Tag Archives: services

Looks Like a Fish…

So, look at the picture for today’s post. Is it a fish? Or is it a bunch of fishes?

Yeah, sure, the easy answer would be to say, “Both.” But is isn’t a single fish, now is it? The individual fishes in formation present the image of a fish, but image isn’t always reality.

Looking like a fish doesn’t make it a fish. Certainly, it would smell like a fish and feel like a fish, too, with all those individual fishes—but that still doesn’t make it a fish.

So, too, a bunch of people who are Christians together in one place doesn’t make a church. A congregation, perhaps, but not a church. Doesn’t matter how much it looks like a church, smells like a church, sounds like a church or feels like a church. Because the things that make a church a church are not the people nor appearances, but something altogether of another realm.

Faith. Spirituality. Devotion.

Jesus told us:

Wherever two or more gather in my name there I am in their midst.

Christianity contains “Christ” but it is not Jesus’ name. Jesus’ name was not “Christianity” and it wasn’t even “Christ.” Christ is a title, not a name. People who gather in buildings because of Christianity aren’t necessarily making up a church. Because unless Jesus is at the heart of it, it’s just a get-together.

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)