Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Where else?

I recently quit my involvement in youth ministries at my church, for many reasons.

I am now confronted with the question of why I attend church. And I find myself entirely incapable of providing an answer, because I find the word "church" so limiting.

I go to church. Not regularly, but I go.

When I attend, I sit in a row of conference chairs rather than pews. I sing contemporary worship songs, filled with contrived music and poor theology. I listen to the words of somebody else praying and close my eyes thinking that something good is bound to be said. I listen to thoughtless, sentimental sermons that are based on the Epistles rather than on the Gospels. I hear announcements which keep the community more interested in itself than the outside, changing world. Then I enter the foyer and visit with friends, where I often wish that a strong wine was served for communion rather than juice to ensure the scars of the past hour and a half could be more easily forgotten.

And I spend a lot of time wondering where God is in our church.

Next to me in church, in an equally uncomfortable and equally transportable conference chair, is a person. Usually a person of my age, who seems to have this all make sense, or who buys into it more than I do. It is wonderful to watch this person communicate with their living God. Wonderful. And entirely foreign to me.

Why do I attend? Perhaps for the hope that something worthwhile and inspiring will transpire, that suddenly God will make some sense, or that I will somehow find the missing link that will convince me that Christ died for me. None of this has happened. And I'm not sure if I really want it to.

So why do I attend church? And perhaps, why do I attend my specific church?

I spend a lot of time wondering where God is in our church.

And I spend a lot of time wondering where God is outside of our church.

And I haven't given up on the world outside of the church, so why should I give up on the church?