Sunday, June 16, 2013

I Don't Want To Go To Church, part 1

I don't want to go to church.

There.  I said it.

This isn't really a new revelation.  Other than a few scattered years when we went to churches that we (temporarily) really, really enjoyed, or when our kids actually liked to go to church, the rest of our 22 years of marriage have mostly been with us being maybe half-time church attenders, if that.

I don't have a chip on my shoulder about church.

Nobody hurt my feelings, offended me, made me feel judged, or seemed like a hypocrite.

I just don't see the value in it.

Every week when we go to church this is what happens:

-We all drag out of bed when we don't want to (often on our only possible day that we could have slept in and rested).

-We struggle to hurry up.

-The kids complain (because they don't like going to church either....and our church considers itself to be really *fun* for kids.  ha)

-We drive a half hour to get there.  The music is disappointing.  The kids go to classes that they don't enjoy.  We see some people we like, though mostly I feel like it doesn't really matter if we show up or not.  We hear a sermon which is practical, but often very much like a self-help article that is not nearly as enriching as something I could have read in my Oprah magazine at home.  We drive back home, or go buy pizza and then drive back home.  And it feels like the day has been rushed and pushed and not nice.

Why do we bother?

I like our pastor.  He is a good guy with good ideas and I enjoy his talks.

We have some really high-quality people in our church that are very nice to be around.

I trust the adults that work with our youth group.

There really isn't anything "bad" going on.

I just don't care.  There just isn't enough there to make me want to go more than I want to stay at home.

If we're honest with ourselves, nobody at my house wants to go to church.  Ever.

So, why fight it?

And why is the "correct" answer among today's church-going people that we should busy ourselves with going to church and keeping the church machine running, instead of things like having a day of rest, that was apparently considered a priority from the beginning of the earth, before church existed?

I do not see my kids getting anything super great out of church attendance.  Indeed, though I was raised in churches that did encourage me to memorize Bible verses and the Romans Road and such, I mainly credited my growing Christian faith on the good stuff I got from my Christian school that I attended.  Call me crazy, but I sort of think they will benefit more from what we are living, what we are talking about, how we are treating people, etc. rather than being stuck in classes that leave them tuned-out.

My idea is that church should be some sort of catalyst in my spiritual life.  I don't think that has really been the case, though.

Other possibly good reasons to go to church:  corporate worship (which is also super disappointing at our current church, and is so distractingly bad that I cannot get past it), and fellowship with other Christians.  I can sing along to KLOVE in the car for a better worship time any day of the week, and feel that I make zero meaningful connections with anyone while I'm at church.  So....there's that.

And lest I be accused to only being concerned with myself, I will also add that I do not believe that God is really concerned about where I'm spending time on Sunday mornings either.  What good does it do God for me to drive over to church to endure it for an hour?

Sorry.  I'm not drinking it.

If I didn't have still-young kids, I wouldn't even consider going to church at all.  It is only my parental responsibility that right now makes me grapple with this at all.  I do wonder if a decent family devotional would be an improvement over whatever it is that they do in their classes at church.

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