't know which sign I prefer.
I'd appreciate input. This topic is evolving in my mind, slowly but very certainly. Leave a comment below, and tell me what you think.
In whatever form it takes, long live welcome.