climbing-480459_1920There has been a lot of talk about walls lately. At the risk of making my humor column “too political,” I will say that I’m not a big fan of the proposed $5.7 billion barrier between the United States and Mexico. I mean, since Christ breaks down dividing walls of hostility (Colossians 2:14), this seems, at the very least, a colossal waste of money.

But I’m not going to write about that wall, because I don’t post this column to make enemies. (That’s what my personal blog is for.) I post this column to brighten your day and to cheer you in the difficult and important work God calls you to do. So, instead of writing about THE WALL, I’m going to write about some other walls.

Because I got to thinking that not all walls are bad. There are some walls that could, in fact, be helpful in our churches. And while $5.7 billion is probably beyond your budget, I bet you could do something with $57,000. (Which may also be beyond your budget, but still . . .)

For example, you could use walls to build a secret Sunday School room—for that one class that insists on meeting but you wouldn’t want any visitors to accidentally find.

Or a soundproof booth with one of those little holes with a built in glove. You could sit in it after worship to shake everyone’s hand. You wouldn’t have to worry about getting every cold virus that made its way into church that morning. You also wouldn’t have to listen to generic “good talk, pastor” comments or hostile complaints about your sermon being “too political” or your dress being too short/long/colorful/drab.

Speaking of which, you could use walls to create a dressing room and stock it with a plethora of fashion choices. Every time someone makes a negative comment about your appearance, pop in and fix it. See how long it takes people to realize that they would rather you spend your time doing the theological and administrative work of being a pastor than catering to their aesthetic sensibilities.

Or how about a secret panel wall? You could have a neat and tidy office with appropriate wall décor and herbal tea in dainty china. People could come in to sit and chat. Then when they leave you could pull out the New Oxford Annotated Bible from the bookshelf and it would trigger the wall panel to open, revealing your real office with piles of papers and bags of junk food.

You could use walls of flowers to create a prayer garden; put in a waterfall feature wall to spruce up your narthex; attach legs to a wall and turn it into a huge table for the ultimate potluck dinner; install a Velcro wall (and buy Velcro suits, of course) or a climbing wall for hours of entertainment; or create some sort of firewall on your computer to block all stress-inducing news items about THE WALL—and other political abominations. (Though, that might not leave much in your news feed.)

The point is, there are some walls worth building. So if the government really wants to spend $5.7 billion dollars, they should give it to us and we will build the best walls. Really. Better than any walls that anyone has ever built before.


Rev. Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, Kansas (where they just built a bunch of news walls as part of a building expansion project). Her personal blog–where she makes all her enemies–is 

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