Warning I get preachy. Second warning my delete finger will be very itchy with comments, so watch it.
The topic of parking on Sundays in Logan Circle has been rolling around on the tongues and fingertips of many for a while and the Post ran a story this weekend about the parking war. I must say biking to my own church, I noticed that the traffic I have to deal with near Metropolitan Baptist was much better. Fewer vehicles taking up the bike lane, for loading and unloading.
There was an element in the Post story that did make my eyes roll. One was the statement about the church being there since the 1800’s, well honey yours is not the only 19th century church in the District. My church also has a 19th century pedigree but no one acts as if it is their right to double park their Land Rover. Of course, my church is in a neighborhood notorious for having no parking. Besides there was a time when people carpooled to church or *gasp* walked. It is a problem when many of a church’s parishioners no longer live in the neighborhood of their parish.
I pass by at least 5 churches on my way to and from home on Sundays I notice that those churches, many of them also 19th century types, don’t have the same flavor of parking problems as Metropolitan. The parking violations I see are parking too close to the curb or too close to a fire hydrant or parking in a space clearly marked for metrobus stopping.
Can I say that the churches with severe parking problems no longer appear to represent the neighborhoods they are in? It is one thing when you draw a sizable number of your parishioner base from the immediate area. It is another when you have suburbanites with suburban expectations, especially when they have the mindset that it is their G-d given right to drive to point A and park in front of point A like it’s one of those fantasy car commercials where the perfect parking spot is there, waiting for you and only you.
The other problem I had was a belief that just because they are going to do something right (dragging self to church) gives them the excuse to do something wrong (illegally park). They give Christians a bad name. If Christians are to lead by example, in this we are doing a lousy job. We will not bring people to Christ by annoying them on a bright Saturday morning knocking on the door and dropping off pamphlets, but rather by living in faith. I remember, a cousin from my dad’s side, who was a Florida State Trooper complained that “church folk” were some of the worst drivers out there, believing that simply ’cause they go to church they have to right to speed and engage in other traffic violations. Is that a good example of living in faith? In using their church attendance as an excuse for speeding they left a poor impression on my cousin of ‘church folk’.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
The who is my neighbor thing is answered in Luke 10:29-37, which summed up means everyone is your neighbor.
I warned you I’d get preachy.
7 thoughts on “Church Parking”
what disturbed me about the post article was all the MPD, i.e. govt workers, who said well church goers are doing a good thing, so maybe we should look the other way.
Uhhhhh….remember that whole separation of church and state. guess thats not part of the training for MPD officials.
I don’t see it as a Church and State thing, but bare in mind I’m very biased.
I see it more as it was more trouble than it was worth at one time. Believe me this is not the only neighborhood where this is happening. I got hints that this (illegal parking) is also happening on the other side of the river too. At one time church goers may have been residents so there may have been some political backlash. But currently, a vast majority of violators don’t seem to live around here much less the District, so the political power of the Church (as a non profit entity with voter pull) is less than what it used to be. This may have played out differently if everyone was driving in from Ward 7 & 8, as opposed to Ward 9 (PG Co.).
I agree with dcbubble. Its crazy to that people actually think you can break the law if it is for moral reasons. I wonder when an angry citizen will have enough of all this and file a lawsuit. If the police keep up with this stupid policy it will happen.
Your reference to walking to church reminds me of this somewhat related article written by Michael Lewyn on Old Testament law and suburbia: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=814665
Someone claim this anon comment by Tuesday evening or it gets axed. Please folks no anonymous comments, they annoy the webmistress.
My husband hates when I do this, but in situations I’m unhappy with, I determine if it’s something I’m going to go after. In terms of the church parking issue – it annoys me when I can’t park in front of my house when I return from church and I have peeves about the pastor “reserving” a spot at his front door with orange cones, but if that’s all there is to complain about in the neighborhood, then I’d consider us lucky. The church folks are kind enough to let us use their space for community meetings. They come in from MD to unlock the door for us and stay while we meet to lock it up again. Yes, some church goers park illegaly, but I speed sometimes. Personally, I don’t want the cops wasting time on that stuff when I’ve got a list of issues that include shootings, drug deals and robberies.
Actually DPW is in charge of parking enforcement, so it is DPW’s job to write tickets, so MPD is free to run after crackdealers and robbers.
So far I think we have a decent relationship with the 4th St 7th Day Adventists and Mt. Sinai. Yes, they take up parking and park too close to corners, but in general they appear to work with the community. Before construction, the 4th St 7th Day people would let Lem the neighborhood handiman park his truck and equipment in their lot and I always considered the lot another place to park guests. Yet I don’t believe I’ve seen double parking over here. I take it as a given that between 10am-1pm on Saturday and 9am-2pm Sunday, parking will be hard to come by. Just as I take that it will take 20 minutes to find a parking spot in Dupont, it’s just one of those things, but double parking crosses the line.
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