One Man’s Culture is Another Man’s Cult


One man’s culture is another man’s cult. At least that has been my experience.

This is the mildly famous sign from in front of our church’s former location at The Vault in downtown Salem. I say “mildly famous,” because every tourist season people from around the world would stop, and stare at the sign. Many would remark, and say that it was such a novel concept, and call their friends and family to come and read it. People took pictures of themselves with the sign, and would walk inside to tell us how much this simple sign meant to them.

For the members of our church, The Gathering, this sign still holds true. Of course, one day, I was standing next to the sign, and someone walked up to it speaking loudly to his friend declaring that this must be a cult, because there were no rules. Somehow the English language eluded this fellow, who did not see that it said “short on rules,” which for us meant following the two great commandments: love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.

It seems that on a regular basis, I am reminded that many people still attribute major importance to minor issues, and judge us on the basis of those minor issues.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.” Matthew 23:13 New Living Translation

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