Virtual Voices

The Church of You

Religion

I'm thinking about renting a building, installing some comfortable chairs and cappuccino machines, and erecting a neon sign out front declaring it the Church of You. I could put a pithy aphorism on the marquee, something like: "Your life is about YOU," or "YOU be the judge," or better still, "Take charge of YOUR spiritual journey." I could create a sleek website with matching fliers that explain that in the Church of You there is no judgmentalism, no rigid rules, no conformity. Instead it's an inclusive community dedicated to the celebration of the unique wonder that is YOU. "Come inside the Church of You," I can tell the curious, "and discover your hidden potential. We are here for YOU."

Our signature hymn at the Church of You could be a jazzed-up variant of Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" (hint for those who missed the 1980s: It's all about loving yourself). Instead of extending the right hand of fellowship to one another we can all just give ourselves a hug. Perhaps we'll install a big mirror along the front, so everyone can come forward, kneel, and recite a loving self-affirmation.

And no need for a Bible, just bring your diary. Instead of a sermon we'll take turns sharing our feelings, hopes, and dreams. My job as the pastor won't be to guide or teach, it will be to affirm the lifestyle choices and wants of every single blessed member and visitor. Think of me as a spiritual coach, except that at the Church of You, nobody keeps score. Everyone is a winner here. We are devoted to the idea, expressed so eloquently by Michael Bernard Beckwith, Oprah Winfrey's spiritual advisor, that "The average person needs to stop and have a little self-love and appreciation." Amen, brother Beckwith.

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We'll be all about open hearts and open minds at the Church of You, and so long as people respond with open wallets, I suppose I'll be in business for as long as I can stomach the sight of myself in that great big mirror. The funny things is, I suspect a good many people are already practitioners of my new brand of church, they just don't know it. So over the next few posts I'll explain how we do things in the Church of You, to show you just how popular this new way of doing "the spirituality thing" really is.

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