I’ve missed the last three weeks of church in a row. I didn’t realize how easy it was just to not go. It’s been great to have a break from the routine. But now I’m feeling a little guilty. I’ve sort of broken Hebrews 10:25 – “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The last time I was there, one of their members asked if I was new. I was not. I had been going there for an entire year. Their people do not draw me to church.
It’s just, I don’t feel encouraged by my church, either. Take the new Sunday School program, it’s a carousel. We go round and round, from one study to the next. There may be a few ups and downs, but really it just takes us nowhere. Not only that, but the men and women tend to naturally segregate themselves into their own little groups. I’m not really excited about the prospect of just sitting there and zoning out while ladies carry on conversations about the lazy entitled youth. We did a Bible study about gifts and managed not to ask anyone what they thought that their gifts were. That’s like doing a Bible study on prayer and somehow avoid praying for the duration. It’s like doing a Bible Study by not reading the Bible. I have questions I couldn’t ask but I doubt that they could have answered them anyway. Their Bible Study program isn’t what draws me to church.
Perhaps it’s not having been raised Methodist that I still feel like it isn’t my church. I don’t understand all of what they do or why change seems to be so slow and so difficult. Then again, the problem might be with me. I was recently reading about the concept of ‘cultural commuting’ – the idea that minority cultures adapt themselves to the majority culture in which they find themselves in. My love for contemporary music puts me in the minority. The majority of my church very much enjoys it’s hymns. So I give up what I like to get along with the rest of the group. But it gets wearying to be a spectator in a room full of people singing hymns that seem so difficult. It’s not as if there’s no such thing as Methodist church that does a contemporary service – it’s just that there aren’t any in this county (and very likely in any neighboring county.) Their music certainly isn’t what draws me to church.
I thought people were supposed to go to church for the spiritual community, the Bible studies, and holy music. Are they not the common elements in all churches? I guess they are when you’re just like everyone else – but when you’re not, it’s different. It’s like being in their world but not of their world. I’ve been in their church, but I’m not of their church. I’ve been to enough churches to know that ultimately belonging is temporary. But there’s this other church, pieces of it exist in all churches.
It’s the one church – the one written about in Scripture. The one that is connected to Christ. That’s what I keep searching for. I keep hoping that it’s light will restore all the fallen churches. I keep hoping that it’s truth will free the churches enslaved by lies. I keep hoping that it’s glory will destroy the idols of authority and family that are on display for all to see. It draws me to itself even when I have every reason to walk away from every other church there is. It is what gives me peace about attending such an ill-matched church. It gives me hope that something somehow will prove beneficial. It’s what tells me to keep on seeking it everywhere I go. It’s what tells me to stick with it a little while longer – for what, I do not know. But it’s worth waiting for to find out.