Tag Archives: going to church

Shiny plastic people by Miz Pink

So I was thinking about the 4th of July holiday weekend. And I got to thinking: How many people really celebrate us breaking away from the British more than 200 years ago? Not many. It’s more about BBQs and beer and setting off explosive devices. And I thought about the Memorial Day and Veterans Day holiday weekends and realized that despite flags and parades and stuff, no one really is paying much attention to military folk who lost their lives or simply served (whether in combat or not).

Then I thought about the word holiday and how it derives originally from holy-day. And I thought: How many people really think about Jesus’s crucifixion and rising from the dead when they celebrate Easter? No. It’s about baskets and bunnies and colored eggs and candy. Christmas? Not about the birth of Jesus, that’s for sure. It’s about the gifts and Santa and stocking and mulled cider and all that jazz. Most people even when they go to services at church for easter or Christmas they really don’t think about Jesus much past the point they exit the church.

That got me to thinking about how people don’t really take church seriously either. Not that I think church is the be all and end all mind ya…I don’t…and people put too much stock in whether God really cares that we sit our butts in the pews. I don’t think he does. Church is supposed to be about more than going to a building. But I thought about the people who do go every week or nearly so, and how many of them fall into two camps. One is the “its a habit and/or I better go or God might hate me” crowd…which means their attendance is either wholly empty or just about fear. The other major camp is the “I need to be seen as being holy crowd” who are obviously there for the sake of their image or station in life or something else and not for the glory of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

In other words, we’re a bunch of shiny plastic people. I’ve been guilty of it too sometimes but not anymore. I don’t care whether people see me in church or waht they think when I don’t show up. Not any more. And I’m not going to go there because I think God is keepign attendance. We aren’t told in the Bible to show up weekly to services. We are told to spread the good news. Jesus would rather have us out there on Sunday sharing his message to the world than he would for us to show up at a church. Yeah, there is value to going to church…but not when it’s just because ya feel ya have to do it.

No smiling and shucking and jiving when it comes to church. That’s wrong. I mean, if we aren’t there to have true spiritual fellowship and be fed spiritually through the word of God why the heck are we there? you think God cares to see a bunch of phonies clogging up the pews? He’d rather see them 3/4 empty and know that all the people there want to be and are getting something out of it.

Barbie and Ken dolls. What happens when you take off their clothes? No nipples, no private parts. Just smooth and shiny plastic. That’s what most of us have become emotionally and spiritually. We look forward to our long holiday weekends without remembering the reason why the day is celebrated. We celebrate religious holidays but serve up greed and superficial nonesense (I’m still guilty of that myself). We go to church but make it a surface-y thing with no depth and no detail…just like Barbie and Kens parts. Is that what we want to be? Is that what you want to be?

Ass in the pews…or else

church01.jpgIn the overall population, the typical small talk bullcrap quickly comes to: “So, what do you do for a living?”

Among the Christian set, if a pair of folks don’t happen to be in the same congregation, you eventually get to: “So, where do you go to services?”

There is an implicit assumption that if you’re a faithful Christian, you must go to church every Sunday…or at least most Sundays. I mean, you have to have a church, right?

Yeah, I’m part of the Church of Jesus Christ, which encompasses the whole world, and every believer. It’s open to everyone, Christian or otherwise. It doesn’t have a set of pews; it’s a collection of bodies and souls stretching across the planet.

Yes, it’s nice if you have a regular church to go to. Having a congregation you can call your spiritual home is great. Fellowship and gathering together is fantastic. But it isn’t necessary, no matter who tells you so. You can get your spiritual sustenance from television preachers (most of whom, by the way, are not crooked pastors and greedy, self-serving bastards). You can get it from reading the Bible. From the radio. From the Internet. Wherever.

My wife and I have tried for six years to find a church home and we’ve failed. No place feels quite right. It’s not that we’re looking to find a place that tells us what we want to hear or supports us in all our decisions. We just want a place where we feel fully welcome and at ease and like we don’t feel like we’re being scrutinized. That hasn’t happened yet, and we don’t let that get in the way of being close to God, reverencing Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us.

Sunday ain’t more religious than Saturday or any other day. Buildings don’t contain the whole of God. People are people, flawed and wonderful alike. If “going to church” is your aim each Sunday, that’s a pretty shallow goal. Dig deeper, and don’t let yourself be deceived into thinking you’re getting your spirit fed, just because a bunch of folks are singing hymns and a guy in a suit is yapping at the altar. Make sure it’s real, make sure it touches you.

If not, go somewhere else. Or stay home and crack open the Bible on your own.

(Photo by Ian Britton, from www.freefoto.com)