Big “S” vs. Little “S”

So, if the naysayers can leave out answers like “superstition” or “because they’re mindless followers” or “a 2,000 year old fairy tale tells them so,” why do people go to church?

There are a multitude of spiritual and/or religious (the two do not always overlap but of course often do) reasons why people attend Sunday services, of Mass, or Saturday night musical services or whatever else. It can be habit, it can be fear of damnation, it can be validation for their beliefs, a desire to be with like-minded people in a communal setting, or a lot of other things.

For me, it is about lifting my Spirit. Note the big “S.” It will be important later.

There once was a time I went to church to be edified and to learn more about faith and service in God’s name. Not so much anymore. I still get bits of new information here and there, particularly when the reverend knows ancient Greek and/or Hebrew and can actually put the passages into their real meaning and context instead of what they’ve been twisted into via a multitude of translations (and dulled meanings often lead leaders of congregations astray or allow them to lead congregants astray, but I’m getting off track).

Anyway, education isn’t my primary reason for church and hasn’t been for a long time. I’ve moved on to spiritual exploration and contemplation of the divine nature more than worrying about Bible specifics.

And so the reason I go to church, and I know many faithful have the same goal, is to lift up my Spirit.

There are many ways I can lift my spirits, but there are very few ways I can lift up and nourish my Spirit.

My Spirit, that divinely attuned part of me (or any of us, if we choose to nourish and listen to it) needs stimulation. Church services are the best way to do that in a community setting, so that I can connect with people, have group companionship and celebration, and lift my Spirit.

Certainly, other things can lift my Spirit (or my little “S” spirits for that matter): being out in nature, listening to good music, meditation/prayer, or viewing art.

(And I can’t help but note that such things are those that most closely align to unique human characteristics like abstract creativity and/or things that put one closer to the treasures of the Earth.)

These things don’t always move me to the point where they will lift my Spirit. Frankly, going to church doesn’t always do the job either. But it’s the best place to do so among other people in an atmosphere of celebration.

And yes, I know that many churches are more interested in pointing fingers, or finding scapegoats, or preaching the damnation of heathen, or fleecing people to get their money. But many churches are interested in lifting the Spirit, and I go to one of them.

It is, I think, one of the best reasons to go to church, and it would be my hope that fewer of the faithful will deal in legalisms of the Bible, or judgments of others, and find that path that leads toward encouraging people’s nourishment of their Spirit.

4 thoughts on “Big “S” vs. Little “S”

  1. societyvs

    I agree. I have no problem with church (per se) but with what church has become and how it is ‘used’. If it were more encouraging and supportive, and functioned like a community, I would see a lot of use in attending.

  2. Deacon Blue

    And that’s why it took us years after moving to New England for my wife and I to finally find a church home. So few are community minded (both within their walls and in terms of the larger community/city in which they reside), welcoming, accepting and open-minded…and Christian. That wouldn’t seem like such a hard mix to find, but it was.

    We’d find churches that preached well on biblical stuff, but looked at our mixed-race marriage and family with open surprise and sometimes disdain.

    We’d find churches that held up community within the church, but sealed themselves off from being involved with issues outside the church that needed attending to.

    We’d find churches that were open and affirming and welcoming of all sort of people, but then the biblical/faith part would suffer (Unitarian/Universalist being the biggest example of that around here…nice people but then I get the mash-up of all faith traditions in one place, which doesn’t really allow me to delve into Jesus and the Holy Spirit).

    We finally found one, and have been there well over a year now as members. And it only took 6 years or so to find the church…*chuckle*…which was walking distance from our house (long walk, but walkable). I admit they can sometimes be a bit “light” on the religious/biblical part of things compared to what I’m used to, but they DO preach from the Bible, and I get all the other important elements as well.

  3. Deacon Blue

    That kind of thing lifts my Spirit only if the wife similarly imbibes and mellow mood leads to [censored].

    Otherwise, that’s only good for lifting the little “s” spirits.

    Microbrews for me, though, man…or red wine. Or the occasional Kahlua and cream or tequila sunrise.


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