The mariner read the Bing homepage this morning to discover an interesting link. It was about the emergence of atheist churches (is that an oxymoron? Etymology says “church” means ‘of the Lord’). If you are interested, visit
Follow with the comments of Pope Francis:
The mariner likes Pope Francis.
The mariner had his days as a Methodist pastor. He never understood why a church had to be the center of the “faith,” receive the lion’s share of contributions, and be the greatest distraction from doing good. Now the atheists, who have no religion or theistic magnet to unite them, want to build churches. The mariner has a blind spot about churches. He often expresses his confusion by saying “What is more important – paying the church electric bill or buying supper for the unfortunate mother with children who lives four miles away and otherwise will have no supper?”
Sadly, theistic or atheistic, the mother goes unfed.
The mariner wrote a lesson booklet for adult study groups. It is based on the Gospels Matthew and Luke (for the purist, the Q Source). To put the booklet into a few words, Jesus never said build churches [The fundamentalist may claim that Jesus said Peter was proclaimed the rock upon which the church will stand; “church,” however, is a Greek word derived from kiriakon, later evolving into Middle English chirce via Old German kirche. The Greeks were famous for building temples with a moment’s notice]. Jesus’ life was spent entirely among those abused by the Romans and judgmental Pharisees. Pope Francis must have read the mariner’s booklet…
In an earlier post, the mariner recommended the new book, Zealot, the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan. The book is written deliberately without Biblical sources even though Aslan is a name of renown among religious institutions. It depicts the horrible life of most Jews during the Roman occupation. No one had the money or dare the circumstances to build a church – if that idea existed in those Jewish times.
It is presumed that the atheists are building churches to avoid feeding unfortunate mothers and their children.
Pope Francis is correct: faith is doing good. Nothing more.
This commentary has led to thoughts about why institutionalization is so important. Readers will have to wait for another post.