By Rev. Zechariah Isaiah Newton, guest columnist

On a recent weekend when I was on vacation from my congregation, I reluctantly accepted the offer of a friend to attend what is being called a mega-church in the press. To avoid giving it any kind of promotion, I will not state its name.

The first thing that upset me is that there were too many people spread over too wide a space for them to know each other. It was like strangers came to watch giant televisions in a sports arena, and then left when the show was over. This is not a community! That was the smallest part of my problem. I had no inkling of what awaited me in the gift shop: A Jesus Pez dispenser.

The whole idea of selling things inside a church fills me with consternation. The gift shop itself is like money changers in the temple, but this was beyond the pale. A graven image of The Lord in the form of a toy that dispenses small wafer-like candy. It is an affront! This is disrespectful, irreverent and sacrilegious! I can barely describe how offensive I find it. I am both angry and sad.

I have written to the pastor of the mega-church about my concerns, and am yet to receive a response, so I have decided to go public. These mega-churches are not proper congregations at all. These are businesses selling religiously themed entertainment in the name of a false idol, the almighty dollar. A Church is people who know and care for each other who come together as a community, not this spectacle!