Not going to church is hard. For over ninety percent of my life I went to church. I was very involved as either the minister, Sunday School teacher, Board member, or president. Growing up I went three days a week. Until about four years ago I had never been over a month without going. But now I seldom if ever go and it is hard. But the non-Christians have taken over the churches so what is a fellow to do.
I miss the rhythm it created for the week. I miss the time spent in reflection of something greater than myself. I miss the camaraderie of a group on a mission from God. So it is very hard not to go. But the churches that surround me leave me dry. The Catholics have that whole patriarchal thing going on. The Baptists developed a box to think in and seldom leave it. The Christian church by and large has given up the social Gospel which to my reading of the Scripture means they have given up the Gospel. The Unitarian Universalists think differently the same. Their theologies are too often built to shock more than inspire. That is the difference. The governance is much the same. They have the politics of the social gospeler but not the heart of one. Thus I do not know when I am going back.
So this leaves me trying to recreate the church experience without the Church. I have created and found many experiences like the church I would want but it hasn’t the rhythm or it hasn’t the reflection, or it hasn’t the group. So I have to confess the Church has something. Yet it has too much piety or too little piety. It serves more like a country club than the love of God.
So what must I do? Like so many others who have left or never went to Church I must figure this thing out. How to create friendships beyond doing things together. Find groups who inspire me to greater things. I must find the rhythm of the week and live it. Not being blown from place to place. The call to reflection would seem easier to accomplish but without the obligatory nature it is easy to fall out of practice.
So my crank for the week is why can’t people live their values or at least give it a try. Why can’t they be kind in living their values. Why can’t they accept their values do not necessarily work for everyone. Why can’t they be confident in their values but able to listen and consider another opinion every once in a while. Why can’t they direct their love toward all and not just people who are like themselves. Why can’t they let their values broaden their circles and not box their circles in. Finally, if the church or the secular society can do this I will go with you wholeheartedly but until then I will be an occasional visitor to the church and an unsatisfied customer with the secular.