Friday, August 01, 2008

church?

In reading another blog this morning, I was pointed to a conversation that took place between two Christians, and observed by an Atheist. The Christians got pretty heated in their discussion, ultimately forgetting there was even another person near them. Here's a snip from their conversation, as observed:

"when the driver asked where the woman attended services.
She replied that she didn't regularly attend services and had
only gone twice last year. She was still quite religious, she said
though she believed that God hadn't intended her to take
"that path" and go to church. The driver seemed interested by
this and made an attempt to tell her something along the lines
that she was risking her eternal salvation by not giving her entire
life over to Christ in all ways."

The entire conversation is interesting, but there's a lot to talk about even right here. I don't agree with the woman OR the driver in this case. But I think it expresses two views on church that are out there, and very popular, that miss the point completely.

View # 1: Sure church is important, but it's not required for MY spiritual journey at this point. I'll go the few Sunday's I'm up on time, and feel relaxed enough to warrant going. But c'mon, my weeks are so busy, and they always ask me to volunteer for something. And the ____ just isn't my style. I pray and read my Bible, and I hang out with other Christians sometimes. That's good enough. (usually younger, or religiously "hip", or maybe burned out ex-devotees)

View # 2: The doors open at 7:30am service is at 8:30am, so I'm there at 7:30am. I know that I'm saved. How could I not be? 52 weeks a year = 52 sermons that have shaped my life this year. Heck, there's some weeks I even go to both services, just to make sure I've got enough Jesus to get me through the week. (usually of the "felt-board" generations, suit/tie, sit in the same pew every week)

I doubt many (if any) of my readers would fall into category #2. But there may be a few of #1's out there who read this. So the question here is, if I don't agree with View #1, how would I respond to it?

Let me first say, when Sarah and I moved to Decatur, IL...we had no official church affiliation. For the first time in my life, I wasn't going anywhere with my parents, and wasn't expected to show up anywhere or serve anywhere. It was kinda freeing. There were several Sunday's where we worshiped by getting out of bed around 10-11am, makin muffins, and watching some TV. After a long work week, having Sunday off can be pretty tasty.

I know it happens. But I also know that if we're not careful, it can happen more than we realize.

I don't think by doing so we risk missing out on what God has planned for AFTER this life. (unless you alternatively spend your Sunday's killing people for fun, etc.) But I DO think we can risk missing out on what God has planned DURING this life.

Just one more reason that preaching the "everything we do is about going to Heaven, or getting others to Heaven" message is NOT doing the church any favors. May we remember weekly that the Kingdom of God is coming, and has now come. We proclaim (in word and deed) it's existence together, and the world is transformed.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Wait! You mean if I take my Sundays off to kill someone........just kidding. I agree, I have some family who agree with View #1. Sometimes I think we judge people if they don't go to church or because of where they go to church to decide their relationship. This is certainly not our place, obviously. I value church a lot, I think it's important to have a time each week to be refreshed and encouraged by others and have a little community lovi'n Jesus time.