The other day I was lint-rolling my futon for the fourth time that morning (I own cats, and they own my futon) and the phrase "cleanliness is next to Godliness" popped into my head. As someone who enjoys the theory of a clean home, but hasn't really experienced it, I've always hoped that it wasn't true. What if someone could encompass their entire life with that belief? I wondered what a church based on this "principle" would look like.
People start churches all the time to reach out to new groups all the time like people who easily fall for marketing or people who want to be rich, stay rich, or stop feeling guilty for being rich. So I thought it might be possible to open a new mission field by reaching out to the people who are too germaphobic to go to church.
I imagine a white brick church with a name like "Our Lady of Perpetual Scrubbing." Not because we're Catholic, but just because women are naturally cleaner than men. That's a scientific fact. Look it up. We would have clergy arrayed in the purest white, sanitized robes. They would be, of course, obsessive-compulsive neat-freaks. That would be a no-brainer, I think. The leaders have to set the bar, right? Imagine Monk with a Bible instead of a badge. The name even fits.
My first choice for deacons would be meth addicts. The word deacon comes from the Greek diakonos (διάκονος), which means "servant." At least that's what Wikipedia told me. Trust me, these guys are built for service. They'll clean anything, even if it takes a toothbrush and several buckets of Comet. Especially if that's what it takes. Of course, that might stir a lot of metaphorical pots. My second choice would be professional cleaners, and I don't mean the legal kind. I mean the guys who clean up a murder scene after you whack some snitchin' rat so that the cops can't find nuttin' of nobody's, no how.
Uh...sorry. Maybe they wouldn't be the best choice, but I honestly only went with them so everyone would go with the meth-heads.
We would worship and preach in one of those dust-free, sanitary clean-rooms where they build microchips. I mean, if cleanliness really is next to Godliness, than that must be the Holy of Holies, right? Before worship though we'd have to have a prayer service where we all wash each other's...hands. I know Jesus did the feet thing but, you know, eww. OH! And we would only baptize our members with bottled water!
Then I sort of snapped out of it and thought maybe the whole saying was a misunderstanding. Maybe cleanliness and godliness just used to be right next to each other in a really old dictionary. You know, before they discovered a lot of other words.